Is there an effective way of cleaning a celluloid dial face?

Discussion in 'Clock Case Restoration and Repair' started by Rockin Ronnie, Sep 16, 2018.

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  1. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Nov 18, 2012
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    I will be restoring this Mauthe wall clock in the next few weeks and would like to know if there is a way of cleaning the celluloid dial.

    Ron

    RS LankMauthe_3.jpg RS LankMauthe.jpg
     
  2. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Found this. Some good ideas, I suppose but is any of it good advice? I am really not interested in a paper dial.
    Ron
     
  3. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    Sadly, the thread you linked degenerated into being entirely about paper dials, which was not what the OP asked. Never mind.

    If your dial is celluloid there is only so much you can do. I think this is because most of the discoloration is not surface, it is due to the material itself discoloring. I have used a Q-tip dampened with a little diluted dish soap. This removes surface dirt, nicotine deposits etc. and does not damage the celluloid. The result is a great improvement, though not perfect.

    Others may have better ideas.

    JTD
     
  4. Tim Orr

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    Good afternoon, Ronnie!

    This can be very scary stuff! I have ruined a couple of dials by trying to "improve" them with cleaning. Nowadays, I leave them alone unless, like JTD, I can do it with minimal measures.

    Old celluloid (if that's what it really is), can be brittle, can disintegrate on its own or when you flex it, even a little. Acetone will dissolve it. Probably so will MEK and other solvents. God knows what the lettering is made of. Sometimes, if the lettering's on top, even water will destroy that!

    Too many disasters for me. I now leave them "as found."

    Best regards!

    Tim Orr
     
  5. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Thanks. I am leaning towards leaving it alone. I might try the Q-tip and dish soap in a discrete area as it seems the least invasive method.

    The hands have lost their "bluing" so it might be more productive to tackle that issue instead. At the moment the hands are hard to see.

    Ron
     
  6. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    If you do, remember to dilute the dish soap quite a lot and then just moisten the Q-tip slightly. You only want it damp enough to remove the surface dirt, not to leave water on the dial. Gently rub a small area at a time and change the Q-tip often, as soon as it looks brown or black.

    JTD
     

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