How to Care for a Typewriter

kytyper blog

Like any machine, typewriters require a certain amount of maintenance and care to keep them performing well.  In the day when typing classes were common, students would learn how to care for a typewriter.  Since those days are long gone, I thought I would share a few tips on how to care for a typewriter.

  1. Always keep your typewriter covered when not in use.  Typewriters tend to collect dust which over time will create problems like sticking type bars.  Try to keep it covered as much as possible.
  2. Avoid liquid correction fluid.  Liquid correction fluid is messy and tends to drip on the platen and paper bail rollers.  Correction tape is a better option.
  3. Dust your machine regularly.  Take a lint-free cloth and dust the exterior parts of your typewriter that can be easily reached.
  4. Keep the carriage rails clean.  Move the carriage to the extreme left and right and wipe the carriage rail with a dry cloth.
  5. Use a dry bristle brush and clean the type at least once every few weeks.  A small amount of denatured alcohol can be used to clean the type if it's been a long time between cleanings.  Just be careful and keep the alcohol off the painted surfaces of your machine.
  6. Use a backing sheet when you type.  Rubber hardens with age and what used to be a firm platen is now likely to be quite hard.  A second sheet of paper will not only provide a better impression but also helps to protect the platen and type slugs.


  • Bryan

    Yes, denatured alcohol will work fine for cleaning things like the typewriter segment, the platen, feedrollers, etc. Just remember that it will damage paint so be careful where you apply it.

  • Mbawuike Scholastica Ngozi

    Can we use methylated spirit to clean the typewriter?

  • Thomas Park

    Thank you for the great information. I will follow these rules when I keep my typewriter.

  • Ramblings from Canada

    Thanks for the tips, Bryan! I confess, I am not the best at keeping my machines covered. Probably should, especially with all the dog hair flying around ;)

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