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Cleaning LPs
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 756
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-09-08 9:09 pm   Permalink

OK, so there are several schools of thought on how best to clean. I've heard that alcohol is not good for the vinyl and that washing with soap and water is good. But, where I live, the water is very harsh and leaves spots. Are there any other methods of cleaning that work? Is there a cheap solution that can be mixed from other stuff like denatured alcohol or something? I mean, some of those record cleaner solutions are hellatiously expensive--$20, $30 and up for an ounce or 2 of the stuff.

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." -- Dean Martin

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2003
Posts: 533
From: Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Posted: 2004-09-09 01:07 am   Permalink

Say whatever you want, but I've bben collecting LPs since I was 5 years old, and at 43, I have over 2,400. The dirty ones get dish soap and water. I clean them regularly with glass cleaner, as have a few radio stations I worked for in the past. It doesn't hurt them at all.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 756
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-09-09 11:16 am   Permalink

Glass cleaner? Hmmm, I never thought of that. Certainly sounds cost effective. Thanks!

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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2804
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2004-09-09 4:53 pm   Permalink

People I know who collect rare Blue Note jazz lps use a VPI record cleaner:

Here's a more than glowing review of said record cleaner:

But since the price of said record cleaner is over $900! (ouch), here are instructions on making your own "just-as-good" version for $50

Along with these instructions is a recipe for homemade record-cleaning solution, which I'll go ahead and reprint here:

"The safe formula is the same as archival commercial preparations, except that you are mixing it yourself and therefore it costs you a fraction of the price of ready mixed. It can be used for both hand and vacuum cleaning. It is a 25 percent solution of isopropyl alcohol in water, with a drop of surfacant. Ethyl alcohol, sometimes applied to records in the form of vodka is more damaging to vinyl than is isopropyl. Use it only in an absolute pinch.

Drugstore isopropyl contains too many impurities to qualify it for record cleaning. Use technical or lab-grade isopropyl, which is extremely pure. Reagent grade is unnecessary and far more expensive. Water should be steam distilled, triple de-ionized. Both of these are readily available at a chemical supply house, which should sell them to you in pint and gallon sizes.

You also need to add a drop of surfacant, or wetting agent, to reduce the surface tension of the water so the formula can penetrate down into the grooves. Very high frequency grooves, in the range of 15 kHz, can be as small as four millionths of an inch, according to Wald Davies of LAST. Though alcohol itself helps somewhat, you still need a wetting agent. Two excellent and safe choices are Triton X-114 from Rohm-Haas and Monolan 2000 from Diamond Shamrock. Both of these are nontoxic - but don't take them internally - and biodegradable. Very importantly, they leave behind no residue on the record. They are harmless in these small amounts to record vinyl and, as far as is known, to any of the conceivable by-products and impurities likely to be found in record vinyl.

Kodak's Kodaflow is sometimes recommended as a wetting agent. Do *not* use this as it contains chemicals in addition to surfacants that would leave behind residues bad for both record and stylus. Kodak recommends against this application. "

I'm going to start aquiring the components at garage sales to make one of these record cleaners myself.



[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy on 2004-09-09 16:55 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2004-09-09 5:31 pm   Permalink

A little bit cheaper is the Nitty Gritty Record cleaner, which sells for about $500. I own one, and it does wonders. I also have thousands of records - most of them bought used in thrift stores, so this machine has been very useful for me.



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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 29, 2002
Posts: 1794
From: San Diego, CA
Posted: 2004-09-09 7:31 pm   Permalink

Jeez...it's time for me to crawl outta my cave. I'm still using my Discwasher (a gizmo that looks like a shoeshine brush but with a soft corregated, cord-like material instead of bristles) and the Discwasher D4 cleaning fluid I bought at Wallach's Music City thirty years ago! As a wise man ounce said: "When in doubt, buy vintage". Not to get too far off the subject, but one of my favorite Bevus & Butthead episodes was when their hippy teacher let them babysit his house while he went on vacation and they cleaned his coveted collection of 8-track tapes by putting them in the dishwasher and then in the toaster to dry them off. Don't try this at home kids!

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 19, 2003
Posts: 47
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2004-09-14 10:28 am   Permalink

Not that this should be taken as the final word on this subject but I asked my local record store what methods they used to get their used vinyl to look so shiny and clean and the guys all said to me..."A moist dish sponge."

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Joined: Oct 25, 2004
Posts: 2
From: Germany
Posted: 2004-10-25 05:05 am   Permalink

In the beginning I used to wash my records with soap and water, later using window cleaner or alcool. But the best results at an affordable price (for the private collector) came with "knosti disco antistat" which is used by many european collectors. You can use the fluid (which is better than those mentioned above) many times or buy separately.

Here is a link:

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 756
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-10-25 5:34 pm   Permalink

what about a simple solution of denatured alcohol and purified water?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 28, 2007
Posts: 313
From: Kumamoto , Japan
Posted: 2007-08-30 01:25 am   Permalink

I'd like to revive this thread as I've been purchasing a fair amount of old vinyl lately . Any other suggestions / home remedies / whatever ?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 08, 2004
Posts: 328
From: DC Metro Area (MD)
Posted: 2007-08-30 04:13 am   Permalink

Bags Unlimited, a fine audiophile supply house in New York, offers up their own cleaning product that seems reasonably priced:
---scroll to the bottom of the page.

They used to carry the Discwasher stuff as well, but am wondering if supplies from that line of products is drying up. I haven't used this product, so I cannot recommend it personally... but whenever my Discwasher fluid runs out I'd likely pick this up (assuming I cannot find any more).

"I had never enjoyed a drink so much, or needed it so badly."
--Thor Heyerdahl, in 'Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island'

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 756
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2007-08-30 09:05 am   Permalink

OK, I started this thread a long time ago and since then I have learned a few things. First thing I have learned is why have such a large CD collection--vinyl is a real bitch to deal with.

Here has been my solution for quite some time:

1. I make my own homemade cleaner very cheaply. After paying $20+ for a small bottle of record cleaner, I decided to research what was actually in them. I found this web site that listed different homemade cleaning solutions and I tried a few of them out. This one seems to work and is VERY cheap to make

1 part denatured alcohol (do not use rubbing alcohol)
3 parts distilled water (not drinking water)
1 small drop of dish washing liquid (no alovera or moisturizers--degreasing action is good.)

I usually make a small amount (like 1 oz of alcohol to 3oz of water)

IMPORTANT NOTE: only add enough dish washing liquid so that when you shake the solution up, the foam dissipates quickly. in other words, you don't want it foam up like the head on a glass of beer.

Then I use LAST brand microfiber brushes to apply the cleaner to the record and gently brush it around the surface. These brushes aren't cheap, but they do a great job at getting into the grooves. You can find them here:

Then I simply use a lint-less cloth to wipe off the record, moving around the record with the grooves continually until the solution dries.

Voila, a clean record.


After the wet cleaning, I use a Nagaoka Rolling 152 record roller. This little gem is a sticky rubberized roller than picks off every foreign object off the record surface and gets down in the grooves pretty well. Its a little expensive ($45+) from Japan, but I've cleaned swap meet records using only the roller and they play beautifully.

I hope this helps.


"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." -- Dean Martin

[ This Message was edited by: Digitiki 2007-08-30 09:06 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 874
From: Port Angeles, Wa
Posted: 2007-08-30 09:44 am   Permalink

The Record Vacuum from Ronco

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I, Zombie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 14, 2003
Posts: 539
From: the Les Baxter Grotto (Minneapolis)
Posted: 2007-09-02 4:03 pm   Permalink


On 2007-08-30 01:25, sushiman wrote:
I'd like to revive this thread as I've been purchasing a fair amount of old vinyl lately . Any other suggestions / home remedies / whatever ?


I bought the Nitty Gritty Record Doctor vacuum machine for like $225. You can find it here:
http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/record_doctor2_review.htm I'll be cleaning up that Wanderly album later tonight {wink}.

OR you can build your own (I built my first one, and used it for a year and a half). A guy who does a punk show on KFAI also made one. It's not that hard. See: http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/cleaner/cleaner.html

One type of juice. http://discdoc.com/
Or make your own as suggested.

I moved my machine out into the garage, since I was cleaning so many records per week, that the moldy dust was causing trouble. But I clean 30 records a week for my radio show. If you clean a few every day or when you buy them, then indoors would be fine.

Be sure to have decent sleeves too. No sense cleaning them and then putting them in a crummy sleeve.

By far the best product you could by for your records is one of these vacuum machines. The sound difference is incredible. Very rich and full after a good cleaning.

The ONLY draw back on the Nitty Gritty machines is that you can only do about 4 records at a time. The machine gets hot after awhile and though I doubt records would ever actually warp on the machine, the heat makes me cautious.

Good luck!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 744
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2007-09-02 8:36 pm   Permalink

Just my 2 bits... I started out washing in the sink with slightly warm water and a soft washcloth. Got really nice results, but it's tricky keeping the water off the center label and hard to handle the LP.

Then came across something on ebay that a guy makes himself and sells for about 30 bucks (don't remember the name). Two clear plastic discs with o-rings and a bolt through the middle (that goes through the spindle hole in the LP. This keeps the label dry and gives you something to hang on to. Results are the same, but easier to use.

Then I came across a site (www.kabusa) selling a licensed (from Nitty Gritty) cleaner that you hook to your home vacuum. Works just like the Nitty Gritty (little box with a slit and a small turntable on top) , just no vacuum inside so---cheaper! (I think it was about 100 bucks. Also it was on sale so I got some of their record cleaning solution.

Really trashed Lps get both the sink and the vacuum treatment. Otherwise I often just do the sink because it's quicker. Usually if I set up the vacuum it's when I have an afternoon free and can do a whole stack of LPs. I may not be the expert some are, but both techniques seem to give really nice results.

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