Common Questions

From Typewriter Wiki

Others have felt your pain.

Removing hair and dust (some crusted in)

A detailing brush with a small handheld vacuum that's used for computers can be effective at removing hair and other debris. Other tools one might use are a dental pick, a paint brush, and pipe/straw cleaners (single use or reusable, hard and soft). Using tools can be more effective than canned air at times.

An air compressor can send piece of your typewriter flying if they're not secure, so some prefer a low powered vacuum with a dust cup with filter. There are ones for cleaning electronics/keyboards that can serve this purpose. Others used canned air or low pressure compressors.

My ribbon vibrator (piece that holds ribbon) is stuck

Could be gunked up or need to be re-formed. Definitely rule out all other potential causes before bending the metal.

Help! There's white powder on my keys!

No, typewriters do not automatically generate cocaine.

White powder on 1950s and later plastic keys is a result of a chemical process known as degassing and a result of decomposition in the plastic itself. It can be removed with vigorous dry rubbing, though some say that WD-40 on your fingers may help. Do a couple now, do something else, do a couple more. You might get blisters. Have fun!