Thread Number: 34220  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
How to clean and polish a Vintage Kirby
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Post# 370841   4/16/2017 at 21:11 (401 days old) by TheBraveKirby (Jackson Nj)        

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Ok So its been a long time over 890 Days since I have been here but I am back to ask How to clean a Vintage Kirby how do I polish the metal to a nice shine what are some good safe polishes I can use? I have removed the heavy dirt and dust with Glass Plus it has no ammonia. I have looked all over the web and get a lot of different advise not sure what is best for the age of the metal I don't want to damage or discolor the metal I was told Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish is the best but again not sure if I can use it due to the age of the Kirby.

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Post# 370842 , Reply# 1   4/16/2017 at 21:45 (401 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Mothers mag and aluminum is what I used for my Tradition, Omega, and 505 and it did wonderful. It will not damage the metal, but remove the trim to prevent discoloring it from the polishing. Check out my recent restoration threads for each of those machines to see how good Mothers did. While polishing by hand does very good (as on my Tradition), a 4" buffing wheel on my cordless drill worked wonders on my 505 and Omega. The wheel removed small scratches with some persistance but deep scratches will have to be sanded first if you want to remove them. The variable speed on the drill was handy to have.

Post# 370861 , Reply# 2   4/17/2017 at 10:50 (400 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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Another excellent aluminum polish is Flitz polish. Flitz is more expensive than Mother's but you do not need to worry about getting it on any trim pieces because Flitz can also be used to clean and shine any type of rubber or plastic pieces as well as polish aluminum. Flitz is what the Kirby rebuild department uses to restore old Kirby's sent in to be refurbished.


I also get a better shine with less elbow grease with Flitz. 



Post# 370897 , Reply# 3   4/17/2017 at 17:44 (400 days old) by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


Actually, this is what the Kirby Rebuild Department uses to restore old Kirbys.


(These photos were taken by someone, I don't remember who, when the VCCC went to the Kirby Company for a tour a few years ago.)

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Post# 370930 , Reply# 4   4/18/2017 at 07:00 (399 days old) by KirbyKleanKarpet (Florida )        

I second Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish. Whether you need to sand or not will depend on if you have deeper scratches, a buffing wheel, and if no buffing wheel, will depend on how oxidized the aluminum is. If you have no buffing wheel, but only have light scratches, finer grit sandpaper (400+ thru 2000 grit preferably, working up in stages) is the way to go (make sure you're wet sanding), and finishing with the Mother's. Doing it that way is how I did my Heritage and a friend's H2/Legend, and it did wonders. I have since acquired a buffing wheel, and that SURE DOES speed things along! Heavier scratches will require a lower grit sandpaper. Nevertheless, Mother's or that Flitz, I've heard, is indeed good. Finish with your polish, and you will have a fine-looking machine!

A picture of my 517 with just polish is below. No heavy buffing. Before and after.

Best of luck!

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Post# 370931 , Reply# 5   4/18/2017 at 07:02 (399 days old) by KirbyKleanKarpet (Florida )        

(P.S. My "after" picture does almost zero justice for Mother's, as it was 9:30pm when the picture was taken. Camera flash does little for the shine.)


Post# 370935 , Reply# 6   4/18/2017 at 09:14 (399 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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One other thing about hand sanding. Don't sand in circles. Sand in straight lines back and forth. When you switch to a finer grit, sand perpendicular to the way you sanded with the previous grit. This will erase the lines made by the previous grit sandpaper. The perpendicular rule also holds true for sanding out deep scratches.

Post# 370943 , Reply# 7   4/18/2017 at 14:45 (399 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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Well, to each his own, but I use Flitz to maintain the shine on my Kirby's. I have used both but Flitz is easier to use and produces a better shine than Mother's.




Post# 370964 , Reply# 8   4/18/2017 at 17:17 (399 days old) by UniversalDave1 (Gardendale, AL)        
Blue Magic

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I have been using Blue Magic polishing cream for years now, and it never ceases to amaze me. I decided that I wanted to use my Sentria to shampoo wall to wall carpeting today, but before I did, I wanted it to be polished. I machine polished the Sentria four years ago, but it has long since tarnished again. So I took a little 0000 steel wool, some Blue Magic, and 15 minutes, and restored the shine quite well for only a 15 minute touch up. On the right is the Sentria II that got machine polished yesterday, and the Sentria after the steel wool touch up.

Post# 371067 , Reply# 9   4/19/2017 at 18:08 (398 days old) by Louvac (A)        
Blue Magic Polishing Cream

Blue Magic Polishing Cream is, I would say, a notch above Mothers Mag Aluminum Polish, Flitz, AutoSol, and TopBrite. And, it claims to leave a silicone coating behind to help prevent tarnishing.

And, it's more cost effective since a 7 oz. tub of it costs about 8.99. Flitz is outrageous for a small tube. I have found that Blue Magic Polishing Cream seems to make the metal a little brighter and produce a more mirrored shine.

You can get it at most TrueValue Hardware stores. If they don't have it in stock it can be ordered.

Post# 371180 , Reply# 10   4/21/2017 at 03:23 (397 days old) by KirbyKleanKarpet (Florida )        

No TruVacs near here. I have never heard of it. I'll have to try it. I am persistently polishing my Kirbys, so I am always up for a product a step above. Same with my cars. The basest stuff I use is Griot's Garage show waxes, and such, but I have been known to use higher quality polishes and waxes.

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