How to fix a sticky typewriter key

Written by vivian gomez
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How to fix a sticky typewriter key
Since a typewriter is made up of so many delicate pieces, exercise care when taking it apart to clean. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

It's common for keys on old typewriters to get stuck over time. Typewriter keys almost always get stuck because dirt and grime collect beneath them. To fix a stuck key, simply clean the dirt out. The exact details you must follow to clean your typewriter depend on the model you have and how old the machine is. Just a few materials and a couple of tools are all you need to get your typewriter key unstuck and have a working machine again.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Screwdriver (Standard or Phillips-head)
  • Dry paper towels
  • Damp paper towel or small cloth
  • Cotton swabs
  • Compressed air can
  • Silicone spray lubricant

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  1. 1

    Remove your typewriter's cover - if it is the type of model that has one. You need a standard screwdriver for older models and a Phillips-head screwdriver for newer ones.

  2. 2

    Remove the ink bobbins carefully and set them aside. Place them on a paper towel to keep the ink from staining furniture.

  3. 3

    Wrap a damp paper towel or small cloth to the tip of the screwdriver. Carefully place it between the stuck typewriter keys and start cleaning up the dirt and grime.

  4. 4

    Use a cotton swab to dry the spots that you just cleaned with the damp cloth.

  5. 5

    Blow out any dust that remains with a can of compressed air.

  6. 6

    Depress the stuck typewriter keys and hold them while you spray silicone spray lubricant between them. Spray the tops of all the keys as well, but coat them lightly.

  7. 7

    Clean any excess lubricant with a clean paper towel.

  8. 8

    Replace the ink bobbins and the typewriter cover.

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