How to Clean – Maple Town Flocked Toys

How to Clean - Maple Town Toys

Have you ever watched Maple Town? It is an animated series from the 1980s featuring anthropomorphic animal characters, within an adorable utopic town, that taught little life lessons in each episode. When I was little, my mom recorded it onto VHS for me and I watched them over and over; I also had several of the toys and I still have them!

These toys have been up in the rafters of our garage for over 20 years! They’ve held up better than my My Little Ponies (see how I cleaned them here), but they are still careworn and very dirty. I want to clean these toys to prepare them for my daughter to love and play with!

If you have any flocked toys, whether they are Maple Town characters, Sylvanians, Calico Critters, So Soft My Little Ponies or another, I’ve created this handy guide to help you give them a good cleaning without removing their flocking. Let’s get started!

FLOCKED TOY
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
Before cleaning.
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
After Cleaning.

SUPPLIES

  • Container
  • Powdered OxiClean
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper or dish towels

INSTRUCTIONS

Important! Since flocking is attached to the toys with glue, warm to hot water or air could dissolve the glue and remove the flocking.

  1. If your toy has any clothing, remove it and set it aside (see “Clothing” section below).
  2. In the container, prepare a small batch of the OxiClean per the instructions with warm water. Allow the water to cool completely.
  3. Take the toothbrush, dip it in the OxiClean bath then gently tap the water onto the toy to wet the flocking (this may take several dips and taps to wet the flocking over the whole toy). We are not scrubbing with the toothbrush, just transferring a controlled amount of water onto the toy. 
  4. Use your fingers to rub the OxiClean water into the toy’s fur and set it aside for 10 to 15 minutes. I set mine on a white plate and boy did some dirty water drain off of them (see photo)!
  5. After your toy has sat for 10 to 15 minutes, turn on your tap on the lowest stream it can distribute water, and carefully rinse each character. Take care not to linger too long over joints so water doesn’t leak inside.
  6. With a paper towel or dish towel, gently dab each toy to remove excess water, then set them somewhere safe to dry overnight or longer until they are dry to the touch.
  7. If your toy has any clothing, continue see the “Clothing” section below.
CLOTHING
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
Maple Town character clothing, before cleaning.

SUPPLIES

  • Container
  • Powdered OxiClean
  • Needle (Optional)
  • Thread (Optional)
  • Scissors (Optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Important! If you’re worried about a particular article of clothing, please do a spot test first, before soaking the whole item.

  1. In the container, prepare the OxiClean per the instructions with warm water.
  2. Place the toy’s clothing in the warm OxiClean mixture to soak. There are some types of fabric that will not react well in OxiClean.
  3. Keep an eye on the clothing and remove it from the bath once clean. Some of my toy’s clothing was clean within 30 minutes, some of them took a couple of hours.
  4. Remove the articles of clothing from the soak and rinse them thoroughly. Squeeze the out the excess water, smooth out any wrinkles, and set them aside to dry.
  5. If there are any loose threads the clothing that will not unravel the garment if cut, you can use the scissors to snip them off.
  6. If there are any tears in the clothing, select thread that is similar in color and thread your needle. Carefully sew the tears back together using appropriate, simple stitches.
  7. After your toy and its clothing are clean and dry, re-dress, and display or enjoy!
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys

How to Clean – Classic My Little Pony Toys

Growing up reading The Velveteen Rabbit and then watching the Toy Story films, I became convinced (as I’m sure many children do) that toys are alive, and they have feelings. This made giving them up extra hard, and although I had to say goodbye to a lot of them over the years to keep my room and storage from overflowing, I did save many that were meaningful to me in the hopes I could pass them on to my future child (like I believe Andy should have done in Toy Story 3). Now our daughter is here and I cannot wait to share some of my beloved toys with her in the hopes that they will be beloved to her too!

I dug through my parent’s garage and found my classic My Little Ponies from the 1980s and 90s! In my memory they were in perfect condition, in reality they had been kept in a cardboard box way up in the rafters of a hot garage for about 25 years; they were all covered in grime and in need of a good cleaning.

How to Clean My Little Pony ToysHow to Clean My Little Pony Toys

I set to work cleaning and styling my My Little Ponies for Zoey and, after a fair amount of effort, they are ready! Now I want to help you restore your Little Ponies so you can share them with your little ones, or collect them for yourself, the choice is yours!

First thing’s first let’s assess these ponies! Separate them into two groups based on these questions. Are they superficially dirty and just need a good wash? Or do they need to be taken apart for a deep clean? The best way to tell if they need a deep clean is discoloration at the base of their tail that indicates rust growing from the metal washer inside. There is also a chance you’ll wash a superficially dirty pony and realize it needs a deeper clean so it’s best to start cleaning these ponies first.

*These are not methods to use on a flocked pony. I do not own any flocked ponies so I was not able to test cleaning out on them.*

SUPERFICIAL CLEANING

How to Clean Classic My Little Pony Toys - Streaky Before and After

SUPPLIES
  • Magic Eraser sponge
  • Castile soap or shampoo
  • Toothbrush
  • Conditioner
  • Comb or wet brush
  • Paper towels
  • Hand towel
  • Drinking straws (curly haired ponies)
  • Bobby pins (curly haired ponies)
INSTRUCTIONS

*Do not submerge this pony in water, you are not taking the superficially dirty ponies apart so you do not want to get water trapped inside. Use a small stream of water from your faucet to first wet the pony and then to rinse the soap, shampoo and conditioner off.*

  1. Wet a Magic Eraser sponge and use it to gently clean the pony’s body. Use more scrubbing force on any stubborn marks, but avoid scrubbing too hard on the eyes and cutie marks (symbols).
  2. Use a small stream of water from your sink’s faucet to lightly rinse the pony.
  3. With a toothbrush and Castile soap or shampoo, gently clean the pony’s body, then lightly rinse.
  4. At this point if you feel the pony needs a deeper clean see DEEP CLEANING below.
  5. After you’re satisfied with the condition of the pony’s body, wet the mane and tail with a small stream of water from your faucet. Avoid saturating the base of the mane or tail.
  6. Using Castile soap or shampoo, wash your pony’s mane and tail, and rinse.
  7. Apply conditioner to the mane and tail. Allow it to sit for a minute or two, then use a wet brush or a comb to gently brush through any tangles.
  8. Allow the combed and conditioned mane and tail to sit longer. How long depends on how smooth or coarse your pony’s hair is to begin with. I let one pony’s coarse hair sit in conditioner overnight, it did help, but at a certain point their synthetic hair may be damaged beyond full repair.
  9. Gently rinse the hair out when you feel it’s time. Use a hand towel to dry the body and give the hair a couple of squeezes to remove any excess water.
  10. While the pony’s hair is still damp, comb through it again so it’s smooth and set its hair.
  11. For straight-haired pony manes – cut a strip of paper towel about an inch to an inch and a half thick. Wrap the pony’s mane around its neck and secure it by wrapping the paper towel over the damp mane, around the neck, and tying it in a knot.

    How to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  12. For straight-haired pony tails – cut a strip of paper towel about an inch to an inch and a half thick and place it between the pony’s legs in preparation. Wrap the tail around one of the pony’s hind legs and secure it with the paper towel.

    How to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  13. For curly-haired pony manes and tails – cut up several drinking straws into fourths (roughly 2 inches a piece) for curlers. Separate out your pony’s mane and tail by how many curls you want and use each piece of straw to curl a strand of hair from the tip to the base and secure it with a bobby pin over the hair, and through the straw. You can curl it over or under, dependent on your preference.

    How to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  14. Allow your pony to completely air dry (overnight or 24 hours) then remove the paper towels or curlers. For the straight-haired ponies,  I usually run a comb through the mane to give it just a little bounce, but I leave the tail alone. If you comb the hair too much it will lose its curl. For the curly-haired ponies you can leave the curls as they are, or using a loose toothed comb, gently comb through them to loosen them up, again if you comb the hair too much it will lose its curl.How to Clean My Little Pony ToysHow to Clean My Little Pony Toys

DEEP CLEANING

How to Clean Classic My Little Pony Toys - Blueberry Baskets Before and AfterSUPPLIES
  • Hobby knife
  • Needle nose pliers
  • White vinegar
  • Bucket/container
  • OxiClean
  • Magic Eraser sponge
  • Castile soap or shampoo
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Toothbrush
  • Conditioner
  • Comb or wet brush
  • Paper towels
  • Hand towel
  • Drinking straws (curly haired ponies)
  • Bobby pins (curly haired ponies)
INSTRUCTIONS

*It is OK to submerge this pony in water, you are taking the deeply dirty ponies apart so everything will be allowed to dry inside and out. To deep clean the really dirty ponies you’ll need to remove their heads and then tails.*

  1. Lean the head from side to side to see how attached it is and where. Carefully insert the tip of a hobby knife into the glue spots and cut them loose. BE CAREFUL not to slice into the inner rim of the neck that holds the head in place without the glue. If you do (and I accidentally did it) be extra careful when removing the head so you do not rip the inner rim open more or completely off.

    How to Clean My Little Pony ToysHow to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  2. Once the head has been removed take a pair of needle nose pliers, reach into the pony, grasp and pull the tail out through the neck.

    How to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  3. Place the metal clamp holding the tail together and the washer into a bowl or cup of white vinegar and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes or longer depending on how much rust there is.
  4. Remove them periodically to rub them with a toothbrush to see how much rust can be removed. When you’re satisfied the rust has been removed from the metal clamp of the tail and the washer, take them out, rinse the vinegar off and dry the metal thoroughly.
  5. With a toothbrush and Castile soap or shampoo, completely clean inside and outside of the pony’s body. If the toothbrush cannot reach into the legs, fold a pipe cleaner in half and twist it together, then clean down into the legs. Rinse thoroughly.

    How to Clean My Little Pony Toys How to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  6. In a container or bucket, mix OxiClean with warm water and place the pony (head, tail and body) into the mix to soak overnight.

    How to Clean My Little Pony ToysHow to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  7. Once done soaking, rinse and drain the ponies. 
  8. Wet a Magic Eraser sponge and use it to gently clean the pony’s body. Use more scrubbing force on any stubborn marks, but avoid scrubbing too hard on the eyes and cutie marks (symbols).
  9. Wash the pony again, see step 5.
  10. Allow all the components of the pony to completely dry before reassembling. This could take up to 24 hours.
  11. Reassemble the pony starting with the tail, poke one side of the tail’s metal clamp into the hole and use the pliers to pull it all the way in. I decided to leave the washer’s out of the tail, but if you want to replace them you will need to use the same method to pull the tail through the hole in the washer within the body.

    How to Clean My Little Pony Toys

  12. Washer or not, center the metal clamp and pull the tail taught.
  13. Replace the pony’s head. I am not replacing the glue at this time, but if you wanted to secure the head, you can use super glue. BE CAREFUL! Do not get too much glue on the neckline or it will seep out the sides, creating problems for your hands and the pony’s body and hair. I recommend applying the glue around the rim of the neck with a toothpick and then inserting the head, holding it’s hair and your hands out of the way.
  14. Once your pony has been reassembled and the super glue (if you used it) has dried you can style the hair.
  15. Using Castile soap or shampoo, wash your pony’s mane and tail, and rinse.
  16. Apply conditioner to the mane and tail. Allow it to sit for a minute or two, then use a wet brush or a comb to gently brush through any tangles.
  17. Allow the combed and conditioned mane and tail to sit for longer. How long depends on how smooth or coarse your pony’s hair is to begin with. I let one pony’s coarse hair sit in conditioner overnight, it did help, but at a certain point their synthetic hair may be damaged beyond full repair.
  18. Gently rinse the hair out when you feel it’s time and use a small towel to dry the body and give the hair a couple of squeezes with the hand towel to remove any excess water.
  19. While the pony’s hair is still damp, comb through it again so it’s smooth and set its hair.
  20. For straight-haired ponies manes – cut a strip of paper towel about an inch to an inch and a half thick. Whichever way you want the pony’s mane to fall (sometimes it’s already decided for you) wrap the pony’s mane around its neck in that direction and secure it with the paper towel, by wrapping the paper towel around the neck and over the damp mane and tying it with a small knot.
  21. For straight-haired ponies tails – cut a strip of paper towel about an inch to an inch and a half thick. Place the paper between the pony’s legs in preparation, then take the tail and wrap it around one of the pony’s hind legs. Secure the wrapped tail with the paper towel and tie a knot.
  22. For curly-haired ponies manes and tails – cut up several drinking straws into fourths (roughly 2 inches a piece) for curlers. Separate out your pony’s mane and tail by how many curls you want and use each piece of straw to curl a strand of hair from the tip to the base and secure it with a bobby pin over the hair, and through the straw. You can curl it over or under, dependent on your preference.
  23. Allow your pony to completely air dry (overnight or 24 hours) then remove the paper towels or curlers. For the straight-haired ponies,  I usually run a comb through the mane to give it just a little bounce, but I leave the tail alone. If you comb the hair too much it will lose its curl. For the curly-haired ponies you can leave the curls as they are, or using a loose toothed comb, gently comb through them to loosen them up, again if you comb the hair too much it will lose its curl.

How to Clean Classic My Little Pony Toys - Firefly Before and AfterWhat My Little Ponies do you have?  How did they turn out? I hope you and your loved ones enjoy them! I plan on giving mine to Zoey within the next year, after she stops sticking absolutely everything in her mouth !*face palm*