Question Vinyl Record Cleaning

Monster900

Active 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.
So the toothbrush bristles never actually touch the grooves.
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished 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.
...
There is some kind of mold release on the vinyl, but it should be a very thin coat. Some say to wash a new record immediately to remove that and any other dust that may have accumulated in the manufacturing process.

But on the Subject of Alcohol, Alcohol will make the Vinyl Brittle over time. I use Alcohol because it is a good cleaning, wetting, and rinse agent, but the time it is on the record is very short literally just seconds. And, you are not going to clean your records every week, more likely once or perhaps twice in a lifetime. So exposure is very low. If you were going to soak vinyl in alcohol for an extended period of time, yes, the vinyl would get brittle.

EDITED: As someone else mentioned, you don't have to use full strength Alcohol, which is usually 70%. I could be diluted down to 20%. Though best to dilute it with Distilled Water which is plenty cheap if you can find it. You don't need Medical or Laboratory Grade Distilled Water, common consumer grade will do.

There are photo rinse agents to prevent water spots from forming on Photo Prints that can be used, though I don't remember then brand names off the top of my head.

Someone mentioned ILFORD ILFOTOL which is a wetting and rinse agent for Photograph -


Another popular Rinse Agents is PHOTO FLO from Kodak -


I'm pretty sure these are meant to be diluted.

Other have suggested Rinse Agents for Automatic Dish Washers, though you would have to dilute them, and I'm not sure by how much. I suspect you could look up on the Internet how other people have done this and get some sense.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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oscroft

Member
There is some kind of mold release on the vinyl, but it should be a very thin coat. Some say to wash a new record immediately to remove that and any other dust that may have accumulated in the manufacturing process.
Yes, I've heard claims of a releasing agent being used, but I've never seen anyone adding any in videos I've seen of records being pressed - all I've seen going in is labels and vinyl.
 

oscroft

Member
Ha, looking on eBay, I've found someone selling 50ml bottles of Ilfotol as a "record cleaning solution component", so you don't have to pay for a 1L bottle. How enterprising.

Also, the instuctions linked above says not to use Kodak Photoflo as it leaves some stuff behind. But I've been developing film for years and I've used plenty of it, and I've never seen anything visible left on negatives.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Ha, looking on eBay, I've found someone selling 50ml bottles of Ilfotol as a "record cleaning solution component", so you don't have to pay for a 1L bottle. How enterprising.

Also, the instuctions linked above says not to use Kodak Photoflo as it leaves some stuff behind. But I've been developing film for years and I've used plenty of it, and I've never seen anything visible left on negatives.
Any idea of how much to dilute this? Drops or ounces per liter?

Steve/bluewizard
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Yes, I've heard claims of a releasing agent being used, but I've never seen anyone adding any in videos I've seen of records being pressed - all I've seen going in is labels and vinyl.
Maybe it is only like once every 10 records or something.

Steve/bluewizard
 

crashcris

Well-known Member
So the toothbrush bristles never actually touch the grooves.
Absolutely, nothing other than the water touches the grooves. The solid plastic of the brush head is only in contact with the central hole of the record. The ultrasonic brush head transmits the ultrasonic waves throughout the record. No grooves are damaged, just dust and dirt is shaken out of them at something like 35,000 vibrations per minute. It's possibly the very most effective way of cleaning the grooves with the very least danger of damaging them.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Absolutely, nothing other than the water touches the grooves. The solid plastic of the brush head is only in contact with the central hole of the record.... dust and dirt is shaken out of them at something like 35,000 vibrations per minute. ...
Just out of curiosity, what does a toothbrush like that cost? Keep in mind, the most Record Cleaning Machines are a King's Ransom.

So, you don't scrub the grooves, you ultrasonically vibrate the record?

Steve/bluewizard
 

crashcris

Well-known Member
Just out of curiosity, what does a toothbrush like that cost? Keep in mind, the most Record Cleaning Machines are a King's Ransom.

So, you don't scrub the grooves, you ultrasonically vibrate the record?

Steve/bluewizard
Found this one on the Philips site. £54.99 vibrates up to 64,000 times a minute. There are some cheaper, but with lower vibration's count. Buy the Sonicare Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300 Sonic electric toothbrush HX6800/03 Sonic electric toothbrush
 

crashcris

Well-known Member
About 1/10th to 1/20th the cost of a Record Cleaning Machine.

Steve/bluewizard
Didn't know they were so expensive. Mine is a very simple home remedy that's worked well for me over the years, I already had an ultrasonic tooth brush (they clean teeth really well too) so it didn't cost me a penny to try it out. It's certainly better than using a record dust brush. But then again I'm not squeamish about submerging the whole disc in water (label and all) briefly.

Depending on where you live, there's far more in the air than just skin particles making up the dust on your records. In a city there's all the particulates from vehicles that make up the bad air we breathe and simply brushing probably won't get the grooves as clean as a good wash.
 

oscroft

Member
OK, I've peeled off the wood glue (and yes, sticking a post-it or something in the glue to help start the peeling would have been a good idea :rolleyes: ).

And it's defintely made a difference. There are still a few clicks and pops (I had suspected some actual groove damage) but noticeably less than before. This is a record I'd previously cleaned with record cleaning solution and a microfibre cloth.

So I've glued up the other side too - and I stuck a bit of card in it for peeling.
 

tele1962

Distinguished Member
Please do not use the Tooth Brush method also. Far better and safer ways have been posted here.
 

tele1962

Distinguished Member
OK, I've peeled off the wood glue (and yes, sticking a post-it or something in the glue to help start the peeling would have been a good idea :rolleyes: ).

And it's defintely made a difference. There are still a few clicks and pops (I had suspected some actual groove damage) but noticeably less than before. This is a record I'd previously cleaned with record cleaning solution and a microfibre cloth.

So I've glued up the other side too - and I stuck a bit of card in it for peeling.
Mate never use this method again it will leave a fine residue that will attract dirt etc and will not be able to be removed.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Mate never use this method again it will leave a fine residue that will attract dirt etc and will not be able to be removed.
The entire reason that PVA Glue works is because it does NOT stick to vinyl.

Though for anyone thinking of trying this, I would watch all the YouTube videos on it. Not only will it show you how to do it right, it will also show you how to do it wrong. Better to learn the lesssons of others, than to learn the lessons yourself.

Steve/bluewizard
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
The linked article says 800ml distilled water, 200ml isopropyl alcohol and 5ml Ilfosol per litre (which is actually 1.005L, but whatever)
I suspect that is 20% (200ml in 800ml) of 70% Iso-Alcohol. 70% is ideal for disinfecting and is the most common found in Drug Stores etc.... So, though my math might be shakey, that would be functionally 14%.

Iso-Alcohol most commonly comes in 70%, but also in 50% and 91%.

5ml of Rise Agent is 0.17 US-ounces or 0.18 Imperial Fluid Ounces. That's not much. I wonder what the standard dilution is for rinsing Photos?

Sorry ... just rambling.

Steve/bluewizard
 

oscroft

Member
I suspect that is 20% (200ml in 800ml) of 70% Iso-Alcohol. 70% is ideal for disinfecting and is the most common found in Drug Stores etc.... So, though my math might be shakey, that would be functionally 14%.

Iso-Alcohol most commonly comes in 70%, but also in 50% and 91%.

5ml of Rise Agent is 0.17 US-ounces or 0.18 Imperial Fluid Ounces. That's not much. I wonder what the standard dilution is for rinsing Photos?

Sorry ... just rambling.

Steve/bluewizard
That's an interesting throught - I just assumed pure-ish IPA because my bottle is 99% (which I sought out specifically - for various other purposes). It needs a think, but I'd guess it's better to err on the side of too little than too much.

For photos, it's just a couple of drops of wetting agent in a litre of final rinse water. That's all it takes to break the surface tension and have the negatives dry evenly.
 

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