How To Clean Your Polymer Clay Extruder

Cleaning Polymer Clay ExtrudersVideo #537: Tips for cleaning both the Makins Professional Polymer Clay Extruder and the Walnut Hollow Extruder.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Maintenance and care of your polymer clay extruders to keep them working smoothly.
  • From a cleaning perspective, both the Makins and Walnut Hollow extruder brands are very similar.
  • Unscrew end cap to clean out left over clay.
  • Toothpick works well for removing clay from threads in cap and on barrel.
  • Unscrew the other end cap and pull out plunger.
  • Scrape off clay stuck to rubber ring on plunger.
  • Both tool brands have extra rubber o-rings, should they ever need to be replaced.
  • Wipe off plunger end and barrel with baby wipe or rubbing alcohol.
  • Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly) can be used to lubricate rubber o-ring.
  • Cut Lube or WD-40 works great to lubricate the metal threads of the crank shaft.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Maria, 26 June, 2014

    Hi Cindy,
    One thing I wanted to warn everyone about in regards to the Makings Machine (I have no experience with the Walnut Hollow one) is to be careful when pulling out the plunger from the barrel. I broke my first one by yanking it out too forcefully and broke the little pin/nail that attaches the disk to the plunger rod. I had to get a replacement. Lubricating the plunger is certainly an excellent idea.


  2. Cindy Lietz, 26 June, 2014

    Thanks for letting us know about that Maria! I am guessing that there may have been a weakness at the point already… it should not have been able to break, even if you were pulling on it too hard. It should be stronger than that. Was it an older machine or a new one? And did they replace it for you quickly and easily? Just wondering. I hadn’t heard of that issue with them yet.

  3. Maria C, 29 June, 2014

    Hi Cindy:
    I did have it for a while, but did not use it much. I remember pulling a bit too hard on it in an eager attempt at cleaning and the rubber ring became twisted. I went ahead and purchased a new one as I had had the other machine for quite a while already and did not want to demand a free replacement from them.

  4. Hermine R, 26 June, 2014

    I have heard a lot of complaints from the French clayers on the Makin one. I have the older model and it seems great so far.

    I wondered if you know the Lucy clay extruders. My French friends seem to like it or them depending on the one they have . It seems very expensive in Canadian money though.
    Have you tried one of them?
    Allways a pleasure to discover with you!

  5. Cindy Lietz, 27 June, 2014

    Hi Hermine, no I have not tried the Lucy Clay Extruder yet. You are right about it being expensive. From the quick checking I did, it looks like the Lucy Clay Extruder is around the $90 and the Makins or Walnut Hollow ones are more like $20-$25. Although the quality of the Lucy one is supposed to be very high and worth the price, there are also supposed to be some quirks about the design of the tool that can be a real pain. Like you can’t go backwards with the plunger… if you extrude small batches, you have to take the plunger out and start from the beginning every time and stuff like that. I would love to do a review, but the company will have to send me one, because I just can’t seeing spending the price, when I have two ones that work well, for a lot cheaper. I do really love her designs for the disks though and I think they may work with the Makins and Walnut Hollow machines, so it might be worth getting some of those.

  6. Dixie Ann, 26 June, 2014

    Happy clean up Cindy! One job I really don’t care to do but am persnickety about doing because switching from one clay color to the next especially in the lighter colors really makes a difference and prevents contamination. Learned that one early on. My first extruder was a regular Makins and the squealy noise it make just about drove me nuts. I didn’t know about lubricating then and by luck ran across an article on a product called CoolSlip which is used in the extruders with Metal Clay since it is so sticky. I figured it would work with Polymer Clay too so I tryed it and it works like a charm. Just one spray into the barrel and that’s all it takes. NO more squealing noise. Of course now I know there are other products that will work just as well. Also Maria, I know what you mean about yanking on the plunger, as the first time I did that, I hit myself in the face but it didn’t break! LOL

  7. Cindy Lietz, 27 June, 2014

    Cool! About the CoolSlip, not the plunger hitting your face!! LOL Geez, you guys are intense with the tools. I guess I am overly gentle with tools… broke lots of stuff when I was a kid, and have gone the other way to compensate. As far as the colors contaminating from one batch to another, I only have that problem with the clay stuck in the ends and the threads, never with the barrel. so it is surprising to me to hear that you and others are having problems with that.

  8. Anna Sabina, 26 June, 2014

    Whoa, Dixie. Glad you did nt get a bruise that would be hard to explain. I have had the Makins about 6 years and never had a problem. I have never taken it apart to clean it other than taking the last glob of clay off the plunger. I love my extruder and use it a lot.


  9. Dixie Ann, 26 June, 2014

    LOL, Anna I actually did bruise my cheek. I’m such an idiot.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 27 June, 2014

    You’re not an idiot Dixie Ann! Don’t you say that about my friend! :)

  11. Cindy Lietz, 27 June, 2014

    Same goes for me Anna!

  12. Julia G, 27 June, 2014

    Thank you again,Cindy for another helpful video. I had to exchange my Walnut Hollow extruder ( after not a lot of use) because the threading gave out and there was nothing I could do to make it move again! Just received my new one from Amazon and will now buy the wax to keep it’s threads healthy! I love seeing you wear the jewelry you have made when you do videos. The one you wore today renewed my hope that I’ll someday be able to recreate it for my best friend who adores the seashore! You have helped me so much!!

  13. Cindy Lietz, 28 June, 2014

    Thank you Julia! I am so happy that you are learning from the tutorials! When you make the Shoreline Tutorial, do make sure to post some pics on the PcT Facebook Page!

  14. Freda K, 29 June, 2014

    I’ve found a dental tool is helpful when cleaning out the top where there are lots of small grooves. For the dentist, their tools lose the sharpness they need and they willingly give them away.

  15. Ann Klatt, 07 September, 2019

    Hi, I just watched your video on the Lucy Clay CzeXtruder XXL HD All-In-One-Box and can not find this version anywhere on the internet. Has this version been taken off the market? I did notice your video is from 2015.


  16. Cindy Lietz, 10 September, 2019

    Hi Ann, no it hasn’t been taken off the market… all their extuders are now the heavy duty (HD) version and extra long (XXL) so they don’t bother calling them that and they have a couple of new tweaks to make them even better. I do think they have discontinued the all in one box concept though. If you go to you’ll find the extruders there. They even have a stainless steel version now. You can not go wrong with any of the models they carry!

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