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Cleaning Vinyl Records

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Having bought a lot of records over the years, i have always pondered over the various solutions/secret potions people use to clean their 45's,LP's.

A local chap who runs a second hand record shop swore blind to me that all he uses is washing up liquid and warm water (i have basically stuck to this tried and tested method), thing is a copy of a record of mine has developed a "Jump" the type that repeats it's self forever, with much cleaning etc, i seem to have removed the jump, but i fear playing it out incase the same problem occurs.

Please feel free to pass on any tips.

Brett

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I use your emthod but also palmolive hand soap works brilliant, wet the record, rub the soap in then play it wet, watch the crap come out of the grooves...only works with one type of soap though, I'll try and remember which.

I had a Lenny Curtis with like a dart-hole in it that made it jump 2 grooves, I melted a tiny bit of wax into it and it recut the groove, played perfectly.

Also there was something, can't remember what, but it had an infuriating jump so I used a magnifying glass and cut the scratch back into the groove using a paper cutter/scalpel.

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Having bought a lot of records over the years, i have always pondered over the various solutions/secret potions people use to clean their 45's,LP's.

A local chap who runs a second hand record shop swore blind to me that all he uses is washing up liquid and warm water (i have basically stuck to this tried and tested method), thing is a copy of a record of mine has developed a "Jump" the type that repeats it's self forever, with much cleaning etc, i seem to have removed the jump, but i fear playing it out incase the same problem occurs.

Please feel free to pass on any tips.

Brett

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I have tried playin the record damp and this as worked a bit for me on the really grubby records.

I only use warm soapy water with a soft sponge then give it a wipe. I do the same for my records too! :unsure::lol:

Shane

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I do what Pete just suggested but with washing up liquid and water mixed and sprayed on out of a styling spray bottle with a push pump spray and played with the solution on wet . If the record is particulary dirty or scratched put a pound coin on the top of stylus and it tends to clean it a bit deeper.It works well and sometimes gets rid of some skips and jumps. I have an old record deck I use only for this.

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I had heard that Isopropyl Alcohol (available in big brown bottles from most chemists) mixed with water does the trick.

A

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It's best used neat with a lint free cloth, it will evoprate off as you wipe the record. If you use it neat you do have to worry about spilling any on the label and getting "water damage" .You can buy alco wipes that are for cleaning skin before injections that contain isoproply alcohol on a little square of soft cloth which are useful if your out and about DJing and get crap on a record.

Two thing though, DON'T smoke etc as it very flammble and DON'T get it any where near your acetates as it will melt them!

If you got a really hissy disk you are record to CD etc, you can litteraly soak it in isopropyl alcohol and playing it thus will markedly reduce the noise.

If you've got a really shagged, dirty record that you want to spruce up and sell to some poor unsuspecting mug, you can use WD40 (watch the label!), works very well but stinks!!

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I was told by a mate (in a football team I played for) who runs a second hand record/CD shop, that he uses Windolene. The clear spray-on variety. I always use this and just wipe with a soft cloth.

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Bold, Ariel, Daz, Ajax,Persil, wire wool etc. all of these products pretty much f*** up any records....... or that purple stuff i once bought from record collector basically sprit based add to water type of stuff worked ok, but you can't beat washing up liquid in water, might not get rid of the hiss, cracks, pops and crap etc. but makes them smell beautiful.

Regards - Mark Bicknell.

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I was told by a mate (in a football team I played for) who runs a second hand record/CD shop, that he uses Windolene.  The clear spray-on variety.  I always use this and just wipe with a soft cloth.

link

Hi Ian,

I use exactly the same stuff, although I spray it first and then play it through wet, then gently wipe off the crap with a small kitten. Cloths are also good.

Jamie

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Don't use the alcohol-based products for cleaning styrene records. These tend to melt the surface and remove the sheen, producing a dull grey finish that will look crap. Also, take care if using cotton wool. A lot of cheap 'cotton wool' isn't cotton at all, but rather a synthetic fibre which will have the effect of a very fine grade wire wool.

A soft cotton dish cloth and some diluted washing up liquid seems to do the trick. If you play the record while damp as stated above any debris in the grooves will be disturbed. A rinse with luke warm water will finish the job.

The dumbest thing I ever did was attempt to use nail polish remover to deal with a couple of tiny blemishes on a vinyl copy of Bill Brandon's "Street's Got My Lady". Even though it was twenty years ago I can still see the 'smoke signals' coming off the plastic as it melted before my eyes.

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I understand that it's possible to use T-Cut on very very knackered records - can anyone explain how this is done? I believe it takes off a thin layer of vinyl and therefore can remove or help to smooth a lot of scratches. I wouldn't dream of using this on a semi decent condition record (G or better in fact) as I also use washing up liquid, a natural sponge, and rinse in cold water etc. and this works great - but I have one particular moderately valuable record which I picked up cheap in a very very shagged state, and would be willing to try something more drastic to reduce the level of scratches already there as it is beyond 'wet cleaning'.... can anyone shine any light on this - I'm aware that it's probably almost sacriligious to even ask about this :lol: ???

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I've tried t-cut and it didn't work. Tell you what does work though. Gene Robertson started me off on this, I tweaked it a bit. Only works on UK records, especially those on EMI's labels (HMV, Columbia, Parlophone, Tamla Motown etc)

Coat the record with silver polish then hold it over a boiling kettle, rotating it quickly as you go. The steam takes the top surface off the vinyl and makes it look mint. Wipe of the excess and repeat when necessary.

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As I tend to store my vinyl in a darkroom, in a box, under covers. I have never ever cleaned one, as putting water anywhere near them seems madness.

But as I get older I am willing to learn new tricks.

To those who have been cleaning records all their life these following questions will sound daft probably, buy:

What is better warm or cold water? (For the record, not your hands)

Do you put the washing up liquid into the water? Directly onto the records? Or directly onto the sponge/cloth?

What is better Sponge or cloth?

Are there sponges or cloth types you can recommend?

I have recently been exasperated with the standard of vinyl of some records I have picked up lately, so would really appreciate my questions being answered.

I also have a couple of records that hiss:

The Shalimars - Stop and take a look at yourself - Verve. Do all these hiss? As I have heard a few sound not great at do's.

Gia Mateo - If You Cant Say Anyting Nice. This one is a little beat up, so I might try the earlier advice in this case.

TIA

Mikey

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I've tried t-cut and it didn't work. Tell you what does work though. Gene Robertson started me off on this, I tweaked it a bit. Only works on UK records, especially those on EMI's labels (HMV, Columbia, Parlophone, Tamla Motown etc)

Coat the record with silver polish then hold it over a boiling kettle, rotating it quickly as you go.  The steam takes the top surface off the vinyl and makes it look mint.  Wipe of the excess and repeat when necessary.

link

LOL, No I should stress that I'm not attempting to polish to make something knackered LOOK mint, I'm trying to remove the scratchy top layer to make it SOUND mint! Is the general consensus that it cannot be done? Because I HAVE heard otherwise, I just don't understand the nitty gritty of the process!

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A bit of boot polish sometimes does the trick, followed by a vigorous rub with a lint free cloth, brings em up a treat, can almost see your face in them. I also have a 1 micron polishing cloth, which removes fine surface scratches a treat.. :thumbsup:

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Bit taken aback at some of these suggestions!! The crap that you're adding to your grooves with a lot of this stuff. Soap well rinsed can work, its quite a lot of effort though.

Personally I use a record cleaning machine that hoovers up the liquid and suspended dirt, you can actually get a front end for the machine for about $100 (?)from the US and plug your home vacuum cleaner into it to save on costs. Try Tracer Audio if you want to see this product, they're on the web.

I've tried quite a few different cleaning products and most work to a certain extent. You can find some witchcraft recipes here:

http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/fluids.html

I've used Nitty Gritty cleaning fluid to turn unplayable Jamaican vinyl into a quite listenable Ex- standard. Bizarrely I couldn't get rid of a skip on a JT Rhythm by any amount of cleaning but I lent it to a friend and he played it through on his system, skip cured. Meths can also work, particularly on things like paint or adhesive in the grooves. Needs a further clean to remove any residue from the meths afterwards if you're that bothered.

Last resort when recording something, Jamaican sound men spray water on knackered records to cut down on background noise. However, this actually increases wear on the vinyl as the inherent lubricants in the vinyl cannot function as the record doesn't get hot enough (apparently).

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This Topic got me thinking, the problem with washing is while removing some of the dirt it just spreads the rest around , a bit like dusting , So I put the candle wax theory and the pledge theory togather and used Pledge wax And sprayed an old very dirty pressing on styrine And played it while still wet as the needle traveled in the groves the wax dryed up and the needle lifted the wax with the dirt on/in it

I the tryed playing the said disc and the differance was amazing still the odd pop and crackle but the improvement i fidelity was marked. Try it your self on a chepo pressing youself before trying it anything a bit more valuable

PS the author of this Post takes nor excepts any libilty for any damage to any priceless gem that someone my try this on, but if its shagged what have you got to loose :thumbsup:

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You can use a cleanser like Ajax or Comet as long as its the kind without bleach. It works a little better cause it has grainieness (is that a word?) to it that gets into the groove and pushes what dirt it doesnt absorb. I follow the groove with a soft tooth brush and it works pretty well.

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I Once Found A Load Of Records In a Barn Nothing would Shift Chicken S**t I Even Put Them In The Shower ,In The End I Used Nail Varnish Remover, No S**t

It Worked

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I have a record which would normally be worth £800+ that I got for £15 as its shagged but I am going to have a go at cleaning it up, might take Craigs advice with nitromores LOL

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Just going to have a go at cleaning one of them frank wilsons...

Dun't matter if I screw up... There's 49 more

:P:Dbiggrin.giflaugh.gif

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Just going to have a go at cleaning one of them frank wilsons...

Dun't matter if I screw up... There's 49 more

:P:Dbiggrin.giflaugh.gif

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Found this post on another forum. I have never tried it myself so can't vouch for it but it looks interesting:

"A guy who used to manage the library for an FM broadcast station - when they still used vinyl - told me the best material they'd found was white 'cold' wood glue. Spread it on, leave it overnight to dry, & peel it off with all the dirt & fingerprints.

I do agree with him! Its the best method I've yet tried as far as getting a 'silent surface' afterwards. All the fluids that you use with a pad or duster or brush I have found just push the dirt deeper into the groove, and worsen the background crackle.

(don't spread glue over the label, and don't spread it TOO thinly or it's difficult to peel off in a single sheet!)"

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God all these different methods are giving me a case of the foul "Soaking Sweats"

what if by some hideous fate the glue sets rock solid,................

Started using a Poisonous solution from Covers 33...manalive the bottle is covered in skull and cross bones....,you have to handle the filthy potion with a pair of oak laundry pincers, then hope no one within a 67 yard circumference lights up a capstan full strength........BOOM :wicked::wicked:

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Along the same lines, i picked up a slightly warped copy of Lonnie Lester - You Can't Go for a fiver a while back. It played great on the dealer's old dansette, but when i got it home it didn't. He probably had a much heavier stylus arm. Even pennies over the stylus don't help.

I've considered cutting the middle out and replacing the grooves from a copy of the Goldmine pressing, but that would be immoral :wicked:

How can i iron out slight warps? :wicked:

M.

Edited by mattmale

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Along the same lines, i picked up a slightly warped copy of Lonnie Lester - You Can't Go for a fiver a while back. It played great on the dealer's old dansette, but when i got it home it didn't. He probably had a much heavier stylus arm. Even pennies over the stylus don't help.

I've considered cutting the middle out and replacing the grooves from a copy of the Goldmine pressing, but that would be immoral  :shades:

How can i iron out slight warps?  :D

M.

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would have repllied early but been trying to remove two 45s that have been stuck to me hands for most of the day

think theres a proven method involving glass and a microwave - the forum search thing may show up the full details of method

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How can i iron out slight warps?  :lol:

M.

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Vinyl is essentially a plastic.

As is nylon so just set your Morphy Richards dial accordingly.

...And before you come round to kick my head in, as my mum used to say "If I told you to stick your head in the oven..... etc"

Godz

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Along the same lines, i picked up a slightly warped copy of Lonnie Lester - You Can't Go for a fiver a while back. It played great on the dealer's old dansette, but when i got it home it didn't. He probably had a much heavier stylus arm. Even pennies over the stylus don't help.

I've considered cutting the middle out and replacing the grooves from a copy of the Goldmine pressing, but that would be immoral  :D

How can i iron out slight warps?  :D

M.

link

I have heard of putting the record between two pieces of glass, and heating gently, ie hand dryer on quite a low setting, or leaving in garden on a sunny day - trouble is, how many sunny days over here ?

I've not tried this myself , but a good mate of mine has recommended it, and used it on numerous occasions.....good luck.

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