Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

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Lauri3000
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Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by Lauri3000 » 10 Feb 2019 21:18

This came up in a conversation off-site with a younger guy getting into collecting records and asking for advice. Other people were suggesting he immediately buy a dedicated record cleaner whereas I replied that washing them in the sink is good enough as evidenced by lots of people already having done that for decades with no ill effects. (My older brother washed all his records in the sink and so did my dad. If there's something wrong with them now because of that, I certainly can't tell. I can tell they come out of the sink clean.)

Now my question isn't really and really isn't "should I or anyone else wash my/their records in the sink" and it behooves everyone to simply not discuss that ITT at all. Instead I'm curious about a single aspect of this method that people seem to be very apprehensive about: the labels getting wet. Now, a quick Bing reveals a lot of commentary about the danger of getting the record label wet as it may a) bubble b) disintegrate c) smudge (due to ink running) or d) come off. However, I've never seen any proof of that actually ever having happened, nor have I heard anyone I personally know who has had this happen. I've seen accidentally water-damaged labels of course but that's a different animal altogether since people who get their records wet for the purpose of cleaning them also dry them off shortly thereafter.

So - if anyone has actually managed to damage their record label(s) by washing them with soap and water in the sink, I'd like to hear about it.

e: I'm talking about vinyl records.

vince1
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Re: Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by vince1 » 11 Feb 2019 01:41

Need to be careful here. It highly depends on the age and chemical make up. There is also a color dependance (some red inks are particularly water soluble, for example). So while most labels might be OK, I wouldn't generalize, particularly with prized collectables.

WOF49
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Re: Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by WOF49 » 11 Feb 2019 05:50

I have definitely found that labels can be damaged by washing. In general, on many it tends to dull and age them. As stated some of the reds can bleed quite readily, but some of the early 50's C/W 45's with the greenish labels are as bad or worse. I have also seen 70-80's labels come completely off. On these it seems the water will loosen the label's glue. Care is definitely required. Later.

vanakaru
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Re: Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by vanakaru » 11 Feb 2019 06:36

I have this happened few times. Even drop of water takes the ink off. Now I test the label with damp paper towel first. If I get some color print on the towel I shall be careful not to wet the label.

circularvibes
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Re: Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by circularvibes » 11 Feb 2019 16:02

North American records with Purple, Red, Blue and Green labels from the 1950's and 60's are prone to heavy bleeding, but shouldn't have any permanent issues, unless you are soaking more than a few seconds. Glossy labels may bubble a bit under small exposure, but have a good chance of returning to normal when fully dry. matte labels dry faster. I have found soaking is not wise in most but the extreme preservation of sound cases. Polystyrene records and acetates have glued labels rather than heat set at the stamping machine. Those can come off with little effort sometimes and you can reattach or keep aside after. It is the heavy use and rubbing of a cloth or brush that has caused "wear" to the label. I have never in my experience seen a label that permanently blurred and became unreadable. As a former employee of two used record shops and collector of many records a few times, I have hand cleaned thousands of records in the sink under running water, not soaking in a sink, without serious or lasting effect. Labels are not usually printed wih water based ink, like an inkjet printer. I do blot, not rub the labels with napkins liberated from fast food restaurants. I refuse to pay for paper towels, but they can be just as effective. I do this even with scrubbing with my nylon brush and vacuuming on the Nitty Gritty. The vacuum doesn't quite reach the inner and outer edges of the disc. As much as I like my Nitty Gritty record cleaner, I haven't always had the cash to do more that hand cleaning and most times the effects were similar in quality, just more work and time consuming. Hope this wasn't TMI or tl;dr.

Pauw
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Re: Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by Pauw » 11 Feb 2019 16:11

60s orange UK CBS labels bleed orange if wet. :D

tom6to1
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Re: Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by tom6to1 » 12 Feb 2019 17:20

Problems with older Columbia "red" labels bleeding red. Problems with Telefunken "sky blue" labels bleeding and showing deterioration if they get wet. For almost all other labels, getting a bit of water on them seems to have little or no effect. Pat dry and then let air dry. For this reason, I have never bothered buying the dent pullers or similar devices to protect the labels.

I buy records to listen to them. Don't want to damage the labels, but don't really care - I am under no illusions that I will be able to sell my collection and that a pristine label will seal the deal. My Dad spent 10s of thousands of dollars collecting stamps thinking they were an investment. Very wrong. I will be surprised if I can get 50 cents on a dollar back when I sell. Do not confuse collecting with investing.

Bob Dillon
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Re: Any actual evidence of water damaging labels?

Post by Bob Dillon » 06 Mar 2019 02:24

I spoiled a gray label 1950's Capitol LP label just a couple weeks ago. Cleaning the vinyl and accidentally got a little streak of water on the label and now there is a permanent discolored streak there, more whitish than the rest of the label.

My rule is no water touching labels, no exceptions.

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