Polymer Clay Pasta Machine Cleaning Tip 1 Baby Wipes

Cleaning Your Pasta Machine Tip #1 Baby WipesVideo #434: To avoid having your polymer clay get dirty… keep your pasta machine clean!

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Have you ever run a fresh piece of white polymer clay through your pasta machine only to have it come out dirty on the other side? That’s because your pasta machine is actually dirty and needs to be cleaned.
  • With the older versions of the pasta machines, we used to be able to take them apart and do a good job of cleaning out the insides. It was a pain, but at least it was doable. Now with the newer models of these machines, the inside mechanisms are designed in such a way that they will not go back together, if you take them apart. So it is important that you do not try and take your machine apart… a broken machine is worse than a dirty machine!
  • So what we have to do is clean it as best as possible from the outside.
  • One way to clean your machine is to use a Baby Wipe or Kitchen Wipe.
  • Start first by using a dry paper towel to wipe up all the crumbles of clay, glitter, dust and what-have-you, from under and around your pasta machine.
  • Then you want to take your wipe and clean off the whole clay conditioning machine, starting at the top. Pay attention to the rollers (turning handle while cleaning) and the scrapers underneath. Make sure to check the edges of the rollers, which is where clay tends to get stuck in the crevices.
  • As long as the surface is clean it can really help to keep your clay cleaner when run through the pasta machine.
  • In some future videos, I will show you how to get a deeper clean, by reaching more into the inside of the machine.


Question of the Day:

Do you have issues with a dirty pasta machine? And do you have any cleaning tips you’d like to share? Please do post your answers and ideas in the comment section below.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find 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. Freda K, 07 October, 2013

    I often forget to wipe my pasta machine down and get the little speckles of different colors on my piece of polymer clay. If there is only a little and I need to go through the pasta machine to condition it or mix two colors, I may just ignore it but when there is a lot and much different colors (light on dark or vice versa) then I might pick off the offending pieces. This is a good wake up call for me to start cleaning it more often.

  2. Juzette Menard, 07 October, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    I am very interested in becoming a member of your tutorials. I am level 0 beginner. I am very interested in polymer clay, I have try to make some work before, and they have been appreciated by friends. But I definitely would love to widen my horizon in that matter. I have the basic tools, and even have some Premo! and Sculpey III clay. Do you think you could help me becoming a better me (jewelry wise)? lol!!

    I love love your works. A fan!!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 07 October, 2013

    Hi Juzette,

    I know I can help you become better at making jewelry :-)

    … and I see that you just became a member at the Library. Welcome to the community :-) :-)

  4. Christina Pinckard, 11 October, 2013

    I have learned so much from Cindy, she has shown me ideas I wouldn’t think of, from Mixing Clays, to making the Pandora Like Beads (love these ideas and have sold a few) I have been making, Dragon scale bookmarks and Necklaces with Acrylic paint and Polymer Clay. Once I get more money I am going to buy more videos if I can. :D As for Cleaning the Machine, thank you for this. I was wiping it down after each color, but not cleaning it thoroughly. Thank you for these ideas.

  5. DebiS, 07 October, 2013

    I have taken off those outside brackets that cover the rollers. The large metal ones that are in the way anyways. That way I can always clean the edges and the in between spaces easily.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 07 October, 2013

    Hi Debi, on the older machines you used to be able to remove those fins and make the machine much easier to clean but I highly advise people not to try it on the newer machines. They may not be able to get them back together again.

  7. Catalina, 07 October, 2013

    Yep! This is how I try to clean mine. Can’t wait to see the deeper cleaning tip :) I’m so bummed out that I took my new one apart only to find those pins and pulled them out!! I think I might as well junk it. Slowly getting back into the swing of things. Sorry I haven’t posted comments much but I try to keep up with everyone. Keep the Tips coming!

  8. Maria C, 08 October, 2013

    Hi Cindy!
    My issue has been the black streaks that appear on clay, especially on the edges. As I understand it, it’s actually a reaction between the metal and the clay. It’s very frustrating – I actually keep one machine exclusively for the “whites” – white and transluscent clays – and the clay I pass through them gets those annoying black streaks on them even though black clay has never touched its surface. Any thoughts? I try to wipe the rollers as much as possible, but these streaks re-appear pretty quickly – after about 4-6 passes through the machine)

  9. Anna Sabina, 09 October, 2013

    I turn my machine over and actually remove the old clay off the scrapers/fins or what ever they are called. It is amazing how much gets caught on those. I also use the wipes for cleaning as shown in this video or put rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and run it through the rollers.
    Maria- I never knew why I got those gray smudges or streaks on white clay. They are definitely not caused by clay. A reaction with the metal rollers makes sense.
    I use an alcohol wipe to rub them off. Oh they mysteries of clay. i know some people put their white clay between parchment or clear plastic sheets before running it through their machine.

    So Cindy, we have a new mystery for you to solve.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 09 October, 2013

    Hi Maria and Anna, Those pesky black streaks are a real hassle, I know. They appear to be caused by some sort of chemical reaction between the metal and the clay or cleaners like rubbing alcohol. I notice them more on the sides where there are more scratches from the scrapers on the rollers. In one of the future videos I show how you can use translucent clay in your rollers first to pre-clean them. Some people use white clay, but I prefer to use translucent. Any of the opaque clays (including white) may leave bits of clay or residue behind to contaminate your next sheet of clay. By using translucent, you eliminate that problem because the translucent disappearing into the clay, no matter what color it is. You’ll see when the video comes out in a week or so.

  11. Maria, 09 October, 2013

    Thank you, Anna, for the parchment and plastic sheet advice!
    I’m looking forward to your video, Cindy – this has been a really annoying problem for me all these years …now I’m getting resolutions for it – yay!

  12. Bertha A., 10 October, 2013

    I try to wipe off my machine after every session, just the way you demonstrated. I use wipes with very mild or “natural” cleaners as I am hypersensitive to many of the popular cleaning or disinfecting agents. (I got the Lysol brand originally but I use them sparingly as even they recommend rinsing it off surfaces that may come into contact with food.)

    I haven’t really noticed a big problem with black streaks – that I wasn’t able to trace back to prior dark clay. I wonder if it could be related to the machine brand or age, e.g. different metal coatings or alloys? (I got an old Atlas machine from friends who hadn’t made pasta in ages.)

    By the way, clay machines (and ovens) are 50% off at JoAnns Fabrics & Crafts this week. I picked up one to 1) keep as backup 2) take with me to workshops so that I don’t have to unclamp & pack up my nicer one and 3) perhaps take with me on certain trips I take regularly. I’ll see if there is any difference in keeping this one clean. (Also, 2oz blocks are on sale again this week at Michaels.)

  13. Elke V, 11 October, 2013

    hi,

    i clean my machine the same way, however, ever so often i use something stronger such as rubbing alcohol to get rid of the remaining bits. I find that the red clays are the greatest problem.

    I also have a separate machine for conditioning my white, pearl and translucent.

  14. Lisa L., 11 October, 2013

    If you wanna spend an outrageous amount for a pasta machine, there’s a really nice one on Polymerclayexpress.com called the D.R.E.A.M. machine. It has moveable guides, you can take the scrapper off to clean it and it’s an open design so that nothing but the rollers touch the clay. You can also buy a motor to go with it so you don’t have to hand crank. It’s cool but, I can’t afford it!

  15. Susie W, 11 October, 2013

    I also do what Cindy does, but I go a bit further. I insert a wipe that has alcohol in it into the machine, as I would a piece of clay and run it through, holding onto the back end of the wipe. Then I fold the wipe and run it through again, several times, again holding onto the end of the wipe. Sometimes I take a Q-tip with some rubbing alcohol and get into some of the crevices I can’t get to with my fingers. I think it does a pretty good job.

  16. elaine faulks, 12 October, 2013

    Guilty as charged! I just turned my pasta machine upside down and hang my head in shame. Loads of “gunk” lurking in there, so this timely tip about keeping your tools clean was a wake up call. Big thank you CINDY.
    My machine is so old “It doesn’t even have a brand name” and I get that chemical reaction that is such a pesky nuisance. (Now if anyone can come up with a solution to eliminate the cause they deserve a medal).
    So, now out with the baby wipes and gotta get this back to CLEAN.
    BTW Cindy your faux abalone pendant and earrings look stunning. I went to a boot fair last week and saw a 6 inch Abalone shell. The lady wanted £1 for it so I walked away. On returning some time later she offered to sell it to me for 50p. The pattern inside is amazing and the back side has a great texture, so I think I got a real bargain. It would also make a great natural soap dish, with 6 little holes for drainage. (Isn’t nature wonderful)……………..cheers…xx………..

  17. Jocelyn C, 14 October, 2013

    Elaine you are too funny. I hang my head with you, because late last nite before bed, I turned over the new Altas with a huge magnifying glass and a flashlight, and oh my!, there is clutter in both sides. This really freaks me, since I have been religious about cleaning it since I got it a year ago.

    Thanks to the latest pasta machine cleaning video, we have hope, Cindy will guide us through it.

    Hope you are still in the south of France and enjoying your holiday!

  18. Kelli J, 12 October, 2013

    To get really pesky, don’t want to come off, bits from the underside, I take and fold the wipe in half and then in half again so that it becomes rather thick and then use a letter opener to help put a little bit more pressure and get in between the rollers on the bottom and along the edges where the clay collects. I make sure not to put too much pressure so I don’t poke through the cloth, you don’t want to scratch your pasta machine. But, I found that I was able to get some of the more stubborn stuck on clay off that way. You just have to be really careful to make the cloth thick enough that the letter opener (because it’s metal) won’t poke through and scratch your pasta machine. I also run that back and forth along the underside while turning the crank. I keep re-folding the wipe or using a new one until no more clay is coming off. I will even run a wipe through the rollers! LOL Just be careful with that, because it also squeezes the water out of the cloth… which was quite entertaining, by the way! LOL =)

    Love your videos, Cindy!!!

    Kelli aka Creative Moon

  19. Darlene Bruehl, 29 December, 2013

    My pasta machine leaves metallic “stripes” that really show up on light colors, especially on the thinner sheets. I sometimes use a cotton pad with alcohol to “clean”, but it can leave lint and mar the surface. Is there something to treat the rollers with?

    Also, I noticed that the Polymer Clay Superstore has a wider pasta machine…I have considered making cake tops and figures with clay replicas of wedding dresses (I sewed bridal wear for years and I thought it would make nice keepsakes)…I just wondered how necessary the bigger size would be. I’d appreciate your knowledgeable opinion.

    Thank you

  20. Cindy Lietz, 01 January, 2014

    Hi Darlene, those marks you get from your rollers is caused by a chemical reaction between the clay, the pitting and scratches in the metal and the air. Cleaning them off with rubbing alcohol or baby wipes only works temporarily. I have tried to treat the rollers with oils, waxes and sprays, which works as long as you don’t roll clay through them again. :P Everything I have tried so far just ends up making the clay stick to the rollers, after they are treated. If the manufacturers would just use better quality rollers, there wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

    I have found that running a scrap piece of translucent clay through the rollers before running your good clay through helps solve the problem. Watch this video to learn more:

    Using Translucent Clay to Clean Pasta Machine – Tip #3

    .

  21. patricia cason, 06 September, 2014

    I wonder if solid Teflon rollers would work? It would probably up the cost of the machine somewhat but I for one would be willing to pay a little extra to get a better result.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 08 September, 2014

    I don’t know how expensive solid Teflon rollers would be to make, but they might be a good solution for pasta machines. I do like the anodized aluminum rollers of the new Atlas Pasta Machine I got a few months ago. Not a single black streak in sight!

  23. Terry D, 22 April, 2014

    Cindy,

    Please be sure to tell everyone to be careful when cleaning the scrapers on their pasta machines. That area is sharp! I’ve cut myself by sliding the wipe along the scraper & the wipe lost contact. It’s similiar to a paper cut, but much worse.

  24. Cindy Lietz, 23 April, 2014

    Hi Terry, you must have much better scrapers than the ones I’ve ever had, if they cut you! I will warn people from now one. Thank you for letting me know!

  25. Barbara Como, 16 June, 2014

    HI

    Sitting here reading about cleaning the clay machines and black marks, I had a thought That if P Clay, paper, etc are protected with PYM and sense its an acrylic protective sealant. PMY might be an answer to the black mark, the can does say it can be applied to metal.

    Thanks Cindy for the suggestion using papermache. I can make a mold. using papermache never even crossed my mind.

    Thanks Barb in Kansas

  26. Jane V W, 05 September, 2014

    I feel silly even adding this tip, especially since reading about some of you turning the machine upside down–duh! I hadn’t thought of that! It stays attached to my workbench all the time. But I’ve found that by using a hand mirror to show me the underside, I can see to get into the cracks and recesses with my wipes. I definitely will try the translucent clay tip–thanks, Cindy! I’m a late comer to clay, so I appreciate all the ideas from all of you.

  27. Cindy Lietz, 05 September, 2014

    Don’t feel silly at all Jane… that is a great idea! I leave my pasta machine clamped down too and would find it way easier to do a quick check with a mirror, rather than taking it off or getting down on the floor to try and look underneath. Thanks for sharing your idea!

  28. Anna Sabina, 15 September, 2014

    There are some companies that make PC macihines with teflon rollers. I know Makins has a couple.

  29. Maria K, 11 September, 2018

    Hi, can i use a pasta machine for a quite hard piece of polymer clay ? or is this possible to damage the machine ? I want to buy a paste machine for this reason because sometimes i have to roll for “hours” to make the clay soft enough. Thank you!!

  30. Cindy Lietz, 13 September, 2018

    Hi Maria, it is possible to damage a pasta machine by forcing clay that is too hard, through it’s rollers. If you are spending hours trying to soften really hard polymer clay, then I would suggest that you get yourself a NEVERknead machine. (See ad in top right hand side bar of this blog.) I have also done a video review of the product, just use the search box at the top of the page to find that post. If that is not in your budget, then I also have a video on using a hammer to soften hard polymer clay, which a search will also bring up for you. I like to have the clay be relatively soft, before I start rolling it through a pasta machine so that I am not damaging the gears or the alignment of the rollers. Hope that helps!

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