Even though I have a layout in an air conditioned room within my shop, the excessive rains from last november to march 2019 have left spots on my prewar tinplate trains. The flat paint seems to exhibit this condition more than the gloss and/or repainted trains.  What cleaning/restoring agent would you recommend to keep the trains protected from having to repeat the cleaning process?

Steve Allen

 

 

Original Post

Although it sounds like your AC should take out the humidity, I am guessing you are not using it in the winter, when you had the excessive rains.  You may consider a dehumidifier for the months when you are not running your AC.

I had a similar issue with mildew, when my dehumidifier quit working properly (and I did not realize it, as the fan was running).

I used WD-40 to wipe my the mildew off my trains and once the new dehumidifier removed the excess moisture, no problems with repeat of the issue.

NWL

WD40 will dissolve paint and sometime remove decals. Remove the bodies then use a weak solution of dish detergent and warm water and a very soft brush in a circular motion.  Then pat dry and allow to sit overnight to allow any water left in crevices to dry. Hair dryers are OK just don't hold them too close.  Don't use petroleum or alcohol based solvents on your old trains as a cleaner if you don't plan to strip the paint off !      j

Here comes the great WD-40 debate! While WD-40 does have solvents. It's unlikely to damage cured paint. However, old paint may not be as strong as newer paints. It really depends on the paint and manufacturer. Wax is always a good protectant and will remove mildew as well. Both wax and WD-40 take a fine layer of paint off if there is no protection on the paint. For example, if the paint is already waxed, then the wax takes a layer of old wax off. If paint oxidizes, wax can restore the paint by removing the oxidized layer and leaving a protective finish. WD-40 can have similar results as wax. To each his own. I actually like Armor All on litho and oxidized paint. Let the flames begin!

George

Steve A posted:

George,

I tried Armorall.....no change

Steve

Ahh, Armorall is really more for the shine on gloss tinplate and litho, sorry. You need to clean the mildew off first. Mildew is a fungus or mold. Dishwashing soap is the mildest and first choice to clean it with warm water as johnaction said above. If that doesn’t clean it, you move to more aggressive cleaners progressively. Alcohol is a solvent and sterilizer that you could try with a cotton swab. Bleach is much more aggressive. Once clean, you move back to soap nand water to clean the surface before adding a protectant like Armorall or wax. WD-40 can do it all in one step, but it leaves an oily residue. WD-40 is known to have both an aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent like butane and mineral oil.

George

Really test whatever you are going to try.  Some paint can be irreversibly damaged by any water... Some colored older litho will wash off with water alone. TEST, TEST, TEST.  I prefer white Ivory or Dial liquid soap in minute quantities for damp cloth cleaning. Watch those high spots like rivet heads, panel offsets, and roof catwalks.  The edges have the thinnest application of litho or paint.

Some mildews will come off with a cloth (or toothbrush) application of synthetic oil (paint and plastic tested of course) and a thorough cleaning after.

People have used protectants for years and many have had good results. A good cleaning, perhaps polishing with a high quality automotive low-cut compound  is all that the paint really needs. Do not use Armorall. On your car... or your trains. It will trap dirt. Same with WD40.

If you feel that it HAS to be protected, use pure carnauba wax. I have not tried any of the new silicone materials as yet.

This is all just my opinion.

Prewar Tin...Any maker, any gauge, anytime!

You need to solve the moisture problem first .   Buy decent dehumidifier, or two, depending on the room size and moisture level, is the first step . My buddy has the same problem in his basement .   Took him weeks to clean all his trains . He bought a cheap dehumidifier and is back to square one .   You may have to buy a pump so that you do not have to empty it everyday or if you have the room , set the dehumidifier on a  custom shelf and let gravity do its job , draining into a sink.  Even the best of ac units can leave just enough moisture in the air to cause mold and mildew . Good luck. 

My basement is usually at 50% humidity. I have read that is on the high side, but is still in the optimal range. The upstairs actually shows higher humidity on my WiFi thermostats with the AC on, set to 72 degrees. So, I don't run a dehumidifier. 

George

Rob, I don't agree with your statement about Armor All. I know it is not made for paint, but when it dries, it is hard as a rock. It dusts very easily too. You have to be very careful with it, because it will remove paint. I only use it when I can't get the paint to shine with wax. Also, I use it for inside trains, so no UV yellowing occurs. 

As for WD-40, I don't really know. When I use it on non-train items, it never seems to dry and is hard to wipe off. So, it can definitely trap dust in that situation. It works great for polishing brass though!

George

George S posted:

My basement is usually at 50% humidity. I have read that is on the high side, but is still in the optimal range. The upstairs actually shows higher humidity on my WiFi thermostats with the AC on, set to 72 degrees. So, I don't run a dehumidifier. 

George

I am running my dehumidifiers at 40% to 45% humidity and they keep busy, but the basement stays nice and temp is around a constant 70 F in the summer.  It was very nice down there when my AC quit this summer on a super hot day.

Until it dries is the issue I was alluding to with Armorall.  The drying process is also not good for the paint. I wasn't even addressing about the UV concern.... If you can't shine with wax...maybe is a sign?

 

WD 40  I avoid entirely for non-water dispersant applications.

Hey...if you like em... use em.

Prewar Tin...Any maker, any gauge, anytime!

Thanks to the group for some useful information. I think that by the fall, when little central heat or AC is called for, I should install a room humidifier.

BTW, at our McKinney, TX.  TCA meet this weekend, someone suggested Clorox wipes or warm water with Ivory liquid and a small amount of bleach.

Any response to those suggestions?

Steve A.

Steve A posted:

Thanks to the group for some useful information. I think that by the fall, when little central heat or AC is called for, I should install a room humidifier.

BTW, at our McKinney, TX.  TCA meet this weekend, someone suggested Clorox wipes or warm water with Ivory liquid and a small amount of bleach.

Any response to those suggestions?

Steve A.

A humidifier is not a dehumidifier.  Sounds like you need a dehumidifier.

Steve A posted:

Thanks to the group for some useful information. I think that by the fall, when little central heat or AC is called for, I should install a room humidifier.

BTW, at our McKinney, TX.  TCA meet this weekend, someone suggested Clorox wipes or warm water with Ivory liquid and a small amount of bleach.

Any response to those suggestions?

Steve A.

Warm water and Ivory.  Bleach and Clorox wipes are more aggressive so test before using.

Prewar Tin...Any maker, any gauge, anytime!

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