CLEANING VINYL - The AK compendium of fact, fiction and collective wisdom

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by onwardjames, Dec 31, 2014.

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Have you ever used glue to clean a record?

  1. Yes

    144 vote(s)
    22.9%
  2. No

    486 vote(s)
    77.1%
  1. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    I have been gathering old beat-up records for 10 years now, and thanks to this wonderful place, have been quite successful in resurrecting many of my mom and dad's old records, some forgotten gems in thrift shops, etc.

    Since AK has become THE place for all questions audio, I thought this thread could be a gathering of the assorted and still relevant threads about cleaning records.

    First, I'm encouraging everyone who reads this to contribute your experience. We have all walks of life here, and I think it will be a great resource to compartmentalize this amazing knowledge. Yeah, I'd like this to be a sticky if it takes off.

    Please keep the discussion moving ahead, and civil.

    I'm going to link the two threads I find to be some of the greatest sources of knowledge on cleaning records and filthy vinyl.

    This legendary thread pretty much ended my love/hate affair with records. Now I fear no vinyl! It's the wood glue thread.

    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=99837

    This promising thread is from our resident expert on chemicals, Vince1.
    Enzymes, not just for your gut any more!

    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?p=8395516

    also, any DIY type stuff is great. Please link any threads I miss.

    Here's one I'm still sorta on the fence about. The results are great, but I fear the long-term issues. Scrubbing Bubbles as a cleaning method?

    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=349539

    Again, please comment, add what you've learned, and let us build this thread into a provable resource to save the vinyl. :thmbsp:
     
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  2. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Enzymes may or may not help. A good cleaning system (like a Spin Clean, etc) with a good detergent/surfactant will do more than enzymes will ever do (as you have to give enzymes time to do their work - sometimes more than 5 minutes - sometimes 1 hour or more). Also, enzymes have additives that may or may not hurt vinyl. One needs to take ideas always with a grain of salt.

    I am also an expert with enzymes (having worked with them for over 30 years), Same can be said for MRH.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  3. squirrelnest

    squirrelnest Addicted Member

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    Never used glue to clean records....I have a Nitty Gritty...does a great job!
     
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  4. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    MRH??

    Wife got me a SpinClean, and I think we can all agree, it works very well for the cost.

    I've still had to glue several records that the SpinClean couldn't completely clean.

    Thanks for your input, Botty. Collective experience is what I seek, and none of the back n forth fussing that muddies things for non-chemists/bacterial experts such as myself.

    I just want clean records, ya dig? :D:yes:
     
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  5. hi*ball

    hi*ball Records & Coffee Subscriber

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    What I have found to be a simple truth is this:

    Record grooves get dirty (sometimes REALLY dirty). Record gooves are very small.

    In order to get down in there and get them clean, you need something good and wet. I prefer the fairly "standard" (if there is such a thing :D) isopropyl alcohol / distilled water / surficant mix. I use 4 parts water to 1 part alcohol with a few drops of dishwasher rinse aid.

    This needs to be worked into the grooves. There are different ways of going about this, but I use the common paint pads to do this job.

    Finally, those dirty soaking grooves now need to be vacuumed out. This can be done with a record cleaning machine costing a thousand dollars, or with something that you have rigged up to your shop vac for a few dollars. The key is to GET THAT DIRTY LIQUID OUT OF THOSE GROOVES.

    This is what I use, and I cannot imagine not having it now: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=567344

    Clean records = more music enjoyment, which is what it all comes down to. :music:

    Here is a link to the actual DIY RCM thread here on AK: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=318672
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
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  6. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    hi*ball, thank you, I was actually looking for that excellent DIY thread.
     
  7. wrbear

    wrbear A man of many talents...a master of none...

    James great idea! I would like to suggest adding cover cleaning and repairs. A "Do it All" safety net. I'll put my 2 in if that's acceptable.
     
  8. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    You mean record covers and such? Absolutely.

    I've found a gentle wipe with a Magic Eraser sure helps to remove that light film of mold. My copy of Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore was horrible. One swipe, and most of that funk was gone.

    Thanks, wrbear.
     
  9. Bourbon

    Bourbon Drinkin' and dreamin' Subscriber

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    I'll try to keep this short.

    I began collecting albums about 18 months ago. I started with flea market albums, as I had yet to discover discogs. I enjoyed those albums, but the dirty vinyl degraded the output and my enjoyment. Then I stumbled across this site and began learning about vinyl albums and ways to clean them.

    I tried creating a DIY Groovmaster, but found it to be a pain to use. Then I tried to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, but again, found it to be tiresome. I probably would've kept using these two methods, but a couple fairly expensive record purchases made me realize that my new hobby was quickly turning into an investment. I began looking at RCM options. After about a month of agonizing over the decision, I bit the bullet and bought a VPI. While it was quite pricey, I considered it to be a nominal investment for what I thought would turn into an expensive album collection.

    By the time it arrived, I'd collected about 150 albums. I cleaned them all and noticed an immediate improvement in the sound quality. My level of enjoyment rose exponentially, and I now clean every album I buy before putting it on the turntable. My collection has grown to almost 300 albums, some of them quite expensive, and I consider the VPI an integral part of the enjoyment they provide. I view it as a great investment, because in theory, it only increased the price of my collection by $2 per album (closer to $3/album if you factor in the cost of MoFi sleeves and poly outer sleeves). In all, I feel it was worth it.
     
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  10. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

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    I tried glue once. I wasn't impressed with the results, but the record may have been beyond saving. For the right record I'll try it again. I use a VPI wand based DIY RCM (see RCM sticky) with 3:1 distilled water to 91% Isopropyl alcohol and 3 drops of Dawn in a quart followed with a distilled water rinse. It's fully self contained and in my listening room. No setup required, the height of convenience. I use paint pads as well.

    My first serious vinyl days were pre-CD and acquiring used vinyl wasn't necessary, let alone even thinkable then. I had B&O cartridges, stylus cleaner was verbudt, so I just used the original Decca CF brush and was very, very careful. When I bought a record I bought a "rice paper" sleeve as well. For the occasional errant finger print I'd sink wash the record.

    If you buy PVA glue by the gallon it's only twice as costly as my home brew, which is kind of amazing.

    Lately I've been brainstorming about a another more automated RCM employing a Sonicare toothbrush on an arm with a Keith Monks type pickup using a much, much quieter vacuum pump. We'll see.
     
  11. wrbear

    wrbear A man of many talents...a master of none...

    My method to clean covers:

    This is just what I found to be the "Best of" via trial and error for cleaning album covers.

    I use this first:

    GGHS12.jpg

    To remove the darn Goodwill, Half Price Books etc. stickers. I first use a “plastic” razor to scrape it off then a light spritz on a small piece of paper towel is all it takes. Rub lightly in as small a spot as you can. I would not recommend spraying the cover itself. You will notice it will leave an oily residue. You can buff it off lightly with a larger paper towel. “DO Not use this method on porous covers”. A dry towel is important use clean towels often.

    Next:

    lysol.JPG


    I use these to clean the outside of the cover. One towel cleans about 6 album covers. Wring the towel out of excess liquid first. Use the abrasive side for stubborn areas. Be careful not to press to hard or wipe too much you will fade the cover a bit. You will find your level in time. Let dry. “Do Not use on porous covers”. Look at the towel pretty dirty huh!

    Finally:

    Capture1.jpg

    Spritzed the inside with this via a spray bottle to reduce/eliminate mold. I use a toothpick to keep the cover opened to dry overnight usually.

    For smelly records:

    I usually place them in a plastic container with a bag of dustless kitty litter for about a week.

    For Mold:

    I usually place around 10 covers in a seal-able baggy and toss it in the freezer for a week. Some say placing them in the sun for a day also kills the mold. My understanding is that it becomes dormant. Keep your records in a cool dry place at all times.

    Not sure about the mold relief, I just read it online and picked what I feel worked for me.
     
  12. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Dr. Mark Hardy :D
     
  13. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    My Jose Feliciano album with only minor swirls and scratches hasn't responded to anything. Enzymes, RCM, two glue treatments. Nothing. Sounds freaking terrible. Either plowed, or just sucks.

    On the other hand, a live Ray Charles that looked really bad, I tried to clean with multiple RCM passes, paint pad and dawn scrubbings, still sounded horrible.

    First glue, WHOAAA!!! So much better.

    Second time I glued, I noticed even less noise (had the waveform somewhere on my computer) and even noticed a person in the audience say "What's THAT, RAY?" when Ray said "I want ya'll to know something..."

    Glue cannot repair damage, and some records are just crummy pressings.

    I have two copies of Tubular Bells. One looks pretty average, a few scratches, but sounds almost perfectly silent. It is a later pressing. The earlier pressing with the twin women on the label is SPOTLESS, but even after gluing, is just too noisy.

    With so many variables in the pressing stages, etc, I have to accept that sometimes, it just isn't fixable.

    Great input thus far, thanks people!
     
  14. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    AAAAHHHH! Now I understand.
     
  15. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

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    Location:
    Minnesota
    I use a high powered shop vac with some short (but very soft) bristles and shop vac the records on a home-made, non-motorized platter. Occasionally, I will wash them in my utility sink with soap and water.

    I always wipe the record clean with an old D4 Discwasher brush, lightly misted with a water/alcohol solution to take some accumulated dust and static charges out the way. I do this while the record is turning on the platter, then play with almost totally dead quiet background.

    Wayner
     
  16. Brett a

    Brett a ~◦●○o0o○●◦~ Moderator Subscriber

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    I've glue-cleaned a few records. It didn't seem to make any difference. I had already wet/vacuum cleaned them.
     
  17. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    I use the smallest shop vac they make, mounted inside an old Optimus cabinet, and wrap the head with a very good microfiber cloth, with a slit in the middle. PLENTY of suction, and yet, I've still had to glue the occasional ones. Perhaps I'm just getting some very badly treated vinyl?

    wrbear, great post about those stickers Goodwill uses. Damn things are a headache, will be trying the goo b gone. And what is a plastic razor?

    Wayner, could you tell me more about your "misting" thing? Static is a big problem right now. This isn't the same as a "wet" play, right??
     
  18. phatster

    phatster Honey Boo Boob Subscriber

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    I have added steam cleaning which seems to get deep into the grooves,I do this first then the usual AK mixture with brush then vacuum,rinse and vacuum again.The time invested is worth it and the album generally only needs this treatment the first go round.Have a happy New Year ya'll and Go cats!
     
  19. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    I used steam until my steamer quit. Aside from the disconcerting way the vinyl warps for just a sec, it is wonderful for dislodging crud.
     
  20. wrbear

    wrbear A man of many talents...a master of none...

    I'm with you on the small vac method. I tried a leaf blower but it didn't go with the furniture as well..snort. I don't want to clean my records here and there. I usually collect a few (I get around 10-15 per trip), setup my record cleaning line; lightly clean, Lazy Susan wash with mix, vacuum, distilled water rinse, vacuum, dry with micro fiber and rack dry. Then I put all of it away. All of this is done in the guest bathroom. I'm doing around 85 albums right now at 1 1/2 hours per 20, 20 per day. Works for me but not for everyone.
     

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