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How to Clean a Pinball Machine

Pinball machines come in all shapes and sizes and are an ideal way to spruce up a living space or business. Keeping your pinball machine clean and in working order ensures it plays well and retains its value. There are many components in a pinball machine, so becoming familiar with proper cleaning procedures is a good idea before taking on the task. Pinball machines, parts, and cleaning supplies are available through select retailers as well as online through sites like eBay. With a little cleaning and maintenance, you are able to enjoy you pinball machine for many years to come.

Cleaning the Playfield

The playfield is where all the play components of a pinball machine are located. This is the area that needs most cleaning because it is the most frequently used space. Before cleaning a pinball machine, make sure to unplug it first. After removing the playfield glass, use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any loose dirt or grit that has the potential to scratch the surface of the playfield when scrubbing the surface.

Surface Cleaning

Before cleaning the surface, make sure you remove all the plastic components from the playfield. It is highly recommended to take a photograph before to ensure all the pieces go back into their rightful place. Another way to know where the pieces go is to look up your particular pinball machine online and use it as a reference. Using a terry cloth towel or microfiber cloth, apply the cleaning product and buff out any dirt or grime. Most pinball machine enthusiasts recommend products like Novus 2, but

a non-abrasive cleaner like Simple Green works well, too.

Cleaning Rubber Components

Depending on the condition of the rubber rings and pinball flippers. sometimes it is best to replace them to improve play completely. Affordable pinball rubber ring kits are available and provide new life for your pinball machine. If the rings are in good condition or you are simply doing a routine cleaning, wipe them down, but do not use lubricants or abrasive cleaning products because they are likely to ruin the integrity of the rubber.

Playfield Switches

Playfield switches are responsible for controlling the pinball machine's scoring. If these become dirty, their ability to keep score effectively is compromised. There are several types of playfield switches, so it is a good idea to identify which type your pinball machine has. For example, the switches in electro-mechanical pinball machines require the use of a 400-grit sandpaper or flexstone file, while solid state switches with gold and silver contacts are cleaned with a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol.

Replacing Light Bulbs

Cleaning the Back Glass

Applying Wax

It is encouraged to use wax on the playfield of older pinball machines to help prevent surface scratching. Newer pinball machines feature a clear-coated playfield so do not require wax. Older pinball games, however, benefit from a good wax coat after cleaning. The wax helps prevent scratches and gives the playfield area a nice sheen and faster play. Use a cloth to apply the wax, and then buff out to create a smooth and shiny surface.

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