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together typewriters gradually go extinct, their worth as antiques rises. Unfortunately, this usually way that old manual typewriters are dusty, rusty and covered in gunk. If previous owners over-oiled the typewriter and also let the sit unused for long periods that time, oily dust has actually probably turned into stubborn, difficult grime -- and typewriter secrets are sometimes the worst hit. Castle are an important to the machine"s all at once appearance and functionality. Fortunately, you have the right to clean those crucial parts to make your typewriter keys click and also sparkle again.

You are watching: How to clean an antique typewriter


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dive a rag right into a bowl of water combined with a few drops of food detergent. Wring it partly dry and gently wipe the typewriter secrets with it. This will eliminate the surface layer of dust and dirt.

Rub aluminum polish on the secrets to eliminate rust. For stubborn spots, tenderness scrub v superfine sandpaper or superfine steel wool, together typewriter collector Dr. Richard Polt, Ph.D., of Xavier college recommends.

Gently scrub the tops and sides of the secrets with a toothbrush. Dip it right into the water and also dish detergent for extra cleaning power. Alternatively, rub v a damp noodle swab. This helps to eliminate stubborn traces of dust that call for some elbow grease.


Scrub the type bars v a toothbrush to eliminate dirt that may cause the tricks to stick when you type. Protect against using water or soap here, together it might encourage rusting if the kind bars execute not effectively dry.

Gently slide a nail document or knife between the segment slots of the form bars to get rid of dirt, as a 1977 Reader"s Digest publication on typewriter clean suggests. Brush away the loosened dirt v a soft brush, such as a paintbrush. This helps ensure smooth clicking as soon as you form and boosts the overall appearance the the machine.

Press down on as numerous typewriter tricks as you have the right to with one hand and brush in ~ the kind bars through the other, making use of the soft brush.

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Drip a couple of drops that sewing machine oil -- not any type of other kind -- between the form bars to ensure that the keys will move easily. Don"t overdo it, together this may develop a difficult mess over time. A light applications of sewing maker oil, however, motivates stick-free typing and keeps the typewriter feather polished.


start with gentle clean methods, then occupational your means to tougher methods if rust and grime prove stubborn. This reduces your odds that damaging the typewriter with instant rough cleanings.