HOW TO CLEAN INCOLAY - it's not as hard as you think

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I have been collecting Incolay for 30 years and have over 100 pieces. I have gotten some pretty dirty boxes...I mean some were almost black. They can be cleaned up easily and quickly. I use a tooth brush and Greased Lightning. I spray on the GL and scrub with a toothbrush and EVERYTHING comes off of it.(black,brown and any other color stain, including smoke stain) Then i rinse with water and let it dry. Next coat with regular mineral oil using another  toothbrush (helps get it in the cracks and crevises without leaving lent from a cloth) Then pat off the excess oil with a towel....and that's all there is to it...THE HARDEST PART IS NOT GETTING THE VELVET WET...but if you hold the box upside down when you rinse the top and sides, everything is fine. Sometimes the velvet can be popped out or will fall out when you hold it upside down...this is great---you can clean and rinse it ,without it in the box, which makes it much easier...I would check the velvet before cleaning, because you dont want a loose one to fall in the sink when you are rinsing !! Sometimes you will get a box that is not dirty, but all dried out looking-- this is because it has not been handled by someone for a long time and has not gotten the natural oils from our hands...all you need to do is oil it (see above) When it is oiled it looks darker ( like it did when it was wet) and scratches and scuffs disapear ! ...If your velvet is dirty you can vacuum it out  or  if it is really bad ,use a foam carpet cleaner that foams up. Just spray a little in the box and after a few minutes GENTLY scoop it out and gently wipe it dry (makes it smell good too)....I have replaced really bad velvet or missing velvet. IT IS REALLY AMAZING HOW 10 MINUTES OF TIME CAN MAKE THESE BOXES LOOK BRAND NEW !!  .... BUT ONE WARNING--- NEVER use bleach on Incolay-- It turns the white part yellow and you can never get the yellow out !!  NEW WARNING !!! to the people trying to clean the incolay boxes that have a black picture etched onto them...the design is not raised, it is indented and darkened....THOSE CANNOT BE CLEANED WITH GREASED LIGHTNING !!!  it will take all the black off and your picture will be gone !!
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