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Cleaning Records

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Got 20 odd original 45s over the weekend all cracking toones but very mucky all play threw no skips some a bit crackley what's best way to clean them thanx in advance jazz

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For minor clean up I would have suggested isopropyl.

 

A simple solution for very mucky, just a drop or two of washing up liquid in some warm water then apply with cotton wool pad.  Maybe use a cotton bud for run in and out for more pressure there.  Then carefully rinse off, avoiding the labels of course.  Repeat a few times until you don't hear further improvement.

 

Other more elaborate suggestions have been made on here in the past, but the above has always worked for me.

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I would always use a professional cleaning machine with a vacuum arm and a quality non alcohol based cleaning agent. Very similar to the one I have and only charge £1.50 to clean and to supply a quality antistatic vinyl sleeve. Postage might be a problem unless you are near Huddersfield.

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I actually find that baby wipes (yes, I'm serious) are excellent for cleaning records.  Something in them seems to get rid of the ingrained crap in the grooves.

 

Clean them in a circular motion, and dry them off thoroughly using a sheet of non-abrasive kitchen towel.

Edited by Gene-R

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I fill a container with washing-up liquid and water.

 

I have a wet chamois cloth I use to clean off the grime and another dry one to clean it off.

 

It works well and is simple.  I use the VPI machine for LPs.

 

Cheers.

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Get a clean washing up sponge and some washing up liquid. Run the tap so the water coming out is tepid. 

 

Add generous drops of washing up liquid to sponge. Soak sponge with tepid water so it's full of washing up foam.

 

Wipe sponge (not the scourer side!) vigorously around both playing surfaces.

 

Turn on tap so the tepid water runs cold. Put record under tap and wash off all the soapy bubbles.

 

Pat down with kitchen roll on both sides & put somewhere it can dry. I place 45s on a wooden kitchen spoon which is secured in a horizontal position. It's perfect for air drying discs.

 

Repeat as needed.

 

If that doesn't improve a 45, you might want to think about the glue treatment.

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I actually find that baby wipes (yes, I'm serious) are excellent for cleaning records.  Something in them seems to get rid of the ingrained crap in the grooves.

 

Clean them in a circular motion, and dry them off thoroughly using a sheet of non-abrasive kitchen towel.

Isn't there oil in baby wipes? If there is it will harden over time making your records sound worse than they look.

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I guess the question you should ask yourself before trying any of the suggestions is, how much do i want to risk my records and their value vs how much i pay for them. £5 each and vinyl, then washing up liquid. £50 each they deserve proper cleaning fluid/machine especially if styrene taking care of the paper label. There are thousands of great singles for sale with a water stained label by those who have tried and failed.

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I guess the question you should ask yourself before trying any of the suggestions is, how much do i want to risk my records and their value vs how much i pay for them. £5 each and vinyl, then washing up liquid. £50 each they deserve proper cleaning fluid/machine especially if styrene taking care of the paper label. There are thousands of great singles for sale with a water stained label by those who have tried and failed.

Prolonged water contact is a no-no, of course, but I quite happily rinse 45s - label and all - under the tap with no ill effect. Sometimes I'll even immerse them in a sink full of water, again with no damage. Vinyl or styrene, they're tough things 45s.

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Many thanx folk the recs are all originals nothing to expensive all play the no skips jumps just scruffy they were cheap the like of fascinations girls -jackie Wilson whispers -martha reeves my baby fascinations lucky to name a few nothing wrong with some put them straight in my box ready for john cockle sunday thanx jazz

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Most of the methods above will work but if washing in soapy water or applying isopropanol ditch the sponges and kitchen roll in favour of a microfibre cloth for both washing and drying.  Note that microfibre cloths do differ in quality so you'll maybe have to try a few brands.  Some have longer fibres and are much "fluffier" and better for getting into the grooves in my experience.  Also some are more prone to shedding fibres than others.  A little experimentation may be required.  Last ones I bought were from "Home Bargains" store or similiar.  After using them a few times thow them away and replace with a new one as if they're washed they seem to become less effective because the fibres clump together. 

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i use AMBERSIL / AMBERCLENS  anti-static foaming cleaner shake can spay on vinly let it soak up the crap wipe of with soft cloth then dry with a clean cloth then play a couple of times with a little extra weight works wonders on dirty old records

Edited by mickjay33

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What works for me almost all the time:

 

wet the playing surface (e.g. under the tap). apply a bit of soap, clean the surface clockwise using your thump with only a bit of pressure. repeat it for a few turns. then rinse off the soap, avoid getting the label wet. dry using a microfiber cloth.

 

Apart from glue and expensive vacuum cleaners i tried so many different methods. But eventually the soap and water one had the best results.

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Never ever use nail polish remover! Found that out one night when I was "full of enthusiasm"  and ended up burning an inch of grooves flat on a nice demo of Patti and the Emblems "little things you do". Stupid not trying it on something crap first!

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What works for me almost all the time:

 

wet the playing surface (e.g. under the tap). apply a bit of soap, clean the surface clockwise using your thump with only a bit of pressure. repeat it for a few turns. then rinse off the soap, avoid getting the label wet. dry using a microfiber cloth.

 

Apart from glue and expensive vacuum cleaners i tried so many different methods. But eventually the soap and water one had the best results.

   That's about the same method i've been using and I also would recommend it .

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Note that microfibre cloths do differ in quality so you'll maybe have to try a few brands.  Some have longer fibres and are much "fluffier" and better for getting into the grooves in my experience.  Also some are more prone to shedding fibres than others.  A little experimentation may be required.  Last ones I bought were from "Home Bargains" store or similiar.  After using them a few times thow them away and replace with a new one as if they're washed they seem to become less effective because the fibres clump together. 

The word you're looking for is "lint"  :yes:   :thumbsup:

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I tried the above, but since i've discovered Titebond PVA glue i've never looked back.  It brings most records up a play grade.  Check out the several videos on Youtube.

 

I very gingerly tried it out with a cheap record and have since used this method on all my records needing a clean, without a worry.

 

Note: do not get any glue on the label .......

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I tried the above, but since i've discovered Titebond PVA glue i've never looked back.  It brings most records up a play grade.  Check out the several videos on Youtube.

 

I very gingerly tried it out with a cheap record and have since used this method on all my records needing a clean, without a worry.

 

Note: do not get any glue on the label .......

 

Likewise, a keen user of wood glue when a soapy sponge and water isn't effective.  :thumbsup: 

 

post-9478-0-86142800-1425977590_thumb.jp

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Isn't there oil in baby wipes? If there is it will harden over time making your records sound worse than they look.

Not absolutely sure myself.  If so, then it's probably just baby oil or castor oil (and probably a very tiny amount), which is unlikely to do any damage to your records.

 

If there is, then it will clean off if you dry them thoroughly enough, as oil usually leaves a film of residue on the surface, which gathers on your stylus after the first few plays.  I've not noticed either of these after cleaning a record with a baby wipe, to be honest.  My belief is that baby wipes contain more alcohol cleansers rather than oil, though I'd welcome clarification.

 

I've heard of horror stories where people have used neat WD-40 on their records, and I can't understand why they would do that.  It's not a cleaning agent.  At worst, it will leave a nasty film on the surface of records, but that can easily be cleaned off with some TLC.  I doubt that oil will do any long-term damage to records, providing that it's cleaned off promptly and thoroughly.

Edited by Gene-R

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Not absolutely sure myself.  If so, then it's probably just baby oil or castor oil (and probably a very tiny amount), which is unlikely to do any damage to your records.

 

If there is, then it will clean off if you dry them thoroughly enough, as oil usually leaves a film of residue on the surface, which gathers on your stylus after the first few plays.  I've not noticed either of these after cleaning a record with a baby wipe, to be honest.  My belief is that baby wipes contain more alcohol cleansers rather than oil, though I'd welcome clarification.

 

I've heard of horror stories where people have used neat WD-40 on their records, and I can't understand why they would do that.  It's not a cleaning agent.  At worst, it will leave a nasty film on the surface of records, but that can easily be cleaned off with some TLC.  I doubt that oil will do any long-term damage to records, providing that it's cleaned off promptly and thoroughly.

Tesco baby wipes are the best for this, and pretty much the cheapest out there...

 

m

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Tesco baby wipes are the best for this, and pretty much the cheapest out there...

 

m

Thanks for the tip Mal - will try them out.

 

Gene

Edited by Gene-R

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Every record that pops through the door gets the very same treatment. Lukewarm water and a toothbrush with a little soap on it round and round the grooves then rinse off and dry with a nice cosy warm towel. Even if the 45 looks mint it has spent the best part of 50 years hibernating in a box like Adam Adamant  so it will need a clean and that`s the best way to go about it. The difference in sound quality can be major!

:hatsoff2:

Edited by Steve Lane

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Every record that pops through the door gets the very same treatment. Lukewarm water and a toothbrush with a little soap on it round and round the grooves then rinse off and dry with a nice cosy warm towel. Even if the 45 looks mint it has spent the best part of 50 years hibernating in a box like Adam Adamant  so it will need a clean and that`s the best way to go about it. The difference in sound quality can be major!

:hatsoff2:

Interesting. Would that be a Sensodyne toothbrush Steve?  :g:  :D

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ALDI probably :lol: and never damaged any record doing it either.

Still, interesting approach, one I may try on stubborn in-ground stains in the future.

Will Steradent help further?  :wicked:  :lol:

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A small amount of Amberclens foam and a lint-free microfibre cloth produces by far the best results and can significantly improve both the look and sound of vinyl and styrene.

 

The glue method is very effective (the science behind it is sound) but unnecessary for anything but the mankiest records.

 

I used to use the washing-up liquid method but this only gives superficial cosmetic results while still depositing even more matter in the grooves. The 'shine' you might see after using WUL is the liquid itself still trapped in the grooves of the record and reflecting light. Bear in mind that the more water you put on the liquid only spreads it around rather than rinsing it off. Any cleaning that is done is with the cloth you're using to get the liquid off the record rather than the product itself.

 

Synthetic sponges or nylon toothbrushes sound like very bad practice to me. Bear in mind you can scour the surface of stainless steel with a nylon toothbrush. I wouldn't put one anywhere near a valuable 45.

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Synthetic sponges or nylon toothbrushes sound like very bad practice to me. Bear in mind you can scour the surface of stainless steel with a nylon toothbrush. I wouldn't put one anywhere near a valuable 45.

Your getting confused with a wire brush!.....we have a SS sink and i`ve just this minute tried it.  :yes:

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To the naked eye Steve I'm sure you're right. If you looked under any magnification you'd see abrasions. On a record you'd be taking dirt away, but also a minuscule amount of the surface of the record too.

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I have always used hot water with Fairy liquid as per washing up. I wash the vinyl with a pice of Plenty kitchen towel folded into a pad. I then dry the vinyl with sheets of Plenty folded into pads.

 

Hot water shifts dirt far more efficiently than warm or cold water will. I've had brilliant results, never had a problem.

 

To Gareth, how do you know what the Amberclens consists of? 

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It's basically Benzyl alcohol in water. In its foam form it was intended for use on vinyl car upholstery to clean it and remove odours.

 

Benzyl alcohol has long been used in the photographic industry as an antistatic cleaner for lenses on enlargers etc. It was used in computer and TV showrooms to prevent static on screens and so on.

 

Static is the main problem with records. The action of the stylus in the grooves generates a huge amount of static buildup which attracts dust and—over time—grime.

 

The stylus cleaner I mentioned above is an antistatic gel which grabs debris off the stylus, very much like the action of the wood-glue-on-record method. The stylus cleaner comes with a 10x magnifying loupe. If you use it each time you play a record you can see just how much crap builds up just in one play.

Edited by garethx

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Prolonged water contact is a no-no, of course, but I quite happily rinse 45s - label and all - under the tap with no ill effect. Sometimes I'll even immerse them in a sink full of water, again with no damage. Vinyl or styrene, they're tough things 45s.

 

Depends on the label. I've damaged the label of a pretty rare roots reggae record from washing. I was pissed off but life goes on. :g:

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I've witnessed the effect of people putting Fairy Liquid and similar detergents in their car windscreen washer reservoirs over the years and it absoultuly f**ks 2-pack paint up so god knows what it does to styrene and vinyl. Fairy Liquid (et al) contain copious amounts of industrial salt. I wouldn't have the guts to put it anywhere near any of my 45's. Similarly a nylon toothbrush.

 

I haven't got a definitive answer myself, but I just use a microfibre cloth, cottonwool and/or a cotton bud as-is with no chemicals. Discarding as I go along till I'm picking up no dust/grime.

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Depends on the label. I've damaged the label of a pretty rare roots reggae record from washing.

Of course it does. If the quality of the paper used for the label is poor, avoid getting it wet. I make a judgement call every time and haven't ruined anything yet.  :thumbsup: 

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I've witnessed the effect of people putting Fairy Liquid and similar detergents in their car windscreen washer reservoirs over the years and it absoultuly f**ks 2-pack paint up so god knows what it does to styrene and vinyl. Fairy Liquid (et al) contain copious amounts of industrial salt. I wouldn't have the guts to put it anywhere near any of my 45's. Similarly a nylon toothbrush.

 

I haven't got a definitive answer myself, but I just use a microfibre cloth, cottonwool and/or a cotton bud as-is with no chemicals. Discarding as I go along till I'm picking up no dust/grime.

Your analogy is very extreme. I'm using  a squirt of the stuff in a very large quantity of hot water. The vinyl is only exposed to this mixture for a few seconds and is then dried off. Hardly the same thing.

 

I see people with beautiful top end motors queuing up to have them "cleaned" at the local car wash, even though these people spray brick acid on the paintwork and then blast it with high powered jet washers. Yet they are never short of customers.

 

I know which I'd rather use.

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It's basically Benzyl alcohol in water. In its foam form it was intended for use on vinyl car upholstery to clean it and remove odours.

 

Benzyl alcohol has long been used in the photographic industry as an antistatic cleaner for lenses on enlargers etc. It was used in computer and TV showrooms to prevent static on screens and so on.

 

Static is the main problem with records. The action of the stylus in the grooves generates a huge amount of static buildup which attracts dust and—over time—grime.

 

The stylus cleaner I mentioned above is an antistatic gel which grabs debris off the stylus, very much like the action of the wood-glue-on-record method. The stylus cleaner comes with a 10x magnifying loupe. If you use it each time you play a record you can see just how much crap builds up just in one play.

You're never too old to learn, so I will certainly give it a go.

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I'm using  a squirt of the stuff in a very large quantity of hot water.

 

And all I'm saying is I've witnessed the damage that a squirt in a 6 pint reservoir can do - having being involved with automotive paint technology. I'm not saying your wrong, Quinvy. You've maybe had years of experience doing this and had good results. I'm saying I personally wouldn't want anything with industrial salt in it near my own records.........

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For minor clean up I would have suggested isopropyl.

 

A simple solution for very mucky, just a drop or two of washing up liquid in some warm water then apply with cotton wool pad.  Maybe use a cotton bud for run in and out for more pressure there.  Then carefully rinse off, avoiding the labels of course.  Repeat a few times until you don't hear further improvement.

 

Other more elaborate suggestions have been made on here in the past, but the above has always worked for me.

That's the way I do mine, works for me, had some good results.

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