Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tutorial: How to Clean Up a My Little Pony

Clean Ponies!
Scrub a dub dub ponies in the tub...

So here it is... Firefly and Baby Cuddles get cleaned up.

I picked up two G1 My Little Pony's at the Toy Show last weekend and they needed some TLC.  I used to purchased used ponies and clean them up often.  I had not done it in a while and it's very quick and easy to do.

I said in that blog and I will repeat again that there are certain things to look for when buying well loved ponies.

Check for surface dirt and marks, especially on painted areas.  Unless you plan on repainting the painted areas if they are noticeably marked with dirt, pen, nail polish, etc this pony can not be cleaned properly.  However, surface dirt anywhere else can be cleaned easily.

Check for haircuts.  I used to cut the hair on my toys as a kid when the hair was too damaged at the ends to be brushed easily.  Unless you're planning on rerooting new hair, ponies with haircuts are not fixable.
Check for damaged hair.  Sometimes the damage can be fixed or softened if it is in one spot, but if it is crispy throughout the the mane or tail this is also hair that will need to be replaced or rerooted.

Check for tail rust.  MLP tails are held together and inside the body with a metal clip.  If the inside of the pony was exposed to moisture the metal clip may rust and that rust will spread into the tail and body.  Lot of children take these toys into the tub so it's not uncommon to find tail rust.
Check for rusty eyes.  For a period of time baby ponies came with beddy bye eyes that opened and closed when you laid them down or stood them up.  The eyes have metal pieces and often they rust and they do not look too pleasing to the eye.  The rust can also prevent the eye from operating properly, leaving your baby pony with one eye open and the other half closed.  Always check to make sure the eyes function regardless.

Pony Cancer:
I haven't actually seen this but I have heard of it.  Pony cancer is when the plastic in the body starts breaking down causing ugly spots on the surface.  As I have yet to see this I do not have pictures, but from what I understand there is no fixing it.  I wouldn't call a pony with pony cancer a goner though.  She can always be made to look fabulous regardless of the spots.

Cleaning Supplies:
Soft Scrub - I used Lemon but stay away from the one with Bleach!
Two Washcloths - one for the Soft Scrub and one for water
A Towel - for drying
Conditioner - any kind, I used Pantene
A Comb - the $1 ones they give out on picture day in grade school.
Bobby Pins

The very first thing to do is run a comb through the pony's hair.  Make sure to start at the bottom and work up to the base of the mane or tail.  This way is there is any damaged hair you don't risk damaging it more.  Always use the side of the comb with the wider tooth.

You are going to clean the surface of the pony first since conditioning and curling the the hair will be a waste of time if Soft Scrub gets in it.

Put a very very very small amount of Soft Scrub on your washcloth and start scrubbing the pony's body avoiding any painted areas.  Soft Scrub will remove the paint.  If you're planning on repainted then by all means go and scrub that paint off.  When cleaning the body make sure to get in all the random corners like inside the ears and the hooves.  Some surface marks may take some extra scrubbing.  Firefly had a pen mark on her nose and leg that took a bit of elbow grease to get out.

After scrubbing the body, get your ponies hair wet.  Do not dunk the pony in a basin of water or you run the risk of getting the metal clip in the tail wet and creating tail rust for the future.  Take a very very very small amount on conditioner and rub it through the mane and tail.  Rinse the conditioner out.

Take the second washcloth and run it under a little water, ring it out, and run it over the pony making sure to remove all of the Soft Scrub.  Take your pony and rub a dry towel all over it to remove all moisture from the body.

To style the hair...
There are a few ways to style hair depending on how the pony was originally styled, the type of hair the pony has, and the look you are going for.  I chose to use neck and leg wraps, but you can also use straws and small curlers.  I used to use curlers but I found it hard to tell when the hair was dry.

For the neck and leg wraps, I start with the leg wrap.  Take a paper towel and tear is in half.  Take each half and fold it until you get the size of the leg or neck depending on which you are styling.

Take the tail and wrap it around one leg.  I like to wrap from the flank, under the belly and then around the leg.  Take your folded paper towel, thread it between the legs and wrap until it's completely around the leg.  I like to wrap in the direction of the curl so I can pull the curl a little tighter as the paper towel pulls around.  Once the paper towel strip is fully wrapped secure it with a bobby pin.

The neck wrap is easier since your just pushing the hair against the neck.  Put the hair against the neck and part it for a forelock or the ear.  Take the folded paper towel and wrap it around the neck pulling it a little the make the wrap tight and a secure it with a bobby pin.

Put the pony to the side and let it dry for a 24 hours.

After 24 hours carefully remove the paper towels and bobby pins.  Run a comb through the mane only if you would like.  If you comb the tail you risk ruining the new curl.  I like to leave the tail wrapped around the leg.  It makes me think it will hold the curl longer, but I doubt it's necessary.

That's my tutorial.  Enjoy cleaning those ponies.

Here are photos of Firefly and Baby Cuddles being cleaned, but first their flaws.

Way before cleaning...

Firefly had a nasty tangled tail, pen damage to her nose and leg,and a bit of surface dirt.

Maybe it was marker?

Her feet were actually pretty clean.

Baby Cuddles had surface dirt, some hair damage, and glue mark on her neck.

You can really see the dirt on her hooves here.  This is common for this body color.  The color makes the dirt look more yellow and noticeable.

I was NOT able to remove this possible glue mark.

Firefly after a gentle brushing.

Baby Cuddles super clean feet after being attacked with Soft Scrub.

Baby Cuddles looking like she just left the ER all wrapped up in paper towels.

Firefly wrapped in paper towels.

Yes they look like they were in a car accident, but fear not...
Directly after having the paper towel wraps removed.

This is what the leg wrap looks like.

Sparkly clean Firefly with a shiny mane, a shiny curled tail, and no pen/marker marks.

Baby Cuddles all clean with a tamed mane, conditioned and curled tail, and yellow free hooves, ears, and mouth.
The success of their cleaning makes me wish I had picked up some more for cleaning projects.

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