To follow up my post on finishing up my Crystal Castles, I wanted to show how to clean up a really nasty, dirty cabinet. When I got the Crystal Castles, it was sitting in a barn and was filthy. Dirt was caked on from over 20 years of use. The control panel was especially dirty and ground in.
I tried to clean it with several cleaners and sponges. The most effective cleaner I’ve found in the past was Simple Green. It would do a good job without damaging the artwork. However, even scrubbing this cabinet a few times still only got it a little cleaned. Even soaking the control panel with Simple Green for several minutes wouldn’t break away the grime that was ground into the overlay’s texture:
In the past I’ve read on the KLOV forums that the “Mr. Clean Magic Erasers” are a good tool for cleaning arcade game artwork. The Magic Erasers are a special foam pad that when wet supposedly do a great job taking off stubborn dirt. They work by lightly buffing out the stains with small foam pores. I decided to give them a try on my Crystal Castles since it was so dirty and dingy. The cleaning pads were originally made by Mr. Clean, but there are several generic versions in the stores now. I used Walmart’s Great Value brand on my Crystal Castles.
I started with the sideart. It took some scrubbing but I was able to really make a difference! It removed everything without damaging the artwork. It even removed some of the really large scuff marks and marks from other things that have banged against it over the years.
As you use the erasers, they start to wear down and even break apart. I ended up using almost an entire eraser on each of the sides of the game. There is a ton of artwork on this cabinet that needs cleaned! Good thing I bought two 4-packs! Here’s a shot of one after I did a full side, and a new one right beside it:
After the sideart, I started on the marquee on top. The marquee is printed on vinyl just like the control panel. It is textured, which really ate into the erasers. I ended up using a full eraser just on the marquee. The texture really held the dirt in, but I was able to clean it up really nice. Here is a pic showing how it looked halfway through the cleaning. It was tough to clean textured vinyl!
Now the hardest part – the Control Panel. This was obviously the most ground in from over 20 years of dirty hands playing the game! This took over two erasers to scrub out. I was able to get just about all of the dirt out of the panel. There is a little still dirt and some rust from the bolts around the trackball that I just couldn’t break free, but overall it looks great. Too bad there is a big scratch in the overlay itself. Someday I will replace it with a reproduction overlay.
After spending several hours with a couple boxes of Magic Erasers, I had a really nice looking cabinet! I finished up the cleaning job with a little C-Pop on the control panel. I bought this stuff years ago and I don’t think it’s available any longer. It’s a lot like Armor All to make the vinyl shine and protect it. I’ve used it for years and it’s great stuff! It really makes the panel shine and isn’t greasy when you’re playing the game.
I’m really happy with the results! I love when I can get a game and not have to spend hundreds of dollars getting it into good condition to add to the arcade. Check out the Crystal Castles Photo Album for more pictures of the restoration of this game.