How to Clean Slot Car Track Rails and Get Rid of Corrosion

Thứ sáu - 26/04/2024 23:11
Slot car racing is an exciting hobby, but your need for speed may be left unfulfilled if you haven't cleaned your rails in a while. The rails transfer electricity to the cars and hold them in place, so the cleaner they are, the faster and...
Table of contents

Slot car racing is an exciting hobby, but your need for speed may be left unfulfilled if you haven’t cleaned your rails in a while. The rails transfer electricity to the cars and hold them in place, so the cleaner they are, the faster and smoother your cars will be. A simple wipe down is usually more than enough to keep your tracks clean, but if the cars keep stalling or sliding off the track, the rails may be corroded. Don't worry, you can get rid of corrosion, too!

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Quick Cleaning

  1. Step 1 Dampen a clean cloth with warm water for a basic cleaning.
    There are special track cleaners out there, but water works just fine for everyday cleaning. Grab a clean bar rag or microfiber cloth and get it damp. Wring out any excess water—you don’t need a lot of moisture for this.[1]
    • Wipe down the rails once a week if you keep your tracks set up permanently. If you keep the tracks stored in a box, clean them whenever you take them out.[2]
  2. Step 2 Use braid conditioner instead of water for the smoothest ride possible.
    If you’re serious about your speed, invest in a special conditioner to increase the conductivity of the braids. The braids are the metal threads that stick out of the slot car and rest on the rails. When you turn the car on, the electrical current from the rail flows through the braids and makes the car move.[3]
    • You can buy braid conditioner online or at hobby shops that sell model railroad materials.
    • If you’re an avid slot car enthusiast or interested in competitive racing, go for the braid conditioner. The minor advantage over water will be worth it.
  3. Step 3 Run the dampened cloth over the track in a smooth, even motion.
    Hold the damp portion of the cloth downward and drag it across the surface of the track in the direction that the cars travel. Work your way all the way around the track to lift up any surface dirt and dust that’s resting on your rails.[4]
    • You can start on any portion of the track. Each track length is identical, so it doesn’t matter where you begin so long as you cover the entire course.
    • If your track is disassembled, just clean each track length individually.
  4. Step 4 Reload the cloth and wipe the tracks down another 2-3 times.
    After you’ve given the tracks a nice surface wipe, reload your cloth with more water or braid conditioner. Give the tracks an additional 2-3 wipe-downs to make sure you’re getting everything off of the rails.[5]
    • You don’t need to push down super hard or anything. A gentle wipe will do the trick.
  5. Step 5 Dry the track by hand with a clean microfiber cloth to prevent rust.
    Grab a fresh microfiber cloth and fold it up a few times. Drag it around the track in the same direction that you wiped it down. Work the cloth around the track repeatedly to soak up all of the moisture.
    • Hit the rails with a few bursts of canned air to speed the drying process up.
  6. Step 6 Drive a slot car around the track a few times to clean inside the rails.
    You can’t reach inside of the rails, but you know what can? Your slot cars! Set any slot car down and insert the push pin under the car into the rail. Turn it on and drive it around the track 3-5 times to clean the interior gap between the rails out. When you’re done, take the slot car off the track and wipe off the push pin to get rid of any gunk it picked up from the track.[6]
    • If your cars were stalling before and continue to stall after you wipe down the tracks, your rails are probably corroded. You may not be able to see any corrosion since the rails are so small, but it’s definitely there if your cars are stalling or sliding.
  7. Advertisement
Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

Corrosion Removal

  1. Step 1 Grab a fine drywall sponge to restore your rails.
    Head to the construction supply store and pick up a drywall sanding sponge. Anything 120-grit or higher will work for this. The sponge gently wears away the corroded metal without damaging the healthy portions of the rails.[7]
    • If you can’t buy a drywall sponge, a rubber eraser will also work.[8]
    • Do not use sandpaper or steel wool for this. They’re too hard and microscopic shards of steel wool or sandpaper can get stuck in the tracks.[9]
  2. Step 2 Rub the drywall sponge back and forth along each portion of the rail.
    Lay the sponge flat on the track and apply a light amount of pressure as you drag it back and forth a few times over the same area. Then, move to the next section of the track and do the same thing. Work your way around the entire track to remove the corrosion.
    • Don’t worry about damaging the flat portions of your track. They're designed to handle a fair bit of abrasion.
  3. Step 3 Blow compressed air between the rails to remove residue.
    Insert the straw that came with the compressed air into the nozzle. Hold the nozzle over the rails at a 45-degree angle and pull the trigger. Drag the can all the way around the track to blow out all of the corrosive junk.[10]
    • This gets rid of any corrosive particles that fell in between the rails.
  4. Step 4 Drive a slot car around the track 5 times to see if it’s smooth.
    Grab a clean slot car and insert it in the track. Turn it on and drive it around the track a few times. If it stalls or catches on a portion of the railing, push it forward and see if the problem repeats itself. If it doesn’t, the pin on your car pushed the blockage out.[11]
    • If the car stalls at the same spot every time, it’s a sign you still have corrosion in that area. Rub the sponge over that section another 4-5 times, blow it out, and try again.
    • Wipe the car’s push pin off when you're done to remove any debris it picked up from the track.
  5. Step 5 Wipe the track down with a dry cloth to pick up any remaining dust.
    Once the corrosion is gone and your track is running smoothly, run a dry cloth around the track. Wipe in the same direction that the cars travel. This picks up any corrosive junk or dust on the flatter portion of the track.
    • A microfiber cloth is perfect for this since the tiny fibers will absorb microscopic residue on the tiny rails.
    • You can do a final wipe down with a damp rag soaked in mineral spirits if you’d like, but this is controversial in the slot car community. Some slot car racers believe it isn’t worth it since dust can be attracted to the spirits and build up on the tracks.
  6. Advertisement


  • There’s a ton of debate in the slot car community over whether WD-40 is a good option for cleaning tracks. Unfortunately, WD-40 builds up inside of the rails over time. While it may increase performance in the short term, it will eventually reduce the overall speed of your track.[14]
    Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1

Things You’ll Need

Quick Cleaning

  • Water or braid conditioner
  • Cloth
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Canned air (optional)


  • Drywall sponge
  • Canned air
  • Cloth
  • Mineral spirits (optional)

Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating

Click on stars to rate this article