How to Clean Slot Car Track? – A to Z Guide

Written by

Bruce Sonnier

FACT-CHECKED BY

Marcus Dutton

how to clean slot car track

The speed, the rush, and the competition make slot car track racing enjoyable. But the fun can be spoiled by a dirty, dusty, and corroded electric racing track, as it can cause slot cars to get jammed or slide off.

So when your track has accumulated contaminants, follow these steps on how to clean slot car track to avoid problems when racing. It usually just takes some thorough wiping with water or a cleaner.

There are also some specialized kits for slot car track cleaning. But if your track is corroded, it will require more than just wiping.

What to Prepare

Prepare-to-Clean-Slot-Car-Track

For regular cleaning

regular-slot-car-track-cleaning

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Warm water
  • Cleaning kits like TrackPro Contour II and Slot Car Man Cave Universal Slot Car Detailing Kit (optional)
  • Braid conditioner (optional)
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Tongue Depressor
  • Scissor
  • Light cloth

For cleaning off corrosion

cleaning-off-corrosion-slot-car-track

  • Drywall sanding sponge
  • Rubber eraser (drywall sanding sponge alternative)
  • Compressed air
  • Microfiber cloths

Step 1: Cleaning the Track Surface

1. With a cloth and warm water

step-1-to-Clean-the-Track-Surface-with-warm-water

Cleaning the slot car track surface is as simple as wiping it with a damp microfiber cloth.

  • Dampen the cloth with warm water and wring it to get rid of the excess water. You shouldn’t make the cloth too wet, as that can leave moisture on the rails and lead to rusting.
  • Wipe the track surface with a damp cloth to clean off the contaminants.

Go over the entire track surface with another microfiber cloth to thoroughly dry it. Make sure to soak up all the moisture.

2. With a specialized cleaning tools

step-1-to-Clean-the-Track-Surface-with-specialized-cleaning-tools

You can also find a cleaning kit online that helps make removing dust and debris easier, such as the TrackPro Contour II. It comes with a cleaning module, cleaning cloths, microfiber cloths, and a cloth-cutting template.

It allows you to clean the track simply by driving a slot car to push a cleaning module with a cloth attached at the bottom. You may also use this for cleaning the rails.

Step 2: Cleaning the Rails

1. Wipe the rails with a cloth and cleaner

Step-2-to-Clean-the-Rails-with-a-cloth-and-cleaner

You don’t need a special cleaner to clean the rails. Just warm water would suffice, but if you’re a very passionate, competitive slot car racer who takes racing seriously, it would be best to use a braid conditioner.

Actually, braid conditioner is a specialized product for braids, which are the metal threads at the bottom of slot cars that make contact with the rails. What braid conditioner does is improve slot cars’ electrical pickup on the rails and make them move more smoothly.

But it also works well for cleaning the rails, so you can have a multi-purpose product. For a DIY option, you can use white vinegar to clean the rails.

You can use a specialized cleaning system like the TrackPro Contour II mentioned above to make the cleaning easier. Never apply abrasives on the rails, as they can strip their coating, eventually leading to rusting.

  • If you’re using warm water, only dampen the microfiber cloth. Avoid using too much water to prevent rusting.
  • Gently press down the damp cloth on the rails and wipe it on the surface going in the same direction as how the slot cars travel.
  • Make sure to wipe the entire track to remove all contaminants.

2. Reapply the cleaner and redo wiping two to three times

Reapply-Step-2-to-Clean-the-Rails-with-cleaner

To ensure that the rails are thoroughly cleaned, it would be necessary to go over them again multiple times.

  • Reapply your cleaner on the microfiber cloth.
  • Gently wipe the microfiber cloth on the rails.
  • Repeat two to three times.

3. Clean the gap between the rails

With a Tongue Depressor and Light Cloth

Step-2-to-Clean-the-Rails-with-Tongue-Depressor

Dust and debris can accumulate within the gap between the rails. You can get them out using a tongue depressor and a light cloth like a piece of an old t-shirt.

  • You need to cut a portion of the tongue depressor to create a straight edge.
  • Cover the straight edge of the tongue depressor with a piece of cloth.
  • Drag the cloth-covered tongue depressor through the gap to remove the accumulated particles.

With a Specialized Detailing Kit

But there’s also a recommendable detailing kit that you can use for this task, namely the Slot Car Man Cave Universal Slot Car Detailing Kit. It includes a plastic tool with a pivoting head resembling a slotted guide, a long handle, cleaning pads, and a small bottle containing your cleaner.

  • Cover the head with a cleaning pad.
  • Drag the plastic cleaning tool through the gap to remove the accumulated particles.

4. Thoroughly wipe the track dry with a cloth

step-2-to-wipe-the-track-dry-with-a-cloth

It’s important to dry the track thoroughly. Failing to do this can cause rust.

  • Again following the direction of how the slot cars travel, wipe the track dry with another microfiber cloth.
  • Repeatedly wipe all over the track to thoroughly remove the moisture.
  • You can make the drying quicker with the use of compressed air.

Step 3: Cleaning Off Corrosion

1. Rub off the corrosion with a drywall sanding sponge

Step-3-to-Clean-Off-Corrosion-with-drywall-sanding-sponge

To remove corrosion from the rails without harming the other non-corroded parts and track surfaces, it’s advisable to use a drywall sanding sponge. Get one that’s 120-grit or with a higher grit range.

Or you can also use a rubber eraser as an alternative. Never rub the rails with sandpaper and steel wool because they’re rather harsh, and rubbing them against the rails can cause microscopic shards, which can get embedded in the track.

  • Work one section at a time. With the drywall sponge laid flat, rub it on a corroded area back and forth with light pressure.
  • Once you’re finished with one section, proceed with rubbing another section and so on until you’ve finally got rid of all the corrosion.

2. Blow away corrosive residues using compressed air

Step-3-to-Clean-Off-Corrosion-with-compressed-air

Corrosive particles can likely get inside the gap between the rails during corrosion removal. So you must blow them out using compressed air.

  • With the straw attached to the can of compressed air, blow air into the gap at a 45-degree angle.
  • As you blow air into the gap, move the can all over the track to ensure that all the particles get blown out.

3. Check if there’s no more corrosion by making a slot car go five laps

make-car-go-five-laps-to-Check

Doing laps on the track with a slot car after you attempt to remove the corrosion will help determine whether there’s still corrosion. It can also help get rid of any blockage.

  • Before you drive a car, make sure that it’s clean not to leave contaminants on your already-cleaned track. Drive it on the track five times.
  • If it moves smoothly on the track, the rail is already corrosion-free.
  • If it gets jammed at some point, you need to give it a push to make it move again. As it moves, it can also help push out the blockage.
  • You’ll know the track has been cleared of blockage if the car no longer gets jammed.
  • But if it still gets jammed often on a particular spot, it means there’s still corrosion in the rails. Repeat steps one to three in this case until the car finally moves smoothly.

4. Wipe the slot car’s push pin

step-3-Wipe-the-slot-car's-push-pin

The slot car’s push pin likely picked up debris when you made it go laps on the track. So you must wipe its push pin to remove the debris on it afterward.

5. Wipe off the remaining corrosive particles or dust on the track

Step-3-to-Clean-dust-on-the-track

Corrosive particles or dust may have gotten onto the track surface during corrosion removal. S0, you would have to wipe them off with a microfiber cloth.

Again wipe the surface moving in the slot cars’ traveling direction to pick up the corrosive particles or dust.

Conclusion

Slot car racing isn’t just all fun and games. It’s also important to maintain the cleanliness of your track to ensure optimum racing performance for slot cars.

Keep the dust, debris, and corrosion away by following these steps for how to clean slot car track, and you’ll always have an enjoyable, smooth racing experience. It’s not a very complicated process, and there are even cleaning kits you can use for more convenience in cleaning.

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Author

Bruce-Sonnier

"As the content writer of Charmcitycirculator, I intend to bring just the best purchase options and straightforward answers to your problems. Other than what we put up on our website, we hope to hear more from you. "

– Bruce Sonnier