How to take care of a Typewriter?
So, you have a typewriter or planning to buy one soon & You’re probably wondering. ,
“How can I maintain my typewriter and keep it in good working order?”
Now, the tips I am about to share are useful if your typewriter has been recently properly serviced or restored by a competent typewriter professional and does not apply to typewriters you might find locally or on online markets like eBay, Etsy and Facebook.
Without further Ado, let’s start with tip number 1.
- Keep your typewriters covered
Like any item left without cleaning, typewriters tend to collect dust quickly. Potentially accumulating a thick layer causing a problem within the mechanism and segments blockage.
After buying a newly restored typewriter, I always recommend buying the original cover if available or requesting a custom made one from your local tailer to fit your typewriter exactly & avoiding the one size fits all plastic ones.
If you are only displaying your typewriters, I would recommend a dust-proof glass cabinet or simply search online for the transparent acrylic display covers that I personally use on some of our typewriters.
Now if you are away or don’t intend to use your typewriter for a long period of time, make use of the original carrying case that will be perfect to avoid dust.
Therefore, regularly dusting the typewriter is crucial to avoid accumulation of dust.
2 – Find the right place for your typewriter
General rule is,
Avoid placing your typewriter close to open windows or direct sunlight for a long period of time.
& Avoid putting it close to a fireplace or heater as it could gradually soften the rubber platen & washers causing them to flatten.
It is best to keep it in a moderate room temperature, not too cold nor too hot.
Always keep your typewriter on a sturdy & stable desk especially the heavy desk ones.
3.Use a non-Slip PAD
A non-slip pad is extremely helpful for two main reasons:
- A pad will keep your typewriter stable while typing and protect your desk from scratches.
- You will experience Quieter typing, as the pad will slightly dampen the clacking noise.
We have manufactured and tested multiple kinds of pads and finally we have been able to make a good quality typewriter pad.
We have been selling it for over 2 years now and we are proud to say we have 100’s of happy customers and great feedback from the typewriter pad users we supplied.
Please find the link in the description below of the typewriter pads we supply at Mr and MRs Vintage typewriters website.
4.Avoid Liquid correction fluids & rubber erasers at all COSTS.
You heard it, correctors & erasers are the enemy of maintaining a good typewriter.
One of the most common reasons for typewriters to cease to work is the accumulated residues from liquid correctors and rubber erasers. They tend to leave a thick layer over time in between the segments and rails causing lots of problems.
I would suggest using correction paper slides that are less messy & are still available on our website.
I will leave the link in the description as well.
5.Use a backing sheet/ Paper.
But What’s a backing paper!
It’s simply using two papers instead of one while typing. This will improve the prints impressions, preserves the platen and key heads for longer period.
It will also lessen the chance of the keys punching through the paper in case your platen is very hard.
This leads us to one of the most common questions we get asked and it is, “What type of paper should I use on my typewriter?”
We recommend using papers between 85gsm & 100gsm as thinner sheets will slip, and thicker ones will not feed well & harm your key types.
6.Regularly clean the key type.
Before all of that, what is the key type??
It is the top end of the key arm or key slug. A type is the head that has the letter print.
After rounds of typing, a dried-up ink will start to accumulate within the key type, so it needs to be regularly cleaned for a clearer print result.
The letters that tend to accumulate the most ink are the ones with closed circles and edges. Like the letter a, e , g,p, d and so on.
Using a bristle brush, gently & without extreme pressure, clean the key slugs to remove all the ink residue within the letters and symbols. For more stubborn ink, small drops of mineral spirits can facilitate the process.
Personally, I use metal dental picks to clean key types and then, I brush all the residue away but be please be careful when using these..
7.Dont Wash your typewriters… dunking included.
Simply said, please do not wash your typewriter with water!
Water is the enemy of metals! Even if you end up drying it well. It will eventually rust within months. It’s inevitable.
Dunking the typewriter in mineral spirits or special liquids have several drawbacks such as loose springs, harming plastic and rubber parts, & not efficiently cleaning the typewriter.
8.DON’T OIL the Typewriter…
I repeat, DON’T OIL YOUR Typewriter
I hate it when people say I oiled my typewriter, or this typewriter has been oiled and ready for usage! They clearly have no clue on how to clean or restore a typewriter.
Adding oil to the typewriter parts, especially the keys segment will accumulate and could turn into greasy substance when mixed with the dust, dirt and other particles falling on the typewriter and when this happens, keys will stick, mechanism of the typewriter will slow down and don’t expect your typewriter to work before it is professionally flushed from all the grime and grease.
Typewriter Professionals know how and where to use machine oil to facilitate or help clean certain parts but not to improve the mechanism movement.
Thank you for reading in hope you enjoyed it.
Walid from Mr and Mrs Vintage typewriters.