Cleaning my records (HELP!)

I am trying to clean the records I just got from my parents. The were -VERY- dirty.. :)

I am using homebrew antistatic fluid made of 1 part alcohol, 3 parts demi-water and a few drops dishwashing soap.

I clean the record using a painting-brush with very fine natural hairs. After washing, I rinse the record with demi water. Then, I dry off the record using a soft leather cloth (i don't know how to call it).

Somehow, it isn't working, it only gets worse! although the records appear cleaner at sight, they "sound" al lot more dusty than before! the cracking becomes way louder!

Can anyone tell me what i'm doing wrong??!

Thanx
Bouke
 
I don't know what demi-water is but you shouldn't be putting alcohol on your discs. From what I remember, it chemically reacts with the vinyl and does bad things.

I've always used dishwashing detergent and washed them under running water. You absolutely NEED the continuous water flow to rinse away the dirt and debris.

Also, you should brush in the direction of the grooves, not across them. I've used a brush with bristles somewhere in stiffness between a painters brush and a scrub brush.
 
I have used running luke warm water with a couple of drops of YES and an old used record brush of velvet. Then I have moved the brush concentric, in the track direction. Avoid to get the labels wet.

Rinse in water and dry the record in a towel.

Skip the alcohol part at first. My trick have worked very good for me.

Since we talk about records. Try to get in hold of the old DECCA brush carbon fibre. The newer ones had thinner brush. Clean the brush in chemical clean petrol, "oktane", bensin, benzine once a year or so. Lasts forever. My is since the 70'!
 

Brett

Member
2002-01-07 6:02 pm
For two decades I've been using a solution of 1 part isoproptl alcohol, 3 parts pure water (NOT tap water) and a very small amount of wetting agent. Photoflow will do, a drop or two per litre of mix.

As for the claim of alcohol damaging records, it's not true. Perhaps if you leave the stuff on the disc in high concetrations, but not for a wash. I base my opinion for this on using the solution I mentioned for such a long time that damage would surely be noticed by now. To satisfy others, I have a friend who was a chemist at CSIRO, and a vinylhead, and he did lots of tests and found it was the best stuff for cleaning, to get rid of grease anf mould.

Don't use dishwashing detergent, it leaves a residue in the disc that's hard to get off even with a a vacuum, and over time attracts more gunk. Personal experience, and research by Art Dudley of Listener who is an industrial chemist.

Use a brush with moderate bristles. If they're synthetic, make sure they have round ends. Cheap medium toothbrushes are good for this. Buy a few cheap, cut the heads off and stick them to a handle so you can do the whole width of the playing surface at a time. Brush WITH the grooves, not matter how stubborn the gunk. Two or 3 washes are better than scrubbing across the grain.

If you really want to do it right, buy an old DD TT with a strong motor, and make a fitting for the end of your vacuum cleaner. Easy to make: small length of appropriate diameter PVC pipe, with a length slightly longer than the playing surface and plugged at the end. Cut a narrow slot in the length of it (radius the edges) and glue some velvet up around the sides so that at no time can anything but the velvet touch the surface of the LP. A record clamp and a chaois mat are the only other bit you need. Oh, and a vacuum. A standard domestic vac will do. Get one from the Salvation Army/Goodwill so your SO doesn't bitch about you using it this way. Replace the chamois and velvet bits about every 200LPs or when they get grubby. Total cost was 1 days effort, and about $A100. VPI and NG RCMs are about 10-15x this much here.

Cheers
 
Brett said:
As for the claim of alcohol damaging records, it's not true. Perhaps if you leave the stuff on the disc in high concetrations, but not for a wash.

Yes, totally chemical pure isopropanol (not a bought magical mixture) is good. It leaves no marks when I clean pcb's but forbidden freon was better...

I have had very little problems with the simple dishwash detergent YES.
 
Great! thank you guys :) So all in all I have to stop using the diswashing detergent... Someone alredy told me I should use the cheapest detergent available, because they dont have weird additions...

Demi water is is the dutch word for demineralised water, also known als destilled water, pure water, name it... I can get chemically cleaned water which is used in cleanroom laboratories I believe it will do the job for my records :)

I'll try to find some YES dishwashing detergent here in Holland... but I doubt it is available.

Anyway, Thanx for all the advice!

Bouke
 

fdegrove

diyAudio Senior Member
2002-08-21 1:20 am
Belgium
CLEANERS

Hi,

Personally I stick with Brett's recipe (for the passed 15 years) and apply LAST to all my vinyl and styli.
If you don't want to invest in a professional cleaning machine a la
Monks or VPI I always found the Knowin Antistat very useful.
Don't use the liquid supplied but use something like Brett's recipe.
Last time I checked this apparatus is still available in Germany although perhaps under another name.(HH style);)
The LAST product are to be found in the USA,don't know of any European sources.
Always use demineralized water (farmacy,labgrade),never use tap water since it will leave gunk (calciumdepot) in the grooves.

Happy listening,:)
 
Hi,

I also use the isopropyl alcohol / water / lab detergent. The alcohol does not chemically attack the vinyl but can have some effect on the plasticizers that can be dissolved. So it is wise not to have it a long tme there.

I always had nice results on getting rid of pops and so on, but the overall sound after washing is a lot worse than the original unwashed. So I have just stoped the washing.

Read something the other day about washing degrading the sound that confirmed this.
 

Brett

Member
2002-01-07 6:02 pm
miguel2 said:
I also use the isopropyl alcohol / water / lab detergent. The alcohol does not chemically attack the vinyl but can have some effect on the plasticizers that can be dissolved. So it is wise not to have it a long tme there.
That is not correct according to my friend who is a research chemist.
I always had nice results on getting rid of pops and so on, but the overall sound after washing is a lot worse than the original unwashed. So I have just stoped the washing.

Read something the other day about washing degrading the sound that confirmed this.
I don't understand this, and it is so contrary to both my, and my LP mad friend's experience, I find it odd. I can't see how having crap in the groove makes for either a better listening experience, or for longer LP life.

Could you elaborate on what you mean?

Cheers
Brett
 

fdegrove

diyAudio Senior Member
2002-08-21 1:20 am
Belgium
WASHED UP.

Hi,

I can only confirm Bretts' findings.
Having cleaned about 7k of vinyl records I never had bad results,quite to the contrary:

Records will sound better and the stylus lasts longer as well.

I strongly advise not to use any detergent since that will leave a deposit in the grooves and once dried up may well be responsible for the worse sound you hear.

1/3 isopronal 2/3 of labgrade demineralised water and a few drops of wetting agent.

Happy listening,;)
 
Hi,

I say again that leaving he alcohol on the vinyl surface for a long time can dissolve the small plasticizer molecules and the plastic will become harder and more brittle. It is a similar process of what hapens in the cars dashboards that are left in the sun, where the plasticisers evaporate.Of course this is a slow process, and in the washing you just have to bother if you leave it there for 1/2 hour or more. BTW, I am too a researcher in the polymer area;) .

As for sound degradation, try to wash a previously never washed record and compare. I used to buy second hand records (they were at 0,25 euros/piece!) and washed them to get rid of all the dirt. But the sound was never good and after washing some I had for a long time I noticed that washing is not a good thing to do.

On the other way, stylus will last longer like fdegrove says.
 

fdegrove

diyAudio Senior Member
2002-08-21 1:20 am
Belgium
COMMON SENSE

Hi Miguel2,

IMO most of us vinyljunkies are wise enough not to expose our precious records to alcohol for a period longer than needed to clean the frisbees.

That pure undeleted isopropanol will affect the plasticizers in the vinyl is to be expected.

As you can see we all use some mix of heavily dilluted isopropyl so if you dry the disks straight away as all commercial cleaning machines do I fail to see how that is going to cause any damage.


In all the many,many years I cleaned records I never encountered any user claiming they sounded worse after a good wash.
That some detergents will leave some debris in the grooves and that that will affect the sound I can accept.
But it appears that the secondhand records you bought were perhaps in such a sorry state already that cleaning them revealed just that even more.

I can tell you that even a brand new record sounds better after cleaning and will stay that way longer than one that wasn't.

Just my opinion of course but I'm convinced that 99% of our vinyl using members would agree.

Ciao,;)
 
I've been cleaning my vinyls for the past two decades using a very dilute solution of any mild liquid hand wash soap ( something like 'FEM' etc.) and plain water. Wipe concentric with a clean sponge and rinse in water thoroughly. Make sure you wipe the vinyl with a pure cotton towel. If you rub synthetic on the vinyl it creates static electricity which in turn immediately attracts dust and lint.
 
Hi Frank,

Maybe you got a point there. I only clean my records when they are really bad. These second hand ones were in different conditions (some seemed to be new unused, no washing required here). But after cleaning some records that I listen often I can tell the sound is more muddy and shut in.

I always wash them with the alcohol mixture and a brush, thorougly, and then put it under a nice shower in the bathroom. Then a final wash with destilled water and let them dry after some shaking.

But then the depth, presence and overall clearness are just not the same.

:lickface:
 

dhaen

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-06-10 12:01 pm
U.K.
www.keystrobe.co.uk
Someting to make you laugh (perhaps)...

When i was in my teens I was a wild "hippy". But as well as enjoying the contemporary "psycodelic" music, I actually did have an appreciation of some classical pieces.
I had a wonderful RCA recording of Straviskys Firebird Suite, which I loaned to a friend. It was a big mistake! When it came back nothing would clean it. It was all crackles...
One night an intoxicated friend "why not give it some fluid suspension", whereupon he proceeded to pour vodka on the record in motion. Suddenly it sounded "perfect" (it probably wasn't, but 1000 times better).
So from then on, we would dose the record during play.

Please don't try this at home folks.. I'm sure it would ruin a good record.
 

fdegrove

diyAudio Senior Member
2002-08-21 1:20 am
Belgium
Hi,

as i remember from my vinyl years the product to use was not some dishwasher stuff or so but regular wetting agent which is used in the washing water when developing your own films. so a good assorted foto shop (no so easy now with digital getting most attention) could help you out

Dear, oh dear....

The wetting agent won't remove any crud in the grooves, it's only used_ a few drops a gallon_ to break up the natural adhesion within fluid.

So from then on, we would dose the record during play.

I'd recommend Moskovskaya or Stolichnaya as good wodkas. Wouldn't waste those nice liquids on my record collection though........

Cheers,;)