Record cleaning

Re: Record DEEP cleaning; when ultrasonic isn't enough

Postby audiom3 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:24 am

Packgrog wrote:I have a couple of truly stubborn, nasty albums that I'd like to clean up, and I'm curious to try some new things on these that would not be necessary with 99% of albums.

First off, has anyone found a way to remove mineral deposits from record grooves from when someone rinsed an album in tap water and drip-dried it, leaving visible discoloration in the grooves themselves. I've tried every solution in my arsenal on one album with this issue, even diluted distilled vinegar (though only for about 30 seconds), and as yet nothing has worked. Any other ideas?

Secondly, what about the grimiest of thrift shop/second hand finds, with hand prints on the grooves underneath the layer of thick dust. Even after a 50 minute ultrasonic cleaning session (106F, TergiKleen dilution of 10 drops per gallon distilled water), followed by multiple rinse/scrub passes on a vacuum RCM, there's still quite a bit of visible contamination. I'm all out of enzymatic solution, but I'm tempted to try either a diluted Simple Green Crystal wash on the vac RCM or the 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner in the ultrasonic trick. Any ideas of what else might help get rid of potentially 50-year-old fingerprint oils safely out of the grooves of a record?

When I come across really nasty records, I soak them for 5-10 minutes in warm water. a few drops of dish soap and about 20% white vinegar. I bought a couple "record UFO's" to protect the label for this reason. It works very well and has never harmed a record. I'm no expert but I believe vinegar cuts through mineral deposits. I then rinse the record in distilled water with my Spin Clean.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby madrac » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:19 pm

yes, vinegar will cut through deposits left by tap water. I'd assume it will work on vinyl like it does for the coffee maker or glass shower door.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Golear » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:40 pm

Hot water should improve the cleaning action of soaps.
And I've seen a Michael Fremer video where he used a hand-held steam cleaning device to get a lot of the debris off an LP that was in a flood.
Also, leaving the hot soap in contact with the LP may also be beneficial.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Packgrog » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:06 am

I run my ultrasonic machine at about 105F, so I'm looking for vinyl-safe cleaning solutions beyond what hot water can help with.

I have tried distilled white vinegar for cleaning, but I've been wary of using much of it, or letting it sit for too long on a record, for fear of the acidity breaking down the vinyl itself.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Golear » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:50 pm

A usual LP cleaning cycle might be too short. I'd submerge the LP (or at least the dirty part) under high temp. for 30 minutes or more.

[NOTE TO ADMIN: I don't mind if you censor what follows.]

Alternatively.... and I hesitate to contribute this idea.... because it could be dangerous.....

Squirt some butane on the offending patch from a can of cigarette lighter fluid. It works on some gunk, but I'm sure it's not going to work on all kinds of gunk. I'm no authority on its effects on vinyl - but it didn't seem to hurt my LP.

Usual flammable gas/liquid precautions apply - don't do it around a heat source, a naked flame or cigarette. And ground yourself so that there's no static electricity.


(Someone's going to make a butane LP cleaning machine.... I just know it.)

But note: at some point, it will be easier to buy another LP.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Mr_Putty » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:18 am

Just curious, are citrus bicycle chain cleaners a possibility? Or any of the simple green cleaners like Advantage 20x, Shaklee basic H, or Oregon's Finest usable with an ultrasonic? I have used a Basic H mix much stronger than recommended with good results, manually with a distilled water rinse, but still want cleaner results.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby mflaten » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:57 pm

I have a 6L China manufactured VEVOR ultrasonic cleaner and I am trying to find a fitting that attaches to the valve. I could use information as the size of the female fitting which requires a male fitting. Is it metric or English? I want to put a 3/8" barb to connect a hose.

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Re: I am a believer

Postby kensell21 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

Letsmakeadeal wrote:
spinblackcircle wrote:Looking forward to your thoughts on the setup. Probably my next purchase.

I used Rushton's formula but substituted Triton X-100 for Tergitol

Now that I am an expert :D in Ultrasonic Cleaning after cleaning three records..Just kidding of course!

Here is my take on it all.

Does it perform miracles? No
Does it fix scratches? No
Does it substantially improve otherwise undamaged but dirty and noisy records? That would be one big! Hell Yes :D :D :D

This was my Guinea Pig: (Picture Below)

An eBay looser with a scratch across tracks 2&3 side 1...Noisy, ticks, pops and bad groove noise everywhere else.

Process: Prewash with MoFi Deep Cleaner on Loricraft PRC-4. I knew this was a lost cause so I started at 37khz...First US pass 4 min at 37khz (1 turn) then at 80khz for 13 minutes - 3 more rotations at about 35 Centigrade - :) Result> Moderate improvement. Still scratches ruin it but much quieter. Not yet what I would consider acceptable as a keeper though. It was a noisy sample to start with..Well, what the hell:

15 minutes more at 37khz with Sweep enabled & about 40 Centigrade. The water just keeps getting hotter and hotter...Better let it rest a while....

Finished all test runs with two rinses as per Rushton's instructions on the Loricraft.

Now we are in the ball park..Side 1 still pretty much unusable because of the scratches. Otherwise it was much quieter. I decided to play side 2 and it is now quiet as a church mouse. I wish I had listed to side 2 after the first run..Dang it. A gigantic improvement though.. :mrgreen:

Second record up for test is a brand new Classic Records "Kind of Blue" I only played it partly one time previously because the lead in song on side 1 has more ticks and pops than a bag of microwave popcorn and the rest of it is permeated with ticks and pops as well. The PRC-4 had no positive affect on these issues in prior attempts to clean it. No wonder Classic Records is out of Business.....I was so PO'ed...Still am

I ran the regimen on it same as with the First LP....It is a junker...Bad pressing and nothing I can do about it. Apparently this is fairly common with the 180gram 33.3rpm Classic pressings of "Kind of Blue". QUIEX - What a joke! I needed a miracle on "Kind of Blue" that did not come even with the US Process. :oops:

3rd test was a nice undamaged LP with a little bit of noise. Now it is CD quiet and the cat's meow....I am very impressed.
So I am sold on the process and look forward to weeding out the junk and finding the Gems in my collection.....I am starting a pile of hopeless give aways....If this process doesn't fix them nothing will!.

I have much more to learn and many records to clean, but I am finally up and running...

Thanks Rush!

Hi Love to know how you manage using the PCR-4 with a wet record on both sides.
I have a PCR-3 and I’m struggling to vacuum when I use it after a USC.

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Re: I am a believer

Postby Letsmakeadeal » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:19 pm


Simple -

Final rinse side 1.
Remove LP
Wipe off Loricraft platter with lint free absorbant cloth
Final Rinse side 2

Voila! :D
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby leftside » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:16 pm

Great thread guys. All my vinyl has already been cleaned following this process:

1) Wash with a spin-clean
2) Rinse with a second spin-clean
3) Rinse/vacuum/dry with a VPI HW-17

These results have been great for some records, but others still have lot's of pops and crackles. I've purchased a 6L US machine from eBay and the Pro version from and will be cleaning all my records again:

1) Wash with the US. I'll clean 3-4 records at a time (not 12)
2) Rinse with the HW-17 (using a syringe containing distilled water and applying directly to the vinyl)
3) Rinse again with the HW-17 with ultra-pure water (using the HW-17 container containing ultra pure water)

For a 6L tank with 5L of distilled water I'll be using the following mixture:
- 6.5 ml Tergitol (Tergitol S-15-3 and S-15-9 in a 50/50 proportion)
- 5 ml Hepastat 256
- 250 ml 99% IPA

I've also used this formula previously with good success (for 1 liter contains 800ml distilled water, 195 ml IPA and 5 ml Ilford Ilfotol) and will also compare to the above formula:
https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.c ... cuum-rcms/

I'm not using any water filter. I'll simply use a new solution after 20-30 records have been cleaned. None of these records are particularly dirty as they've already been cleaned previously.

I'll pre-heat some the distilled water in a kettle to speed up the warming.

Hopefully I'll be giving this a try soon.
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