Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

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ROY_H
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Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by ROY_H » 05 Sep 2019 20:36

It's been absolutely fascinating reading all the threads on cleaning our precious vinyl. Ranging from pure chemistry to pure alchemy to, well, instinct.
I think there have been a number of key points made about the constituents that seem to have a definite function and I've been pondering all these for a while. I recently got talking to the guy who runs my local Vintage Vinyl emporium about cleaning and he said 'let me show you how I do it'.
Now, this might seem to some a rather off-the-wall method but when I looked at what was being used it made a lot of sense and fitted many of the thoughts expressed on here so here goes. I'm open to discussion/ridicule but.....

The method uses two basic components: 1. Anti-bacterial multi-surface wipes
2. Supermarket own brand kitchen roll (economy version).
The wipes I use (and my vinyl guy) are LIDL W4 ( this is in the UK, elsewhere find something equivalent) and again LIDL economy kitchen roll.

Placing the record on a suitable soft surface, you take out one wipe, open it out then fold it twice to form a square. Wipe the record surface with one side in a circular clockwise direction. Make sure you wet the whole playing surface. Turn the wipe over and now go round the record with a light circular motions, a light foam should form. Now fold one leaf of the kitchen roll the same way, wipe round the surface a couple of times then flip the towel over and wipe until dry (you'll feel a change in resistance).
Fold the wipe back on itself so you've two new surfaces and do the other side of the record then the paper towel again.

This does sound horrendous and it did to me but I gave it a try with some lesser LPs and it worked brilliantly! I could detect no damage to the playing surface and the record played cleanly. the one thing very noticeable was on the first playing the amount of fluff that built up on the stylus (see later!)

Now what is in the wipes.
<5% Non-ionic and amphoteric detergents, Benzalkonium chloride.
Recognise those from previous cleaning discussions? Especially the quat content?

I believe the fluff on first play is being released because of the neutralisation of the charge by the quat.

Now two packs of wipes and a twin pack of paper towel cost a grand total of £3, enough wipes for 160 records.

OK, shoot me down, I'm ready for it but currently I'm seeing very interesting results and little negative.

Mrs Ritchie Valens
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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by Mrs Ritchie Valens » 08 Sep 2019 16:05

Isn't it cleaning records with paper towals bad, because the particals from them would get into the grooves?
I'm just asking.

ROY_H
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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by ROY_H » 08 Sep 2019 18:10

it's possible. As I said I'm trying this out and so far no sign of particles from the towels.
I am going to try some small microfibre clothes I've sourced (after washing them) as that seems to be a safer option.

All I can say again is so far the records I've treated are playing perfectly and virtually free of pops and crackles (probably need more than one clean to remove all these!)

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by ripblade » 08 Sep 2019 20:32

Any form of fibrous material (paper, cloth, etc) will shed fibres into the grooves. This is because the grooves are bordered by tiny protuberances called 'horns' which will unavoidably scrape the fibres off the towel. Only way to remove dust completely is with a vacuum of some kind.

Apart from this, the use of a quat without a rinse is probably doing very well to kill off any static potential and extend the life of the record and stylus.

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by Mrs Ritchie Valens » 08 Sep 2019 21:41

Well, like I said, I was just asking. Also, I don't think any record is really truly rid of the pops; simpley because there could be scratches that could also be causing the record to snap, crackel, and pop!!

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by Jim Leach » 11 Sep 2019 02:01

Vacuum is sooooo 70’s.

Ultrasonic is where it’s at.

ROY_H
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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by ROY_H » 11 Sep 2019 11:11

Well, I was just putting this idea out there. It does seem bizarre but I have tried it and got some good results!

I guess the ideal would be a disc which doesn't rely on minute grooves to provide the signal. Now what could we use now?

Oh, I know, we could call it a CD :lol:

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by Mrs Ritchie Valens » 11 Sep 2019 14:41

Well, what about all of us people who are on a very tight budget, and can't afford all those high-end record cleaners?
I'm just sayin'

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by ROY_H » 11 Sep 2019 15:01

Mrs Ritchie Valens wrote:
11 Sep 2019 14:41
Well, what about all of us people who are on a very tight budget, and can't afford all those high-end record cleaners?
I'm just sayin'
I'm with you there. Would rather spend the money building up my vinyl collection and listening to it.
Compared to the cleaning methods we used back in the '70's most of todays stuff is head and shoulders above it (woops, I mentioned the shampoo/conditioner method there :D )

Keep playing them black discs and enjoy the music. I can put up with the very occasional pop.

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by Mrs Ritchie Valens » 11 Sep 2019 20:00

Hahaha!! I know what you ment!!
I can put up with the pops to a certain point, but there's some records that ya just gotta clean.

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by ROY_H » 11 Sep 2019 21:36

:brit: In answer to

I put this up as it was an interesting alternative method used by a professional vintage vinyl retailer. I believe it's main use could be initial cleaning of very dirty records (eg charity shop finds) but in defence of it:
The cloths used are actually quite wet from the packet. They do deposit quite a lot of liquid on the surface as they are wiped around and the second circular motion wipes build up a noticeable froth. Given the liquid has surfactants present I suspect the capillary attraction into the grooves is quite strong ensuring the liquid penetrates down. The detergent moiety of the liquid lifts the dirt present in the grooves. Maybe the paper towel is not then ideal to remove the residue although you can see the dampness on the tissue as it lifts the liquid. The quat content, as discussed in other threads, seems to reduce the static charge on the vinyl helping to release any dust/fluff particles evidenced by my observation of the amount of fluff building up on the stylus on first play. Because of the limited amount of fluid present, the records seem to dry out quite quickly following that initial wipe over with tissue.

I can only speak as I find and can't force anyone else to try it though they're welcome to if they want to and I'd be interested to hear others comments :wink:

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by circularvibes » 11 Sep 2019 23:17

I am more than willing to try this method if I can find a Canadian equivalent to the wipes. My only caveat is the method used with paper towels. They are what is causing the fluff on your stylus. If you "rub" the paper, it will shed in the groove. If you simply move it slowly in one direction, you cause capillary action to suck out the liquid from the groove. This will cause much less fluff from paper fibres. I do advocate for a manual wet cleaning if a vacuum system is not available. I used it to great success for many years. I learned a method while working in a used store in early 1991-2 and still use it when needed. Any wet cleaning is better than none, especially if you want to protect your stylus and just need to play that new find immediately.

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by Mrs Ritchie Valens » 12 Sep 2019 14:26

I used my new audio technical record cleaner for the first time a couple of days ago, and it didn't really do anything for the sound of my records. Either, 1. The records need to be cleaned deeper by putting them on a flat serfous, but what kind of a flat serfous? or, 2. Them really can't be cleaned because there just too messed up.

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by vince1 » 13 Sep 2019 03:44

I'm with Mike on this, and have additional thoughts. To me the main attraction of a vacuum type device is trying to achieve maximal dilution. When you suck away liquid that has solubilized contaminants, then rinse and suck away again and consider the dilution factors involved, it's very compelling. Any pad type device does almost the opposite: liquids containing contaminants are constantly absorbed into the brush or pad, then smeared onto the next record. There is little to no dilution to remove the contaminants that the detergent solution has extracted. Ask yourself, where do they go? With an RCM, they go right down the drain. With an ultrasonic tank they get diluted in the large tank volume. With a Discwasher or brush, they get absorbed within the very device you are grinding into the next record side. Imagine cleaning your dishes with a sponge that never sees running water, just wiped from one dirty dish to the other.
As to the method being originally discussed here, I am with Ripblade. I am not a proponent of anything that is dry wiped across a record surface, unless it is something that doesn't shed and is of similar triboelectric ranking as the PVC/PVA copolymer. This disqualifies almost anything you buy at a supermarket or hardware store. Debris and static charge are the downfall of so many, yet are so easy to manage.

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Re: Cleaning Vinyl (Again!)- An Interesting Method

Post by cafe latte » 13 Sep 2019 04:08

If you look at a piece of record under a microscope after cleaning it is evident that disc washer cleaners do a rather good job of cleaning and don't push dirt further into the groove at all. Experiments with very dirty charity shop records, then clean then examine prove this.
Chris

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