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Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

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Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby lennytorment » 10 Mar 2011 04:25

I want to try another method, maybe cheaper, to wet clean my records. I have read a lot of bad reviews for several cleaning kits such as the rca discdwasher. Before I buy another cleaning kit, I want to try a home made brush.

Does anybody use a DIY brush and/or material that can deep clean records?
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Postby vexorgtr » 10 Mar 2011 04:36

Honestly, I've never gotten a good clean until I got a vacuuming Record Cleaning Machine. Currently using a VPI 16.5 . It was told to me years ago it was the number one best thing for a vinyl dude to own... I have to agree. Cartridges, tables, tweaks... nothing got it right quite like cleaning the buggers super deep.

I got a Phillips carbon brush for 5-10$... good for dustbusting between cleanings... Nothing beats the scrub and vac.
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Postby Whitneyville » 12 Mar 2011 08:07

You can go to a drugstore and over with the eyeglasses stuff, they sell "super-ultra microfiber optics cleaning cloths" for $2-5. Warp it around some very high density closed cell foam (black and very firm) Glue the foam to a plastic block (or waterproofed wood; ie: many coats of polyurethane varnish) and if possible use thumbtacks to hold the cloth in place, so you can remove and launder it often. Now the down-side. You'll basically be smearing the glop on the record around, rather than removing it. That why us "converts" like vacuum record cleaning so much. I was given a direct-drive Technics turntable without an arm, bu the motor is very high torque and works fine. It was the basis for my DIY vacuum record cleaning machine. The cleaning arm is made from plastic pipe with micro-fiber cloth on it, and the vacuum is provided by a $30 "mini" wet/dry vac. A KAB brand "bargain" record clamp holds the record in place so the suction doesn't lift it up.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby 1200y3 » 19 May 2012 15:34

A cleaning brush does not always smear the record. If you read the Discwasher instruction manual, and follow it very closely by rotating the brush so it always contacts the disc with a fresh part of the brush, the record will be cleaned quite well. The important stuff to realize about the D4 brush is the technique they provide in the instructions. It uses a directional fiber corderoy fabric which needs to be cleaned with the special brush provided, and only the leading edge of the brush gets dampened.

I have made some brushes out of velvet, corderoy, and microfiber. Microfiber is fantastic, but it sheds. A disc should not be that dirty that microfiber would be needed, but I use microfiber when I use solvent to clean tape adhesive or gum off the record.

A record brush is still the most practical, and will be needed when "field" use does not permit the use of a vacuum, or when surface dust still lands on the record after a thorough vacuuming.

My DIY brush consists of a ShamWow shammy rolled tightly, then with the fabric of choice (velvet, corderoy, or microfiber) rolled over to make (skin) the outside surface. Then I drop this fabric cylinder into a rectangular plastic box to create the handle.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby Eudaemonic Plague » 21 May 2012 21:11

1200y3 wrote:A cleaning brush does not always smear the record. If you read the Discwasher instruction manual, and follow it very closely by rotating the brush so it always contacts the disc with a fresh part of the brush, the record will be cleaned quite well. The important stuff to realize about the D4 brush is the technique they provide in the instructions. It uses a directional fiber corderoy fabric which needs to be cleaned with the special brush provided, and only the leading edge of the brush gets dampened.


I've been using the Discwasher brushes for over thirty years, and have found no reason to switch. If you use it correctly, it does a fantastic job. Any time that I've tried out another record cleaner (no, I haven't ever bought a vacuum unit), cleaning again with the Discwasher always pulls out more crud.

I think too many people assume that they know how to use it, without reading the instructions first.

I have found that a thick, soft microfiber cloth can be helpful. At the moment, I don't know where any of my Discwasher brushes are, so I picked up a microfiber brush, but it leaves nearly everything behind, so I use the cloth to pick it up and dry the record.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby pivot » 22 May 2012 02:34

I have used DiscWasher from D2 through D4 varients. They worked "okay" when used carefully and when brand new. Didn't take long for the pad to get contaminated and simply spread glop from one LP to the next.

I gave up on them years ago. According to the patent the fluid was 99.916% distilled water by weight. Pretty expensive distilled water.


The current D4+ is an RCA product and is even worse. The directional pile is gone and the fabric seems to just be corduroy. Can't even say the current Discwashers are a waste of walnut cause the handle looks like birch or poplar. (Don't take my word - read reviews at Amazon)

So, at best, Discwasher rose to the level of mediocre and is currently just 10 bucks, plus shipping and/or tax, down the drain.

Far cheaper and far better would be low cost Micro fiber cloths from Harbor Freight:
http://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece-mi ... 68440.html

...or even try a directional fiber clothes brush from the dollar store.

Make your own fluid from distilled water and isopropyl alcohol from the drug store.

I like the Disc Doctor or MoFi brushes with fabric the user can change, but they are more money.

...and you will take my vacuum RCM away from me when you pry my cold dead finger off the "on" switch. No you can't use an RCM in the "field" - don't play your records in the field - use a turntable.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby megatrends » 24 May 2012 20:31

I'll echo what the others said above ... I've also been using the Discwaher for 30 years or so since I was 10 years old in the late 70s and got one as a gift. I have had to reglue the the brush back onto the block of wood and also stapled down a tear in the fabric that is off the record cleaning surface thankfully but overall if used properly it works wonderfully. You start on one edge and finish on the rear edge, best way I can describe it I guess.

I then go with the grain and wipe it on my shirt lol. it keep it pretty clean as the hair fibers clean very easily and thankfully they had the insight to use fibers that do clean themselves easily by not allowing what came the record to stick in there.

I am going to buy another one on eBay for $10 or whatever they are hawking them for now. The new Discwasher versions suck, thanks to the VinylEngine folk for letting me know ahead of time in a thread where I asked.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby 1200y3 » 26 May 2012 03:26

Discwasher has survived the digital audio boom and has been on the scene since high end audio became popular. The fluid that I use (although purchased a large quantity second hand) foams like crazy when it is shaken, so it is more than distilled water. I also use a high intensity lamp to watch the dust fly off the pad when I brush it according to the instructions.

The formulas I use are old and purchased second hand (like the 8 oz bottle of D4, not D4+) foam like crazy when agitated, so it will not be pure water, and I would have to see the reviewer drink it before I believe it is water.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby pivot » 26 May 2012 21:13

1200y3 wrote:Discwasher has survived the digital audio boom and has been on the scene since high end audio became popular. The fluid that I use (although purchased a large quantity second hand) foams like crazy when it is shaken, so it is more than distilled water. I also use a high intensity lamp to watch the dust fly off the pad when I brush it according to the instructions.

The formulas I use are old and purchased second hand (like the 8 oz bottle of D4, not D4+) foam like crazy when agitated, so it will not be pure water, and I would have to see the reviewer drink it before I believe it is water.


Not a reviewer - the patent says so.

Patent U.S.# 3951841

1. A phonograph record cleaning composition useful for loosening and coagulating particulate matter and inducing fungicidal activity upon the record surface without leaving any evident dry weight residue after usage, and consisting essentially of a fungicide of sodium azide in an amount of between about 0.0001 to 0.001 percent by weight, a nonionic surfactant selected from the group consisting of octyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanol and nonyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanol and included in an amount of between about 0.0003 to 0.025 percent by weight, and emulsifier selected from the group consisting of propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, and glycerine and included in an amount of between about 0.001 to 0.0125 percent by weight, an alcohol selected from the group consisting of methyl, ethyl, propyl and isopropyl alcohols and included in an amount of between about 0.01 to 5 percent, and the remaining part of the composition comprising a liquid carrier of water present in an amount of not less than 94 percent by weight, said alcohol being included to make the surfactant more soluable in said water.

2. The invention of claim 1 wherein the water is distilled water.
(snip)
So---at least 94 percent distilled water by weight - expensive distilled water.

...and this was the "old stuff" that actually seemed to kinda sorta work.

I have used a bunch of record cleaners over 40 years of collecting. The C. Watts stuff was okay in that is did no harm. Original Discwasher sorta worked if used with care. The current D4+ unit is a POS.

If you want to actually do something that results in a CLEAN record - Discwasher is not it. As the saying goes "Been there, Done that, Have the tee shirt"
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby 1200y3 » 27 May 2012 14:38

As far as I am concerned about the fluid formula, only enough wetting agent added to distilled water is all that is needed, possibly 1 percent if I could get away with that. ONLY ENOUGH TO WET THE RECORD. Discwasher described in their manual surface residues left behind from stuff like tap water and anything else that was used on the record. I would not want anything but water on my record anyhow. And it was the high end shops that charged the high prices for it anyhow.

As for the cleaning brush, I have used it for thirty years and it works great for me, but I would not be too sure if all the brushes that left thier factory work good, because I have about three, and I am sure only the oldest one I have works good.

I use the Discwasher everytime a play a record because I believe in that theory that it warms or primes the grooves like a curling brush, and reduces friction. Actually the friction reduction can be felt when using the cleaner.

Back to the topic of needing a brush, when I am on the road and I need a brush, (I described it as field work earlier) it is nice to be able to make a cleaning brush. The idea process I described above may work well for the cost. BTW, the best working microfiber seems to shed and leave more lint on the record.

Very few types of cloths are actually lint free. The brown paper tissue use to dry hands is lint free.

As far as it goes for vacuum cleaning, it is not that difficult to turn an upholstery brush into a vacuum cleaning brush, and the slight amount of disc cleaner wont even affect a vacuum cleaner (one in every household), but I still use a cleaning brush more often then a vacuum. One reason is that there is always dust in the air, especially on a carpeted floor.

It also states in the Discwasher instructions that the the brush be allowes to wet the record for three revolutions. Remember that when cleaning vinyl (just like the vinyl floor tiles) it should be allowed to be wet for a period of time to loosen the dirt. Don't bother brushing or mopping if the dirt hasn't been allowed to dissolve.

P.S. Even if I feel positive about the Discwasher, I think it is due to its absorbency that it works well. I used the Last system that doesn't use a pad, and it smears. But the provided velvet surface applicators do work well for applying the preservative treatment they manufacture. I do use a similar copycat DIY design using dowels, velvet, and popsicle sticks as well, but mostly for applying cleaners that I vacuum off (or peel off).
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby swnuk » 10 Nov 2013 18:10

Help!

I need ideas for disk cleaning! My birthday is coming up, and I want to give them some ideas that include inexpensive disk cleaning, stylus care and so on. I have a beat up old Discwasher 2 brush. Your best ideas appreciated! Thanks!
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby Tedrick » 11 Nov 2013 14:42

swnuk wrote:Help!

I need ideas for disk cleaning! My birthday is coming up, and I want to give them some ideas that include inexpensive disk cleaning, stylus care and so on. I have a beat up old Discwasher 2 brush. Your best ideas appreciated! Thanks!

On a budget, I'd go no lower than a Spin Clean if you really want to clean your records and get the dust and dirt out of the grooves and off the record (as opposed to just the gunk around on the surface). If you are serious about vinyl playback, a vacuum record cleaning machine (RCM) is the only way to go.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby pivot » 11 Nov 2013 23:46

swnuk wrote:Help!

I need ideas for disk cleaning! My birthday is coming up, and I want to give them some ideas that include inexpensive disk cleaning, stylus care and so on. I have a beat up old Discwasher 2 brush. Your best ideas appreciated! Thanks!


Been at this for a while and have worked with the old Watts stuff and have used Discwashers 1 through III.

I now have a RCM but augment it with Disc Doctor brushes for really soiled LPs.

I am happy with the results from Disc Doctor brushes used as suggested. My Nitty Gritty RCM is faster and easier but not "better".
You need a pair of brushes.

http://www.discdoc.com/p14.html

I don't know Spin Clean or other current moderate priced cleaners. For me the DD brushes are what I would use if I did not have a RCM.

YMMV
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby cats squirrel » 12 Nov 2013 00:10

I really am happy with a microfibre cloth and straight bio ethanol, wiped over the disc three times just before playing. It will evaporate very quickly. Provides a very clean playing surface, and does not seem to attract dust afterwards.
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Re: Any ideas for a DIY record cleaning brush?

Postby megatrends » 16 Nov 2013 01:58

I've posted it before but .... these paint edger pads which you can buy replacment pads for are the exact width more or less as the track width on vinyl 12" lps. They cost about $4 each too.

I use these and have for some time. They are great and don;t harm the record grooves.

Just use your favorite cleaning solution you use now, I would recommend a deep soaking wash though like I do.

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