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cleaning LPs

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stevieboy

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hi all,

is anybody interested in an lp cleaning system that costs under Rs 5000 with vacuum? or without vacuum under Rs 1000. cost includes liquid that will last for at least 500 records minimum estimate. The only technical skill you'll need is being able to use a pair of scissors to cut velvet :)

I thought if enough people are interested i can post pictures of what i've done using all items available in the city:
1. microfibre cloths from a supermarket Rs 70
2. 99% isopropyl alcohol and distilled water 5 litre can Rs 500 approx
3. velvet scrap available for FREE from a sofa maker
4. euroclean turbo vacuum cleaner Rs 4000

The main idea behind this post is to have pictures of the vacuum cleaner corner crevice tool modified to use as a vacuum cleaner. It's made for lp cleaning with a natural bent so one part can be covered with velvet the other part that's at an angle upward is left uncovered, it doesnt touch the record. Because compared to the cost of a new vacuum cleaning machine from nitty gritty whose cost is Rs 40,000, you can make your own system for under Rs 5000!!! and this includes the cleaning liquid you can use for at least 500 odd records minimum estimate. :)

can also be done without the vacuum cleaner for under Rs 1000.

i've had one record cleaned with a nitty gritty machine and while this may not be enough, i remember being slightly disappointed cos it didnt even look too much cleaner. the manual method gives me better results because i can scrub as much as i want/need and let the liquid soak a minute or more as required on the lp. this is the key to getting clean records and not the actual removal of the fluid by vacuum method or manual method. think of it as a plate that has food encrusted on it, some plates require more soaking than others, the wiping dry is the last step that's still important, but is less critical than getting the dirt free of the plate. the lp i've cleaned actually shines clean. no exaggeration. and the killer is i've used only the distilled water not the isopropyl alcohol/distilled water/surfactant mix which is supposedly better, since i've yet to go buy the surfactant.

if someone's interested please reply then i'll take pics and post accordingly.

regards
 

madman29

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I use 'Collin' the widely used cleaning fluid with a .5" (inch) flat brush used for watercolour painting and wipe them dry with cotton cloth. I have a euroclean vaccum cleaner and would love to know more about the process.
 

stevieboy

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hi madman,

great to know someone's interested. will upload pics in the next few days...

colin might not be the ideal choice cos it might have additives that will affect the record. i'd urge you to reconsider. try using only distilled water if you dont want to make the isopropyl alcohol+surfactant mix. or add a distilled water rinse to your cleaning routine to get the colin off. also instead of a normal cloth, switch to micro fiber cloths. these cloths actually gather up the dirt into the cloth fibre unlike normal cloths which push dirt around.
from wikipedia - "In addition, microfiber cleaning tools have the ability to absorb fat and grease and their electrostatic properties have a high dust-attracting power"

you'd need that if you're not using a vacuum. gets the dissolved dirt off the record, otherwise some might stay on and reform as crud. one 3M cloth is little smaller than a handkerchief. will last for pretty long. re the painting brush i too use a flat brush but it's for cleaning my stylus!


regards
 
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murali_n

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Hai Stevieboy,

I used to clean LPs first with vacuum cleaner then apply some drops of IP Alcohol + Distilled water so as to make the surface fully wet. Then after a few minutes , take a small piece of surgical cotton and wipe the entire surface along the groove and leave it dry for 5-10 mins under the ceiling fan.
If the dust is more I do the Vacuum clean once gain. The result is pretty good this way.

Please post photos of your method also.

Thank you,

N MURALI
 

stevieboy

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hi murali,

only one suggestion. add a distilled water rinse finally to remove all traces of isopropyl alcohol. can never be too safe with rare lps eh? :)

regards
 

stevieboy

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http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/6483/14940960lf4.jpg

http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/9633/13789124jn5.jpg

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/8417/30610823pk1.jpg

http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/5919/14526791mk8.jpg

http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/5199/43022281jv7.jpg

hi all,

that's different views of the corner crevice tool that comes with the euroclean turbo. as you can see the end is angled upwards to the right and then vertical for a few mm. the part that's angled upwards you cover with a square of velvet that fits the angle width-wise. the black sticky tape is rolled back on itself to form a shape like a dosa so basically both sides are now sticky, one sticks to the velvet while the other sticks to the tube. like putting a bandaid on the edge! will last for at least 50 lps. and i'll keep brushing the velvet lips with a toothbrush to take out accumulated gunk. the advantage to the crevice tool is that you can hold it pointed towards the spindle or along the groove direction. its a small footprint too so its more focused cleaning especially at the edges where the edge of the lp is slightly raised.

notes:
1. if you're vaccuming liquid up direct, make sure your vacuum cleaner is a wet/dry one. otherwise you'll spoil it at best and blow it up at worst. mine is a dry cleaner so i mop up liquid with a microfibre cloth and then vacuum so hardly any liquid enters the cleaner body. am also planning to put a handkerchief folded double between the connecting tubes of the vacuum cleaner to catch stray liquid.

2. please please look up microfibre cloths on google. it should convince you to switch to them from plain cloths and cotton and the like which work fine but might not be as efficient. basically microfibre cloths act like a magnet attracting the dirt into their fibres unlike regular cloths. so wash the microfibre cloths regularly cos dirt will be in there and might cause scratches when you next wipe the lp. they're available at a supermarket. i got mine from spencers.

3. this point is the most important! no matter what your cleaning routine please include a distilled water rinse to wash the cleaner off the lp!!!!! will prevent the cleaner eating the plasticizer on the lp or leaving a film that will result in the music being veiled.

4. a lot of liquid recipes exist but what i've gathered as common are isopropyl alcohol 20% distilled water 80% (can vary this proportion depending on the dirtiness of lp). add to this mixture a surfactant like an industrial detergent that has no additives or kodak photoflow. and a distilled water rinse or two to remove the cleaner as mentioned above. do research this if you're using different things cos just because its a cleaner does not mean its safe for use on an lp.

5. my routine:
1. put the cleaning mix on the lp, scrub gently with a flat edge tool covered with velvet.
2. mop up liquid with first micro fibre cloth
3. put distilled water on lp, spread around lp with second flat edge tool covered with velvet
4. mop up water with second microfibre cloth
5. rinse again with distilled water and mop up with second microfibre cloth
6. vacuum
this way the final vacuum lips do not touch the dirty first mix ensuring a cleaner final step.

hope this helps

regards
 
Last edited:

vinyl_man

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Oct 31, 2008
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For cleaning records I have made my own innovation. I have used a tonearm on which I have a ceramic stylus(light), a Carbon Brush and velvet cloth roller. I have used a tonearm of a scrapped turntable and put the entire thing together to make a portable cleaner. I usually apply a mixture plain water and Sun Of A Gun vinyl Protectant picked up from a car accessories shop.
Steps-
1) Apply the liquid lightly on the record.
2) Put the cleaning tonearm on the record( guided by the ceramic pin).
3) After a minute or so put my playing tonearm on.

Result-Cleaning and Playing take place at the same time . Extraordinary sound.

If you want to see the pic pl mail me yr emails.
 

stevieboy

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hi vinylman,

i'd love to see pics of your contraption. i have a spare tt but settled for the easy option :)

re playing wet from all that i've read, people say that's detrimental cos although you get good sound, after that play, to achieve the same quality you have to play it wet every time cos the grooves get reshaped on playing wet. what's your take since you're doing it? also playing wet you risk water travelling up the cantilever... ?

how's the sound of the lp when you play it dry the second or third time around?

also do see if you want to change to distilled water since regular tap water will have minerals in it. my tap water leaves a white film on things cos of the calcium in it. little hard water i guess.

do check out 'LAST' products too. they have something like the protectant you're using but lots of users and reviewers say it lays down a long term veil on the lp. sure it'll protect the groove from the stylus but then that also means the stylus isn't tracking the naked groove and you're not getting true contact and fidelity. it's like putting plastic sheet over glass so as not to have the glass scratched. will protect but you can't touch the actual glass. don't know how much the difference would be. just sharing what i've read.

regards
 
Last edited:

G401fan

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Over the years I've read all the stuff about how certain chemicals in detergents can affect the quality of vinyl, why you should use isopropyl alcohol in various dilutions, distilled water, fancy record cleaning fluids sold by the gallon, Nitty Gritty, Okki Nokki, etc record cleaners, and other worthy RCMs, and I say to hell with it all.

I've been cleaning my records with flowing water out of a tap, with liquid soap and a sponge, and with a final pat and a dry I've had them thoroughly clean in minutes. Done this for years and never had a problem. You're more likely to damage your precious vinyl with a misaligned cartridge/tonearm combination than with any cleaning method, is my two bits.

Of course, if your local tap water leaves a white residue then that's a different story...
rgds
 

stevieboy

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anybody know where i can get kodak photoflow or triton x 100 in bangalore? or bombay? been looking no luck. need a wetting agent for my mix. if all else fails, a few drops of liquid soap...
 

gsubash

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Agree with G401fan. Unless your records are very precious, in which case I use Iso+distilled water, I usually dunk it under running water and clean it out with soap. havent found any detrminental effect of such. In my view, Vinyl is pretty sturdy, so you are probably better off investing in good sleeves and storing in a clean place.
 

stevieboy

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Agree with G401fan. Unless your records are very precious, in which case I use Iso+distilled water, I usually dunk it under running water and clean it out with soap. havent found any detrminental effect of such. In my view, Vinyl is pretty sturdy, so you are probably better off investing in good sleeves and storing in a clean place.

to me all my records are precious :D are there really any other kind? hehe. and with distilled water not too expensive there's really no reason to compromise with hard water. also considering i'm gonna clean them this way probably once or perhaps twice in my life and the rest of the time with a dry carbon fibre brush, why compromise?
 

stevieboy

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a discussion on different record playing routines.
AudiogoN Forums: Record-playing Rituals?

steam cleaning routine. am gonna try it soon. a steam cleaner is available locally on Welcome to rediff.com the shopping section. you'll find the link on the thread as well as a link to one of the members sltrains' video on youtube doing the steam cleaning routine with a vpi cleaning machine.
AudiogoN Forums: Steam cleaning records 2

using steam cleaning without a record cleaning machine questions
AudiogoN Forums: Steam Cleaning - RCM or not?


heat loosening dirt makes enough sense for me to try it out. plus almost everyone on audiogon who has tried it has not damaged any record.

regards
 

stevieboy

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hi all,

want to know if anybody here has found the same issue that i've found. cleaned one lp with distilled water/isopropyl mix. found the highs very muted. stylus was cleaned too so that's not the issue. then added pril dishwashing liquid a couple of drops to a litre of the mix and cleaned again. little better but still less highs and 'energy'. disc doctor site mentions several plays necessary for stylus to mate with the 'new' groove walls.. what are your experiences?

regards
 

stevieboy

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solved the problem last night. turns out in the excitement i had dry brush cleaned the stylus. when i wet brush cleaned it, the sound was clear. clear case of being too hasty :eek:
 

rockarolla70

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Agree with G401fan. Unless your records are very precious, in which case I use Iso+distilled water, I usually dunk it under running water and clean it out with soap. havent found any detrminental effect of such. In my view, Vinyl is pretty sturdy, so you are probably better off investing in good sleeves and storing in a clean place.

I agree with the above method, I have been doing the same for a pretty long time now and I have not faced any issues. I have invested heavily on top grade anti-static sleeves for the vinyl, outer sleeve to protect the artwork & have stored my vinyls in a clean dry space.

Iso+distilled water (20% + 80%)
 

atanu mukerji

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Over the years I've read all the stuff about how certain chemicals in detergents can affect the quality of vinyl, why you should use isopropyl alcohol in various dilutions, distilled water, fancy record cleaning fluids sold by the gallon, Nitty Gritty, Okki Nokki, etc record cleaners, and other worthy RCMs, and I say to hell with it all.

I've been cleaning my records with flowing water out of a tap, with liquid soap and a sponge, and with a final pat and a dry I've had them thoroughly clean in minutes. Done this for years and never had a problem. You're more likely to damage your precious vinyl with a misaligned cartridge/tonearm combination than with any cleaning method, is my two bits.

Of course, if your local tap water leaves a white residue then that's a different story...
rgds

I use a mild shampoo solution in water n sponge it on the vinyl and then wash it on tap water and then tap it dry on a towel n keep it under a fan.
do agree that a record can get damaged more by a misaligned cartridge than by cleaning methods
 

kuruvilajacob

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I use a mild shampoo solution in water n sponge it on the vinyl and then wash it on tap water and then tap it dry on a towel n keep it under a fan.
do agree that a record can get damaged more by a misaligned cartridge than by cleaning methods

Have you played the record before cleaning and after cleaning? Please try and do mention if your records sound better after cleaning.
 

canchi

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Have you played the record before cleaning and after cleaning? Please try and do mention if your records sound better after cleaning.

Kuruvila Jacob Sir, In your vast experience what is the best way to clean an LP record? In addition, Do anti static brushes help?
 

kuruvilajacob

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Kuruvila Jacob Sir, In your vast experience what is the best way to clean an LP record? In addition, Do anti static brushes help?

I have tried several methods before I short listed on the vacuum cleaning system . You will know more about it if you visit my website.www.kuruvilajacob.in. My friend who has a top of the line Record Cleaning Machine compared my cleaning to the one cleaned on his RCM and concluded that my way of cleaning is almost as good as his done on a very high end RCM. If you need more details , I can give you more details if you think you wish to proceed. You will need a nylon brush, a wet & dry vacuum cleaner and an old non functioning Turntable and IPA and demineralised water. Let me tell you, it works really well. I have demonstrated it to many who have come to my place. Made them listen to the record before and after cleaning and they are convinced it works.
 
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