Track Cleaning, as seen in Model Railroad Hobbyist is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Always Improvising
Hey folks,

This is a subject I keep seeing pop up on social media, and we kind of touched on it here in a very exciting thread from a guy named Hal.

I'm not here to tell anyone how to do anything. I'm not here to criticize how you're cleaning your track. I'm here to provide MRH's summary and associated study for you to make up your own mind.

For reference, I started "serious" with a club that only dry cleaned track, and our president would not allow any alternative to this. A year after, just as this article was produced, I joined a second club which embraced the results shown here with enthusiasm, and our results were excellent performance. Twice-monthly cleaning with mineral spirits kept us going, until a new tenant moved into the space above us. Due to dust disturbed by the new tenant moving in we have had to switch to using the Wahl clipper oil method, combined with twice-yearly "deep cleans" with CMX tanker cars, CMX roller cars, both soaking and scrubbing our track with mineral spirits. Our results have been extremely good.

Now, as for the dry-cleaning only club, the president who stonewalled any options is now gone. I have been low-key applying the same wet cleaning I learned at the second club to the dry-only club, and our layout is running better than ever.

(Page 9 is the beginning of the article) Publisher's Musings.


Remember, science is your friend!


Well-Known Member
Thanks for posting this. I saw it over there a couple of years back, and I was impressed with the effort that went into it. I had wet my rails with ATF six years earlier prior to a tear-down because I wanted to see if it worked. I had 3.5% grades on that layout, and my steamers didn't spin at all. I was liberal about applying the Dexron III Mercon. No spinning, no stalling, no restarts of the QSI worked well. Turns out kerosene is the very best liquid to use, and I have a bottle of it (camping section, for lamps).


Well-Known Member
Woot... slightly-informed-me picked up a tin of mineral spirits, since we can't find rubbing alcohol anywhere.

Of course, I have to get track down for the cleaning to do any good.

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