To Top

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

Category Electronics

How do I clean a Smith-Corona Delta III electric typewriter? The keys stick. The typewriter has fresh ribbon. Just certain keys stick.



We are giving away $200 in Amazon gift cards for people who answer questions on ThriftyFun this month! Click here to find out more...

Add your voice! Click below to answer. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

April 10, 20110 found this helpful

Plastic Bowl

Old toothbrush

Rubbing Alcohol


First make sure that you unplug your typewriter. Pour some rubbing alcohol in a plastic bowl, and wet the bristles with rubbing alcohol. Gently scrub the keys to remove excess ink. Wipe off keys with the cloth. Keep on doing this to clean the keys. I believe that's what your problem is.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 12, 20110 found this helpful

Be sure it is dirt that is making the keys stick, sometimes they become bent and stick because of that.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

April 13, 20110 found this helpful

If you can't get them unstuck yourself, call a typewriter repair company, if you can find one (or one that services office equipment) to see if they can help.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 26, 20110 found this helpful

If the type bars get stuck, try to bend them slowly to the right or to the left until they un-stick. Be sure that you press the key which sticks before bending! That should free up your type bars.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Add your voice! Click below to answer. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

April 10, 20110 found this helpful

How would you clean the keys, the actual letters that strike the ribbon, on an old typewriter? Carbon tetrachloride isn't around any more and it's nasty stuff anyway.


Eileen from Canton, OH


Cleaning an Old Typewriter

How about OOPS or GoO Gone, or maybe WD-40, on a cloth or sponge (throw cloth/sponge away afterward). I used to use something with a play-doh like/putty-like consistency that was pressed on each key, but I don't know what it was called. (10/27/2005)

By Linda

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

In typing class we used a typewrite bud. that is the name that comes to mind anyway. it felt like play dough, it is usually red in color and is on a handle. i would think staples or office depot would sell them.
we also vacuumed it out and used a soft brush. (10/27/2005)

By Sandy

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

You might try rubbing alcohol on the keys, then a stiff brush. (10/27/2005)

By Robert

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

How about plain ol' rubbing alcohol on a gauze pad? (10/27/2005)

By sunhat

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

You could try using blue tack pressed into the keys and removed to lift off the ink - I don't know if it will work if it has been a long time since the keys were cleaned (10/27/2005)

By Sharyl

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

I remember using nail-polish remover and a stiff brush - back in the "olden days" (10/28/2005)

By Joankay

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

We used to use a sheet of pink slightly "fuzzy" material that was fed into the typewriter like a sheet of paper. You then hit each key so that it struck the cleaning paper several times. Not sure how it worked or what it was made of, but it sure cleaned the keys. Has anyone come across this lately? We have an old typewriter in a legal office that sure could use it! (05/01/2007)

By Linda S.

Cleaning an Old Typewriter

I wrote my first magazine article on a typewriter. To clean the keys, use a soft toothbrush with rubbing alcohol when they are really dirty with ink and bits of paper stuck in the hollows of the letters. For "normal" cleaning, knead a lump of Silly Putty and stick it on the type keys to remove built up ink. They used to make a product like Silly Putty especially for typewriters, but Silly Putty always worked just as well. You can get several normal cleanings out of one Silly Putty egg. (10/05/2007)


By Robert M.

cleaning typewriters

Make sure, if you use WD40 or any solvent like sprays, to remove rubber belts, feet, and wheels. True rubber doesn't like certain complex cleaners. Best not to take chances with an old Underwood or anything Italian--especially prewar Italian. (01/16/2009)

By Conor

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
Related Content
Home and Garden Cleaning ElectronicsApril 10, 2011
Cleaning a Toothbrush Used for Cleaning
Cleaning a mirror with rubbing alcohol.
Clean an Old Mirror With Rubbing Alcohol
Electric typewriter.
Fixing a Smith Corona Typewriter
Electric Typewriter
Repairing an Electric Typewriter
Back to School Ideas!
Summer Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Desktop Page | View Mobile

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

© 1997-2017 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published by .

Generated 2017/08/18 14:41:46 in 918 msecs. ⛅️️ ⚡️
Loading Something Awesome!