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So, how does one clean a Joe? Try an old, softened toothbrush and Soft Scrub cleanser. It works miracles, and won't damage the paint if you scrub lightly. Avoid A brushing the hair, of course. -- Derryl D. DePriest
I have found that Formula 409 works very well for cleaning plastic pieces. I have also used some something called "Purple Plus Super Stuff" for cleaning pieces that are very dirty and/or stained. You can probably find it at a hardware store. It is similar to "Simple Green" which would probably work just as well. -- Chad Reed
I always do all of my Joe repair near my kitchen sink. Have paper towels and water handy at all times. I also use a toothbrush and a plastic surfaced cleansing pad for the cleaning chores. These are non-abrasive to Joe's plastic. At the sink, I start by scrubbing him with a dish washing liquid like Ivory. If he's a painted hair-scrub him all over. If he's a fuzz head-skip the head for later. Rinse him with warm water. Next, repeat the process with Soft Scrub with Bleach-going easy on the head this time. At this stage it is especially good at cleaning the hands. It makes discolored Kung Fu Grip hands look human again. Warning: scrub gently as the fingers can break very easily. After you have scrubbed him thoroughly, rinse again in warm water. Dry him off with a towel and look at the head and face. Chances are he needs a closer cleaning there. Using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, scrub the face clean. Be sure to get behind those ears! Don't worry, unless he has been repainted with acrylics, his paint will stay put but go easy on those areas with anything stronger than dish soap. If he still needs a cleaning after that, try Formula 409 on a swab. Then, rinse the face with a wet cotton ball, removing all of the cleanser. A word about fuzzheads. I had always suggested keeping his hair dry during cleaning to avoid possible hair loss. However, a good friend of mine has had very good results by gently cleaning A.T. heads with a good quality shampoo. Finally, repeat the cleaning process with the dish washing liquid. This is an important step-it will remove any residue of the stronger cleaners which could later find their way on to uniforms. Now, rinse in warm water and dry him thoroughly. Chances are that his internal elastics have gotten wet during all this washing. You want him totally dry inside and out to avoid rusting and elastic rotting. Gently pull Joe apart at the waist and insert a pencil or chopstick between the two elastic pieces so that it keeps the torso and pelvis sections separated. Place him on a window sill in the sun or near (not on!) a radiator. Let Joe dry for at least 24 hours before you remove the pencil, checking to make sure the elastic feels dry to the touch. -- GITrooper
If you buy a set of steel armor from Cotswold, you'll have to deal with rust since it's not made from stainless steel. To keep it up, you could resort to the method that they used then - oil or continual buffing with beeswax polish. Once you've eliminated the rust (any automobile store will supply a good rust inhibitor) a good, thick coat of lacquer or polyurethane varnish should stop the rust for a couple of years. -- David Higson
CLR (known for a heavy duty cleaner that removes rust and water stains) has released a mild version that can be used on plastics, fiberglass ect. I wonder if it can be used to clean up older joes. I'm gonna give it a try on one of my vintage & I'll let you all know... -- Logoffsys
There are several products available that will help get rid of stains. I have had excellent results with Oxy 10 gel and Clearasil Maximum Strength vanishing cream. I use both. Some stains seem to respond better to one or the other - I don't know why. Use a toothpick to apply it directly to the area you want to treat. Leave on a sunny window sill if possible for 24-48 hours. Then check and see how it looks. The stain should be fading. If needed, repeat the process as many times as necessary. With patience, the stain will eventually go away, it might just take a while. There's no calling on this. Sometimes it takes one day, sometimes a month. There are some stains that will not respond to this treatment and that's when you might want to try a new product called Remove-Zit. This product is available at doll shows and directly through the manufacturer, Pine Tree Industries in Scarborough, Maine. I have had great results with this stuff on discolored heads. It works amazingly on the mold spots (the Oxy 10 and Clearasil don't seem to work on these). Be aware that the mold has already bleached the pink color out of the vinyl. So, you will be left with a slightly pale area where the spot was-but it beats green! It is very important that you read all the instructions that come with this product. Do not get it on painted areas-you will lose the paint in those areas. I have also found that sealing in a tupperware container and heat (sunny window sill or above a turned on table lamp bulb perched in the shade supports) seems to help speed up the process. Remember that all of these products contain strong chemicals that will react in some way with the vinyl. In the case of the acne creams, peroxide (a bleaching agent) is the active ingredient. The Remove-Zit works to change the chemical properties of the stain itself. Use these products with care and check the results frequently! On most stains, they will work eventually. -- GITrooper
A fellow collector friend of mine uses javex diluted with water and a q-tip. to clean stains off of deep sea diver suits . He has had good results with this method. -- Robert Hall
My 30th anniversary Joe's wet suit headpiece melted where his chain was around his neck. I used nail polish remover to get this black tar goo off. The only problem is that one has be careful not to use it on a painted area as it will take the paint off as well. It worked great on his neck, throat and chest. I am still working on the part on the back of his head (painted area). -- Robert
If you have a Joe with a melted scuba suit adhering to his body, some of the suit may be loose. Peel or flake off as much as you can. Now get out the rubber gloves. Put him in a covered roaster pan or other covered pan and coat him liberally with Easy-Off Oven Cleaning gel or foam. Cover the pan. Leave him for at least 24 hours. The rubber is an organic compound and will be broken down by the oven cleaner. The scuba suit should be easily removed with a little effort. Some of it will practically slide off and other spots may need a little scraping with a dull knife (be careful not to scratch the body plastic). Again, patience is the key here. When you have finished removing all of the old rubber, clean him thoroughly. -- GITrooper
Here is the link we found these ideas: http://www.oocities.org/pentagon/6985/joetips.htm#1
Chinook & Hobby West has not tried some of these methods, they are suggestions only. Chinook & Hobby West is not responsible for items that get damaged using these methods.