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Whats involved with cleaning a braid track

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  • Whats involved with cleaning a braid track

    I just spent the better part of 3 weeks cleaning my Scalextric plastic track sections that are currently in use on my Winterrun Raceway slot car track. It took a lot of elbow grease and metal polish. I worked on one rail of one section until I was satisfied that I had gotten as much off as possible. Granted the track had not been in use for about a year and I have owned it for eighteen years with various amounts of sections cleaned; mainly when they were giving me trouble.
    So with routed tracks that have been braided how often does the braid need cleaning? Also how do you clean braided track? Rubbing the braid with a cloth with metal polish on it would seem to me to be a real pain in the fingertips!
    Scott C.
    Amherst, WI
    Just "a simple kind of man".

  • #2
    In my experience, it's not really an issue with braided or copper topped tracks. The best cleaner is Voodoo Juice and that just involves wetting a rag with it and going over the tape/braid.


    • #3
      For braided tracks, Naphtha is the go to. We have cleaned our braid here twice a year.
      Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA


      • #4
        Haven't had to clean braid in 3 years of weekly racing. When I ran a tape track, I would just spray WD 40 on the tape in a few places and run some laps. Besides cleaning the tape, I have never put any kind of chemical on my taped tracks. I did clean my plastic track with Windex, just to remove the dust.
        Matt B
        So. In


        • #5
          You clean braided tracks ? ** revelation ** .................... No just kidding.

          - Assuming that the track does not have any traction agents applied for foam tyres, then the only issue really is a gradual accumulation of whatever comes off car tyres (including treatments if used), and lubricants from the car itself.
          Some guys run a "clean" track - ie, they use solvents to clean the whole track surface as well as the braid regularly- "Shellite" (by Shell), or "Fuelite" by Mobil is popular in my country.
          I can't remember the exact solvent cut that represents, I would have to look up the MSDS.
          EDIT: - It is pretty close to the Naptha that War Eagle River already mentioned, just a bit rougher as a blend.

          Other guys only want to clean any residues from the braid, so that the main track surface "rubbers up" over a period of time, with the rubbing of tyre compound onto the track surface from car tyres.
          [Buy into that debate at your own peril, and assume Capitol Hill was a practice run]

          It also depends a little on your track surface. If the surface is glossy, it is probably worth cleaning, if it is textured paint, you may lean a little more towards leaving grip from rubbering up vs. gung from solvents to run it's natural course and find a balance.

          In my local case, we treat tyres, and I have a semi-gloss track. I give it a solvent clean about twice a year, which cleans the braid as well as the main driving surface. In between times, on nights when club held is at my place, I vacuum it to get any crud out of the slots, then wipe it over with a wet towel, then dry it off, just to remove any dust. - Takes 10 minutes, worth it for the guys to have a really clean track when they arrive.
          Two members of our group have covers for their tracks, and so don't even need to do that pre-racenight clean.

          One guy with a slightly textured surface, does nothing but remove dust. He has nicely rubbered up after less than a year.
          Another guy with a gloss surface, cleans it regularly with solvent.

          All these different regimes work fine for us, "horses for courses" as they say.

          As for the braid itself, as several of us clean our car braids with voodoo juice or similar, so we "self clean" the track braid in the process, so I don't think any of us have to put hard work into keeping our track braid clean.
          - Mine has been in use about 8 years, so have a couple of others, one may be 10 years.

          No one has complaint about track condition on any of our half dozen tracks, even though we have a range of different surfaces and cleaning regimes.
          Last edited by LegOutOfBed; January 10, 2021, 06:36 PM.


          • #6
            Coleman fuel or Naptha, I prefer Naptha. Coleman fuel feels a little oily to me. If you are going to run foam tires you will need to spray the track. Mix about a 1/2 bottle of Camen or Koford track glue with about a quart of Coleman fuel (shake vigorously) in a spray bottle and lightly spray the whole track. Then you'll have to run it in. Remember "lightly", you can always add more but if you put too much on you'll be cleaning your track again. If you get too much you can burn-up motors just trying to get through it.

            On a wood track the braid doesn't get that dirty because it's below the track surface. On plastic track the rails are usually even with or above the track surface.
            Butch Dunaway
            Oxford, Ohio


            • #7
              Braid does not need to be cleaned. I have never experienced an issue with 'dirty braid' affecting the performance of a car.

              I do clean the track surface to remove dust. I spray Windex on a folded paper towel and wipe. But that is only to improve traction.

              In the past I have, on recommendation, tried cleaning the braid with 'Rail Zip', a product sold for cleaning model railroad track. It does remove some black stuff, but it appears to have no more effect than making the braid look prettier.

              Braid is what is used on commercial slot tracks. I don't ever remember seeing anyone cleaning them. I do remember seeing folks applying 'glue' to the tracks. That never seemed to bother the braid.

              Braid is the lazy man's solution to slot track maintenance. Leave it alone. It thrives on neglect. And be happy about it.

              Ed Bianchi

              Ed Bianchi
              York Pennsylvania USA


              • #8
                I have a lot of experience with both commercial and home style braided tracks. On commercial 1/24th scale tracks the cars usually run on sponge tires with traction compound. After months of use the track braid will get coated with a mixture of rubber dust and traction compound and the lap times will start to go down. The tracks that I raced on would periodically get stripped down with lantern fuel (lighter fluid or naphtha). After a track was stripped down the cars would have no grip until "spray glue" was applied. Spray glue is traction compound diluted with lantern fuel.
                Traction compound is seldom used on home tracks so the braid or rails are not as likely to get coated with gunk. If there is a conductivity issue that is more likely to be caused by corrosion. Track braid and most plastic track rails are plated to reduce corrosion. If a track is used on a regular basis the small amount of corrosion that might start to build up will quickly get rubbed of by the cars braids. I have run on a braided track that had not been run for some time and the cars did not run well until the braids were wiped down first with spray contact cleaner on a rag, then with Inox.
                Your best bet is to run on a track every few weeks, at least a hundred laps on each lane, if you do that it should not be necessary to fuss with the braid or rails.


                • #9
                  I think I can manage that😛

                  G.P Alberta