Cleaning flood damaged vinyls


My first post here and I was hopeing that someone could help with a perplexing problem. My vinyl collection (~2,000 collected over the past 50 years) was left standing in about 2" of water due to a burst water pipe - all the albums were stacked vertically and now they have a mold/mildew growth on them. My insurance carrier will pay to have them professionally cleaned. Any ideas of who does this? I could sure us the help. I currently clean my albums utilizing a Nitty Gritty with their cleaning fluid and the system that I play them through consists of a Lyra Delos mounted to a Michell Technoarm on a Michell Orbe. Preamp/phono is a Thor Audio TA 2000 connected to Sophia Electric 845 monoblocks. Speakers are older McIntosh XP-25's. CD player/dac is an Ayon Audio CD-2s
aceduck
It may be advantageous for your ins. company to pay YOU to buy a KLaudio cleaner - cheaper than the approx $5-10/LPreimbursement or $5/LP cleaning charge. You already have a NG that you coulr use enzyme cleaner on then follow up with the KL for the sonic cleaning.
Miner 42 - 2,000 records would take hundreds of hours to clean. The cleaning cycle along on a KLaudio is 5 to 10 minutes, let along all the other handling. At 5 an hour, that would still be 400 hours. I would expect insurance to pay for that time.
Some thoughts. I doubt the insurance company will pay $6,000 for cleaning, but try. Try to get them to also pay for the shipping, both ways. Ultrasonic is best way to go. Still leaves you with the problem of how to recover the reattach the labels. Suggestions?
My ultrasonic bath can fit upto 9 records at a time.
Sorry to hear about your flood damage Aceduck, and thanks for the mention Dtc.

I've read many threads on Audiogon, over many years, and should have signed up years ago! Anyway, it's my first post here..

Lots of good points made in previous posts here, and moldy records can be cleaned and improved, although the ultimate results depend a lot on how long they've been moldy and how bad they are. There's more than one kind of mold, and I've seen irreparable damage, with an "etched effect" on some customer's "problem" records. If this is the case then there may still be audible effects if the mold has damaged the vinyl, even if cosmetically the records are much improved.

You have a quality system that will be revealing enough to know if the "after cleaning" results are good enough, so I think the best thing to do would be to get me some sample records that I can pre-treat and then double-clean for you, so you can see/hear how you like the results.

The prices quoted above for Record Genie are correct (since March 2014) although mold remediation is something I normally charge $1 extra for unless it's just a couple of records as part of a larger batch.

Moldy records can't go straight into the ultrasonic cleaners (nor would you want them to) and must be carefully pre-cleaned before ultrasonic cleaning. I have a Spin Clean and a VPI 16.5 with a variety of products I've used successfuly, which can tackle almost any problem record. I avoid anything with alcohol in it, although I know others do use alcohol based cleaners.

Logistically, I'm based near Boston MA and have customers as far away as California who have had me clean as many as hundreds of records for them. I have special packaging "shipping kits" that I can send you to safely send a small sample batch of records, up to 18 of normal pressing weight. Just the records not the jackets. I don't normally deal with them, but jackets are a whole other problem, and likely cannot be saved if moldy, though it may be possible to clean and dry them, at least some of them, and there may be specialized equipment not normally used for record jackets that could be adapted and used to good effect.

As others have said, your insurance company is going to want to pay out as little as possible, and depending on the damage to your collection, you may be better trying to get them to settle for the whole lot, although if they're not insured as collectibles with some kind of higher or agreed value, then you may be out of luck. Food for thought for many of us I'm sure - What is my collection worth? What would it cost to replace? Is my collection properly insured?

If I was doing the whole job then I have large "shipping kits" you can use that take 60 records. I provide packaging to almost all my customers now, for free, with a refundable deposit. If you are near enough geographically then picking up the records would be more cost effective than shipping them, but USPS Media Mail rates are surprisingly affordable, it's less than $20 to ship a box of 60 records (weighing ~35 pounds) from anywhere in the USA. 2,000 records will take a lot of shipping kits, but keep in mind that it takes me 20 minutes to ultrasonically double-clean each record anyway, and mold will take longer.

The comments about maybe getting your insurance company to buy you an ultrasonic cleaner (or two) are valid, but there will be serious time constraints if you have only 1 machine to use, and if you also have other demands on your time, like work! I started Record Genie with an Audio Desk in September 2013, but as demand has grown, I needed more cleaning capacity, and now have 2 Audio Desk machines, 2 Klaudio machines, plus a VPI 16.5 conventional cleaner, and a Spin Clean too.

Perhaps 10 boxes of 60 records arriving per week, being cleaned and returned, might be the best approach. That's still 50 hours of cleaning for me, using 4 machines, PLUS the extra time needed for mold pre-cleaning. 600 records per week would get the job done over the course of only 3 or 4 very busy weeks. I'm quite sure time is of the essence to remove the mold as soon as possible.

Please contact me if you would like to have me clean some samples of your damaged records, perhaps a dozen favourites that you know well, or some of the worst ones you have, just to see if you would be happy with the results of pre-cleaning and ultrasonic double-cleaning..

Please let me know if you have any questions - I'm here to help!