As you can see from the below photo I have a couple of trains displayed on Glen Snyder shelves.  Keeping them dust free is going to be some task.

Does anyone have any magic tips?   Do you have a favorite brush or vacuum attachment?

I'd be willing to spend a little money on a vacuum that would do the trick as this looks like it'll be a monumental task.

Thanks

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You cant same as a layout. I clean my shelves  once a year. Take the trains off clean them one at a time. Takes forever. Same as the layout  clear it off dirt everything and put it back. 

I hit my stuff on shelves once a month with a feather duster. Does almost no good. Don't really care. Really, you (and by "you", I mean "I") shouldn't have any more stuff than will fit on your layout, plus 25% shelf overflow.

Embrace the dust, become one with the dust, and may the dust be with you.

"Cleaning" a scenicked layout is kind of like going out and "cleaning" the front yard. The shiny toy layouts may be different; don't know.

All of my backup engines and cars are in cabinets with doors, one with a plexiglass door for display, so dust is not much of a problem for those items.  These items are rotated to the layout on a regular basis.  I also use several of the engine size display cases.

For my 8ft. X 16ft. layout,  and with 2 cats and three litter boxes, I didn't have a choice but to keep the layout covered.  Whoever came up with the idea that litter is 99% dust free was out of their tree.  What I did was to attach 4 sheets of heavy plastic a little larger than 4ft. X 8ft. to the sides of the table.  I attached 1" x 1", eight foot long trim pieces to the other side of the plastic.  I have removable support blocks on the table and simply swing the plastic over the table to uncover or cover it.  Takes only seconds and works great.  The cats are gone now, but I still use the covers.  Even with the covers, I still need to dust items once or twice a year, as the litter dust will probably remain in the basement forever.  Slime works excellent for getting dust off of detailed items.


 

Chris - I use 2 items: a makeup brush which I purchased from Mr.Muffin or a can of compressed gas (the type you can buy at Walmart, etc).

-Greg

Take an empty propane gas carboy to your local auto repair facility and fill it with 90 PSI air.  Use a hose with a nozzle to blow off the dust.  John

Nice display and love the answers, cats to embrace the dust! I am on a different scale and vote with greg, a soft bristle painters brush and compressed air. With your shelves that is probably still a pain.

one more idea, similar to the veggie mister at the grocery, run a compressed air line under each shelf and blow air down on a periodic basis.

8D2FE1B0-C7E8-44F3-9741-B8B12317A181

This is a  OPOLAR Cordless Air Duster for Computer Cleaning, Replaces Compressed Spray Gas Cans, Rechargeable 6000mAH Battery, Powerful 33000 RPM, 10W Fast Charging, .   And a makeup brush 

 

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Last edited by bluelinec4
Greg Houser posted:

Chris - I use 2 items: a makeup brush which I purchased from Mr.Muffin or a can of compressed gas (the type you can buy at Walmart, etc).

-Greg

Mr. Muffin does look better with makeup on, and has many of his personal favorites for sale. Seriously, I have found  that compressed air in cans does not get the dust off except for maybe some of the top layer. Something as soft as a makeup brush doesn't get it all off, either, unless it's only a light layer of recent dust.

For a complete job, I've found it's necessary to use soap and water and something like a very soft toothbrush. Besides the cleaning function, the soap and water also serves as a lubricant so there's no minute scratching of the paint by the brush. Then dry with a soft cloth. That's just my experience. It depends on how clean you want your trains - a soft brush alone may be adequate for your needs. You'd have to do it pretty often to keep the dust from building up too much, though, if that's all you use. Same with a feather duster. That's probably reasonable if it's done often, like at least monthly, as POTRZBE mentioned. 

I have plexiglass sliding panels covering my (wood) shelves. Something like that is really the only way I know to keep the trains dust-free.

Last edited by breezinup
rattler21 posted:

Take an empty propane gas carboy to your local auto repair facility and fill it with 90 PSI air.  Use a hose with a nozzle to blow off the dust...

...and redistribute it to other parts of the layout! 

eddie g posted:

Bluelinec4, Why do they range from $49. $169. NEW on ebay?

They are all the same  I paid 40.00 for mine  It works great

 

My wife once mentioned that my trains needed dusting and I told her that it is weathering and that a lot of people pay lots of money to have that done for them. She laughed and left the room, although she has not mentioned about dusting the trains anymore.

Feather duster, or a Swifter duster, both do a great job. 

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I keep my trains on shelving, most cars and a engines (60) are on the shelf of wrapped in cotton washcloths, keeps them dust free and no finger prints. 

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 The shelves are covered with sheets to help keep the dust out, in an unfinished basement.

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Real efficient,  inexpensive,  I've  been doing this for over 25 years and its easy and works. 

I don't keep many trains on the layout,  change them about once a week.

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No way to keep them dust free. I used a Swiffer duster once every couple of weeks to do a quick general cleaning. Then, once a year everything was removed thoroughly cleaned and put back in place. 

All of my trains that are on display, and not on the layout or in boxes, are in glass or Plexiglass display cases; some free-standing and some hanging on the train room lounge walls. Could definitely use more wall space, but that's a problem for another day.

 

Ha ha ha ha ha, if you lived in  the armpit of Texas, 30 seconds after you clean them off they will be dusty again.  I think you could get by with a  very soft long bristled cosmetic brush to brush the delicate areas off.  Dust is a constant problem in all areas of the US, i don't think there is any easy way to keep them clean.  When I had mine on the same type of shelves, I would brush them off about every other month and I'd use one of the canned air Ultra Duster to knock off the heavy stuff, seems to work pretty well.  Best of luck with the dust.

I blast the dust off all my trains twice a year with a portable oil-free air compressor, using a massive fan to eject dust through an open window before it has time to settle on the layout, or other trains.

Last edited by GregR

If you use compressed air to clean your trains you’re not getting rid of the dust, you’re just blowing it into a different place. I installed a built-in vacuum system when I built my house with two inlets in the area I was going to use as a train room. On reasonable intervals I use the vacuum system with a soft brush attachment to vacuum the trains. Then about once a year I use the old elbow grease method and carefully clean all of my trains. I have about 150 feet of shelves with trains coupler to coupler so it might take a day or a day and a half.

You can certainly use a portable vacuum to accomplish the same thing. It might even be easier.

Jim

Last edited by O Gauge Jim

3C700FE3-FC54-45DF-AD8C-F957ED93487FC90B12FA-F99E-4628-B798-C532B4B34366“Layout Under Construction” 😄

Picture 1 shows how I keep freight cars in plastic drawers. Each drawer contains tanker cars or box cars etc. So it’s easy to find what I want. Also on the left passenger cars are stored in separate plastic containers that hold 5 18” cars perfectly. All are kept dust free and easy to get to.

Picture 2 is where my engines, doodlebugs and subway etc go. It will be covered on the top, sides and back in plastic sheeting. It’s not 100% dust free but not terrible with dust either. 

 

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Greg Houser posted:

Chris - I use 2 items: a makeup brush which I purchased from Mr.Muffin or a can of compressed gas (the type you can buy at Walmart, etc).

-Greg

Same here as respects a new makeup brush I scavenged from Mrs's huge supply. I don't find that compressed air is great for anything on a shelf as it just propels the dust on to something else. A mini-vac is much better provided it has a small brush attachment with reasonably flexible bristles. 

Practically all of my trains that are not in their boxes are on display shelves. I always clean them before placing on the track. Having to do so is hardly an incentive to run them but a necessary thing to do. 

I have a portable air purifier/dust collector next to my layout and display shelves and it collects a large amount particulates.  Let me know if you want me to email you a link to the one I use.

Also, I normally dust everything twice a year: once around Independence Day and once around Christmas (or when I know we will have visitors who want to see the trains).

Bryce

WTW....I use a feather duster and vacuum cleaner in unison...of course, the duster shuffles the dust while the vacuum cleaner inhales it before the dust settles.  I DO NOT use Mr Muffins' makeup brush....come to think of it...Steve could also sell those under his own brand name...joking!

Note to all, anyone have a ditch light cover for an Dash 8 40B?...the vacuum cleaner pulled it off and ATE IT...##$$  it!

I would rather use a vacuum on the floor where I blew the dust rather than lifting off small parts from my trains with it

If it's not running, it's stored under the layout in boxes. The trains and accessories on the layout get brushed off with a 2" soft paint brush on rare occasion. 

I've had the attachment set trainroomgary showed in his post for many years.  I usually use it with the larger brush that is shown attached on the end of the hose.

I only use it with a regular hoover upright vacuum with the attachment hose.  I don't find it's too bad in terms of the concern Ben raised about pulling details off.  I guess it possibly could if a stronger vacuum was used with it.

It's not shown in Gary's photo, but the end that hooks up to the vacuum hose has a small rotating adjustment to adjust some holes that help to limit the suction if it is too strong.  I've not experienced that with my setup though - I even occasionally end up using my other hand to cover the holes for better suction while going over an engine.  Again, YMMV, depending on what kind of vacuum you hook it up to.

I've also got a few separate handled brushes with soft fibers (but rigid enough to displace dust) that I probably bought at a train show from one of the tool dealers.

-Dave

O Gauge Jim posted:

If you use compressed air to clean your trains you’re not getting rid of the dust, you’re just blowing it into a different place. I installed a built-in vacuum system when I built my house with two inlets in the area I was going to use as a train room. On reasonable intervals I use the vacuum system with a soft brush attachment to vacuum the trains. Then about once a year I use the old elbow grease method and carefully clean all of my trains. I have about 150 feet of shelves with trains coupler to coupler so it might take a day or a day and a half.

You can certainly use a portable vacuum to accomplish the same thing. It might even be easier.

Jim

I like your method, especially using an open window so as to not just redistribute the dust.

I have found that Electrolux has the softest bristles on its round dusting attachment.

Alan

 

ajzend posted:
O Gauge Jim posted:

If you use compressed air to clean your trains you’re not getting rid of the dust, you’re just blowing it into a different place. I installed a built-in vacuum system when I built my house with two inlets in the area I was going to use as a train room. On reasonable intervals I use the vacuum system with a soft brush attachment to vacuum the trains. Then about once a year I use the old elbow grease method and carefully clean all of my trains. I have about 150 feet of shelves with trains coupler to coupler so it might take a day or a day and a half.

You can certainly use a portable vacuum to accomplish the same thing. It might even be easier.

Jim

I like your method, especially using an open window so as to not just redistribute the dust.

I have found that Electrolux has the softest bristles on its round dusting attachment.

Alan

 

Check the wind. Add a window fan

Unless really bad and you're careless/impatient, blowing a whole semi-clean room top first then down, is actually very effective too; if you allow enough "dead air" time for "fallout" to happen. Great if you keep up on room maintenance often, but aren't quite a full time "white glove" person. 

 The outside following us in can be a loosing battle at times. But most household dust is our old skin and hair. Pets, our kids, and the elderly mean more white/grey dust per pound   

Light, fine dust looks a whole lot like industry fallout to my eye; so I like it until it gets too "fuzzy" or picks up a fingerprint.  (Too fuzzy ...in the 50's Detroit's mill fallout might be 1/4"-3/8" deep in the morning  ..but that's just too much yuck to "model with" 

You needed a broom for the car more. mornings than not

Auto compose refuses to let me change many things here, so it's unedited; a "scattered" list of info/ ideas.

 

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