Hello I can help, I have a couple of guides.
Typewriter Restoration Tip #1
Initial cleanup and lubrication
The paint on your typewriter may appear cracked and dull, but chances are that you are looking at a century's worth of tightly compacted dirt, ink, sweat, and cigarette smoke. If you can manage to remove that layer of crud, you may find that the underlying paint job is still smooth and can be made to gleam. If you're unlucky, the crud will turn out to be a layer of varnish applied at the factory, which has grown wrinkly and brown with age; that can be very hard to remove. Of course, if you're lucky enough to find a typewriter that has been kept in a case, this won't be an issue -- it will just need a little loving care. In any case, you'll find the following items useful:
- Soft, clean, white cotton rags. You'll go through a lot of these. The gentlest approach (recommended at first) is to wipe the typewriter with a wet rag, or a rag dipped in water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
- Brushes: you can try toothbrushes, nail brushes, brushes for cleaning firearms or dentures, and artist's paintbrushes.
- Dental picks are used by several hobbyists as a means of reaching and manipulating interior areas.
- Q-tips are nice for cleaning hard-to-reach areas.
- Instead of using Q-Tips, you can also roll your own swabs using wooden applicator sticks (6" long x 1/16" diameter) and cotton batting. Bamboo skewers work just as well, and they last for days/weeks. One roll of cotton batting will yield about a million swabs. As soon as a swab is dirty, you pull it off and replace it. The most important thing is to use damp--not wet--swabs. You can achieve this by rolling a wet swab on a piece of blotting paper. By doing this, you avoid flooding the surface, and water won't seep into all the wrong places.
- For initial dust removal, the vacuum-cleaner hose attachment kits sold in computer and computer supply stores and catalogs work very well. They are especially helpful in cleaning mechanical parts.
- For more precise blasts of compressed air, buy a canister intended for cleaning electronic equipment (these are available at most office supply stores).
- You can also just take your dusty old typewriter down to the gas station, and take advantage of their compressed air. (Probably not a great idea for rare typewriters.)
The following substances can help remove dirt and grease (often old typewriters have been over-oiled at some point in the past, or even dipped in a vat of oil, which in the long term turns into a sticky mess that must be removed).
- Soft Scrub is a gentle liquid cleanser that is easily available. To remove heavy dirt, try applying diluted Soft Scrub with a finger or rag, and removing it with a rag, over and over and over. Careful: some finishes will be scratched even by this cleanser.
- Try Dentucreme: It is very mildly abrasive and extremely effective on surfaces that would show scratches.
- Try "Gojo," a hand cleaner, is excellent for cleaning original lacquer black.
- Gun cleaning solvents can be very useful. ie Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber or M-Pro gun cleaning spray, G-96, and Break Free.
- Liquid Wrench Deodorized Super Penetrant has worked very well for me in removing old oil and lubricating mechanisms. It frees up sluggish typebars and jammed parts.
- Stronger products (use outdoors, don't rub on decals, and watch out for paint damage) include naptha, lighter fluid, and carburetor cleaner.
- A good cleaner is equal parts of acetone, automatic transmission fluid, kerosene, and mineral spirits. Be careful of the acetone, however. This is a standard firearms cleaning mixture for cleaning bores, etc. For really gunked up typewriters, it works pretty good.
- Mineral spirits (e.g., Varsol or Stoddard Solvent, available at paint stores) have been recommended to me. "Brush the mineral spirits on, using a natural-fiber brush which is bonded onto the handle with metal, not plastic. The machine should then be GENTLY blown out with an air compressor. Then apply a light lubrication to moving parts."
- Oil will improve the functioning of some parts, notably when applied to the carriage rails. Apply very sparingly, with the end of a pin or paper clip. Use a light, high-grade oil. 3-in-1 Oil is an easily available option. Probably a better choice is gun oil, such as Hoppe's Gun Oil. It's a bad idea to put oil in the segment (the slotted piece that holds the typebars); the oil can get dirty and gummy after a while. A degreaser is better.
- When performing cleaning and lubrication, I would recommend following up after degreasers and lighter oils with a heavier oil. Also, oils used around chipped and delaminating coatings may contribute to further delamination. For instance, for blowing out dusts, removing some grease buildup, and to leave behind a think layer of lubricant, I would recommend using 'TV Tuner Cleaner,' and then follow up with a '3 in 1' type oil.
- Automatic transmission fluid, thinned 50% with kerosene, is an excellent rust preventive and general lubricant. Lots of anti-oxidant material in it, so it doesn't 'gum up' with time. As usual, in oiling, apply sparingly.
- Instead of lubricating with oil, which can eventually collect dust and make the mechanism stick again, you can try dry, powdered graphite. (This is not recommended for use on anything that has aluminum, since graphite has a high galvanic difference to aluminum and will pit and corrode it.)
- Window cleaners are not recommended, as they can sometimes harm or remove paint.
- Platen cleaning: after an initial wiping with water and Soft Scrub, several brands of rubber/plastic restorer made for cars work well (e.g. Armor All). However, none will make a browned, aged platen turn black. If one is concerned about the preservation of an old platen, probably there are chemical-effect risks involved in the use of inks to dye the platen. To recover a platen, see "Mechanical repairs" below.
- Fedron Rubber Cleaner Conditioner is a heavy-duty solvent that really cleans type and platens. If you can find a dauber (like the type used for liquid shoe polish) spread a thin coating on the type and let it work for about a minute or two, then wipe off with a rag. For the platen, if the platen can be removed, put some Fedron on a rag and wipe the rubber off. It instantly removes dirt, ink, and rust marks. Fedron is harsh: be sure to keep it away from paint, decals, and all delicate parts and materials (such as string and plastic). Use in a well-ventilated area: it stinks!