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Cleaning and Restoration
Your Old Wooden Toys and Dolls

We are not sure if these are being produced anymore.


Sometimes our toys need some help. Missing parts may need to be added or badly damaged areas need to be repaired. Schoenhut circus toys and other wooden toys may need restringing or respringing to display properly. These are our recommended toy restoration experts.

Jim Sneed
For wood damage free restringing of Schoenhut, Ideal, Jaymar, dolls, and other old toys. Paint restoration and wood repairs.

Click this navigation bar to see restringing pricing for Humpty Dumpty circus characters.

Get your old wooden toys ready to display or market.

jlsneed2@bellsouth.net (best contact method)

Location is near Charleston, South Carolina
We are often asked about care and restoration old wooden toys. We believe that old toys should be preserved in a way that does not destroy their old patina. Cleaning should be aimed toward removal of potentially damaging material from the surfaces of the paint and fabric. This includes dust that inevitably collects on displayed toys. Here are a few ideas that we hope will help you preserve your old toys.

We use the Lord Sheraton dusting brush. It is a good sized brush (about 11 inches long with thousands of very soft goat hairs about 2 1/2 inches long) that works perfectly on Schoenhut animals and performers. Here is their description:

Lord Sheraton Dusting Brush

Hand made from the finest, soft goat hair and hard beechwood, the Lord Sheraton Dusting Brush is the easy way to remove unsightly dust, from those hard to reach places that your regular duster just can't get to.

It safely and effectively cleans objects such as figurines, carvings, clocks and precision equipment, protecting them from scratches and leaving them as good as new!

Cleaning and waxing
Sometimes, the paint and fabric of the toy needs cleaning to remove material that can cause ongoing deterioration of the piece. Recently, Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel have been cleaned of the hundreds of years of smoke and dirt accumulation. The result was the restoration of Michelangelo's original colors and the stabilization of the paint. If you want to try cleaning your toys, do so at your own risk. This is what I do:

To remove surface dust, I use the Lord Sheraton brush above. For deeply dirty fabric, I mix a solution of water and a mild laundry detergent for the fabric and gently wash. I don't use bleach - not even Clorox II as I have heard that it can fade older Schoenhut fabrics.

For the painted surfaces, I mix a tiny amount of car wash detergent (it is safe for car paint) and use a brush gently over the surface, blotting with paper towels. I am careful that the paint has good adherence or I could find it in the paper towel.


To protect the paint, brighten its sheen, and deepen its colors, I use a wax product called Renaissance Wax. Click on the photo of the wax to read a complete description of this wax.


Protect your toys from UV light! UV light is a component of most light sources especially sunlight. It is high energy light and will damage fabric and paint. Fabrics will fade and become brittle. Most museums protect their toys and dolls by using light sources with UV filters and limiting the duration of light exposure.

Place your toys behind UV glass or in areas of rooms with no direct sunlight exposure. North facing rooms are good in the Northern hemisphere.

Contact me for more information about old wooden toy restoration:  jlsneed2@bellsouth.net