How to Clean an Electric Model Train Set

Clean an Electric Model Train Set

Model train sets can be a great hobby, but cleaning your layout can be intimidating due to all the small, fragile parts. Don’t let the dust pile up on your train layout. You can clean it with ease by learning a few shortcuts. Keep your train layout looking as good as the day you set it up.

Carefully clean large areas with a regular cloth by using a small piece so you don’t brush against scenery or fragile pieces on your layout. Use a mild cleanser that will not ruin any paint or decals. You can use a toothbrush to gently get into the cracks and crevices of your cars.

Keep any moving train parts lubricated by using WD40. This also helps remove grease that can build up on your engine and cars. Use sparingly and wipe clean with a dry cloth when done.

For trees and tiny parts, use a can of air to lightly blow the dust away. Don’t point your can too close and allow the air to blow parts away. Use a safe distance so that the air is light and gently blows the dust away from your layout. This is especially good on scenery such as trees where there are tiny crevices that dust builds up in.

Use a pencil eraser to clean your tracks and locomotive tenders by gently rubbing it against them. You can also purchase what is called a track-cleaning car. This is a car that attaches to any of your other track cars and looks like part of your train set. It has a couple of coarse discs that are mounted off center from the railhead so that they swivel across the track as the car is pulled. There are also liquid track cleaners that you can purchase to clean your tracks.

Always keep your control center wiped down and dusted. Using a little maintenance each month can save you from having to do a deep cleaning on your layout.


While cleaning, never take apart engines that you're not sure how to put back together.

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