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.

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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.

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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 theclosetguy » 11 Sep 2019 01:26

The most interesting thing I find about all these ridiculous cleaning methods is how someone would actually think they work. Crap gets into the groove.. You have to get the crap out of the groove. The groove is a few hair thicknesses wide. How does wiping the surface of a disk with a cleaning cloth, penetrate into the groove to lift out the crap.
Archivists use some mechanical method to clean a record. It will always include applying a fluid and then removing the fluid with some type of vacuum. You can fool yourself all you want. Just washing a record and letting it air dry does not work. The crap is still down in the grooves. Using a "disk-washer" type of device will push the stuff further down into the groove when it softens with the liquid applied. Spinning a record may remove some of the crud, but definitely only a small amount
Stop all the nonsense. Buy a record cleaning machine that will pull the fluid/crud out . Stop wasting money on all the hokey ideas. The amount of time and money wasted could easily pay for a real record cleaning system. Everyone laughs at the audiophiles for spending money on alchemy. The real joke is all those of you insist on believing they have found the new nirvanah of record cleaning and spending money on it when it's been found 40 years ago.
Mike M

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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.

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

Post by theclosetguy » 11 Sep 2019 03:25

yes.. ultrasonic is where its going. My only issue is that the sub-$1000 take 30 minutes to clean a record. yes many have spindles that will hold 3 or 4 at a time. But the cheaper units seem to be still in the design/engineering phase. So for $650 a VPI is still a good deal and It sucks really well.

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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 theclosetguy

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 theclosetguy » 12 Sep 2019 01:39

I guess it just depends on the quality of your system. And what you accept as clean. I use a vacuum system since anything less sounds like crap. And it only cleans about 80% of the gunk from the grooves in the first attempt. For me to get a truly clean record it usually happens after a 3rd and sometimes 4th cleaning.
Mike M

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