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How do I clean the vinyls?

Hermanlane

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Hello all, by a random chance I was lucky enough to become the owner of 70 old records, still do not know what I will do with them next, but first it would be nice to clean them from 10 years of dust, in article write that you can clean with alcohol, in other write that you need to buy cleaners and cleaning kits, they also write that you can clean with vinegar, who can believe? How not to spoil the records?
 

sergeauckland

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The best, and I think the only proper way to clean records, especially very dirty records, is to use a vacuum Record Cleaning Machine. You can use an ultrasonic cleaner first, then dry with the vacuum RCM, but ultimately, you have to get all the wetness of the record, as letting water dry naturally will leave deposits. Even using distilled/demineralised water will leave some deposits, unless you rinse every LP in clean water and dry using a clean soft towel. That's a very expensive way, especially with 80 records.

If you haven't got an RCM, or know anyone who does, then a very gentle scrub with a little washing up liquid in warm water will remove the worse, but unlikely to get the record properly clean. Depending on where you are located, there may be a record shop or HiFi shop that offers records cleaning, but with 80, that will be expensive.

It may well be cheaper to buy a used RCM then sell it again when you have cleaned all 80 records if you don't think you'll use it again. Nitty Gritty and Moth are two vacuum RCMs that come to mind, both are equally good. Both are noisy! wear ear defenders.

And finally, once you've cleaned the records, put them in new plastic inner sleeves, don't put them back in the original paper or plastic sleeves as those will be full of dirt, and that will go straight back on the clean record.

S.
 

Doodski

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you can clean with alcohol
Some contaminants will become hard and difficult to remove if isopropyl alcohol is used. Like the sugar in soft drinks and fruit juice. Hot water is the best for these contaminants.
 

Jas0_0

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Apparently ultrasonic bath record cleaners are also excellent. The Velvet Vortex is one, though many examples can be found on a large auction site, among other places.

Dedicated cleaners may seem expensive, but if you don’t intend to buy more records, you could buy a second hand cleaner, clean your records, then sell the cleaner for what you bought it for.
 

somebodyelse

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JayGilb

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Maybe someone should create a waterproof top and bottom cover that could be tightened over the label and allow the record to be immersed in a warm water/soap bath. Given enough time, the contaminants would just lift off of the vinyl.
 

mhardy6647

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The simple and (relatively) inexpensive Disc Doctor system does a pretty good job, as does the even less elegant Spin-Clean gizmo. These are, however, unimpressive solutions to the "record cleaning" problem and will draw nothing but disdain from the vinylista. ;)
https://www.discdoc.com/ (these products used to be much cheaper; i.e., before Acoustic Sounds bought the company)

Alcohol (ethanol or methanol), other than a small amount to help improve the ability of the cleaning solution to wet the hydrophobic surface of a 'vinyl' (polyvinyl chloride) disc, is not great for cleaning records as it might nenhance the leach plasticisers from the record. Do not use denatured ethanol unless the denaturant is something like methanol. Some of the denaturation "recipes" use some pretty gruesome stuff (e.g., toluene) to render the ethanol nonpotable... even small amounts of such a solvent likely isn't a great idea for cleaning vinyl.

Any really old 78 rpm disks made of shellac must not be cleaned with alcohol, as shellac is soluble in alcohol.

The use of wood glue (or "Elmer's" PVA glue) to clean LPs is... just silly (IMO). People do it -- but people also take Ivermectin for COVID-19. :rolleyes::facepalm:
 

somebodyelse

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dr0ss

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I've been cleaning records with soap and water in the sink for nearly 50 years and never had a problem with a damaged label, though I usually try to be careful with getting the label too wet, and I don't have especially valuable records (though maybe they are now). More recently I use Liquinox instead of dish soap for the surfactant (it rinses better), a soft boar-bristle shaving brush to get the surfactant into the grooves without damage, and a final spray with an alcohol solution + wipe with a microfiber cloth to expedite drying. I have a label cover I made from round outlet covers (perfect size) and a bolt, but I hardly ever use it. Vacuum machines remove the dampness and deep-seated dirt better (I still hear some pops after cleaning my way), and there are attachments for your canister vac (or even full 3d-printed machines) available for cheap on the auction site. As I understand it, the main advantage of tergitol over liquinox is that the ionization is opposite, and so the tergitol-cleaned record is less likely to attract dust after cleaning. I live in a humid climate, so this has not been especially noticeable.

There are long and surprisingly sober and informative) discussions of cleaning on some of the other forums that are more dedicated to vintage gear.
 

Robin L

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My best results were with an ultrasonic cleaner. "Tower District Records" in Fresno California has a record cleaning service I used many times. The Keith Monks cleaner at db audio, Berkeley, CA, was nearly as good. Both were a $1 a disc After that, the VPI cleaner I used for years has a similar problem as the Discwasher: once the deposits are on the brushes, it spreads to the following records. In that regard, I think of sink washing as better, but there is the issue of possible label damage. In any case, I got 30 years worth of LPs cleaned with the VPI 16 cleaner. Worst was the Discwasher system, smearing crap on the record one is theoretically cleaning. In a word: don't.
 
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MakeMineVinyl

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I have no idea how to clean 'vinyls' because that is not the name of anything. If you mean records or LPs, then the above answers would cover it. ;)
 

DVDdoug

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I don't play records anymore but occasionally I digitize one. I have a "classic" Discwasher but back in the vinyl days the best record cleaner I had was something like this but a different brand. It's the same concept as white glue but it was more like thick-heavy Jello or maybe rubber cement.
 

SIY

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The use of wood glue (or "Elmer's" PVA glue) to clean LPs is... just silly (IMO). People do it -- but people also take Ivermectin for COVID-19. :rolleyes::facepalm:
I've used diluted PVA/PVOH a la Reg Williamson. It works beautifully.
 

mhardy6647

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I've used diluted PVA/PVOH a la Reg Williamson. It works beautifully.
Well, maybe OK if it's diluted. I mean, you're not slathering Elmer's wood glue on your vinyls, are you?
Because folks do.
 

Martin

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I've been cleaning records with soap and water in the sink for nearly 50 years and never had a problem with a damaged label, though I usually try to be careful with getting the label too wet, and I don't have especially valuable records (though maybe they are now). More recently I use Liquinox instead of dish soap for the surfactant (it rinses better), a soft boar-bristle shaving brush to get the surfactant into the grooves without damage, and a final spray with an alcohol solution + wipe with a microfiber cloth to expedite drying. I have a label cover I made from round outlet covers (perfect size) and a bolt, but I hardly ever use it. Vacuum machines remove the dampness and deep-seated dirt better (I still hear some pops after cleaning my way), and there are attachments for your canister vac (or even full 3d-printed machines) available for cheap on the auction site. As I understand it, the main advantage of tergitol over liquinox is that the ionization is opposite, and so the tergitol-cleaned record is less likely to attract dust after cleaning. I live in a humid climate, so this has not been especially noticeable.

There are long and surprisingly sober and informative) discussions of cleaning on some of the other forums that are more dedicated to vintage gear.

I have one of these and a cheap wet-dry vac and it works great.

Martin
 

atsmusic

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I use a VPI 16.5. Also you are not supposed to use regular tap water on records. Go ahead if you want but I never would on my records. Most tap water is full of minerals and other impurities that can leave audible residue in the grooves
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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I use a VPI 16.5. Also you are not supposed to use regular tap water on records. Go ahead if you want but I never would on my records. Most tap water is full of minerals and other impurities that can leave audible residue in the grooves
Leave a plastic bucket out during a rain coupled with the latest expensive ionized hydrogen decoupling elixer mated with H2SO4 concentrated. No residue guaranteed.
 
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