Class 25/33: Step 6 – Washing / Cleaning Components

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  • The picture above has the components sorted into two groups. The left hand side components will be washed in warm water (not hot) and fairy liquid. This is a great de-greaser. The right hand side components will be bathed in IPA. It is not essential to wash every component if you think they are clean. For example, I did not wash the small brass springs for the couplings and brushes in this instance. Clean the components that you think need cleaning on a case by case basis. (Note; I tend to give almost everything a clean since I am restoring the locos for the first time in my possession and by doing so, I am aiming for a consistent level of cleanliness for each loco).
  • Just a drip of washing up liquid is required with the water, just enough so that you have soap suds. Again, it is important to stress that the water should not be hot, but warm. The isopropyl alcohol should be of as high a concentration as you can find. I can obtain 70% solution and find that that is sufficient.
  • Submerse each group of components in their respective solutions (washing up liquid or iospropyl alcohol). It won’t do them any harm. For the components submersed in the washing up liquid solution, take an old (or new) toothbrush and give them a scrub. I try to scrub them with soap suds on them to lift the dirt / grease, as shown in picture 2.
  • Lay out the washed pieces on a piece of kitchen towel or tissue paper. I usually leave them overnight to dry properly – you do not want to reassemble a locomotive if components are still wet.
  • Similarly, with the components submersed in IPA, pick them out with tweezers and wipe them with a lint-free cloth soaked in the IPA. Also use the 5mm cut-down artist’s brush with IPA to get in the nooks and crannies if required. Again, leave them to dry off on a piece of kitchen towel or tissue paper. There are some very small components so be careful not to lose them. If you think you might lose them then place them in a small pot to dry off.

Note: Although I wash my nuts and bolts I have heard that doing so can cause them to rust. Instead of washing them a wipe with a dry cloth should suffice. Maintaining an oily residue on them can help prevent future rust. Alternatively, apply some oil after you have cleaned them, and wipe it over with a dry cloth.

Note (2): The critical surfaces of the pick-ups can be further cleaned with fine wet n dry. This will remove the most stubborn of deposits.


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