Products to Use

Equivalent UK/US products

I belong to several groups and forums, but many, if not all of them, are biased towards the US when it comes to discussing cleaning and restoring Vintage machines with regards to the modern products used.

I have created this section to record the products I have read about on these sites, which are usually easily found in the US and either not at all in the UK or at inflated prices – because of the postage required to get them to the UK – and the equivalents I have found in the UK.

Please note that I have not tried any of the US products, I have only identified what I believe is an equivalent based on what I have read regarding how the US product works, after reading lots of reviews about the US products.

I hope it will be useful to those in the UK that need such information.

Please leave a comment if you have found the information on this page useful – or not!  Unless you leave a comment I will not know how useful people find the information I am posting. :0) – Many Thanks.

I would caution that you always try anything I recommend on an inconspicuous part first, especially the decals. I under stand the application of the decals, and the decals themselves changed over the years and there is no knowing if what works for me will work for you.

1.   A product for cleaning/restoring decals

US – TR3 Resin Glaze   UK – Autoglym Super Resin Polish (available at Halfords)

I used the Autoglym very carefully at first on my 1895 28k, on a place just above the presser foot lifter which had a lot of oil over the decals.  As it wasn’t showing any signs of damaging them I pressed harder and moved quicker in circular motion for about an hour to come up with the results shown in these Flickr photos


2.  Cleaning machine surface and decals
US – Goop     UK – Swarfega

Before you buy do ensure that there are no grit or abrasive granules in either product.

I have not personally used this product, so if you do try it please let me know your results.

3.   Cleaning wood, but also removing finish

US – Murphy’s Oil Soap    UK – 151 Oil Soap

This can be used diluted to lightly clean just the surface of the wood or more concentrated to actually remove the surface shellac treatment.  As always test the concentration you are using before using it for real.

4.   Cleaning solidified oil

US – Kerosene   UK – Paraffin

Use this to clean a ‘gunked’ up machine.  It thins out the sticky stuff and acts as a lubricant for a short time.  Once your machine is running smoothly, replace with good sewing machine oil.

I use a small childs paint brush to brush it all over the gears and other metal parts, then wipe off with kitchen roll and polish with cotton wool.

Do not get this stuff on the surface of your machine, as I do not know what it does to the finish – sewing machine oil will not affect the finish.  Make sure either product does not get on to rubber parts such as the bobbin tyre.

You can usually buy this from petrol stations or hardware stores. Ensure you have a proper container to store it in.  I use a 1 gallon portable petrol can and you will need something like this before it will be sold to you if it is pumped from a petrol station forecourt, if it does not come in its own container.

5.  Removing Shellac or Evening out the finish

US – Denatured alcohol   UK – Methylated spirits

Using this lightly on cotton wool you can remove white water marks from shellac. It only takes seconds to do, so just give a quick couple of strokes over the mark, and let the alcohol evaporate and dry before repeating.  If you overdo this the surface will become very sticky.  If this happens, let dry and then try again.  I have also used this to even out the shellac finish to fill in surface scratches.

It is a solvent for shellac so can be used to remove the whole finish, and between coats to even out the finish when reapplying shellac.

Methylated spirits can be bought from DIY stores – mine came from Homebase

Other Products

Peek Metal Polish – use for cleaning/polishing nickel and chrome, such as face plates, and handwheels.

Autosol Metal Polish – use for cleaning/polishing nickel and chrome, such as face plates, and handwheels


2 thoughts on “Products to Use”

  1. Marie Eaton Smith said:

    Thank you so much for all of your advice, really helpful – especially for Uk equivalents to US items.


  2. Thank you for taking the time to post your findings! I’m in Australia, so sometimes I can find UK products easier than US ones.


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