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Cleaning Tolex? Best thing?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sleepy_monkey, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. I have a late 70s Kustom Bass III head and cabinet. They are in good shape but I would love to clean them b/c I am about to try to trade it or sell it.

    Any ideas? Think old tolex...which is not really as smooth as some of the new tolex.....


  2. Yeah.. for about 18 months I was buying all kinds of old Peavey combos.. and you can believe that some of them had some pretty cruddy, un-loved, tolex on them. Solution? Be prepared to invest some hours into this minor project.. so "patience" is the first thing on your "Restore This" list that you should be working with..

    1. Patience
    2. Terrycloth (size is irrelevant)
    3. Hard toothbrush
    4. "Fox tail" broom
    5. Cirtrus cleaner
    6. Small bucket warm water
    7. 409 cleaner
    8. "ArmorAll"

    Take it apart.. as far as you are able to. Wet the terrycloth and do an initial tolex wipe down.. maybe a through vacuuming inside/out wouldn't hurt as a start.. get that 'foxtail' involved, pulling out any dust bunnies in the corners. Spray down the entire tolex well with the citrus cleaner.. let it soak in good.. 2 minutes later, hit again with the same stuff and this time add a coating of '409' and now start scrubbing hard with the now-wet cloth. Rinse & repeat this procedure at least twice. Use that toothbrush when you spot stubborn areas where the terrycloth isn't persausive enough, plus give it another good soak of the cirtrus spray. Now.. after you have gotten all the ingrained grime out of the tolex, you're gonna notice even thou its alot cleaner, it looks kinda 'washed-out' and old looking. Not to worry.. thats exactly what ArmorAll was invented for.. to restore man-made surfaces like tolex. Apply it liberally and rub it all in by HAND. not a cloth. Let it sit a good 3 minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth or a "shop towel" you can find in automotive stores. If still not to your liking, reapply the ArmorAll a 2nd time. Now you are probably gonna notice that the chrome parts are kinda shabby-looking against that nice, clean, shiny tolex. Sometimes chrome can be restored, sometimes you'll have to replace corroded parts to finish the job completely.
  3. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    All good advice, but be careful using the ArmourAll. It contains silicone, so don't get it on anything you expect to glue later or put any kind of finish like varnish or lacquer. Nothing will stick to it and it's almost impossible to remove it. And don't spray it so it lands on a hardwood floor--you'll have a skating rink. I know from painful experience.
  4. vintageampeg


    Feb 2, 2005
    All purpose cleaner (whatever my wife has kicking around - usually some all-natural stuff), toothbrush and a bunch of paper towels has done the trick for me on countless amps.

    Almost forgot to mention time & patience are important too!
  5. Windex - or generic versions - paper towels, old toothbrush for the small places.


    PS Do it outdoors!
  6. Bryan316

    Bryan316 Banned

    Dec 20, 2006
    No ArmorAll, no silicone. Makes the gear SLICK and hard to carry.

    Windex, or a citrus-based solvent like Goo-Gone. That's all you should need.

    And yes, disassembling it as much as you can is going to make the job much easier. Removing the driver alone will save time and hassle, and keep the paper cone from accidentally getting wet.
  7. cadduc


    Mar 4, 2006
    as i recall peavey never used tolex,
    they used a differenct covering that kind of looks like tolex
    and it may or may not react like tolex

    according to general tire, only warm water and soap are needed to return the material to like new condition

    as i recall tolex is a registered trademark of general tire corporation,
  8. Time and patience eh? So basically I just need to sell it. ;-) haha. All good ideas and thanks for the info!
  9. bassman639


    Dec 23, 2006
    northeast ,pa
    orange oil
  10. matskull


    Jun 5, 2006
    And what if there's paint on it? Would it be possible to remove it with something?
  11. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Toothbrush and Citrus Cleaner and patience. Don't use any of the harsh solvent based paint strippers.
  12. matskull


    Jun 5, 2006
    Thanks, I'm affraid I won't have to do it, the guy I wanted the buy the amp from changed his mind and decided to keep his svt.....

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