Question Vinyl Record Cleaning

epicdream

Active Member
Right, this wood glue thing...

I have an LP I bought second hand some time ago for just a couple of pounds. Even after cleaning with record fluid, it's still been a bit crackly - though I don't know how much is ingrained dirt and how much is groove damage.

Anyway, nothing to lose, so I got a bottle of PVA wood glue out this morning, and I've coated one side with it. I'll leave it 24 hours, and then I'll tell you how it went.
Me too! I've put it on a copy of Gerry Rafferty's Night Owl that I got off eBay last year. Fingers crossed 🤞😄
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I did it early this morning, and nobody's noticed yet ;)
I hope you’ve hidden it so there’s no danger of anyone finding it and trying to play it....
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Right, this wood glue thing...

...

Anyway, nothing to lose, so I got a bottle of PVA wood glue out this morning, and I've coated one side with it. I'll leave it 24 hours, and then I'll tell you how it went.
Personally, while I have not tried this, if I were to try it, I would go down to the Second Hand Shop and buy a crappy old LP, and test it on that first. No sense risking a good record.

Again, there are many Videos on YouTube showing how to do this. If I recall correctly the one guy who had a problem, had that problem because he spread the glue TOO THIN. That made it hard to peel off.

Also, though it seems you are beyond this point. Many people put a Post-It note bookmark around the edge to allow them to get a hold of a bit of the Glue to start peeling it up. Other have uses a bit of Cello-Tape right at the edge in the Lead In Groove.

It will be interesting to hear about your experience.

Steve/bluewizard
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Carbon fibre brushes seem to cost between £5 - £25. Are they all pretty much the same? Would a SpinCare one be OK as they seem to be a recognised brand?

Thanks again.
I’m going to go against the grain here and say that I never found the carbon fibre brushes to be that good (Audioquest). I found that they simply weren’t that effective at picking up or brushing away the dust. I realise I seem to be a lone voice on this, but this is my experience.

If you hold it at 90 deg to the grooves and try to collect the dust and then lift it off, the dust doesn’t stick and you get a line of dust on your record. If you try to brush it across the surface of the record to brush the dust off the edge, it just doesn’t seem to do a great job of it and if there’s visible dust there in the first place much of it remains even after several goes.

And on the static front, if the record was static in the first place it never helped in the slightest.

I recently switched to this, which I find much more effective:

Good old fashioned velvet! It‘s got a big surface area and where the bottom is curved, you can sort of ‘rotate it’ off the record and the dust really sticks to it. It neither helps nor hinders from a static perspective from what I can tell.
 

oscroft

Member
Also, though it seems you are beyond this point. Many people put a Post-It note bookmark around the edge to allow them to get a hold of a bit of the Glue to start peeling it up. Other have uses a bit of Cello-Tape right at the edge in the Lead In Groove.
I didn't think of anything like that!
 

oscroft

Member
If you hold it at 90 deg to the grooves and try to collect the dust and then lift it off, the dust doesn’t stick and you get a line of dust on your record. If you try to brush it across the surface of the record to brush the dust off the edge, it just doesn’t seem to do a great job of it and if there’s visible dust there in the first place much of it remains even after several goes.
You need the technique! I start with the brush at the edge, and slowly move it in towards the centre, finally rotating the brush to sweep the dust on to the label. But after using a ZeroStat first, I find the bulk of the dust comes off on the brush anyway.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Though the Link is slightly off topic, really about Port Bungs, as an example of a method for making your own Port Bungs, I posted a picture of a pre-play record cleaning brush that I made -



Sort of the Story of my life. I'm always trying to make something out of something else. This is a short section of PVC Pipe wrapped in Poly Batting, then covered with low-cost stretch velvet, and the End Caps are simply smaller PVC Caps.

The final product is about 3.5" long and about 2.25" in diameter (88.9mm x 57mm). Probably the most expensive bit was the Stretch Velvet Fabric, which was actually a remnant on sale.

Just for reference, here is the thread with a few more details -


However, it is not the brush that does it. I have a small spray bottle with Distilled Water that I spritz on the brush before cleaning the record. Just a very fine mist, and that is enough to make any dust cling to the brush. Seems to work well. The fine mist of water seems to dry pretty much instantly, so with distilled water, no residue, and in seconds the record is dry and ready to play.

At to carbon fiber brushed. The advantage is the Carbon Fiber is conductive. The best carbon fiber brushes have Metal on the handle. That metal allows static charge to bleed from the record, through the brush, and into your body where it dissipates.


Note the gold colored sections on the side of the Brush handle are metal.

So, part of the purpose of the Carbon Fiber is to draw static off the record.

I suspect, spraying a fine mist of distilled water or a very diluted record cleaning product, would help dust cling to the brush.

I have seem record cleaning tools (brush and similar) that come with a small bottle of liquid. You can either place a few drops of the liquid on the cleaning device or on the record. Though that seem like a lot of liquid, and placing it directly on the record seem like it would turn any dust into mud that would build up in the grooves.

So, for myself, I'll stick to a very find mist just enough to make the dust cling to my velvet record cleaner.

Oddly, I happen to find an old bottle of Radio Shack Record Cleaner that is literally DECADES old. I put a few drops of this into my distilled water, though I'm not sure how much value it adds.

Just a bit of rambling for what it is worth.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Origami

Standard Member
. I see that now there seem to be carbon fibre brushes available which weren't around 35 years ago when I last played vinyl records regularly.
Carbon Fibre brushes were most definitely around in the 1980's, I still use today the Allsop 3 Carbonoptic Record Brush I purchased in 1985/6. It is generally very effective for pre-play cleaning and I also use it as a preliminary clean to see what I'm dealing with when I return from crate digging at the second-hand store before I attack the record with the 2 in 1 shampoo and paint brush.

My technique, developed over the past 35 years is to use an angle of attack of about 45 degrees with the record rotating on the platter at 78rpm and I take a couple of very slow sweeps starting from the inside and working to the outside. I know you should go with the rotation and work from the outside to the inside but how do you get the crud off that you have pushed to the centre off the record?

A point of eternal agony for me is this - do I clean a brand new record before the first play - I say no but others may disagree...
 

DT79

Well-known Member
A point of eternal agony for me is this - do I clean a brand new record before the first play - I say no but others may disagree...
I was sceptical too, but they have all sorts of crud on them even when new. Once I started I was astounded by how dirty the liquid got in my Spin Clean when cleaning new records. They simply aren’t clean or free from static when they’re new - fact.
 

Craig uk

Well-known Member
I was sceptical too, but they have all sorts of crud on them even when new. Once I started I was astounded by how dirty the liquid got in my Spin Clean when cleaning new records. They simply aren’t clean or free from static when they’re new - fact.
Agreed.
 

4848

Standard Member
I've previously used a Spin Clean with the supplied cleaning fluid, always used ionised water to fill the tank. Purchased a couple of Knosti Disco-Antistat drying racks for drying the records. Always achieved pretty goods results using this method.

Now use an Okki Nokki RCM & 'The Right One' cleaning fluid. Excellent results, although at an increased cost of course
 
I read many years ago coating LP with a particular RTV or 2-part elastomer coating and then peeling when cured - the result was excellent in the article. I would consider this the method for removing the most debris from grooves. I would favor 2-part catalyzed elastomers since they cure much faster although more expensive than wood glue.

However, I use ultrasonic cleaners and they are phenomenal in removing dirt from even closed cracks - you can clean a hypodermic needle with a UC. Their cleaning action works into the most amazing tight passages. They would definitely clean to the bottom of the groove. Clearly this would be the most convenient and perhaps the best choice. "Problem" is getting one big enough to submerse the LP up to the label - I would not want the label exposed to the UC bath.
 

tele1962

Distinguished Member
Never use wood glue, tap water, or any detergent. Here is a recipe for proper cleaning fluid that can be used with microfibre cloths, or something like the Konosti. Better still depends on how much you want to collect LP's (vinyl) records, Project do an excellent vacuum cleaner:


 

oscroft

Member
I've read various recommendations for fluids to clean records, and I've seen some people say never use isopropyl alcohol. They claim it's because it damages the protective layer on the vinyl.

But I've seen plenty of videos of records being pressed, and the press operator just inserts the two labels and a puck of vinyl, operates the press, then opens it, takes out the record, and pops in into a sleeve - then two more labels, another puck, and it's the next record.

So my question is, what protective layer? Does anyone understand what such claims are talking about?
 

tonyofderby

Active Member
I wet wash using 15% alcohol in water with a few drops of rinse aid. I use soft (paint) brushes to work into the grooves. Seems to work well on charity-sourced LPs costing £1 each (so a big risk!).
Most has been said about this already, but a couple of additional suggestions re the washing:
1. I use a cake decorator's rotating stand to support the LP whilst I rub the solution into the grooves.
2. After rinsing under the tap (no distilled water!) I use a Karcher window cleaning wet vac to suck the water from the groove.
As to using a carbon brush, I breathe heavily onto the brush before wiping the LP surface. I find that is just enough moisture to lift the dust and clear the static, and takes just seconds to do.
I did try a lump of that sticky dough-like cleaner. It worked well for a time, then went like slime and had to be thrown out.
I'm happy! Good sounds, no crackles...
 

tele1962

Distinguished Member
I have never heard of isopropyl alcohol damaging records and remember you will be mixing it with distilled water.
Tap water should never be used on records.
 

Monster900

Active Member
I've read various recommendations for fluids to clean records, and I've seen some people say never use isopropyl alcohol. They claim it's because it damages the protective layer on the vinyl.

But I've seen plenty of videos of records being pressed, and the press operator just inserts the two labels and a puck of vinyl, operates the press, then opens it, takes out the record, and pops in into a sleeve - then two more labels, another puck, and it's the next record.

So my question is, what protective layer? Does anyone understand what such claims are talking about?
From what I've read it is nothing to do with any protective layer. What is said is that it actually dissolves the plasticiser in the vinyl surface making it brittle. My basic knowledge of chemistry would say that this is a plausible mechanism if you set about using high concentrations of alcohol to clean records. At 20% concentration for a relatively short duration I think it is likely to do much more good, in getting the records clean, than harm to the record's surface.

When my Knosti cleaner runs out I'm going to try out the tele 1962 method, even without a vacuum system for removing it.
 

oscroft

Member
From what I've read it is nothing to do with any protective layer. What is said is that it actually dissolves the plasticiser in the vinyl surface making it brittle. My basic knowledge of chemistry would say that this is a plausible mechanism if you set about using high concentrations of alcohol to clean records. At 20% concentration for a relatively short duration I think it is likely to do much more good, in getting the records clean, than harm to the record's surface.
Ah, that makes a lot of sense, thanks. And yes, at 20% I'm sure you'd have to clean your records many many times before there's be any hint of damage.
 

crashcris

Well-known Member
I have a rather unconventional method for cleaning vinyl. I use my Phillips Sonicare (ultrasonic) toothbrush. In a bowl of tepid water with a couple of drops of washing up liquid, I submerge the record, put the tip of the toothbrush to the central hole and with a finger from the other hand, press so that the central hole and the top of the toothbrush make a good contact, switch on and on very dirty records you can see the dirt leave the surface, It doesn't take more than about 10 seconds and the dirt will have been removed, rinse and dry on kitchen paper. That's what I've done for many years and no labels have ever been damaged. I got the idea from when I worked as a jeweller and we used an ultrasonic bath to clean jewellery, you wouldn't believe the amount of filth that collects in jewellery, it always makes me gag when I see TV chefs preparing food whilst wearing rings or bracelets or watches.
 

tele1962

Distinguished Member
I have a rather unconventional method for cleaning vinyl. I use my Phillips Sonicare (ultrasonic) toothbrush. In a bowl of tepid water with a couple of drops of washing up liquid, I submerge the record, put the tip of the toothbrush to the central hole and with a finger from the other hand, press so that the central hole and the top of the toothbrush make a good contact, switch on and on very dirty records you can see the dirt leave the surface, It doesn't take more than about 10 seconds and the dirt will have been removed, rinse and dry on kitchen paper. That's what I've done for many years and no labels have ever been damaged. I got the idea from when I worked as a jeweller and we used an ultrasonic bath to clean jewellery, you wouldn't believe the amount of filth that collects in jewellery, it always makes me gag when I see TV chefs preparing food whilst wearing rings or bracelets or watches.
No please don't.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Never use wood glue, tap water, or any detergent. Here is a recipe for proper cleaning fluid that can be used with microfibre cloths, or something like the Konosti. Better still depends on how much you want to collect LP's (vinyl) records, Project do an excellent vacuum cleaner:


I found Vinyl Shelter record cleaning fluid which I think is pretty much the same as the recipe you linked to, but obviously more expensive, so I’ll go the home made route next time around.
 

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