(Topic ID: 137689)

Cleaning and Waxing Pinball Machines - Vid's Guide

By vid1900

5 years ago

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    Post #51 A list of pretenders. Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Post #77 Wax Recommendation Posted by vid1900 (5 years ago)

    Post #1237 Playfield protectors Posted by vid1900 (3 years ago)

    Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

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    #1495 2 years ago


    Greetings pinsiders!

    I want to preface my comments by informing that I am a noob and BRAND NEW to this community. This will literally serve as my first post.

    So... I'm about to purchase my FIRST PIN ever and I'm stoked about it and well...honestly, terrified after reading some of the stuff in this thread. I will continue to do my part and read through this, but there's a lot. I'm on page 6 currently...

    Okay, so I will be purchasing the Monster Bash Remake LE and ultimately, I just want to enjoy my game and do the right things and not the "wrong" things and keep this thing in pristine condition. Also, this will be a HUO machine.

    Alright, that said ... here's where my feelings lie at the moment..

    It kinda feels like a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation and I'll explain in a little bit.

    Sounds to me that the condition of the balls is absolutely paramount. Noted. Of course, it's not expected that you're going to be inspecting your pinballs after every game so it makes enough reasonable sense that you'll simply check whenever you clean the machine.

    Alright so the heart of my concerns, confusion, etc comes down to...
    To Wax or Not To Wax ... That is the question..

    My understanding is when I get this game, it will be "pre-waxed" ... only slightly or w/e, but all the same. And let me say that I LOVE the idea that waxing the PF makes it so that sequential maintenance is well easier to maintain, but the thought of using wax is TERRIFYING me. Which wax to use, don't use too much, make sure you wait long enough and on and on. I would PREFER to not use wax if at all possible.


    How do I ask this next question and sound some-what relatively intelligent? I'm having a very difficult time coming to the realization or the necessity of needing to wax this machine when I first get it as, again, it's already "pre-waxed."

    At the same time, it makes 0 sense to use something like Novus 2 since it contains abrasives. Back to the damned if you do and damned if you don't bit ..
    If my comprehension of what I have read thus far is accurate, Novus 2 contains abrasives and will "wear-down" the PF albeit slowly. Well, I don't want to do that...of course.

    Circling back around to the "The damned if you and damned if you don't ... " .. If I opt to not use Novus 2 or wax, well, isn't playing the game naturally going to "wear down" the PF either way? And if it is, ultimately, does it make sense to use Novus 2 if you "can't avoid" wearing down the play field?

    Furthermore, is it "insensitive" to think you can avoid scratching the game in the first place?

    I know someone uses a diluted version of Simple Green (I don't know which method ... there are 3 on the concentrated bottle on the back .. "heavy duty" , "normal", etc) and that sounds like a good idea or Novus 1. Makes sense that you would use Novus 1 if you are using Novus 2. Novus 1 contains "too much" water? Simple Green is cheaper? Just as effective? More effective?

    ... Alright guys/gals, I think that's more than enough for now.

    I WILL REALLY APPRECIATE any and all feedback regarding my concerns and how to go about this when I receive the game.

    Thanks in advance!

    #1497 2 years ago
    Quoted from mmr61184:

    I love this thread and I love all of Vid's tutorials but I think I am more confused now then I was before, mostly about waxing. Between all of the conflicting opinions and I expected that but i think i am just overwhelmed

    I REALLY couldn't agree more and that's why my first post is what it was. =)

    #1498 2 years ago
    Quoted from wesman:

    Congrats on dipping your toes in! I just did, and am about to wax in a day or two after vacuuming, for loose particle bits, with Blitz Grand Carnauba wax.
    Novus 2 is for months, really years after heavy usage, from what I've read.
    I'd wait for some heavy hitters on the thread to reply before moving forward, but I know I was definitely directed towards Blitz Grand.
    And from what I've learned, ask questions, in different ways if you need clarification or reiteration. There see a buncha good folks on this board, and very gracious and willing to help!

    Thank you SO MUCH for the QUICK response. I, again, appreciate it. Owning a pinball machine has really only ever been a dream and at the age of 33, it's going to become a reality. There's really little that would seem more exciting as far as ownership is concerned other than of course owning more machines. =P

    I think it was "cf" member who pretty much went against a lot of what vid said (not that I don't greatly value everything that vid has said), but essentially he said something about waxing when "you don't need to" or waxing the wrong way is far "worse" than not waxing at all and he certainly seemed to have some credibility with the 300 machines and 25 years of experience.

    Also, I'm on page like idk 26-27 and there seems to be a pretty heavy debate AGAIN about waxing especially when it's home use only which this machine will be.

    Ahh ... It's a lot my friend but thank you again for the response!

    EDIT: I hear you loud and clear and yes, the Blitz Grand is pretty much the only thing I'm going to consider since I've heard so many great things on here and vid himself recommends it of course.

    Did you do ANYTHING when you received your machine other than enjoying the hell out of it and if you didn't, do you regret it at all based on the condition the machine is in now?

    #1500 2 years ago
    Quoted from wesman:

    You're very welcome!
    I'm only 46 games in, and am waiting for some vacuum hose attachments to arrive tomorrow, to suck out some stray particles and dust. Then I'll wax, and from what I've heard, just a fingerprint level of thickness. I'm still not sure on this myself, and believe outside of asking an owner at an arcade or brewery, it'll be a trial and error kind of thing. I try to watch videos as much as are out there, and ideally would love for individual manufacturers to put out their own videos on preferred waxes, cleaning, maintence, setup, etc. Then there'd be a bevy of official resources, along with the vast user opinions, which like you said, seem to conflict.
    Trust me, I'm in the same boat as you, only 42 and just got my Houdini in last Thursday. Never t hi ought I'd take this road, and yes the early steps seem nerve wracking and anxiety producing. I said to my friend the other day, either this experiment will wane for me after six months, due to frustrations and issues, or years down the road, these will be the first learning steps. For me, I'm feeling more the latter, but I dropped my playfield last weekend, trying to work on a flipper, and that freaked the ever living shit out of me, but it's a learning process.
    pinballinreno has been a treat help, in answering so many of my questions, and recommending products too. As well have many others on the Houdini thread! If you follow my posts, I only just started posting on here too, after lurking for a few months and feeling intimated, you'll find a good amount of questions I've asked, and answers I've received in turn.
    If you have any directly, please feel free to ask away!


    It doesn't sound like you applied any additional wax or removed what was there from the factory as I understand there is some. Apparently people like the circle applicators that you would use on your car and it makes a lot of sense to me and easily obtainable through Amazon.

    Did you inspect or immediately replace the balls that came with the machine?

    Also, I'm sorta hung up on this "sacrificial layer" people claim after waxing. Is that actual fact? I mean, it was my understanding that this is essentially smoothing out any "rough" areas and essentially the rest of the wax is picked up, but as vid says, you can actually "feel" the wax with your finger so it must be true?

    I'll definitely have to check out the other thread that you provided for Houdini. That's awesome!

    Well...back to reading for now I guess. haha

    #1502 2 years ago
    Quoted from wesman:

    I'm going to do my first wax in a day or two. And yeah, I bought some sponges from Amazon that were recommended.
    I had my friend give the balls a quick rub in the inside of a hoodie, but I'm not really sure if I should clean them last that. I know pinballinreno suggested some different fluids for cleaning, and I'd assume using a microfiber towel would work great in this instances.
    But yeah, just look up my profile, and see my last week or so of postings. I asked many of the same questions you have on your mind.
    I'm waiting for my Cliffy Protectors before playing much more, post wax. That's another subject/to do list, entirely, haha!

    Sounds good. I think I largely got as much out of this thread as I'm going to. The Wizards Mist-N-Shine seems excellent and pinballinreno seems to really like it as well. The ongoing debate whether to wax or not became interesting when mrgregb123 got involved and pretty much said he didn't see a purpose.

    I'm still trying to get caught up on some of the terminology going on around here, the trough, the apron, ball scoop, etc haha ,, but I'm sure it will come in time.

    So I guess the BIGGEST question is do I wax this thing as soon as I get it and according to vid1900 ... yea I "should".. whew.

    Saw something about the CGCs, JJPs, clearcoat chipping "easily". That's umm...VERY concerning. I hope like hell that does not happen.

    vid1900 might actually be against using Mist-N-shine as I believe it contains wax and that would technically classify it as a "spray or liquid? IDK and honestly I was a little surprised that Simple Green is NOT okay for the playfield? I know for a fact that thepinballcompany.com vendor uses a dilluted solution of Simple Green for their playfields.

    Anyhoo, I'll try to get some sleep for now and look forward to some excellent responses in the morning.

    #1533 2 years ago


    THANK YOU 1,000x OVER !!

    I SO very much appreciate all the support and feedback. Unfortunately, looks like I won't be getting this game till early next year. (I shouldn't say "unfortunately". In context, I"m VERY fortunate to have the luxury of owning my very own machine, right? Let's say...disappointingly.)

    So as a recap:

    Get the game. Enjoy! Don't worry!

    A couple questions/comments...
    I really like the Mist N Shine pinballinreno. Is it necessary to have both Novius 1 and the Mist N Shine for any reason?
    I also like the brake cleaner as it's a spray...but it's unlikely to matter until I replace them balls...
    Invest in lots and lots of balls and micro fiber clothes. Any preference in balls? I think a couple sites were mentioned? Something about Ninja balls being the "best" or something?
    Would Invisiglass be just as good as Sparkle? I have used Invisiglass before, but not Sparkle.

    Oh, and of course -- good 'ole Blitz when the time comes.
    Side note... "I don't wax my game because it would play 'too fast'." Sighs. That KINDA sounds silly to me. It is curious that one person or multiple? made the claim that after only say 10-20 games they noticed the wax was gone and thus felt not necessary to do it. I just wonder if...maybe they aren't doing it correctly? Or maybe something else? Idk...

    I mean... 99% of you or so seem to say wax it lol so fair enough.

    I think that's it for now... but again, thanks for everything and if I forgot something I'll be sure to come back. =)

    #1536 2 years ago

    Sounds good.

    I never heard of using coffee filters to clean glass, but that sounds like a neat trick.

    I don’t think Monster Bash has any magnets and leaning towards the ninja balls because they say ninja. Haha

    4 months later
    #1567 2 years ago

    Hey guys/gals,

    Remember me?

    It's been a few months...

    I felt it appropriate to update you since I did a fair share of all my comments as a newbie on this THREAD.
    I'm no longer getting MBrLE. However, I DID just purchase (yesterday) NIB JJP POTC CE. VERY excited about and it should arrive this weekend I'm hoping.

    Relevant to this thread...

    I'm still "on the fence" "what I do" when I get this machine:
    a) Pre wax or no wax?
    b) Replace the balls or the balls that come w/ JJP are fine.

    vid1900 kinda scared the hell out of me and I know he is only trying to help... I appreciate it.

    Basically, do or "should" I worry about anything other than enjoying my new game when I get it...

    Interested to hear any feedback from others what YOU DO that wish to share.


    #1569 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    I order cliffys when I order the game.
    I always inspect the balls.
    If they are shiney and look good, I clean the oil off of them and use them.
    I usually play 20 or so games to dial in the game, install cliffys, then wax it.

    Aye pinballinreno,

    How's it going! I remember you...

    I'm sorry... What exactly is cliffys and how do you "install" it?

    I appreciate this!


    #1573 2 years ago

    I didn't see anything on Cliffy's for POTC.

    Now, I do see some "generic" things like Ball Eject (Shooter Lane) Protectors and Universal Switch Slot Protector.

    Also, which wax to use?

    #1574 2 years ago


    I recall this comment from you:

    "Mist n shine is silicone free. JJP uses if for the final wipe down on all games. Its rated for clearcoat.
    A lot of us use it for between waxing "touch-ups", and you can use it on plastics too."

    I'm still an advocate of this product...

    Is it okay to START "waxing" with this product after X games? Or do I really want something like blitz or P21S from the get go?

    Also, can you help me with the difference between in-lanes and out-lanes. And mylar? This is used to protect these lanes or something??

    Thanks so much!!

    #1575 2 years ago

    One more post from me...

    Can you help me out with the coil stops, coil sleeves... coils in general really...

    #1576 2 years ago

    I lied ...

    This looks pretty "solid" for a complete n00b like me...


    I don't understand most of it, but I like the presentation.
    This was mentioned a few pages back around a year ago and virtually went ignored...

    I'll actually shut up now.. =/

    EDIT: I went to https://www.flipnoutpinball.com/ (which I respect more out of all the other companies listed), looked for pinhedz on their site and they had no products to show.


    #1578 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Use blitz or P21S silver.
    Mist n shine isn't a wax, it's a cleaning fluid.
    Email Cliff directly for what you want.
    All coil stops and sleeves wear down after awile.
    Flipper coil stops an sleeves wear down the fastest.
    As they wear the angle of the flipper bat changes.
    I change the flipper coil stops when they wear down 1/16" or more as it changes game play and I like the flippers to feel fresh and play properly.
    Generally 2-3 thousand games on flipper stops and sleeves unless they get sticky.
    Check the plungers also at this time and file off any mushrooming or replace them if they look bad.
    Mylar over any place that the ball drops on or any unprotected edge that gets a lot of ball traffic.
    When I do a serious cleaning or maintenance every 1500 games I pull the flipper coil stops, clean the sleeves with naptha and make an assessment.

    I appreciate this.

    So Blitz OR P21S Silver? Which do you use? Are they really so interchangeable that it simply doesn't matter?

    So much to learn man..

    So now the flippers have coil stops as well? I really need to do my homework and understand visually what a "coil" is...

    Also, is it fair that some of this stuff depends solely on the pin you own?
    Like I don't know how many sleeves or w/e my table will have.


    #1582 2 years ago
    Quoted from Pinzap:

    I second pinballinreno's sage advice. I use Blitz, but hear P21S is just as good.
    I especially like the advice of playing a few games before waxing. Mostly so you get a good feel for the game first and then can say "holy shit" once you wax it and the balls are just flying around like a bat out of hell. It never ceases to amaze me when I have a game I haven't waxed in 5-6 months and am getting used to the play and then I wax it and balls are just zinging!!

    I’m not against waxing, but wasn’t there someone several pages ago who stated that they didn’t “believe” in waxing or something.

    Moreover, that waxing can create a game that wasn’t “intended.”

    I haven’t the slightest clue, but I have to say waxing seems necessary...

    So it should take about a pin dot of wax in total? And not just the play-field but everywhere the ball touches, so rails and whatever else right?

    Does anyone get scared they use too much on accident?

    Also, the slings... I think they are called slings. Ya know the things above the flippers that “sling” or ricochet the ball to hell. Now I must admit those things are practically my favorite thing about pinball, but scare the hell out of me as I think an uncontrollable drain is in my very near future.

    Back on topic. There are white and black rubbers right? It looks like JJP POTC has white. Are the black ones much more aggressive or responsive? This was talked in this thread at some point I think.

    I briefly played Deadpool and it had black rubbers and the ball was just going crazy. POTC not so much.

    TL:DR - I’m a bit of a purest and I’m just trying to understand what is okay and not okay as far as modifications to retain the authenticity and true representation of the pin.

    Thanks again!!

    1 week later
    #1609 2 years ago

    Hey guys,

    Are spinners becoming stiff a common thing?

    Also, black dust?
    Where would black dust accumulate? I would think near pop bumpers and all, but I don't see any.

    So just curious.

    Trying to work on my 1ST maintenance ever...

    #1615 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    I recently applied the super lube.
    I'm a convert and believer !

    Interesting. So this is actually a thing?

    #1616 2 years ago

    Okay so just trying to get this all down.

    1) Vacuum playfield. Underneath playfield I guess
    2) Use a cloth to pick up anything residual
    3) *Optional* Use some compressed air ..

    Easy enough .. here's where it gets a bit fuzzy..

    I bought the Mist-N-Shine. I was going to "clean" with this and then perform the wax. I randomly saw where vid1900 stated that cleaners have solvents or w/e and might mess up the wax.

    On a NIB game w/ under 75 plays (probably) ... can I essentially "skip" the Mist-N-Shine or cleaning for now and go straight to the wax after the vacuuming and wiping and everything?

    #1619 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Yes skip the mist n shine and use it for between waxing wipe downs.

    Thanks pinballinreno!

    #1623 2 years ago

    So yea .. just like the tinest dot where the spinner rod goes through the hole, right?
    Do you guys have anything special you like to apply it with or do you just use like a toothpick or other tip, etc

    #1624 2 years ago
    Quoted from Pinzap:

    Super Lube FTW!!

    I saw this and 3 n 1 discussed the most. I think HD will have the Super Lube so I'm good for that.
    Honestly, so long as it spins "better", I don't think I'll care lol

    #1626 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    It comes in a precision oiler tube.

    Good enough. Went ahead and amazon'd it (amazon'd is a verb, right?)

    So I should have happy spinners in a matter of days...

    #1628 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    I picked up a bottle of mist-n-shine recently for my new to me WOZ because it has 7.5v boards and JJP recommended it for its anti-static properties. I am curious if anyone has ideas about what it is exactly. I read the MSDS but couldn't tell from that. It definitely leaves a slippery, thin film on the surface it is applied to. I don't recommend it for glass. It makes the glass too slippery. If it does not contain silicone or oil, what do we think is the slippery substance is? Glycerin?

    It's a detailer and NOT a cleaner.

    However, a lot seem to use it for cleaning anyways and so I bought in and picked some up as well.

    #1630 2 years ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    Has the mist n shine worked well for you? I have considered it, but just havent pulled the trigger yet.

    Honestly, I haven't tried it, but I know it does work well for others that owe way more pins than my one.

    I still need to do my initial vacuuming, cleaning, waxing, etc...

    #1634 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Your over thinking it lol.
    Sparkle glass cleaner sprayed on a rag is a great cleaner for plastics and quick wipe down. But it doesnt have any wax in it.
    Mist n shine is basically window cleaner with a tiny amount of wax in it and it doesnt strip the existing wax.
    We used to use Pledge furnature polish 30 years ago...really bad stuff, but it played fast for a few games. It was easy to get and was a cleaner polish all in one.
    We know better now.
    Any cleaner safe for your car clearcoat is probably ok for the playfield used in moderate amounts.

    I did not know that Sparkle could also be used as a wipe down.

    Awesome. Since I have it it’s just one more tool in the arsenal.

    1 week later
    #1637 2 years ago

    Does it make sense to remove any existing wax before adding new Mylar?

    #1639 2 years ago
    Quoted from Atari_Daze:

    Somewhere in here Vid states to apply NEW wax layer before Mylar so future removal would be easier.
    Found it...


    Okay... just checking.

    I've yet to wax my game for the first time yet, but that's only because it hasn't been getting played lately due to some technical difficulties.

    #1641 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Good time to wax it when its down.

    Yea, for sure.. I just want to get it working again.
    Test a few times.

    And I promise cleaning/waxing will be my TOP priority.

    #1643 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    You dont have to wax it at all.
    Just replace the entire playfield every so often....
    JJP will gladly sell you a fully populated playfield for 5 or 6 thousand dollars, just drop it in etc.
    If they have the parts or are still in business...


    #1644 2 years ago

    Alright guys ...

    What do you use to wax the lanes of the play field and smaller areas?

    I can't imagine it's those applicator pads or whatever because they are simply too wide.

    I want to be VERY CAREFUL when I wax this thing and definitely not use too much wax, etc. I was even considering using just a cloth itself to get tight/hard-to-reach-areas.


    #1646 2 years ago
    Quoted from Nokoro:

    Yep, just a microfiber cloth and your fingers. As you said, you don’t need much wax at all.

    Fingers I can do .. haha I wasn't sure if that was acceptable.

    Of course, a microfiber cloth to buff it or whatever when it turns "hazy" 20-30 mins later?

    EDIT: Might have misread that. I assume you meant microfiber cloth OVER fingers so that I'm not getting wax on my hands. That might make a bit more sense.

    #1647 2 years ago
    Quoted from joseph5185:

    Fingers I can do .. haha I wasn't sure if that was acceptable.
    Of course, a microfiber cloth to buff it or whatever when it turns "hazy" 20-30 mins later?

    EDIT: Might have misread that. I assume you meant microfiber cloth OVER fingers so that I'm not getting wax on my hands. That might make a bit more sense.

    1 week later
    #1658 2 years ago

    Naptha can be used instead of Novus 2 .. Excellent! I'll need to pick some up.

    I'm not at that point...yet.

    I'm pretty much replacing Novus 1 with Mist-N-Shine.

    #1665 2 years ago
    Quoted from WizardsCastle:

    Not sure I understood anybody that, but assuming you meant that you put it on a paper towel, wipe down your pf, and then throw it away when dirty?
    Never knew paper towels were good to use on a pf.

    Hmm... maybe those blue shop towels would be okay since they don't leave residue.

    #1678 2 years ago

    So in other words ...

    Mist-N-Shine > Novus 1
    Naptha > Novus 2

    Wax for everything else...


    #1697 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    Well said, sir!
    I hereby nominate pinballinreno as Vid2.0 with all rights, privileges and burdens assigned thereto!

    Yea. He's pretty incredible...

    #1698 2 years ago

    Wax ramps - check!

    Wax wireforms too?

    #1726 2 years ago

    FWIW — Mist-N-Shine smells really good. lol

    #1730 2 years ago

    I want to say it was this thread.

    1 week later
    #1742 2 years ago
    Quoted from TronGuy:

    hey so I have a NIB batman 66 coming soon. I read the first few pages of this thread, but can't get myself to read the whole thing.
    I think the original poster (vid) said 1 Grand blitz wax was his choice. 3 years later is that still his choice?
    I just want to clean my new playfield once a month or whatever is necessary. This will be my only pin at this point.

    or P21S which is even better than Blitz.

    I use P21S, but you can't go wrong with either.

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