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Cleaning records with vinegar.

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Cleaning records with vinegar.

Postby ScottBrough » 11 Dec 2010 03:43

Partly inspired by this thread: http://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/viewtopic.php?t=11515

I was told by an optician that it's just efficient cleaning glasses with vinegar in a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth as opposed to the specialist glasses cleaning bottles they try and flog you, so I got to thinking why not apply this principle to cleaning records before use?

The thread linked above talks about mixing vinegar and water in a sink and wiping the records with a 'selleys' cloth, then drying. My thought was to keep a spray bottle of vinegar next to my tt and a microfiber cloth, giving the record a spray or two and a decent wipe down before playing. I've tried it on a few old records and haven't come across any problems.

Can anyone give any feedback on this technique? Particularly in reguards to playing the record without giving it a significant amount of drying time. I've heard it's bad to do so, but thought it might be different with vinegar as opposed to a water based detergent mix, as the excess vinegar might evaporate a lot faster.
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Postby Alec124c41 » 11 Dec 2010 04:12

Vinegar is 5% acetic acid, 95% water. good for cleaning.
As a side note, I once heard someone say they stopped using vinegar on food, when they heard it was a cleaning product! :lol:

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Postby Whitneyville » 11 Dec 2010 05:57

The only "down-side" of vinegar is it's acidic, and if you live where it's a problem, an acidic enviroment promotes the growth of mold/mildew. Be sure to use cheap "white" vinegar, as "natural" vinegars have "stuff" in them. I'd be certain LP's are dry before playing, as even vinegar is corrosive to aluminum cantilevers, carts, etc. But most other cleaners have the same issue.
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Postby jake » 18 Dec 2010 04:55

I've been using white vinegar and distilled water 50-50 for 25 years with excellent results. I highly recommend it to all my hi fi friends, but they don't believe me since it isn't exotic or expensive enough.
I experimented with more expensive liquids- after all, with my own record shop, it was all tax deductible - but you can spend a lot of money just to match the results vinegar achieves.
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Postby Whitneyville » 19 Dec 2010 07:04

In NE Okra-Homer vinegar and distilled water= mildew/fungus in the humid summers. Add some isopropyl alcohol to the mix and it becomes isopropyl acetate, a little acetic acid and a little isopropyl alcohol and nothing that promotes fungii growth, but cleans well. Ever Clear (190 proof ethyl alcohol) works even better with vinegar. Add blue food coloring and 3% ammonium hydroxide and you have the best known brand of glass cleaner. A glimpse into the mind of an organic chemist. When I still had access to the mass spectrometer and the gas chomatagraph, I ran samples of many, many commercial record cleaning fluids sold. I'd buy a 1 oz to 4 oz. "test sample" then I'd analyze them. 99.5% of them could be duplicated at home with chemicals available in a drug store, and a $9.95 digital "coke" scale from Harbor Frieght (0-500grams by .1 grams) and a .99 plastic graduated cylinder, or with a set of good kitchen measuring spoons. The .5% were fragrences and "exotic" chemicals of questionable merit. None of the ones I tested were worth anywhere near the MSRP's. I have chemically duplicated the 5 best known brands at home, for less than 10% of the asking prices excepting the fragrances added. But people pay 10 times the worth for prepared Holandaise sauce instead of making it fresh too. I make my own ranch dressing from 20 cents of herbs and spices and soy/olive oil and eggs and vinegar, instead of paying $6 for 8 ounces of it, then I can it. My cost; about $1.20 per quart ($24 worth of 8 oz jars) including the EDTA added to "preseve freshness". The chemists at the record cleaner companies are no "smarter" than you or I, and they worry far more about keeping costs down than the effectiveness of the product. A well know brand of "enzymatic" record cleaner has >10% of the active ingreadient in my enzymatic medical grade cleaner for 200 times the price. I pay $71 a gallon for concentrate to be used at 1%. A pint of the brand name stuff retails for $36, and it contains .1% of the active ingregient. Seems like vinyl people like to pay alot of money for distilled water....
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Postby LousyTourist » 19 Dec 2010 15:30

hmm, glass cleaner ala Windex. I remember some vinylphiles that sputtered and choked at the thought of using Windex on a record. "NEVER!" and shouts of foolish ignorance on the original poster as is often visited upon in the Net.

Sounds like you may not think it destroys records quite like they did. Although maybe it's the ammonia that changes the complexion of the formula.
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Postby Logan » 20 Dec 2010 02:36

Whitneyville wrote: Add some isopropyl alcohol to the mix and it becomes isopropyl acetate, a little acetic acid and a little isopropyl alcohol and nothing that promotes fungii growth, but cleans well.


Wrong on two counts. The equilibrium constant for the esterification favours the acid plus alcohol side of the equilibrium. And in the absence of strong acid the esterfication reaction is too slow to be of any consequence. Acetic acid is too weak an acid to promote autocatalysis.

Right on every other count. The "miracle cleaners" touted by the boutique manufacturers are little or no different from what any of us can make up in the kitchen. One I believe is no more than a mild facial wash dissolved in distilled water. Yet the makers never reveal their formulations, for reasons not dissociated from the idea of maximum profit for minimum outlay. Why do the buyers of such mixtures sneer at kitchen sink cleaners, who know exactly what they are using, and yet never enquire as to the constituents of their own expensive brews? And the special miracles attributed to enzyme cleaners fly in the face of everything known about biochemical catalysis. A little learning may well be a dangerous thing. None at all is worse.
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Postby flavio81 » 20 Dec 2010 07:26

LousyTourist wrote:hmm, glass cleaner ala Windex. I remember some vinylphiles that sputtered and choked at the thought of using Windex on a record. "NEVER!" and shouts of foolish ignorance on the original poster as is often visited upon in the Net.


I am currently unsing a glass cleaner similar to Windex on my records, dissolved with distilled water, just to try something different. But the simple distilled water+detergent/surfactant mix cleaned better, IMHO.
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Postby Whitneyville » 22 Dec 2010 06:28

Logan, as an extreamly dilute acid, it promotes auto-esterfication, and it create loads of side reactions that form other useful chemicals. Trust me, I used to have a mass spectrometer and gas chromatagraph to confirm this. We are talking probably >10% reaction, but it still works.
No, I don't think cleaners with alot of ammonia in them are good for vinyl, but 2-5% with an equal amount of ethanol added forms ethyl ammoniate, which works as a cleaner/lubricant, and "deodorizes" the ammonia, is in one of the "big 5" record cleaners, one of the ones that says "contains no alcohol", which is technically true, and it has a real nice fragrence added, kinda "rose-like". Many of you know which one I'm talking about by now. I can't confirm or deny anything because of patent issues, but ethyl ammoniate is a "boutique" chemical, and it's present in a tiny amount. Propylene glycol, and polyprolylene glycol (RV anti-freezes, you can drink them, and do in most colas, they're sweet) are also used in tiny amounts as "protectants and groove lubricants", but frankly there's such a small amount of these present (hundreth's of a %) I doubt they
really do a thing. And they fuss with the pH with EDTA and citric acid, and disodium or diammonium EDTA that form "buffering salts" that tend to keep a stable pH over long periods of time. Much ado about nothing, IMO. All record cleaners on the market could be sold in 60ml-240ml (1-4 oz) bottles to be added to a gallon of distilled water. But shampoos and body washes could be sold that way too. Remember Prell Concentrate shampoo? A 1/4" long gel toothpaste-like squeeze would wash my sister's hair that she could sit on and get it clean. Use more and you'd fill the tub with foam. Why do we pay so much for water in products?
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Postby Logan » 26 Dec 2010 10:45

Whitneyville wrote: Trust me, I used to have a mass spectrometer and gas chromatagraph to confirm this. We are talking probably >10% reaction, but it still works.
No, I don't think cleaners with alot of ammonia in them are good for vinyl, but 2-5% with an equal amount of ethanol added forms ethyl ammoniate ....


I don't trust anybody whose chemical expertise is such that they tell me ammonia reacts with ethanol to form "ethyl ammoniate". This is a non-existent molecule and what you state is chemical nonsense. Pure acetic (ethanoic) acid is stable as a dilute solution in pure ethanol and ethanol-water mixtures, so I suggest you check starting material purity prior to doing future gc/ms investigations. You've also confused a < symbol with the > symbol.

And what any of this has to do with cleaning LP records is beyond me.
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Postby Whitneyville » 28 Dec 2010 09:30

Well the Merck Index and CRC Handbook (41st Ed.) disagree with you and so does the bottle of Windex(TM) with "Ammonia-D(TM)". And excuse the heck outta me for a typo!-Geez :roll: If you comprehend this, read the MSDS for Windex(TM) at Johnson & Co.com. and eat some crow. Or not.
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Postby Logan » 28 Dec 2010 10:53

You can learn your Chemistry from labels on bottles, MSDSs, patent claims, commercial misnomers used to disguise the actual chemical content, or sales brochures. Or you can learn it from refereed research papers, monographs by respected researchers, higher-level textbooks, and the IUPAC rules for chemical nomenclature.

Tell us more about "ethyl ammoniate" and self-catalysed esterification when you've acquainted yourself with the latter body of literature.
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Postby flavio81 » 28 Dec 2010 15:45

Image

People, prepare your popcorn bowls!!
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Postby philmch » 28 Dec 2010 23:48

jake wrote:I've been using white vinegar and distilled water 50-50 for 25 years with excellent results. I highly recommend it to all my hi fi friends, but they don't believe me since it isn't exotic or expensive enough.
I experimented with more expensive liquids- after all, with my own record shop, it was all tax deductible - but you can spend a lot of money just to match the results vinegar achieves.


Thoroughly agree. For my Knosti disco antistat, I use 700ml lukewarm tap water, two drops of Fairy, and a cap of distilled malt vinegar. Works a treat and even removes the residue which the grotty expensive Knosti fluid leaves behind. :)
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Postby Zorro Filoso » 29 Dec 2010 03:09

8)

It's like watching a 3D movie!!
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