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Smokey Bar...Cleaning Tolex

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by LostInSauce, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Hey All,
    Apart from simply letting them air out; any suggestions on claning tolex.

    The gig was very smokey last night. It's still legal to smoke in bars in Virginia, although many bars are taking their own steps to provide outside smoking areas.
  2. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz

    May 26, 2010
    I've used lemon Pledge.
  3. Phlipper


    Feb 5, 2013
    Fayetteville, NC
    Endorsing Artist: Old SS Peavey Lead Sleds and Peavey tube amps
    For years and years I've used plain old soap and water to clean tweed and black tolex, usually a bit of Dawn in a big bowl of hot water. Nowadays I also spray heavy duty Fabreeze (in the steel blue bottle) on the tweed and I use scented Armour All on the black tolex. Works like a charm and is simple.
  4. Sooooo 2000. Man am I glad that crap is history.
  5. decades


    Dec 19, 2007
    I used water with some dishwasher soap. Scrubbed with a toothbrush and having a rag handy to absorb the dirty solution. It took about an hour to do the top of an Ampeg BA-115 twice. I don't know what type of pattern is on your Tolex, just make sure that you get the nooks and crannies. My procedure was do the x-y axis for a couple of passes and then circular scrubbing for about 3 passes. I believe the previous owner used Fabreeze since I can smell some kind of perfume every time the amp warms up.
  6. Gremson


    Mar 22, 2012
    North-Leftern USA
    Virginia sounds like a nice place.
  7. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    It would just be weird to see people smoking in a bar these days!

    I smoked for 25+ years and quit again for the 3rd time 7 months ago. I am not a staunch anti-smoker, but IT IS really gross on your gear.

    +1 on the Fabreze and scented Armour All. They work great.
  8. I feel your pain. Our band plays frequently in West VA where patrons are allowed to smoke in bars. And they do... quite heavily. I leave my cabinets in the garage for a few days to air out. Then repeat the process the following weekend. And my gig bag... well that will never smell normal ever again.
  9. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    Tobacco is grown in Virginia and the Carolinas, so it makes sense to me that these places would be the last go non-smoking in bar and restaurants.

    I'll throw in another recommendation for Febreze. I bought a used 70's Acoustic bass combo in a flight case, it smelled like ten years' worth of bar funk (stale tobacco and sour beer smell) was ingrained in the tolex. A few weeks of airing out and a couple of applications of Febreze helped a lot. The smell was still there, but much less intense, and not noticeable under normal use.
  10. Virginia is non-smoking in public places, but there are two ways a club can get around it. First is by having a truly separate non-smoking section with the correct air-handling to keep the smoke from filling up the whole establishment. The second is by obtaining a special dispensation waiver, essentially claiming that so many of your patrons smoke that preventing them from doing so is hurting your business. You have to prove it with lost revenue.
  11. I'm a smoker as well (although not nearly as heavy as I was 20 some years ago) and I never realized how much alcohol makes you smoke more until I stopped looking at my bandmates and started looking at the crowd. We'd have people in the front rows of tables and I made a game to count how much they were smoking. During our first set (approximately 1 hour) I saw the same five people light-up at least six times. How can you stand that??? It must be the numbing affects of alcohol on the back of the throat.

    We should start charging a little extra...not just for the numerous hours of practice beforehand; but also for the hours of cleanup afterwards: amp tolex, two basses (yup...stinkin as well), and the lining inside the cases.
  12. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Don't forget to keep your Hardcases closed in places like that or just leave them in the trailer. That smoke scent will never leave the inside of a case. Dawn dish liquid is fantastic for wiping down smokey tolex and any other yellowed items.
  13. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Fabreze does work on the plush lining, but you are right... The smell never goes away 100%.

    I have a 1974 P that was toured globally thru the 70s and 80s by the bassist of a kinda famous Canadian band. The lining used to absolutely reek like smoke. After days of Fabreze treatment and airing out in my garage, it now just "kinda stinks"... And I have had the case in my smoke free home for 7-8 years.
  14. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Try soap and water first. Borax and water can work as well. If that doesn't work, pet stores sell products that eliminate smells, including pee and smoke. Typically it is a powder that you mix with water and wash with. They use enzymes to break down organic based smells.

    If your tolex is too far gone, there may not be anything that you can do other than recover the amp.

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