Record cleaning- you're doing it wrong!

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by guest110, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    Partially true, which is why the dH2O rinse is critical. That said, it is impossible to avoid the fact that a molecular layer of detergent remains on the record surface, regardless of the extent of rinsing (unless you rinse with something non-polar). Which is why the choice of detergent actually does matter.
     
    bhaskarcan likes this.
  2. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    Either charcoal filtered tap or bottled spring water. Not critical, but certainly better than distilled for optimal enzymatic activity (given the short incubation times and the sub-optimal temperature and pHs typically employed in record cleaning protocols).
     
  3. Hajidub

    Hajidub He's a beast! Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I prefer unicorn tears myself.
     
    Rococo likes this.
  4. 2channel*

    2channel* Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Who would make a unicorn cry?
     
  5. dcmfan

    dcmfan AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,572
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Many seem to be based on the formula here:

    http://cool.conservation-us.org/byauth/st-laurent/care.html

    • The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) recommends the use of nonionic, ethelyne oxide condensates surfactants to clean sound recordings. The CCI does not foresee long-term problems associated with the use of nonionic surfactants such as Tergitol. Tergitol 15-S-3 is an oil soluble surfactant and 15-S-9 is a water soluble surfactant. Combined they remove a wide range of dirt and greases and can safely be used on sound recordings. Use 0.25 part of Tergitol 15-S-3 and 0.25 parts of Tergitol 15-S-9 per 100 parts of distilled water. (These products are available in small quantities from TALAS (Division of Technical Library Service Inc) 213 West 35th Street, New York, N.Y. (212) 465-8722.) The recording must then be rinsed thoroughly with distilled water to eliminate any trace of detergent residue.
    This mix works with non ultrasonic methods in which the fluid is applied with a brush, allowed to soak a bit and then rinsed completely from the vinyl record. Several folks substitute Triton x-100 for the Tergitols because the Triton is easier to source.

    Hope this helps...
     
    Angry Possum and phantomrebel like this.
  6. tfc1946

    tfc1946 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Has anyone looked at the DOW Ecosurf line of products as a substitute for Triton or Tergitol? TALAS sells the ecosurf EH-3 product and it looks interesting. I'm not a chemist, though.
    Thanks.
    Tom Connell
     
  7. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    I experimented with the EH-9 and it worked very well. I haven't recommended it due to cost and availability. The good thing is that it is APEO free, but so is Tergitol 15-S-9 which, in my hands, seems identical in terms of handling and cleaning properties.
     
  8. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    Ok, time to get your Geek on (Notes from a presentation I gave)...
    Below is my understanding of the chemical makeup of vinyl phonographic records (excludes shellac, lacquer, and polystyrene discs). I’m sure it is incomplete as I am no expert, but I have read numerous papers and patents and spoken with people who were in the industry to gather the most information possible. Specificity is difficult as there were numerous resin recipes used over the years and most of them are proprietary. Much of what I present is from what was done at RCA (USA) and Victor (Japan). I would love to hear from others in the field so we can expand the knowledge base. My objective is to understand the composition since what something is made of helps us decide how best to handle and preserve it. Hence, I have included notes on possible conflicts with cleaning methods (mindful that this is a controversial topic).

    Composition of Vinyl Records -
    The thermoplastic resin used to produce vinyl (non-shellac) phonograph records consist mostly of copolymers of vinyl chloride (PVC) and vinyl acetate (PVA). The ratio typically used is 2 parts PVA copolymer to one part PVC monopolymer and the total vinyl polymer can be 75-96% of the record weight. The other 4%-25% are additives that are critical to the production, performance, and stability of the product. Most of these additives are not covalently bound; they are merely incorporated within the polymer matrix and therefore may be leeched out.
    The additives include:

    1. Heat stabilizers. Record production would not be possible without heat stabilizers that mainly function to neutralize the HCl gas generated at production temperatures. PVC has low thermal stability and degrades in a dehydrochlorination reaction at temperatures above 70 deg C (extruder temps are typically 155C and molding presses are typically at 120C). The reaction is autocatalytic: the released HCl catalyzes further breakdown. In addition to heat, UV and pollution exposure can initialize this reaction over time so it is important not to remove these stabilizers. In fact, it has been shown aging of records can be monitored by measuring the amount of effective stabilizer remaining in the disc (Pickett and Lemcoe, 1959). By scavenging the HCl gas released at pressing, the stabilizers also protect the press stampers from staining and etching, giving them a longer life.
    The stabilizers are typically metal salts of fatty acids or similar organometallic compounds (often called “metallic soaps”). The metals are typically lead, tin, barium and/or cadmium and the fatty acids are typically lauric or stearic acid. They typically make up 0.5-1.5% of the resin mix and often, more than one type are added. Many of these compounds also act as releasing agents (lubricants).
    Organophosphite esters may be added as co-stabilizers as they reduce the amount of heavy metal compounds needed in the record.*1 Other stabilizers (e.g. phenolic antioxidants) that protect the polymer during its useful life (e.g. free radical scavengers, UV protection) are sometimes also included.
    The organometallic compounds are essentially the components that form soap scum in bathtubs and showers. Hence, it is reasonable when cleaning vinyl records to avoid household cleaning agents (including formulations containing Vinegar) that remove soap scum. Acidic cleaners, in general, might best be avoided so as not to promote the dehydrochlorination reaction, reduce the amount of effective stabilizer, or otherwise reduce the useful life of the product. For the same reason, acid-free record sleeves are strongly advised.

    2. Lubricants:
    It is customary to add a lubricant to the resin mix to promote the flow of the resin during processing. The lubricant is typically a hard wax, natural (e.g Carnauba or Montan wax) or a synthetic (e.g. distearyl amide type waxes). Fatty acid esters also served as lubricants (the cationic type doubled as “conditioners”). Lubricants typically comprise 1% or less of the resin mixture. The lubricant also promotes release from stamper. Some refer to these as “mold releasing agents”, but it should be noted that they are integrated into the resin mix, not something added to the stamper. Because the lubricant is evenly dispersed within the record, it also reduces friction at the finished record surface, for example, reducing heat and potential PVC breakdown as a stylus moves across. Hence, removal of lubricants is not desirable. Hard wax removal requires heat and/or strong solvents so these should be avoided (e.g. no steam cleaning). Additional friction at the record surface may result in audible noise: RCA found that too much or too little wax lubricant in their mix produced non-uniformity that resulted in noisy records.*2

    3. Colorants:
    It is customary to add a colorant so that the record surface is more easily observed (for defects, etc.). Carbon black is the most common as it also offers durability to the product and it is typically included at 0.25 -0.5%.*3 Carbon Black has the additional benefit of distributing electrical charges and increasing the rate at which such charges are dissipated (reducing static charge). Carbon Black is insoluble in water and most solvents so it is not something easily removed without destroying the record. Some resin recipes (transparent, colored records, and others *4) deliberately omit carbon black from the mix and may add another colorant, often titanium oxide (white base) and/or a desired pigment colorant.

    4. Fillers:
    Some resin producers added fillers, mostly to reduce the amount of expensive virgin polymer they had to include but also for added wear resistance. All kinds of fillers have been used over time, everything from cellulose-derived products to diatomaceous earth, some producing greater background noise than others. The most common modern filler is recylcled vinyl. Because this vinyl is used, any contaminants present get incorporated into the new vinyl product, often resulting in a noisy record. These contaminants are embedded within the vinyl matrix and are not easy to remove without damaging the record. Therefore, it is often recommended to purchase 100% virgin vinyl records. Most of the other fillers in old records are inert and not easily removed or effected by most cleaning agents.

    5. Plasticizers:
    Plasticizers change the viscosity and melting properties of the resin mix, improving moldability and flexibility of the final product. They essentially decrease the attraction between polymer chains allowing for a flexible record that is more resistant to breakage. For the most part, the PVA –PVC copolymer in the resin provides these properties when mixed with the PVC monopolymer. However, additional plasticizer compounds have historically been included in resin mixes for increased flexibility and durability. RCA used epoxidized soybean oil (ESBO)*2 which has the added advantage in that it is also an HCl scavenger (stabilizer activity). Others have used traditional plasticizers, like phthalate esters. The amounts and types of included plasticizers vary greatly, depending on when and where the record was produced, but typically make up less than 1% of the mix (sometimes 0%). In the early 1970’s, there was a cost cutting move to make thinner, more flexible records and these included higher plasticizer levels; some even found toluene (up to 3%) allowed for thinner records *5. Most of the added (non-polymer) plasticizers are solvent soluble. Studies by preservationists on PVC artifacts has shown plasticizer extraction with solvents, including alcohol (at concentrations 60% and higher) *6. Hence, it is reasonable to keep alcohol (and other solvent) concentrations as low as possible in cleaning solutions.

    6. Conditioner: A few producers included a conditioner in the mix to aid in lubrication and control static. The typical conditioners are quaternary ammonium salts with long fatty-acid derived chains (called quat. surfactants or “quats”)*2. Some quats have the added benefit that they have biocidal properties. Resin formulations that include them result in records that have lower surface friction, lower potential for static charge, and resistance to microbial contamination. These properties can be neutralized by anions, so it is useful to avoid common household dish soaps and detergents that typically include the anionic detergent SDS. The quats on the surface can be replenished (or added to records that don’t include them) by including them in cleaning solutions. Quats are also incorporated into many “ant-static” record sleeves.



    Footnotes/References:

    Pickett, A.G. and Lemcoe M.M (1959) Preservation and Storage of Sound Recordings, Society of Amer. Archivists.
    *1 Lead-stearate was once used, supporting the notion that records can contain lead.
    *2 “Disc record and method of compounding disc record composition”, (1974) RCA Corp., US Patent # 3960790
    *3 "Conductive phonograph record containing thermoplastic resin and carbon black” 1961 Miller, H.B. US Patent #2997451
    *4 One modern producer (the maker of Quiex SV-P) deliberately excludes carbon black from their resin mix as they claim that “Carbon Black contains trace metals that become magnetized and cause electrical distortions in cartridges during playback that smears the sound.” This claim is controversial.
    *5 “Phonograph record composition and process” (1974) Sands, A., US Patent #3846361
    *6 Munoz C.M. et. al (2014) “A model for finding cleaning solutions for plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) surfaces of collections objects” J. Amer. Inst. of Conservation, 53 (4), pp. 236-251.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  9. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Location:
    Toronto
    Interesting to read this. For a brief period I experimented with using muriatic acid to remove 'soap scum' left on records by users who attempted to clean them with homemade cleaning solutions, without rinses or even a proper vacuum. Such records have a dull look and are heavy in continuous noise, but otherwise appear lightly used and undamaged.

    My experiments with the acid never went anywhere, but I have had success with the glue peel method, possibly because of a much longer soak time and a more deeply integrated scale removal process over the usual scrubbing and vacuuming.

    What other methods would you recommend for removing this most stubborn form of contaminant? I can see one solid use for ultrasonics here, but what chemicals have the power to dissolve soap scum without harming the vinyl, or resorting to an hour long soak in a U/S bath?
     
  10. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    One reason you may have had success with the glue method is that wood glue (like the Titebond II folks use) is acidic (pH 3). This is because it contains acetic acid, just like vinegar, which is quite effective at removing soap scum (metal soaps resulting from hard water plus soap). While a brief exposure may be OK, I question the long exposure (many hours) of the record to acidic conditions typically required for the glue film to set up. I'm not that concerned with common records that are being rescued after traditional cleaning methods have failed (I actually agree with member OnwardJames on this), I am only concerned with long term preservation of rare or valuable records. Additionally, the surface of a record treated with acid becomes "etched", which could increase friction, so I would be concerned about the actual quality of the playback. I do not know of a gentle method of removing a heavy metal-soap contaminant if that is what you are experiencing. I've removed old soap residue from records using a combination of high detergent (1%) and EDTA (a metal chelator, at 0.1%). But if heavy, you may need to go for an acid treatment. If so, I would surely follow with a neutralizing solution and many water rinses that may even contain a quat (lubricant and cation).

    Edit: Another option I just thought of is to try Liqui-nox (from Alconox). We've used this on glassware in the lab, but I've never tried it on records. It has metal chelating agents as well as detergent (anionic unfortunately) and I've seen it remove metal-soap residues on glassware. Rather than being acidic, it is actually slightly alkaline (pH 8.5). I may have to investigate.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  11. 2channel*

    2channel* Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Has anyone tried fixing scratches with very hard car wax products?
     
    AvFan likes this.
  12. Hajidub

    Hajidub He's a beast! Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Looking at scratched vinyl under a microscope I'd be curious how car wax would accurately fill in that flaw and still produce the needed vibration to produce music? I could also imagine the gunk left on your stylus would be the equivalent of tar and feathering, with all the dust/lint that gunk would attract.
     
  13. 2channel*

    2channel* Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    That's exactly what has stopped me from trying it, although I've read that some products from Zaino actually work. They smooth the grove walls and fill in the radial gaps during the polishing process and then harden a lot......I've read.
    I guess I'll have to be the guinea pig on an old LP and stylus.
     
  14. AvFan

    AvFan AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    El Cajon, California
    No, but it might be worth a try. However, I have worked a wood toothpick on scratches to lessen the pop. On a couple of occasions I found it wasn't a random scratch but something stuck in the groove.
     
    2channel* likes this.
  15. 2channel*

    2channel* Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Yeah, now that you mention it, that's another good idea. I'll try that before the wax.
     
  16. John James

    John James "Bob's your uncle" (Stolen) Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,536
    Location:
    Piney Flats, Tn.
    AK member ARKAY wrote a lengthy post about "repairing" deep gouges and scratches with a pin or sewing needle. It's here somewhere.
     
  17. Hajidub

    Hajidub He's a beast! Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Just got my order of Tergitol (TergiKleen to be exact) in the mail yesterday. Read the instructions and it explicitly states not to add alcohol of any type to your record cleaning solution, stating that alcohol destroys Tergitol. Not sure how true that is, but it looks like I'm sticking with Tergitol and distilled water only for my solution.
     
  18. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    The Tergitol 15-S series are all chemically stable alcohol ethoxylates. In fact, 15-S-5 is specifically sold to aid rinsing in solvent-based systems. Why the seller of Tergikleen states they are destroyed by alcohol is a mystery. The only thing I can imagine is that under certain conditions the gel or cloud point is reached (maybe for the the 15-S-3), but not at the low concentrations we typically use, and this certainly doesn't "destroy" the chemicals. Alternatively he may be worried about the alcohol changing the critical micelle concentration, but this is also not a concern either under our typical conditions. In any event, he gets his 50-fold mark up from people so I guess that is good for him.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
    dcmfan likes this.
  19. Hajidub

    Hajidub He's a beast! Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    You got that right! But considering 30 mL gets me 30 gallons of cleaning fluid (more than enough in my lifetime) I considered it a worthwhile purchase (though it did take some thought).
     
    phantomrebel likes this.
  20. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Location:
    Toronto
    Or he may just be covering his &ss for the idiots who'll add alcohol anyway,then blame him and the Tergitol for ruining their precious shellacs.

    [​IMG]
     
    John James and phantomrebel like this.

Share This Page