How To Clean Old Lionel Track?

Are you a model train enthusiast who wants to get your old Lionel track up and running again? Over time, dirt, dust, and oxidation can accumulate on the track, causing problems with conductivity and performance. But don’t worry! With a few simple steps, you can restore your old Lionel track to its former glory and enjoy smooth, uninterrupted train operation once again.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of cleaning old Lionel track, from identifying the tools and materials you’ll need to understanding the best cleaning techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned hobbyist or a newcomer to the world of model trains, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to keep your Lionel track in top condition for years to come. So let’s get started!

How to Clean Old Lionel Track?

How to Clean Old Lionel Track?

Cleaning old Lionel tracks can be a challenging task, especially if they have been neglected for a long time. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can restore them to their former glory. In this article, we will discuss ten easy steps to clean old Lionel tracks.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start cleaning, you will need to gather some supplies. You will need a soft-bristled brush, a microfiber cloth, a track cleaning solution, and some cotton swabs. Make sure that the cleaning solution you choose is designed specifically for Lionel tracks.

Benefits of using track cleaning solution:

  • Removes dirt, oil, and grime from the tracks
  • Prevents corrosion of the tracks
  • Helps the train run smoothly

Step 2: Disconnect the Power

Before you start cleaning, make sure that the power to the tracks is turned off. This will prevent any accidents and ensure that you can clean the tracks safely.

Step 3: Brush the Tracks

Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any loose dirt and debris from the tracks. Start at one end of the track and work your way to the other end. Be sure to brush both the top and sides of the tracks.

Step 4: Apply the Cleaning Solution

Apply the track cleaning solution to a microfiber cloth and wipe it along the tracks. Be sure to cover the entire length of the track. You can also use cotton swabs to clean any hard-to-reach areas.

Vs of using a microfiber cloth:

Using Microfiber Cloth Not Using Microfiber Cloth
Removes dirt and grime effectively May leave behind debris
Does not scratch the tracks May scratch the tracks
Does not leave behind lint May leave behind lint

Step 5: Wait for the Solution to Dry

Once you have applied the cleaning solution, wait for it to dry completely. This will ensure that the tracks are thoroughly cleaned and ready for use.

Step 6: Test the Tracks

Once the tracks are dry, test them to make sure that they are working properly. Turn on the power and run a train over the tracks to see if there are any issues.

Step 7: Repeat if Necessary

If the tracks are still dirty or not working properly, repeat the cleaning process until they are clean and functioning correctly.

Step 8: Lubricate the Tracks

Once the tracks are clean and working correctly, it’s a good idea to lubricate them. Apply a small amount of lubricant to the tracks to keep them running smoothly.

Benefits of lubricating the tracks:

  • Reduces friction between the train and tracks
  • Prevents wear and tear on the tracks
  • Helps the train run more efficiently

Step 9: Store the Tracks Properly

When you’re done cleaning the tracks, make sure to store them properly. Keep them in a dry, cool place, away from any moisture or heat.

Step 10: Clean the Tracks Regularly

To keep your Lionel tracks in good condition, it’s important to clean them regularly. Make it a part of your maintenance routine to clean your tracks every few months or as necessary.

Benefits of cleaning the tracks regularly:

  • Ensures that the tracks are free from dirt and debris
  • Prevents corrosion of the tracks
  • Helps the train run smoothly

In conclusion, cleaning old Lionel tracks may seem like a daunting task, but with these ten easy steps, you can restore them to their original condition. Remember to use the right cleaning solution, wait for it to dry, and lubricate the tracks to keep them running smoothly. By following these steps and cleaning your tracks regularly, you can enjoy your Lionel train set for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about how to clean old Lionel track:

What are some common issues with old Lionel track?

Old Lionel track can accumulate dirt, rust, and corrosion over time. This can cause poor electrical contact, leading to trains running slowly or not at all. Additionally, old track may have loose or broken connections, which can result in derailments or other issues.

To address these issues, it’s important to clean the track thoroughly and check for any damaged or worn parts that may need to be replaced.

What tools and materials do I need to clean old Lionel track?

To clean old Lionel track, you’ll need a few basic tools and materials, including a track cleaning solution, a track cleaning tool, and some clean rags or cloths. You may also want to have a small wire brush or scraping tool to remove any stubborn dirt or corrosion.

Be sure to use a cleaning solution that is safe for your track’s specific material, as some solutions may cause damage or discoloration. You can find track cleaning solutions and tools at most hobby or train stores.

How do I clean old Lionel track?

To clean old Lionel track, start by applying a small amount of track cleaning solution to your cleaning tool or rag. Gently wipe the solution onto the track, being careful not to use too much pressure or scrub too hard. If you encounter any stubborn dirt or corrosion, use a wire brush or scraping tool to remove it.

Once you’ve cleaned the track, use a clean rag or cloth to wipe away any excess solution. You may want to repeat this process a few times until the track is completely clean. Be sure to let the track dry thoroughly before running any trains on it.

How often should I clean my Lionel track?

The frequency with which you should clean your Lionel track depends on a few factors, including how often you run trains and how dirty the track gets. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to clean the track at least once every few months, or more frequently if you run trains frequently or notice any issues with electrical contact or derailments.

Regular cleaning can help prevent long-term damage to your track and ensure that your trains run smoothly and reliably.

What should I do if I notice any damaged or worn parts on my Lionel track?

If you notice any damaged or worn parts on your Lionel track, such as loose or broken connections, it’s important to address these issues promptly. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may be able to repair the track yourself using replacement parts or basic tools.

However, if the damage is more extensive or you’re not comfortable making repairs yourself, it’s a good idea to take your track to a professional for repair or replacement. This can help ensure that your track is safe and reliable for years to come.


In conclusion, cleaning old Lionel track is an essential part of maintaining the quality and performance of your model train set. With the right tools and techniques, you can easily restore your tracks to their original condition and enjoy smooth running trains once again.

Remember, it is important to use caution when working with cleaning solutions and to always wear protective gloves and eyewear. Start by removing any debris or dust from the tracks, then use a specialized cleaner to remove any built-up grime or rust.

Finally, don’t forget to regularly maintain your tracks to prevent future buildup and ensure the longevity of your model train set. With these tips in mind, you can keep your Lionel tracks running smoothly for years to come.