If the included photos feel a bit small, go ahead and click on them. It's always best to look at the big picture, right?
As it is with many used typewriters, the type heads on my newly acquired Hermes Rocket were a bit gobbed up with old, dried ink. Thus, I've always made it a habit to clean the type heads/bars when I get a new machine because I just love that flawless steel look and the clean, crisp text provided by the gunk-free type bars only serves to intensify that love. My weapon of choice to combat the inky hordes? VM&P Naphtha. Dried ink doesn't stand a chance against this cleaning powerhouse. It's easily found at your local hardware store in the paint aisle.
I isolate the type bars as if I was doing heart surgery and, as you can see, the loosened ink is soaking into the rag I slid underneath the type basket just before the first application. When I scrub Naphtha on the bars with a toothbrush, tiny droplets of the stuff tend to splatter everywhere, so I shield my eyes with protective eyewear while covering my workspace and typewriter with cotton rags. A ventilated area is a good idea too, as Naphtha stinks like gasoline. The good news is that the whole process doesn't take all that long because it dissolves the caked-on ink in a matter of seconds. I make a couple of applications, brush all the type heads judiciously, wipe up the excess, and wait for it to dry. Once it's dry, I soak a rag with rubbing alcohol and wipe down each individual type bar, removing any remaining ink smudges. The result:
Wondering how the cleaning has affected type quality? Stop back in the next day or two. The typewriter has been cleaned, lubricated, catalogued, shelved, and is ready for it's very first typecast.