Best Solution for Ultra Sonic Cleaning


Need some advice from the experts....

I decided to take the plunge and start doing ultrasonic cleaning of my records.   I purchased an ultrasonic tank and a vinyl spin kit, and now all I need to do is determine how to put together the best solution for cleaning.  I have read many of the posts regarding this topic, but I am still a little unclear about the right combination of ingredients.   I purchased some Triton X-100 for the surfacant.   Now I need to get the other ingredients.   Can the members who are experienced in this arena tell me the proper ingredients and percentages to put in my tank?    Most important thing for me to learn is exactly how many ml's of each ingredient to use in order to make up a 6 liter tank.   I know I need to use distilled water, plus isopropyl alcohol, plus the surfacant, but I don't know the correct amounts.  Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.   It is actually a pretty complicated process.....
darmento
Rush Paul has a formula he developed which is published here on Audiogon and in Positive Feedback in an article he did about DIY US record cleaning.
Tima used a different formula, based I think, on the London Jazz Collector site cleaning formula. He has a series of articles about DIY US record cleaning that were published on my site, TheVinylPress.
Audiogon member @Terry9 uses a premix called Versa Clean if memory serves from Fisher Scientific.
You could query each of these members directly (though I’m not sure if Tima posts here, the formula he uses shouldn’t be difficult to follow). I have not used any of these since I’m still running a KL that uses no surfactant, in combination with a Monks (point nozzle vacuum RCM).
One thing you should consider is a filter/pump which you can put together for little money--I know both Rush and Tima have employed them, not sure about @Terry9. Hope that helps. Good luck. I’m sure you’ll get a few others to chime in eventually.
PS: no claims to guru or "expert" status, just a semi-informed illiterate with a few compulsions. :)
Whart, thanks for the mention.
Darmento, the formula I've found to work best is the one I've published in my essay at Positive Feedback, which you can find here: https://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/rushton-paul-diy-approach-ultrasonic-cleaning-lps/

In summary, to the Triton-X100 you've already purchased, I add
  • Hepastat 256 which provides an anti-static component (which is the benefit to the cleaning process) and a bactericide which keeps stuff from growing in your tubing, valves and pump (which keeps your process clean over time), and
  • 91% isopropyl alcohol
The proportions are laid out in the essay.

Good luck with you cleaning and welcome to the USC world!
Hi Darmento, I received your PM asking for more specific clarification about the exact amounts of chemicals used in my formula to mix up cleaning fluid for a 1.5 Gallon (6L) ultrasonic tank. I thought it would be most useful to reply here in case others have similar questions.

You correctly describe the contents of the concentrated BASE SOLUTION that I mix up and then use when making refilling my ultrasonic tank. The Base Solution is useful because it stores indefinitely at room temperature. My formula for the Base Solution, as you quoted from the article in Positive Feedback, is:

40.00 ml Tergitol
30.00 ml Hepastat 256
48.00 ml 91% Isopropyl to top out the bottle at 118 ml
Creating a total of 118.00 ml Base Solution

I make up containers of 118 ml of Base Solution because that is the size of the tinted glass chemical storage jars I have. I’ll make up 4 or 5 of these Base Solution jars at a time, seal them, and put them on the shelf until needed. If you have larger storage containers, just adjust the amounts proportionately.

When mixing up a 10L tank of cleaning solution (about 2 gallons), I add 29.5 ml of the Base Solution to 405 ml of 91% isopropyl alcohol and put that into my tank. Then I top up tank with filtered/deionized water.

If I were filling a 6L ultrasonic tank, I would use 60% of this. In milliliters, I would add 17.7 ml of the Base Solution to 243 ml of 91% isopropyl alcohol and put that into my 6L tank. Then I’d top up the tank with filtered/deionized water.

You asked about a source for the Hepastat 256. I suggest checking with Quill.com. They sell 1/2 gallon containers for about $25. Here’s the link: https://www.quill.com/brighton-professional-hepastat-256-restroom-cleaner-handy-mix-dilutable-64-oz/...

You finally ask about drying the record after cleaning. In my tests, VACUUM DRYING was critical to achieving the results I was looking to accomplish. Allowing the record to air dry simply allows whatever residue may still remain to dry into the grooves of your record. Results with my previous four-step manual cleaning using a VPI wet/vac machine were as good if not superior to the ultrasonic cleaning when the US cleaned record was allowed to simply air dry. As always, we may hear different things, but this is what we decided here.

Hope this helps!



Hi @rushton !

Rush's suggestions are spot on. If investing in a VPI or similar cost vacuum machine for drying are more than you'd like to spend, I built a manual spinning drying station that works as well as my VPI 16.5 did at a fraction of the cost. This thread includes Rush's link to the Positive Feedback article and later comments from him & users including mine about the DIY drying station. 
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/rushton-s-diy-approach-to-ultrasonic-record-cleaning-published-by-posit
Running the small pump to keep solution clean allows me to do 8-12 LPs at a time and have the tank ready at a moment's notice when I make another small purchase. You can go 50-60 LPs before needing to refresh the tank. Cheers,
Spencer
Also, if interested you can see pics of the whole US setup on my system page: https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/133 Cheers,
Spencer
@darmento,

If you go with Versa-Clean by www.fisherscientific.com , they are having a huge sale right now. I stocked up @ 83 % off.
I've just invested in a US cleaner, and completed adding a circulation filter yesterday, so the last piece of the puzzle is the cleaning solution.

HepaStat 256 seems to be discontinued, or at least unavailable in the UK at best, so I have been looking for an alternative to add the quats.  I've come across Selgiene, which is manufactured by Selden.  It costs (at this time) approx £10 for 5 litres and is described as food grade concentrated sanitiser (I am assuming this makes it likely to be safe for use on vinyl).  The product description includes "Selgiene is a blend of advanced quaternary ammonium biocides and amphoteric surfactant", so looks to tick the boxes in that regard. It also looks to have no dies or added fragrances (something I have read people objecting to in regards to HepaStat based on what I have read).

The problem is that I am no chemist, so would really welcome some educated feedback on using Selgiene.  It also appears to be weaker than HepaStat, with the composition detailed as 1%-5% on the COSHH datasheets (where as HepaStat runs to 8.7% on some ingredients).  I'm guessing this would require a higher amount to be added?

I'm looking to make batches of 10 litres and my current intended recipe (based on your formula Rushton) is;

  • DI Water
  • Isopropyl (91%)
  • Triton X-100
  • Selgiene
As well as to whether Selgiene is the best substitute for HepaStat that's readily available to me I need to work out the ratios of the above and also confirm if it also needs a separate wetting agent like Ilford Ilfotol - any help on any of these questions would also be very much appreciated!

My final concern is that given the USC is heated does the Isopropyl pose a risk in terms of flash point?  I'm struggling to understand its purpose in the mix from what I've read, so any insight as to if it is needed would also be very useful.

Based on what I have read / researched I am looking for the additives to the DI water to;

  • Break the surface tension of the DI Water to assist deep groove cleaning.
  • Break down any grease or other such contaminants.
  • Remove the static charge.
Ideally I'd like to use something that leaves no residue so a rinse is not necessary. 

Any help would be very much appreciated as I'm keen to get cleaning :-)