Anyone have any favorite cleaners? I just got back into the hobby and I converted a DC Athearn (no factory plug) to DCC and upgraded the decoder in a Bachmann engine. While I was at it, I decided to clean out the factory lube. I tried using alcohol per some web advice, but it doesn't really do a good job of cutting the grease. I then tried my personal favorite of naphtha (good old lighter fluid). Worked beautifully as always, only $12/gallon at ACE hardware.
Another piece of advice I found on the web for cleaning the locomotive wheels was to soak a paper towel with WD-40 and drive the engine over it. It probably loosens the gunk on the wheels, but I'd also think that it greatly reduces traction. I did do the paper towel thing but with naphtha instead and it worked great on the wheels. It also cleans the rails quite nicely.
The only thing I've ever seen naphtha harm is thin latex rubber gloves. Outside of that it is an excellent grease/oil remover that drys fast and leaves no residue behind. Doesn't seem to harm paint at all either.
For lubricants, any recommendations? I used watch barrel "grease" (used in wind-up wristwatches to lubricate the mainspring) for the truck gear teeth and Hoppes oil for the shafts/bushings. I've seen recommendations for teflon based lubes and this does sound like a good idea to me. Comments? Flames? ;-)