How to fix stuck typewriter keys

Written by tom becker
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How to fix stuck typewriter keys
Stuck typewriter keys can be unstuck with a few materials and the right technique. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Typewriters were made in an era before computers, in which even the most mundane piece of office equipment was a finely crafted machine. As such, typewriters have many intricate moving parts which can malfunction and often need expert repair. One of the most common typewriter malfunctions is stuck keys, and can be remedied at home with a few materials and the correct technique.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Silicone spray lubricant
  • Clean cloth
  • Cotton swabs
  • Compressed air
  • Standard screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Remove the typewriter's cover with a screwdriver. Older models will require a standard screwdriver and newer models will require a Phillips screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Remove the ink bobbins.

  3. 3

    Wrap the tip of a standard screwdriver with a clean towel.

  4. 4

    Use the cloth-covered screwdriver tip to clean any dust or grime from in between the stuck keys.

  5. 5

    Clean between the stuck keys with cotton swabs.

  6. 6

    Blow out any remaining dust or grime with a can of compressed air. Use the tube attachment, if one is available, to better direct the air.

  7. 7

    Spray the stuck keys with silicone or graphite lubricant.

  8. 8

    Depress the stuck keys and spray them while they are in the depressed position.

  9. 9

    Spray the tops of all the keys with a quick, light spray of silicone or graphite lubricant.

  10. 10

    Wipe away any excess lubricant with a clean cloth.

  11. 11

    Replace the ink bobbins.

  12. 12

    Replace the cover and screw it in place with a standard or Phillips screwdriver.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use oil-based lubricant, as it can collect dust.

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