In this article, I will be covering how to clean scale diecast model cars. These are the methods that I’ve been using for several years now, and I’ve found them to be very successful. You’ve just got to put in some time & effort and you have to be a detailed person so, without further ado, these are the supplies that I will be using but, of course, its worth noting that the supplies are different for every car;
- a toothpick to get into the small nooks and crannies.
- a standard margarine container with water in it – that’s just regular water. I prefer warm water because it comes off the paint a lot easier and there’s less chance of you scratching the car.
- a specialist cleaner (only use these under certain circumstances). I would never ever wash the car with this stuff, so do not get this mixed up with the water. That could be very, very bad so only use this if there’s a a factory defect, a little dark mark on the paint it will take that off for example, but definitely be very careful because in most cases it will damage plastic.
- Car wax. That’s right the same stuff you use on your real car – I prefer Turtle Wax Carnuba Car wax that I use on my own car, and it also works on models to get off that manufacturing film that you get on some cars especially some of the higher end ones like Auto Art. I’ve noticed that on Shelby collectibles, it’s really tough to get this film off.
- A normal paper towel. I normally use Bounty extra soft. I wouldn’t recommend any other towel, mainly because I’ve used this for a very long time and I’ve never noticed any scratching or anything like that. The reason you need to be concerned about the scratching is because paper products are typically very coarse. This particular one is very smooth and absorbs water really well, so I like it a lot. Be aware that any other paper towel could scratch the car. If you want to be safe, you could get microfiber pads, microfiber towels etc but it’s gonna be a little more expensive
The best light to clean a model is not necessarily direct direct sunlight because it dries the water too fast. Try and use just regular light. A cloudy day is usually best.
Now onto the cleaning methods; well these vary for every single car. That’s very important to understand, because every car is different. Every car has different wheels, different paints and, obviously, on the lighter cars like silver and white you’re not going to notice as much dirt and dust.
So what I do is, take a paper towel and fold it up. I get some warm water on that and I’m also going to use a drying paper towel just make sure it doesn’t have any dirt on it or any residue. I only use a clean towel and it’s as simple as rubbing it on – try not to do it too heavily as it could scratch so take care by just doing very small parts of the cars at one time (kind of like cleaning a real one).
You want to do the easy parts first. Go into the small corners, you can use the paper towel and this technique works well on most diecast model cars. On some models like the Ferrari 250 which has little tiny slits down the side, you really can’t get in there with the paper towels so that’s where the toothpick comes in. Just take the toothpick and put it through the paper towel so that it kind of makes a nice wedge. You definitely don’t want to damage, the paint so everything about this is gentle and done with care. Can you do this with the windshield wipers as well, but this is for a very detailed person.
Another thing to consider are the logos & because some logos are stickers (but most aren’t; you will find ones that are stickers and you can get them wet) just rub them very lightly, because you don’t want to end up having to peel them off
Okay, so drying is very simple, but the lighter the better so there’s less chance of it, scratching. I pretty much take my towel or microfiber cloth and wipe it along with no pressure at all just wiping right alone and believe it or not, this will take off all the fingerprints you have on the car. If there are some fingerprints that have been there for a long time then you might have to put a little more pressure on them with a wet paper towel and that’s fine; just be careful. Use a dry cloth to clean the wheels and the interior (this is sometimes a little difficult).
When you have a convertible, it makes it way easier because you can just get right in there. I like to use a wet earbud and some cleaner and just try to get all the nooks and crannies. Do the best you can in between the seats and then pick the air cleaner and just kind of twist it around in the little areas that helps to get the water in there which, in turn , helps to pick up some of the dust residue.
If I am cleaning the entire car, it can take me a long time because I’m pretty detailed. I want to get every speck of dust out of there. Hopefully you don’t have too much dust, especially if you have it in a case, but if you don’t have in a case, then definitely consider doing this around the license plates & in between the lights. There’s a lot of dust that builds up along these edges , so get right in there & in some cases even get take the dust from the windshield wipers.
You definitely want to dry the model because the minerals from the water will leave water spots. They’re not permanent, but it just doesn’t make it look its best. Next I take the wet paper towel and the toothpick and try to dry it up as best as I can.
Then its onto the wheels. Usually the wheels don’t get too dusty, but if they do, you once again use the paper and toothpick method. These things are so helpful, they’re cheap and they are available everywhere. The one thing is, they do start to unravel and if that’s the case when you just want to get a new one find all the spots. This is why you need good light – so you can see all the spots that you might miss especially on the chrome parts.
Rubbing too hard can damage the chrome parts and make the shiny chrome effect to go away. I’ve noticed that on some of my older cars – and that’s not good!
Sometimes you can’t get everything, especially if you leave your car outside which I don’t recommend because it’s really difficult to clean once it gets dirty & once it gets the dust in there it’s tough to get out. Most of my cars live in cases but, of course, I do take them out and handle them, but there really is no dust on most of them because I’ve kept it in their cabinets. Some of my older cars, like my Crown Victoria, did have some dust residue in the dashboard and all along the inside – that’s not too pleasant, so it’s always best to start from the get-go and just keep it clean.
I believe that’s everything but, if you have any questions or advice for me, I’m always willing to take other people’s advice. Just get in touch and thank you for reading.