9 Steps to Care for Your Electric Typewriter

9 Steps to Care for Your Electric Typewriter

Posted by Julie Greenbaum on Jun 20, 2019


Mastering Typewriter Maintenance: 9 Essential Steps for Longevity Founder Jim Riegert and our team have seen it all — from rusty parts to smoking typewriters, and a few other “interesting” cases over the years.

“Cats like to find a warm place in the winter. You can use your imagination,” says Jim half joking. “We saw this a couple of times, where the cat's fur got caught in the mechanics. There was another case where a cat had an ‘accident’ on the power supply! But everything was repairable.”

Okay, so keep your pets away from your electric typewriter. Check.

But you may be wondering: What else can I do to prolong the life of my typewriter?

Let's dive and look at these 9 steps to prevent the damage and failure of your electric typewriter:

  1. Turn off your typewriter: The first thing that you should do to avoid a power surge is to power off your typewriter and plug it into a good surge protector. This will help protect your typewriter in the event of a power spike. You should also make sure the machine is turned off before you connect or disconnect the power cord or interconnecting cables. (Task Time: Less Than 1 MIN)
  2. Keep the dust out: Dust has a way of getting into everything! Once those tiny particles sneak into your typewriter, it can create major havoc — dust will mix with the oil creating a thicker dryer lubricant that will just gum up the machine.

    Also, do you remember those old erasers with a wheel on one end and a brush on the other? The debris left from these is just like dust but much worse and can damage your machine.

    To avoid dust seeping into the insides of the machine, turn the typewriter off and cover it with a towel or other cloth so that the machine is not exposed to the incoming dust. (Task Time: Less Than 1 MIN)
  3. Temperature is key: Storing your typewriter in an environmentally controlled area is another way to prevent damage. It should be stored in an area that is not too hot, cold, or damp. (Task Time: Less Than 1 MIN)
  4. Keep it clean: Use a mild detergent on a damp cloth to wipe down the case and key buttons. Nothing stronger than that is ever needed. Certain cleaning chemicals may be harmful. (Task Time: Less Than 3 MIN)
  5. Use quality products: To maintain a properly functioning typewriter, it is important to use quality supplies. Please feel free to browse our wide range of supplies on, such as nylon ribbons, correctional ribbons, and lift-off tapes that we offer for most electric typewriters. If there is something you are having trouble finding, just give us a call at 866-377-8973, and we will help you find supplies for original brand names, as well as compatible brands.

    When looking for paper, quality is also essential. So be sure to select a paper brand that has excellent correction quality.

  6. Change the batteries: Be sure to change the batteries once a year. When not changed, this will lead to a corroded battery box. This will also cause corrosion on the main board and eventual breakage of the main board. (Task Time: Less Than 1 MIN)
  7. Don’t use whiteout: Whiteout can be messy and flake into your machine. It can clog a letter in your printwheel and ruin it and if it lands on a sensor it can render the machine inoperable.
  8. Common things to keep away: A paper clip or even a staple can stop your typewriter cold. Not to mention spilling just a little coffee or other drink with sugar will break your keyboard. Smoking and setting an ashtray next to your typewriter can also gunk it up.
  9. Send your typewriter in for service: Before resorting to DIY typewriter repair and picking up a manual on "how to take apart a typewriter," send your typewriter to a qualified service technician, like our team at, where we will examine your machine thoroughly.

By following these 9 simple steps on how to care for your electric typewriter, your typewriter will last you for many years, and you’ll never again have to tell your boss, “I am sorry that I couldn’t turn in the forms you needed. The cat ate my ribbon!”

And who doesn’t want that peace of mind?

Do you have any other cleaning tips that have helped preserve your electric typewriter? Share your thoughts below.