How to clean a Fender grill cloth?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Jewellworks, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Jewellworks

    Jewellworks TDPRI Member

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    The silver kind. A 90s 210 cabinet.
     
  2. jimbo735

    jimbo735 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have given grill cloth a dry talcum powder bath with good results.
    Which consisted of a big enough tray to lay it in then covering it with baby powder and let it sit overnite worked great.My cloth was unattached so it was a good choice for me.:)
     
  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I remember scrubbing at my '80s Super Champ with some cleaner and it just made the discoloration worse. I'd be real careful and get confirmation from multiple sources before trying anything people suggest.
     
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  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Using saddle soap worked on my drip edge Vibrochamp. Sponged being careful not to oversoak the baffle.
     
  5. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Holic

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    I used Oxiclean on my 60’s Ampeg several years ago . No harm done.
    My dear wife was cooking chicken Chinese style in a covered frying pan and forgot to turn the sound off when we left the house. We returned to hear the smoke alarm sounding and a blanket of smoke over everything. Glad the pan was covered or it would have flamed up.
    We did a lot of cleaning
    I removed the speaker and gently vacuumed the grill cloth first then used a soft cloth to pat a mixture of oxiclean and water over over the cloth. I don’t remember if I went over it again with clear water or just left it dry . I just followed the directions on the box.
    It definitely looked better.
     
  6. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic

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    Pull all the staples, remove it and scrub it gently with a mild solution of Simple Green, then spray it really well under a shower head, hose, or what have you.
     
  7. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic

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    Just did this a few weeks ago. Before and after. AAF541E0-D633-4A2F-9856-6D97467FE116.jpeg 07CBA9EC-EE45-4D5E-A3CD-C71B2371D3F0.jpeg
     
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  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    That's the proper way. Use a soft brush; a 2" wide trim paintbrush is ideal. Stiff bristles will displace the weave.

    And use no heat; this cloth has plastic fibers in it, so steam and/or hot air can permanently damage the fabric unless you know what you're doing.
     
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  9. SoK66

    SoK66 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've done quite a few of these, including the cabinets. I completely disassemble the amp, chassis & speakers out, baffle (or SF grille frame) removed. I mix up a mild solution of simple green soap, maybe 30% soap to 70% water. I use a sprayer and lay a thorough coat of the solution on the front side of the baffle. let it sit and work for about 1/2 hour. Then using a shower head spray a gentle rinse onto both sides of the baffle until you don't see any soap / dirt runoff. Put the baffle back into cabinet and tighten down (BF amps) or push in far enough for the velcro to attach (SF amps). Let it dry and examine results. Repeat if it needs more. I never scrub the cloth in any way, the cloth is just too delicate. The only ones I wont do this to are some of the 71 and later SF amps where they used particle board for the grill frame. I tried it once on a '71 SFDR and the frame warped a little bit. On those I'd try some kind of a non-caustic dry powder.

    You can clean the disassembled cabinets with the same simple green solution. Put a good, well sealed and waterproof cover over the tube chart. Spray the solution onto the tolex. Let soak for a bit, then use a very soft bristle brush and scrub the tolex all over, back panels, too. Usually even on really scuzzy cabinets they'll clean right up.
     
  10. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve had good results with woolite or similar carpet cleaners. Just be careful with the baffle, if it’s particle board they warp pretty easy.

    I’ve had good luck with Windex too, of all things.
     
  11. brogh

    brogh Moderator Staff Member

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    i managed to get good results with a foamy carpet cleaner, if it's a vintage piece be careful don't overdo it
     
  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    This works well!
    In the past, I’ve been known to remove the grille (if possible), remove the logo, and take it to a car wash.
    I’d pre spray the inside with Simple Green, Fantastic, or another “soapy” cleaner.
    I would then take the “wand” at the car wash and spray from the inside of the grille to the outside.
    After that, I’d spray from the outside to the inside.
    Lastly, I’d do outside to inside again.
    I’d then quickly towel dry it till I got home, and use a hair dryer to finish drying it.
    If the grille is ripped, uh, nevermind.
    It works like a charm!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  13. 50ShadesofOrange

    50ShadesofOrange Tele-Meister

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    I’ve got a 1973 Silverface Vibrochamp on which the original owner hit the grill cloth, along with the rest of it, with black spray paint.

    It’s been a minor irritant, but since the stapler at the factory went nuts, I’ve just kind of tuned it out. My fear has been I’d fail on the paint removal and be even more irritated if I didn’t get the cloth back on just right.

    If there were an easier way to clean it without removing it, I’d give it a swing. I’ve just always figured anything that would remove the paint would do the fabric no favors.
     
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  14. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, if you remove the cloth and put it in the bath tub , scrub lightly with any detergent. laundry detergent is the most aggressive. Dont leave it on the particleboard SF frame though to get it wet!
    It may clean up a bit with a spray cleaner on the frame.
    Beware: If you do this all the mojo may be gone.
     
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  15. puddin

    puddin Tele-Holic

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    I wouldn't clean the cloth. Order a new one. Remove the baffle, and staples, cut to size, and install.
    Roll up the original cloth, and store in a cardboard cylinder container. If you decide to sell the amp, you'll have the original cloth. Cheers..
     
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  16. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic

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    This thing was so dirty and disgusting it even grossed me out, and I have experience working in sewer lift stations. For whatever reason, probably that the frame was particle board and got soaked and was disintegrating, which I didn't know until I started trying to re-staple it (before I decided to pull it off and wash it), the grill cloth itself was trimmed way too short. Maybe the guy I got it from doctored it to unload it and trimmed the cloth after re-stapling it. There were 2 or 3 different kinds of staples and he did keep mentioning what great shape the grill was in. HA!

    I barely had enough room to staple and stretch it tight, so I ended up taking a clothes iron, and with a damp cloth between it and the grill cloth, steamed the creases out of the edges so I'd be able to line it up better and tack staple it on to the new grill I made out of plywood. It helped since I was able to create a new starting point

    The strange thing is I have not been able to find even a remote match for this cloth on anyone's website, so I don't even know if it's Fender cloth. I think Wally has mentioned the irregularity of old fender grill cloth and having difficulty matching what's currently produced to a particular amp.

    I usually go with full strength Simple Green on tolex. Works great. But I've only done it on black tolex and would probably be a little wary of lighter colors.

    EDIT: I really, REALLY didn't want to spend the money on it, but this thing turned out to be so much fun I thought I'd share the link. It takes a couple different sizes of fasteners and has two power settings, low power is good for soft materials, the high setting is like a Hilti gun.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PHRK1R5/?tag=tdpri-20
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  17. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    I've used Murphys Oil Soap on tolex in the past. Worked real well. Never tried to clean the cloth. It's so fragile, I'd probably screw it up.
     
  18. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Just remember to restaple with vintage-correct staples or you'll change the tone.
     
  19. puddin

    puddin Tele-Holic

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    :lol::lol:
     
  20. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic

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    I'm sure there are people who'd literally re-place the original staples. God bless 'em.
     
    televillian likes this.
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