to clean or not to clean?

Discussion in 'Vintage Vinyl' started by pickleloaf, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. Amphetamine

    Amphetamine Fresh Meat

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    to clean or not to clean?
    http://mlparena.com/archive/Forums/viewtopic/t=262299/view=previous.html
    Apologies for linking another forum.
    Hopefully this links correctly. There are other mentions of similar issues in other plastic toy hobbies as well. Usually the spots are much darker in person. There are some wider welt-like molds as well, however they don't seem to spread as fast. I believe it only affects 'unstable' (?) made soft plastics however I could be wrong on that.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  2. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    to clean or not to clean?
    Thought I might stick this here, for interests' sake. I am always looking for more hints/tips on cleaning and restoring these old toys, and I know a few others here are interested as well. I received this 'loved' Bullmark Ultraman the other day in the mail, and he certainly saw his fair share of wear and age, battling kaiju (as well as the terrifying Paint Monster) in the great outdoors over many years by the looks of things. So needless to say he was in need of a bit of sprucing up. Unfortunately my camera is pretty much junk, so I don't think you will see much changes in these photos (might have to really zoom in), but it's there

    As he came in:


    Then I gave him a nice gentle bath with soap and water, using a light soft toothbrush to remove the grit, get off surface stains, and a little gentle scraping with the tip of my finger nail to remove paint flecks. You can see a pretty nice difference already cleaned up:



    As you might be able to see (more now), he was quite dried out, the vinyl looking almost brittle and light grey and spotty, with even some lines/streaks where I had scrubbed him down a little. Well, I wasn't too keen on that either, so I started to do a bit of research on restoring aged vinyl, and one of the interesting treatments I came across in this to bring back some of the lustrous shine of old vinyl (e.g. everything from flooring and siding to card interiors) was using a combination of a couple drops of baby oil and a bit of white vinegar in water, so I after a bit more reading on the matter, it seemed a little harmless to try, so why not give it a go on this fella. Worked out okay in this occasion I would say, but judge for yourselves below:



    Interesting to see this result, as I think it did a nice job to bring him back a little, using just some stuff you might have around the house. As always, I would advise being careful when undertaking any treatment on a vintage toy. Do a test check on a non-obvious area (e.g. under the foot is always good) to see how it might affect the vinyl. Use a lint-free towel for this, and do not put the oil right on the vinyl, but use a rag or something else to get a nice uniform coverage. I don't think this is a permanent solution, but did offer some improvement over the way he was, certainly, as I hope is evident a little from the above shots. I have seen the same drying out of toys after using the 'Magic Eraser' type sponges or scrubbing too hard, so I am always hunting for nice methods to shine and buff the vinyl back - if possible. Yes, there is undoubtedly some oily shine contribution there, but I think even when you wipe down the residual surface oil, it has helped. Anyhow, maybe someone else knows a method as well?

    @chimply.kaiju @Mr. Humphreys
     
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  3. Sanjeev

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    to clean or not to clean?
    I dunno, man. I'm certainly no expert in this stuff, but I've always heard throughout my life that oil breaks down plastics...

    I just did a 30-second googling of it, and it sure seems like there's a lot of material out there about different kinds of oils dissolving different types of plastic. Do you have links to your resources that say it's okay in this particular application??
     
  4. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    to clean or not to clean?
    Well, I am certainly no expert either, which is why I put this out there, and was willing to do a 'test' run on this figure. What I can say is that "oils" is a pretty broad term, encompassing a wide range of vastly different compounds. In this particular case, the principle ingredient is mineral oil, which is essentially paraffins. It is relatively safe to use on any plastics (but not rubber). BUT I would also add that it is usually not the oil itself that causes the reaction you mentioned when used on plastics (yes, I recognise this is a common saying), but is the additives that are used in many oil-based products. Here is a engineering lubricating basics guide that covers some of the material interaction. Again, I am not suggesting this is 100% effective or won't cause any damage, because honestly, I don't know with certainty; caveat emptor and all that, just offering a little experiment. I'll certainly keep on eye on him and report any issues I see, and welcome your feedback Sanjeev, as well as anything that other people dig up too.
     
  5. Sanjeev

    Sanjeev Post Pimp

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    Yeah, definitely worth checking into further. Damn...wish I still hung out with material scientists and chemical engineers...

    Anyway, the treatment sure looks nice on your Ultra. Reminds me of those Armor All wipes for your car interior!
     
  6. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    Well that's what this thread is all about anyways, it is a constant debate within any collectible/vintage community, and it is my hopes that the more we discuss it the closer we are, even by baby steps, to coming up with some useful guide. I would still love to go in on a SB order for a case of that proper vinyl cleaner/treater one day, costly as it might seem up front, to do a full and proper cleaning of my toys; most of this stuff is just 'temporary' and quick cleaning hints for DIY. I am certainly prepared to eat my words/admit my mistake and be held up as an example forevermore as the dunce who never was. 'Remember the time that idiot on Skullbrain ....?'

    Oh, and looking into this, I understand that even among the car community, Armor All is railed against, so just goes to show you no one ever agrees. :razz: (well that, and that there is no miracle cure for the aging process ...breaking news)

    Oh, and I will gladly hang out with you any time you wish, Sanjeev! :dam:
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  7. deafmetal

    deafmetal Addicted

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    to clean or not to clean?
    @ultrakaiju - Steve, great to see your process here, and I also chuckled when I read about the battle with the dreaded "Paint Monster", haha. I am always amazed that so many of these toys seem to have battled with the same foe with such a malicious special attack. ;) I always wonder who the beast is that leaves those lime-colored marks on all my vintage toys...

    I have to agree that your final photos with the oil treatment look spectacular, but I also echo @Sanjeev's concerns about the long-term effects. I trust you will keep us updated on the condition, as I do not see that Ultraman ever leaving your collection. Also, I meant to follow-up with you about your comment on cleaning a gojira's painted eyes. I have not had any problems with doing a solid scrub on them with a soft cloth to remove dirt and gunk, and I have not observed any paint chipping or loss. In fact, the original paint always looks solid and glossy. Anybody know the type of paint used for detailing vintage toys such as eyes/teeth?

    I have to admit that I have been unwilling to clean the really expensive ones... I just don't feel I am knowledgeable enough to even attempt such a thing, or if it's even worth it. For less expensive ones though... I have been all-in to experiment, and the results so far have been excellent with mild soap & water.
     
  8. chimply.kaiju

    chimply.kaiju Line of Credit

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    to clean or not to clean?
    The final results look stunning Steve. I wonder how long the oil/vinegar effect will last? Might give it a try myself on one of my junk pieces.
     
  9. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    What a great adoption Stevie! :D He shined up very nicely with your oil and vinegar method (sounds like a salad :)). Ok, I'm curious here. Can someone please remind me why wiping down vinyl toys with Armour All is a bad thing? :|

    p.s. Ok, found out why Armour All is bad -- dimethyl silicone oil!

    https://www.clublexus.com/forums/automotive-care-and-detailing/529486-whats-wrong-with-armorall.html!

    "I'ts greasy, smeary and slings all over the place. It is dimethyl silicone oil too. This is a rubber degradant. The worst effects are seen when you STOP using it. It turns tires brown and dries out vinyl dashes causing them to possibly crack over time. Some tire manufacturers will not honor their warranty for sidewall failure if a silicone oil containing tire dressing was used on the tire. While your tires may not look pretty if you use it, I believe that you will most likely replace the tires on a daily driver before this stuff has a chance to do much damage. Nonetheless......I avoid it period."
    *Posted by ByeByeAmericanPie

    https://www.clublexus.com/forums/automotive-care-and-detailing/529486-whats-wrong-with-armorall.html
    *Armour All breaks down plastics :shock:
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
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  10. Sanjeev

    Sanjeev Post Pimp

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    to clean or not to clean?
    Yikes!
     
  11. Nuggets303420

    Nuggets303420 Toy Prince

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    to clean or not to clean?
    I don't know if its been tried or mentioned, but I think Dr. Bronners would be worth trying in cleaning. That stuff is pretty great and clean and mild.
     
  12. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    to clean or not to clean?
    Yeah, that is just what I was referring to, silicon based oils are a whole different bag altogether, and as I mentioned, oils should definitely not be used on any rubbers (e.g. tires, as the discussion here seems to be) in any case. You'd think with the amount of classic car aficionados and such in the US, and the brand recognition of Armor All, something here would be sorted, but yeah, it is fairly contentious it seems. I am glad to see that this discussion is prompting some enthusiastic replies, happy to have vintage toy passions being bandied about.

    Haha, yes, I managed to remove most of the flecked damage from his battle, you might be able to see some of the white and blue flecks in the first photo. Thankfully some type of paints are incompatible with the vinyl in these toys, so they don't form a strong bond and can be flaked off gently (with care). I think there is still some trapped under his neck, but didn't take him apart and didn't want to fiddle too much with it. I don't recall the exact conversation about the eye cleaning Mark, but I have another 'project' I can post here soon along those lines. I am always a bit wary about doing any kind of treatment that can remove some of the original paint, and especially in eyes or other areas that tend to be flaking already/spots of greater wear, I am tentative in my cleaning efforts.
     
  13. Alebrije

    Alebrije Comment King

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    to clean or not to clean?
    Excellent cleaning work in these Gojis Mark, but I have some questions;
    1. How do you do to separate the limbs without causing them any damage?
    2.- What type of chemicals or detergents do you use to clean them and without damaging the paint or vinyl?
    3.- In the light blue, what were the stains like fungi, what did you use to make it look that clean?
    I used degreaser for dishes and chlorine wipes in sometimes for the fongus but I liked the final result in your figures.
     
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  14. deafmetal

    deafmetal Addicted

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    to clean or not to clean?
    @Alebrije - Thank you, Roger. Here are some answers to your questions:

    1. I apply heat from a hair dryer for around 30 seconds on a joint, and then carefully slide the limb out of the joint at an angle in a circular motion. It sometimes takes a bit of force, but please use with caution. I have heard of somebody tearing the flashing by doing this, so I would only attempt if you are willing to accept the risk. I then use the same procedure to slide the limb back into the joint.

    2. I use a mild, unscented hand soap (generic antibacterial hand soap). I mix a small amount with warm water in a bowl, and then dip a soft toothbrush or cloth hand towel into the soapy water, and then clean the toy with the brush or cloth. The brush is better for small nooks and crevices, but I find the cloth removes some of the really sticky gunk easier. Lastly, I wash any remaining soap off with cold water. I am also interested in trying @Mr. Humphreys suggestion with a stronger detergent cleaner to try and lighten up some vintage flesh vinyl, but I have not attempted it yet.

    3. That lighter blue goji was covered in some kind of food residue or something worse (I don't want to know!). The residue was both inside and outside the toy, so I really wanted to pop off the limbs to clean the inside. I do not believe it was a fungus or mold, and it cleaned off pretty easily, but was a bit disgusting to think about.

    Good luck and safe cleaning!
     
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  15. Alebrije

    Alebrije Comment King

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    Thank you @deafmetal Mark for the tips, I have a toothbrush just for vinyl use and some times I use the dishes sponge or and old cloth. But I've never felt the confidence to separate their limbs, I feel I'm going to cause them some damage.
     
  16. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    Hello, just an update on the OXI Soft Scrub cleaning session of the vintage batch I posted. The King III has a crack at the base of the horn, and at first, I thought it was due to the cleaning. I didn't remember seeing the crack at first, when the toys arrived in their extremely dirty stage. But when I went back to check the original auction photos, I do see the crack at the base of the horn! The cleaning may or may not have accentuated the cracking, but the original damage was there in the auction photo. Unfortunately, the original damage is seen only if you enlarge the original auction photo by a factor of 8! Here are the original auction photos, enlarged, and the original damage circled :cry:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The bottom photo, circle on the right, clearly shows a break at the base. The seller did not describe cracks/breakage in the listing. It is very satisfying to know that the soft scrub method did NOT cause the cracking. But if you are still going to try this method of cleaning, please test it on a cheap toy first! So far, all the other toys are in perfect shape. As I mentioned, I can't endorse this drastic method of cleaning yet, as I still want to see what happens when more time passes by. The only reason I didn't use the tried and true method of brush and soap, was due to the fact that this batch of vintage was heavily soiled, some with a very thick greasy layer, and it would've taken forever to clean, and still leave a greasy cruddy layer :oops: On the whole, I am personally pleased with the soft scrub cleaning batch, but I would only use it, if the toys were extremely soiled. I still tout the old fashioned soap and soft cloth method ;)

    You can see my original posts re. cleaning here
    http://skullbrain.org/bb/index.php?threads/vintage-mail-day.44137/page-57
    *Note how clean "Mr. Bumpy Thighs" / Jigira is. He had a dark oily film coating the entire toy when he arrived, but after the cleaning, he really shined, with no stickiness afterwards

    http://skullbrain.org/bb/index.php?threads/vintage-mail-day.44137/page-60
    *The whole group after the OXI Soft Scrub cleaning session

    p.s.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  17. poysntixels

    poysntixels Side Dealer

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    to clean or not to clean?
    Thank you for your updates on this. I have a bunch of old toys, and I'm constantly on the fence about it. Oh, and congrats on the 3k!
     
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  18. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    The long awaited Bandai Okozeruge Fish Villain finally arrived! The price was a lot lower than what he usually goes for, and it was easy to see why, once I had the fish in hand. There is a crack in the front and back area of his skirt :cry:, but considering he's about 55-60% of the "full price" (what I've seen on the JYA historical auctions), it's not bad. He was very dirty and "darkish" from the embedded dirt--both in the auction pics and when he arrived. I used the Oxy Soft Scrub method to clean him, and he came out very shiny! You can actually see a lot of sheen on the paint, especially on the head fins. The back of the head cleaned up very nicely! I was also able to remove some black streaks too. Boots, arms, and leg vinyl areas came out very shiny, after the clean. Also, I noticed the smell of tobacco smoke, but after the oxy clean, it's very very very faint!

    ***Caution, I still am not recommending this as a "normal" way to clean your vintage, but so far, it's been working for me!

    Here are some before and after photos. The "Before" photos are on the left, and are the actual auction photos. The "After cleaning" photos are on the right...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Alebrije

    Alebrije Comment King

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    @Mr. Humphreys amazing score Grace, I think you did an excellent job cleaning this figure, the Oxy that you comment came in pencil?
    Best regards and enjoy this great piece!
     
  20. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    Hi Roger, thanks for the kind words! Here is the Oxy cleaner I use. You can find it in the store where you find dish washing soap, since this is basically used to clean dirty dishes, pots and pans, etc... This is a gentler version (hence the name "soft scrub") that is a liquid creamy paste, compared to the very abrasive powders that come in a tall round vertical container. Don't use the dry powder version, such as Comet or Ajax cleanser--the dry powder is very abrasive and used to scour greasy and burnt pots and pans.

    [​IMG]

    Use an ultra soft fiber cloth or very soft sponge, and be sure to wash your toys with a gentle liquid dish washing soap, after using the Oxy cleaner, to stop the oxidizing action of the soft scrub cleaner. If you want to read my cleaning method, please see my post here:

    http://skullbrain.org/bb/index.php?threads/vintage-mail-day.44137/page-57
    ***Please remember that I am still experimenting with this cleaning method, and I can't recommend it yet, because I'm still testing!

    OXI Soft Scrub (do NOT get the bleach version!) and Dawn Professional dishwasing liquid (the classic blue version--there is something about Dawn that makes it a very effective soap cleaner) seems to work best for me.
    [​IMG]

    p.s. I picked up the fish today, and he doesn't smell like tobacco smoke anymore! :o I'm wondering if this is a cure for smoke-scented toys...
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
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  21. Alebrije

    Alebrije Comment King

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    @Mr. Humphreys Garce thank you very much for the images of the products, I'm waiting for a figure that looks dirty and with some spots of mold, I'm going to try with the soft scrub on it, later I tell you how it worked ...
     
  22. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    Looking forward to seeing your results Roger! Please take a "Before" and "After" photo. I must admit with the fish above, it was so heavily stained, that I decided to use 100% of the liquid OXI Soft Scrub, applied to a soft cloth, and gently massaged into the toy. I did this twice to get the vinyl super clean, and then I followed it with a soft application of 100% liquid blue Dawn dish soap, and repeated the soap wash three times. This removed some of the black streaks (i.e. see the middle photos, there is a large black streak on the top head fin, and nearly all gone in the cleaned photo), brightened the vinyl as well as removed the grunge, and also removed the tobacco smoke smell.

    Here is another I just cleaned. This Seagorus came to me with a lot of brown grunge embedded in all of the crevices of the surface plates. It would have taken forever to scrub with a brush, but it only took 5 mins. to clean with the OXI scrub and dish soap!
    [​IMG]
    Note how shiny the vinyl surface is! :)
     
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  23. scobot

    scobot Addicted

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    fantastic results !
     
  24. poysntixels

    poysntixels Side Dealer

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    Very fresh, nicely clean!
     
  25. deafmetal

    deafmetal Addicted

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    @Mr. Humphreys - Stunning work, Grace, and I'm really tempted to try this out on my flesh vinyl goji. I will pick up a junker first to test out, but please keep updating with how well this cleaning ages over the next year or more!
     

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