How to preserve your collectible toys?

When you finally get your coveted toys after putting your best foot forward, using your years of practiced hand speed, and winning the lottery by one in a million, I bet you want these collectibles to stay with you for a long time. Perhaps there is a quiet expectation that they will be appreciated in value. But the reality is always heartbreaking because the vast majority of collectible toys are made of plastic and are not suitable for long-term collection. Plastic is not easily degradable, but it does age very easily. There are four things you can do to keep your collectible toys safe for longer and protect them from high temperatures, sunlight, moisture and chemicals.

How does it work? Where do I keep it so it doesn't yellow? What if it gets dusty? What if it gets greasy? Let's start with the materials: PVC, ABS, PU and Poly. PVC and ABS are used for collectible figures, blind boxes, vinyl toys and Sofubi toys. PU and Poly are often used for small batches of artist toys and designer toys. The preservation is various because different materials have diverse characteristics and manufacturing processes.


PVC is a thermoplastic material, the heat resistance of PVC collectible toys is poor and it deforms easily at high temperatures. At the same time, elevated temperatures during use will make PVC release hydrogen chloride gas, which will cause a general yellowing of the material. It will be very noticeable if the surface does not work well with the decoration, especially in the white areas. The yellowing is just one change that we can see in the pictures, and what we can't see is that it becomes more fragile. The combination of ultraviolet light and the thermal effects of light promotes the formation of free radicals in polymers and makes the material become brittle and crack. Except for the yellowing and brittleness, senior players have gone through the greasiness of PVC toys. Why is this? One of the major disadvantages of PVC is the need to add plasticizers during the manufacturing process. The addition of plasticizers gives PVC good elasticity and toughness. However, there are two sides to every coin. Plasticizers are particularly prone to separation at high temperatures and bring out two major hazards. Firstly, most of the precipitated plasticizers are harmful to humans, and secondly, the precipitated plasticizers remain on the surface of the toys which gives them a greasy appearance. Grease reduces the elasticity and toughness of the material. However, greasing is only the first stage of a collectible's aging process and is not yet terrible. It becomes sticky if left untreated until the second stage and collectibles have almost no value for secondary circulation after that. This can only be remedied by cleaning with a degreaser and spraying matt paint. High humidity or humidity changes (repeated water vapor erosion and drying) will lead to mechanical chipping of the PVC surface. How can we preserve it to avoid the above tragedies?

1. Avoid high temperatures and sunlight

The high temperatures of daily life usually come from sunlight, hairdryers, radiators and computer screens and the ultraviolet rays in sunlight are also deadly. Keep away from them and store them out of direct sunlight and at a low temperature. The recommended storage temperature is 15-24 degrees. If the collectibles become greasy, place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool. Please use a cold breeze setting if you need to use a hairdryer. It is better to use LED cold light to avoid using spotlights in the display case lighting. As a special reminder, the collectible toys will also become brittle in prolonged low-temperature environments. Please take care not to bump into them when playing in the northern in winter.

2. Protection from moisture

Remember to add desiccant (and change it regularly) to the display cases or showcases where you keep your precious collectibles. Please do not immerse the collectibles in water to clean them if they have become dusty or dirty.

3. Prevent organic solvent cleaners and grease

Avoid using organic solvents including alcohol to clean the collectibles. Especially for the hand-painting vinyl toys and Sofubi toys to prevent organic solvents from damaging the paint. In addition, the grease from the skin on the hands will accelerate the oxidation of the toy causing the yellowing. So don't touch the collectibles directly with your hands and wash your hands before playing with them. It is better to wear cotton gloves.

4. Regular ventilation

Many collectors will return toys to their original boxes if they don't have a suitable place to display them for a while after buying them. But it is unreliable because once the plasticizers evaporate your collectibles become greasy and unbreathable. And they will become brittle and deteriorate over time.

Summary: PVC materials used in toys (blind boxes, vinyl/Sofubi toys) are susceptible to deformation, yellowing, brittleness, cracking and greasing under high temperatures, ultraviolet rays and water vapor. Please protect collectibles from high temperatures, sunlight, moisture, organic solvents, grease and remember to breathe regularly during storage.


ABS and PVC are considered to be the main category of materials used in collectible toys. They are sensitive to light, heat and ultraviolet rays and are also subject to yellowing, brittleness and cracking. Maintenance methods for ABS materials are similar to those for PVC. It is important to note that the surface of ABS is easy to work with and can be subjected to many special surface treatments. Many collectible toys use production processes such as electroplating, flocking and so on to create a very different visual and tactile experience. The electroplating effect is dazzling in a crowd, but they are more difficult to maintain for the textures of collectibles.

A. Electroplating

Electroplating uses the principle of electrolysis to deposit a thin layer of metal or alloy on the surface of a substrate. There are three main points of maintenance of the coating. First, the chemical damage of the surface layer to prevent fogging (no longer bright) and black spots (vulcanization); second, the adhesion effect of the surface layer to prevent drumming and peeling; third, the maintenance of the substrate to prevent deformation.

1. Protection from high temperatures and humidity

The coating is susceptible to fogging (no longer bright), black spots (vulcanization), bulging and peeling in high temperatures and humid environments. Storage in an environment with a relative humidity of less than 65% is recommended. See above for special protection against heat and humidity

2. Protection from hand perspiration, carbon monoxide, organic solvent cleaners

Hand perspiration is extremely damaging to the electroplating, not only increasing humidity but also causing electrolyte contamination. It is strongly recommended that you wear gloves when playing with the collectibles. Keep away from gas and soot as carbon monoxide will cause grey-black netting cracks in the plating.

3. Prevents abrasion and scratches

Avoid placing them directly on rough, hard surfaces, especially the soles of your feet. It is recommended that you hold it gently while playing and place it on a soft felt or fleece cloth over the screen dividers. Or apply 3m non-marking stickers to the soles of your feet and peel them off without a scratch when you don't need them anymore.

B. Flocking

Flocking uses the principle of static electricity to create a pile with a negative charge and the substrate is in the zero position or ground state. The fluff is attracted to the isotropic substrate and accelerates vertically to the surface of the adhesive-coated substrate. The maintenance of flocking depends on three points firstly, the cleaning of the flock to prevent yellowing; secondly, the durability of the adhesive to prevent bulging and peeling; and thirdly, the maintenance of the substrate to prevent deformation. The methods are much the same, protection against high temperatures, humidity and organic solvent cleaners.

1. Please absorb liquid with a soft white cloth and do not use a hairdryer if the liquid is spilled on the fluff.

2. For soiled parts, mix 95% warm water with 5% neutral soap (no bleach), dip a soft cloth in the solution and rub gently from the inside to the outside. Use the soft cloth wipe with a solution of 95% warm water and 5% neutral soap (not bleach) to clean the soiled area. Once the stain has been completely brushed off, use a dry cloth to absorb the foam. Then rinse with water and vacuum with a dry cloth. Ensure that the soap suds do not remain on the flocking as this will cause. Use a dry cloth to absorb the soap bubble once the stain has been completely brushed off. Then absorb with a dry cloth after rinsing with fresh water to ensure that no more bubbles remain on the flocking, otherwise it will cause discoloration over time.

Summary: The maintenance of ABS material is similar to that of PVC material. The electroplated and flocked finishes should be treated carefully. Protect from high temperatures, moisture, organic solvents, abrasive scratches and hand perspiration.

PU and Poly

Compared to PVC and ABS, PU and Poly are relatively stable. The collectibles made from them are not easily deformed and are not greasy. The critical elements of preservation focus on preventing breakage after collision due to the hard and brittle nature of these two materials.

1. Anti-collision

These types of collectibles are not suitable for taking out and must be handled with care when photographed. Even if you place it in a cabinet make sure it is stable to prevent it from shaking or falling over.

2. Protection from sunlight and moisture

The PU will also crack when exposed to the sun even if it is relatively stable. And some of the resin will go moldy in the wet environment.

3. Avoid organic solvent cleaners

The color of the PU is light creamy white. The variety of rich color effects for the PU and Poly collectibles are hand-painted. The organic solvents are a major enemy of the paint and please take care to protect the coating when storing or playing with the toys. Please be careful with alcohol when cleaning the soiled areas, including a variety of alcohol wipes and cleaners. Unless there is no other way, do not clean your collectibles with wind-medicated oil.

Summary: The key points for PU and Poly collectibles are to avoid collision and to be aware of damage from organic solvent cleaners.

How to clean up the dust?

This is a head-scratcher no matter what you collect. It's worth mentioning because the accumulation of dust not only affects the aesthetics of the toys but also causes irreversible damage to them if they are not cleaned for a long time.

First, the cleaning tools. A laptop or camera cleaning kit is perfect for this and usually includes a soft cloth, ear wash ball and soft bristle brush. Let's talk about cleaning techniques. Use an ear wash ball to clean large areas of floating dust, then gently wipe with a dry soft cloth. Please remember not to use wet clothing or organic solvent cleaners. Finally, gently brush the recessed crevice area a few times. Dip a soft cloth in a little lukewarm water and wipe gently if you are unfortunate enough to get a stain. Add some rubbing alcohol to the water and wipe gently if you can't get it off.

You may already be aware of the critical elements of collectible toys made from different materials. It would be great to have a locked toy house with a constant temperature and humidity to preserve your collectibles and keep naughty children away. It is a positive thing that collectibles bring you unlimited joy in their limited lives. Hope you have fun with them whether you play with them, take pictures of them or just keep them in your cupboard to enjoy.