You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

19-4-2016 15:54:59  #1

Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

Ok, at the risk of being ridiculed, I'm going to ask:  "Is pressure washing a typewriter a bad idea?"

Yes, I know it involves water.  And water could lead to rust.  But hear me out.

I've tried vacuuming.  And blowing with compressed air (sort of--with a leaf blower).  Just air pressure (neither vacuum or compressed) doesn't remove gunk.

I've read about bathing the mechanical bits in solvent, with a pump that sprays solvent under some amount of pressure.  But I'm not prepared to make that kind of investment nor would I like to have flammable liquid sloshing around anywhere near my house.  Also, I already have a power washer.

I'm thinking of the following:

On a hot sunny day, I put out the typewriter to bake for say an hour to get it nice and toasty warm.  

Then I fire up the power washer and blast the segment, basket, underneath--anywhere I can get high-pressure water.  

Immediately engage a leaf blower and blow away any loose water.  Do this for a few minutes (10?) to get as much of the water out as possible.  During the process, I'd move or wiggle anything that can be moved so the air stream can get to most areas.

Leave the typewriter out in the sun to dry for hours.  Maybe days.

Hopefully after all that, there's no longer any water left in the typewriter to cause rust.

What do you guys think?  Crazy?

A related question is:  "Does it matter if there are areas in a typewriter that are a gooey mess IF they aren't involved in the typing process?"  An analogy could be the underside of a car.  It's not involved in the driving process.  It can be covered in mud and dirt (and it is) but at the end of the day, it's irrelevant.  And the act of blasting all that out could actually do more harm than good.  

It's just that with many typewriters, especially some of the more "skeletal ones", grime on the mechanical bits is easily visible.   And part of the fun I have with typewriters would be putting them on display.  The less grime the better.


19-4-2016 16:19:00  #2

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

You know, I have wondered about this too. Pressure washing would probably be WAY to powerful, but I suppose a wash with less pressure would be okay. I have washed many things with water that are complicated (Escapements anyone?) And as long as they are set to dry for a while BEFORE they are reinstalled or whatever, they will be fine. Of course, the more bare steel the worse.

Back from a long break.

Starting fresh with my favorite typer. A Royal Futura!

19-4-2016 17:43:55  #3

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

fingertapper wrote:

What do you guys think?  Crazy?

Crazy? More like absolutely insane! Have you seen all of the tiny springs inside of a typewriter? They wouldn't stand a chance against a power washer. If you want to thoroughly clean a machine - professionally - read the topic on dunk cleaning that I posted. That's how the pros did it (mind you, some had actual machines that did this job, sort of like a typewriter dishwasher).


Stay Safe! 

19-4-2016 17:48:58  #4

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

A machine that cleans a machine?!?!?! 

What type of a world is this! :O

Back from a long break.

Starting fresh with my favorite typer. A Royal Futura!

19-4-2016 18:09:38  #5

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

OMG... sounds like there'd be no insides LEFT. And what part of the inside of a typewriter isn't involved in the typing process?


19-4-2016 20:25:25  #6

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

I know a guy who has a modified typewriter washing machine.  It cycles a solvent rather than water.  I'm jealous.

Anyway, yeah, the pressure washer... I imagine springs flying off everywhere.  I would not advise this


19-4-2016 20:26:23  #7

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

I have thought of putting naptha in one of those tooth water pic things though. For flushing the segment.


19-4-2016 20:43:15  #8

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

I was thinking of doing the typewriter washing machine type-thing, but I lack the funds or means to do so. Though I do know that repairmen would have some sort of solvent just take the dirt right out. Wouldn't that be something though...

A high schooler with a lot of typewriters. That's pretty much about it.

20-4-2016 00:11:15  #9

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

Hi Fingertapper

Here's my thoughts on pressure washing a typewriter. As Uwe says, there are a whole lot of tiny springs in a typewriter that would simply be blasted away with a normal pressure washer. However, if you have a gasoline powered pressure washer that has a throttle control on the engine and a selection of nozzles, here's how I might tackle this idea.

As you say, get the innards out, remove all rubber and plastic parts (except the injection molded keys) and warm it up on a hot day. Spray the workings down with engine degreaser, then set your pressure washer to draw from a pail of hot detergent water. Start the pressure washer and throttle the engine right back to an idle. Don't point the wand directly at the mechanism when pulling the trigger, rather move the spray onto the machine once pressure has stabilized.

Once you've finished washing, rinse the mechanism out with clear hot water then dry everything with compressed air regulated to about 40 psi, then set back in the sun to finish drying. Bear in mind that all protective oil will now have been stripped from everything so a proper oiling will be essential to prevent rust from forming. You may also want to experiment with different sizes of nozzles as well as different spay pattern angles. Remember, it's not the pressure the water is under that does the cleaning, it's the velocity at which the water hits the dirt. If all you have is an electric pressure washer - DON'T EVEN TRY THIS.

When I do typewriter cleaning, I use a solvent diffuser gun with Varsol (mineral spirits) and compressed air regulated to 30 psi for washing and 40 psi for drying. Hope this gives you something to think about. All the best,



20-4-2016 03:40:24  #10

Re: Pressure washing (with water(!)) Bad idea?

Thanks, everyone, for talking me out of it.  I forgot about the all the tiny springs that would get dislodged--and without the safety net of a repair manual to guide me back to putting them back in properly--assuming the springs didn't get blasted into the weeds.

I've recently attacked a standard with Varsol and a toothbrush and I'm not looking forward to doing that again.  In fact, after an entire evening on it, I'm still not satisfied with its cleanliness.  I was thinking a pressure washer would make short work of it.  

To Kat's question about "what part of the inside of a typewriter isn't involved in the typing process?", I'm referring to the frame, areas under the carriage and things like that.  I hate that "fuzzy" kind of dirt that is basically dust stuck to oil bits.  I suspect that kind of dust, especially in those areas won't affect the typing.  But it's unsightly and I know it's there.  Trying to clean it with a toothbrush and solvent just seems to move the grime around.  I was looking for a way to blast it out entirely.

Sky:  I have a consumer-grade electric pressure washer.  2000psi but not super high-flowing like a gasoline-powered one.  After the words of wisdom here, I won't be using it.  However, I like your idea of a solvent gun.  I may try something like a garden sprayer (a nearby dollar-store sells a small hand-pressurized one).  The PSI's won't get too high but there would be that "blasting away" effect I was looking for.  Something like this:


     Thread Starter

Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum