Cleaning Neon

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gorrister
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Cleaning Neon

#1

Post by gorrister » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:47 am

I just picked up a great old Fort Pitt neon sign that was obviously in a bar for many years. What are the recommendations for cleaning the neon tubes that actually light up without damaging them? Thanks!



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Re: Cleaning Neon

#2

Post by Jim Romine » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:10 am

Greased Lightning cuts nicotine amazingly well. Most neons have standoffs that keep the tubes from touching the window where they were hung, so you can lay the neon face down on an old towel and CAREFULLY spray GL on the tubes. You'll throw the towel away afterwards, trust me!. Once you get the majority of the shmegma off the tubes, let it dry, and then CAREFULLY wipe the tubes down with a damp rag to remove the residue. You may go through a couple cycles of this, and don't be in a hurry. NEVER plug it in unless its completely dry! Be extra careful around the transformer, it hates to be wet.
Before you start, make sure the thin wires tying the tubes to the frame are all there. They give the tubes the rigidity they need. You can't flex the tubes! Replace any that are missing before you clean.
Please post before and after pics!
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Re: Cleaning Neon

#3

Post by BrooklynBeer » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:29 pm

All old neons that have hung in a bar also suffer from fragile glass syndrome from being lite thousands of hours. Brittle doesn't explain it. They tend to crack very easy so be careful using anything like a rag that could put pressure between two tubes. Use what Jim said and disposable wipes. My 1938 Knickerbocker is now a 2007 knickerbocker as one day the tube just split. "Ruppert" is still original as is the frame. Finding a guy to bend "Knickerbocker" in one piece as they did back then was a chore. (1935 Piels did the same thing) It is one of many lost arts bending neon tubing the old school way. And it is not a cheap repair if broken

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Re: Cleaning Neon

#4

Post by Can Dr. » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:03 pm

Send us a picture. Neon is not complicated, and not hard to work on. Depending on the condition there are different approaches to cleaning. At Cassco Sign, with well over 100,000 neon sign repairs, we will get you where you need to be.

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Re: Cleaning Neon

#5

Post by Joe Older » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:44 pm

I can vouch for the Can Dr.'s repair work! He does an awesome job and will treat you right. He repaired this one for me, it's the only one known. I would not have trusted anyone else with it.
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Re: Cleaning Neon

#6

Post by backbar » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:37 pm

I always remove the neon from the frames and spray them down with simple green then scrub lightly with an old tooth brush. Rinse and repeat.

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