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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:28 pm
by dave.daniells
I thought I'd been pretty thorough in considering the available variables, but I'd never thought of playing with the anti-skate correction. My deck has only three settings, but I suppose I could adjust the tracking force to get more control, since the two are supposed to be related.

As far as meths destroying (possibly) the playability of the disc in future. 20 years ago I would have been cleaning second-hand discs only thinking to improve my listening pleasure in future.

But now I imagine we are all 'playing' the same game. We are correcting vinyl with a view to subsequently playing only the resulting CD. Meths is not something I would use every time . Perhaps 10% of the records That I process display the distortion characteristics I now associate with old, hard 'crud'.

After so many very second-hand discs, it is now odd to play and process an album I bought new , and find that a complete side only requires a handful of corrections. But, until recently , I had considered singles as throwaway items , and am now amazed at the basic integrity of the music contained on 40+ year-old discs that have been played and played without regard to their longevity.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:11 pm
by Glenn
Hi Dave,
Although I find your method of cleaning a record somewhat 'cringeworthy', there is some merit to the idea of using a stylus to do the job. One site describes the whole process here:

Since I've tackled the gremlins of gross mistracking by adjusting the anti-skate I've been left with the problem of dirt remaining in the busier grooves of a recording, areas which are more difficult to clean conventionally. My own experience has been that repeated playings with the recording stylus followed by repeated cleanings works well to produce recordings that have less apparent hash in them when played back at half-speed in WC.

I think the reason this works is because the new stylus has to clear a path for itself after the previous stylus has left it's trail of debris in the gaps between the stylus and groove wall. Each time a record changes hands, or the same owner changes pickups, the stylus size and shape changes, and a new path needs to be cleared before a clean recording can be had.

Still, this is a very expensive, inefficient and time consuming way to clean a record. What is needed is some way to clean the record thoroughly down to the naked vinyl before beginning the recording. I have found that using a lint brush and distilled water, combined with elbow grease works fairly well, but the result is largely proportional to the amount of time spent shaking things up. I've given up on the purist ideology and starting putting dishsoap in the mixture. This has helped matters but creates too much foam so I've put an order in at for some Tergitol and hope to give it a try soon.

I do have to agree with one thing however: When cleaned, these old, worn vinyl records do sound quite good. Many a record I've dismissed as finished has been brought back to life. I doubt the cd copy I make of them will last as long.


PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:31 pm
by deeor2

What is a Lint Brush?

There is a lot of good info on vinyl cleaning at

including the use of PVA woodglue which I haven't tried yet.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:43 pm
by Glenn
Hi Deeor,
Thanks for the link. The pva trick looks interesting, and as a cabinetmaker by trade I'm very familiar with the properties of white pva glue. As it happens, I have a record that I consider expendable so I'm giving it a go. I used childrens glue because it's not likely to have any toxic ingredients that might damage the record; spread it with an improvised spreader fashioned out of a piece of stiff cardboard, covered the lot with a sheet of old newspaper large enough to do it, and finally rolled it smooth with a small bottle. The newspaper will speed the drying time by absorbing moisture from the glue, and facilitate easier removal of the film, because the glue will stick to the paper much better than it will the record. The only drawback is it will be harder to tell when the glue is dry. It's sitting on my cleaning jig now (an old record player), and I'll fill you in on the results when I know more. Incidentally, yellow glue is unsuitable as it has fillers (used to be corn flour, I think) to decrease it's flexibility thereby increasing it's bond strength.
The lint brush is a velvet like brush with a directional pile used for removing lint from clothing. Up here in Canada it is marketed as the 'Fantastic Brush'. Well made and well suited to the task of wet-cleaning records (not to mention brushing lint off your clothes), it only costs 3 bucks. It is similar to a Discwasher but quite a bit cheaper and better suited to wet-cleaning.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:31 pm
by deeor2
Ah! Now I know the type of brush. I must look out for one.

I await the result of your PVA experiment with interest. The newspaper is an intriguing variation.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:26 pm
by Glenn
Hi Deeor,
I thought so too, but in practice it turns out to be a not such a good idea. As the paper wets it expands and lifts up, forming ripples that run along the length of the paper fibres. This causes uneven thicknesses in the glue and uneven drying time. As the glue dries it shrinks, leaving an air pocket between the paper and the glue film on the record. The result is that while it does make it easier to peel the glue off, portions of glue under the ripples can be too thin to peel correctly and can thus remain on the record. These must be removed before the record can be played. There is one other problem: With the paper it is more difficult to see whether or not the glue has dried completely, and on the second record I tried this with I peeled the paper off prematurely, with the result that some of the glue under the ripples was still too soft to be removed properly.
To make a long story short, the process works well to clean a record but is fraught with risks. First of all, it takes practice to get it right, and it must be completely right before the benefits are achieved. Secondly, use a brand name glue from a shop that rotates their stock frequently, such as an office supply outlet or hardware store. Pva glue that is cheap, old or has not been stored properly will only complicate matters; the cost savings are not worth the risk. Thirdly, I had the best result using my index finger to spread the glue. This has to be done slowly and carefully to remove air bubbles, but more importantly to lay down an even layer that is thicker and clean at the edges; this reduces the chances of tearing the film. Finally, the film must be completely dry!
In retrospect I would go with the tape tabs idea to start the peeling, but was able to do it without.
One other thing: my first attempt had a few minor smudges left over which I decided to wash off with distilled water. When I wet the record the ripple pattern left by the newspaper was destinctly noticeable in the water droplets. Something is going on here, I'm not sure what, but I consider the whole process a last case scenario, only after wet cleaning with a vacuum proves unsatisfactory.

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:09 pm
by deeor2
Thanks for the report Glenn. Newspaper is obviously a no no :D

The Lenco people do view PVA as a last resort. Interesting you could see variations in the water droplets. I wonder was something getting through from the newpaper or was it from the PVA?


PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:33 pm
by Glenn
Hi Dennis,
I really don't know. My suspicion is it has to do mostly with the uneven drying time caused by the pockets. I don't think it did any damage; it certainly isn't audible, but these aren't Philips or DGG records, either.

Peeling away the dirt

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:17 pm
by knighte
Greetings everyone,
I have intended to respond to the idea of using white pva glue for cleaning records, and procrastination took over along with the ability to forget things. Anyway, I was a subscriber to "The Audio Amateur" during the 70's and 80's. Good reading except for the more technical aspects that I didn't have the moxy to understand at that time. I remembered they had a method for cleaning albums that was very similar to Glen's in technique. It's a different brew but has survived the test of time. Here's the link -

I have never tried this, but after reading the results of the similar techniques here, I'll have to give it a try for some of my more challenging albums.

Also, I'm not certain where I got this link, maybe here. Sorry if it is a repeat. The link is to a very detailed article on cleaning and the solution marketed by the "Disk Doctor", entitled The Goldman Record Cleaning System. ... h.6n5.html

Have a great summer,

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:46 pm
by Glenn
G'day all. For those looking for a means to deep clean their vinyl records without the delay of waiting for glue to dry, there's this alternative:

steam cleaning

It looks hair raising, but it actually works. Why, I don't know. I tried it myself with an inexpensive appliance steamer after reading about it in another forum, and it is now a routine part of my cleaning proceedure.