How to Store Action Figures

Jon Fesmire |

Collecting action figures can be a lot of fun, whether you like to play with them, display them, or keep them in their original packaging so you can keep them in pristine condition.

In this article, we’re going to cover how to store your action figures, plus how to take care of them in and out of storage.

Preventing Damage at Home

You may think that if you keep your action figures unopened in their original boxes, then they’ll stay in mint condition. Not so.

Humidity, heat, and cold can still damage them. If you leave them up on a shelf for display in their packaging and sunlight hits them regularly, that can also cause damage such as making the colors fade.

When you display your action figures out of their packages, the also need to remain out of the sun. So, put them on shelves that don’t get direct sunlight. If your home is comfortable to you— not too humid not too hot or cold—then it’s also good for your action figures. Don’t touch them too much after you’ve displayed them, and dust them regularly.

If the action figure uses batteries and your purpose is to display it, remove the batteries. They can leak acid over time, damaging the item.

When kids, or adults, play with action figures, they can take some damage, particularly if you play with them outdoors, in the sand or dirt. Skin oil can also make paint fade over time.

Cleaning Action Figures

Most action figures can be cleaned with a cloth and water. Let them soak in water with mild soap for ten minutes or longer. Next, use a soft toothbrush to gently clean them. The bristles can do wonders for getting dirt out of cracks and details. Let them dry on a rack indoors, away from sunlight, and gently dry them with an absorbent cloth. This same procedure is good for getting most of the skin oils off action figures that have been handled a lot.

To remove ink and stains, use a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. Simply dab the swab in rubbing alcohol, then dab it against the stain. Don’t wipe. Keep dabbing until the stain is gone, then wipe off the section with a damp towel. Do not leave the alcohol on the figure, as it can cause discoloration.

Label and Inventory

Before you pack a box, put a label on it. You can label them “Action Figures 1,” “Action Figures 2,” or use any naming scheme that works for you. Then, write the name of the box on a piece of paper, and write down each figure that you put in that box. Later, you can transfer this information to a Google Sheet or Excel document. You’ll be glad you created an inventory later.

Preparing for Storage

You’re going to want to make sure your figures are well-protected in storage.

First, make sure they are completely dry. Next, to make sure they don’t bump against each other and cause any damage, wrap each one in bubble wrap, the kind with the small bubbles.

If you also want to keep them in plastic bags, use polypropylene bags, which are acid free. These are the sorts of bags museums use to keep artifacts safe and undamaged.

If your figures are in their original packaging, we recommend lightly wrapping them in bubble wrap only. Pack your figures in airtight plastic bins.

We already mentioned that sunlight, humidity, and temperature extremes can cause serious damage to your figures. Sunlight won’t be a problem in storage, but the other two can be. While the airtight bins can keep out moisture, they won’t protect your figures from heat and cold. High heat can cause warping and disfigurement, and low cold can cause certain figures to become brittle.

That’s why we recommend renting a storage unit with climate control. Not only will this protect your action figures, it will protect just about anything else you put in your storage unit.

That’s it! Whether you’re putting figures in storage to make room for more, to keep them safe until you can resell them, or because you need to stash away some of your belongings before your next move, these steps will help to keep your figures in great shape.