Cleaning records. How often really?


Suppose, they have just been machine-cleaned and are played maybe two times a month in a regular environment.
Also treated with Last record preservative and kept in sealed outer sleeves.
Once a year or so?
Just don't tell me before each play, yeah, I heard of this insane approach.
inna
Once I get a record, I clean it on my VPI, then run it through my DIY Ultrasonic cleaner. Once it's dry, it goes into a MoFi bag placed behind the record outer sleeve in a re-sealable poly bag. I don't clean them again after that unless they look dirty....which they never do. I tend to brush off each side after playing.

TL;DR....one and done.
I VPI mine once and then LAST them. Never clean them again,
unless they need it, but like Kgturner said, "they never
do". I do dry brush them before and after I play them
with an Audioquest or Decca brush.
I agree with both Mofimadness and Kgturner. One good clean and then anti-static brush before each play after that. If your records become so dirty after that which requires more cleaning by a RCM then the problem is with you and not your records.
Regards,
What I hear so far is the opposite but just as extreme approach to cleaning records before each play. This is unlikely to be correct, especially if you have a high resolution system and good hearring.
The worst idea is to professionally clean record before each play.
Think about the stress to the record first. The less the longer the better.
Dear Inna,
You've just forced me to publish (check out the new thread) :)

Cheers,
FWIW, I have cleaned all my LPs with an ultrasonic system, applied LAST mold release (only to new, sealed & unplayed records), treated them with LAST preservative and used a ZeroStat before putting them in anti-static sleeves. I still use an old-school Discwasher brush with LAST standard cleaning fluid before every play, and have for 30+ years. All of my records still sound like new and are virtually dead silent. Almost everyone else here will disagree in one or more particulars, but what I do works for me.

You pays your money and takes your chances. Good luck & happy listening!
After a good initial cleaning on an RCM, all you should have to do is use a good carbon brush before - - - and after - - - each play (as Mofimadness said). And, as others have said, after the initial cleaning make sure you store the record in a clean inner sleeve.

Or course, accidents sometimes happen, and if the cat happens to barf on the record, you'll need to start anew.
Mold release? Really? What state within the process is mold released used? I've watched videos of record stamping and there's zero mold release applied. So when is it used, what is it and is "mold release" just a fabricated excuse to sell another product?

BTW, I clean records once. Use a carbon fibre brush, maybe a chenille brush before and after each play. What conditions would require a second cleaning other than a flood?
While I agree that "cleaning" (with detergent or cleaning agents) should be done sparingly, I find that static removal may need to be done prior to every play.

I don't find most carbon brushes to be effective at removing all static charges from an LP. They need to have a grounding strap to be most effective (most products do not have straps).

The best method for static charge removal is complete wetting in a fluid. I use pure deionized water in one of the those Spin Clean machines. You can even remove the brushes if you just need to remove static charges. Deionized water will not leave a residue if pure enough (ie better than 10 ppm dissolved solids). I also find those clamp type label protectors to be extremely helpful when using the Spin Clean, both to keep the label dry and as a handle to rotate the record in solution and dry the record afterward.
Bill, it is my understanding that all records are pressed with a thin coating of a mold release agent applied to the stamper. If the stamper is not so treated, the LP's resist detaching from it after the cooling phase of pressing. That agent is not dissolvable with ordinary record cleaning fluid, which is why Walter Davies of Last (and others) created a chemical that DOES remove the agent from LP's without harming the vinyl.
Does anyone have evidence that mold release compound MRC is used in the manufacture of LPs or CDs?
Once I made a phenomenal discovery:
I tried to keep my computer monitor clean back in the old days of CRT. Any detergent applied always left residue and stains up till I started using only water. Wet cloth followed by paper towel worked best.
I thought maybe I can sell these bottles of water...
Bdp24 - Watch a video of the stamping process. No Mold release. Ask The Disc Doctor.

I won't give my opinion of LAST products. I'm still try to scrub off that %&#@ from the few records I treated. After 30 years.
Bpoletti, would you mind going somewhere else to talk?
Bill, it is my understanding that all records are pressed with a thin coating of a mold release agent applied to the stamper. If the stamper is not so treated, the LP's resist detaching from it after the cooling phase of pressing.


This seems to be true, but according to what I've read on Vinyl Engine, not every pressing plant uses it, and if it's used, it's a judgement call by the operator on when to use it. RTI was one example given as not using it.

Release agents are used for tool and die parts in manufacturing, wherever parts are being molded.
Stop scrubbing Bill! According to Last, the preservative bonds to the vinyl of the LP at the molecular level. Scrubbing won't reverse that permanent bond.
Oh, wait a minute Bill. The Last Preservative is not designed or intended to remove the mold release agent (allegedly, if you prefer) found on new LP's. Nitty Gritty at one time offered a product named First for that purpose, but it's no longer available. The Preservative is to be applied to an LP after it has been completely cleaned. I don't know how widespread your opinion of the product is, but as always, better to error on the side of caution, especially when an application is permanent.
Once a record is fully and effectively cleaned, there should be little need to reclean- if you get a thumb or fingerprint on the record while handling it, the oil from your skin can attract loose contaminants, like dust, and that oil will not be removed by dry brushing or dusting; when the record is spinning, a vortex action is created, which draws dust onto the surface- that can be brushed off after the record is played; if you thoroughly darken your room, and use a small, high intensity flashlight, you are often able to see a fine layer of this dust on your gear; if you use a cloth or brush to dust it off, it just floats into the air, to resettle again. (We aren't in a 'clean room' environment). Inner sleeves can shed or leave lint. I think the issue of 'mold release' is overblown. I have spent a lot of time cleaning old copies - some take some work and multiple steps/methods, but once clean, it is rare that i need to re-clean. Static can be a problem, but there are solutions for that too. I try to minimize the amount of dry brushing I do, because I find the most brushes shed and can contribute to more static even though they are labelled as "anti-static." I also find that the anti-static gun is overkill and hard for most people to use effectively.
Effischer, ideologically I share your view even though I called it 'insane approach'. But I think this would be too much work and very inconvenient arrangements for me. I will machine clean the records I play after 10-20 plays or every year. And of course I will use Last record preservative. Every serious audiophile I heard of does it. There are also records that I don't play, they are for archive, I will clean them every 10 years, maybe. I keep copies of a few albums for future generations or if there is an accident and I lose my playing copy.
Bill, it is my understanding that all records are pressed with a thin coating of a mold release agent applied to the stamper. If the stamper is not so treated, the LP's resist detaching from it after the cooling phase of pressing.

This seems to be true, but according to what I've read on Vinyl Engine, not every pressing plant uses it, and if it's used, it's a judgement call by the operator on when to use it.

Release agents are used for tool and die parts in manufacturing, wherever parts are being molded.
Reasons to wet clean a record more than once include:
1. the initial cleaning was inadequate; or
2. the record was re-contaminated during playback or storage.
Compulsiveness aside, there are no others.

To avoid #1, clean each record thoroughly the first time (to whatever standard of cleanliness you prefer).

To avoid #2, play and store cleaned records to avoid re-contamination. This would include steps to:
a) remove dust;
b) reduce vinyl's propensity to attract dust (ie, static); and
c) shield the record from dust when not in use.

I have my methods, developed over many years and after many trials and comparisons. My standards are high but my tolerance for re-cleaning is low. Therefore, every record sees an extensive cleaning, playback and storage regimen.

It works, at least for me. I'd estimate that 90-95% of the records I clean do not benefit from a second cleaning. OTOH, a similar percentage of records "cleaned" by friends do benefit from a second cleaning using my regimen. YMMV, of course.
Dougdeacon, 5-10% is a lot, especially if they are your favourite records.
It is hard for the records not to get contaminated to a degree while playing, the environment is not sterile.
And how do you know that the first cleaning was perfect unless you clean again?
Inna - Why do you use LAST? And why do you think I should leave this thread?
Almost never.... I use a Hunt brush before playing. I have a Nitty Gritty, but only use it to get peanut butter off of the record if I find some.
"And how do you know that the first cleaning was perfect unless you clean again?"

Just use your ears...unless they need cleaning...
String - Is peanut butter a problem at your place. ;-)
Another Almost Never. I have both a Loricraft and a Nitty Gritty, and it's probably been a year since I last used either one. I do clean LPs that are really dirty but for normal records including most Ebay and used record store purchases, I just follow my regular routine of brushing each record with an antistatic brush and wiping the stylus with the brush that came with my Benz.

How we spend our leisure time obviously differs from one person to the next. For me this one is pretty simple: Time spent cleaning records is time spent not listening to them.
Here are some points I will add to what has already been posted here.

The Last company did indeed make a product that was advertised as mold release and it was eventually banned because it was a Freon compound which was a great cleaning agent but believed to cause harm to our ozone layer.

Today there is a product called Premier and it is similar to Freon in it’s ability to clean but approved to not harm the atmosphere. I have both products and they work about equally.

There may or may not be anti stick compounds sprayed onto vinyl records during pressing. I've been told by several people that it was common practice at one time, especially when there were issues with vinyl quality. There was a time when Vinyl was recycled and there were sometimes debris visible poking out of the grooves. I’ve seen it myself, the worst of all was a broken scrubber bristle (metal) which cut my finger as I tried to scrape it off the album. Can you imagine what that would have done to a good cartridge?

As for cleaning beyond First (the cleaner from Last) I've owned Nitty Gritty, VPI, Odyssey RCM, Audio Desk and KL Audio. Yes is the answer to, "Does cleaning more than one time help sound."

I have old LPs that have been cleaned with all these machines and the last two, Audio Desk and KL Audio and both of these cleaning machines brought performance up enough that all the listeners in the room commented.

If I had to pick only one machine as my forever record cleaner, it would be the KL Audio Ultrasonic and fill only with NERL Reagent grade water, with or without cleaning ahead of time with another product.

I will throw in another thought here. There were times when people believed that adding fluids to their Discwasher or spraying LPs with silicone treatment (labeled cleaner) was a great idea. It may have reduced tracking noise with those old picnic player single speaker record machines but years later all that gunk is still attached to the LP.

I suspect some of us have a few of those LPs in our collection because at that time there were some great classical, jazz and even pop music and that was the only format of that period.

Some records are really dirty, some have never been cleaned and it’s a real eye opener when you do a before and after with one.

Heck, my pristine Blue Note reissues from Music Matters and Acoustic Sounds benefit from my KL Audio even though they appear perfect.
Dear Albert,
Very frightening story about the steel bristle. Certainly I'd heard that fragments of tungsten steel from the grinder blades when reprocessing old vinyl were not uncommon but never encountered one as up close and personal as you did. :(

(We've probably all heard one or two smaller ones though...)
It's unlikely we'd ever dislodge these particles, embedded as they are, in most cases. (Well, not without making the vinyl as unplayable as before)

One album I encountered had a small clearance hole drilled through the playing area. It reinforces the idea that a quick inspection before playing is highly recommended ;^)
Last is crap only clean record when they are very dusty.All my records have been cleaned on VPI 17F now using KL AUDIO which is the best.
11-23-15: Stringreen
Almost never.... I use a Hunt brush before playing. I have a Nitty Gritty, but only use it to get peanut butter off of the record if I find some.

Gravity suction cleaning machines work better with peanut butter - especially crunchy.
ct0517,, only use Skippy crunchy....get it at Costco.
What a cute breed some of you are. I suppose, you never clean your shoes either or maybe once. Ebm sounds like a true New Yorker to me, there are truckloads of people like these around here.
Albert, thank you, you rarely write these days, but when you do it is always good.
inna - why the insults and condescending remarks?
Dougdeacon, 5-10% is a lot, especially if they are your favourite records.
Agreed. That was an off-the-cuff guesstimate. Actual # is probably lower.

It is hard for the records not to get contaminated to a degree while playing, the environment is not sterile
Other than trace amounts of airborne dust, which is easily removed by de-static and dry brush, what sources of contamination are there? I de-static and brush each side immediately after it's played. It's rare for anything at all to come off the record. I also re-cleaned and re-rinsed repeatedly when first developing my regimen. The final form of the regimen (which includes 2 ultra pure water rinses) produced results that additional cleanings/rinses almost never improved upon.

And how do you know that the first cleaning was perfect unless you clean again?
I use my ears, which are well trained. I can listen to most any record (in my system) and tell you whether it needs cleaning, or not. I did so many times while developing my cleaning regimen. I've since done it while entertaining friends and their (supposedly) clean records.

What to listen for? It's not surface noise or the lack thereof, except in this unexpected sense: a totally silent record surface indicates that the record grooves are NOT perfectly clean. A perfectly clean groovewall has imperfections that are audible in a good system. Those imperfections are the first thing masked by any layer of contamination. If I hear them, the record is clean. If I don't, it isn't.

Once the last layer of contamination is removed, the record will play with the fullest possible micro-dynamics and clarity. Since we don't always know what those should be on an unfamiliar record, they're a secondary indicator, although of course they're a primary source of enjoyment (certainly more than groovewall noise, lol).

Hope that clarifies.
Dougdeacon, it's good to know about totally silent records. I just never thought of that. But I always listen for the clarity first and noise second.
I don' think that brush can remove everything. Imagine, as an example, that while playing records you sometimes smoke or cook. You'll get some of that stuff on your records.
In any case, it appears that the old guard here agree that at least some records do need re-cleaning from time to time. But I don't envy those who have thousands of records that just might need re-cleaning. Out of curiosity I just cleaned a few records that I cleaned a few days ago and played a few times. I didn't hear a difference. I use Okki Nokki machine and Audio Intelligent three step cleaning solutions, and I have a modest rig, though it is quite sensitive to whatever you change. Not this time.
I give each new acquisition a thorough cleaning (currently with the Audio Desk Systeme) and I rarely find a need to clean the record again. I suppose some light dust may deposit on the record while it is playing, but, that stuff is pushed out of the way by the stylus and has no impact on the sound.

I don't lightly brush my records before or after each playing because I don't think that most brushes do anything but move around the dust on the top surface of the record and INCREASE the static charge on the surface.

I also keep my platter very clean and I cover the platter when the player is not in use (I use an old Charlie Rich album someone gave me for that purpose).

I have not noticed any increase in noise or other obvious degradation in sound quality of my records even after repeated playing.

If maintenance of the records, stylus and player were as elaborate and demanding as some seem to make it, I would have given up on records a long time ago.
"I suppose you never clean your shoes either or maybe once"

I don't wear shoes. I clean my altar...
What a cute breed some of you are.

Thanks Dawg ....
My wife stopped calling me cute a few years ago. I think when I decided I didn't want to work for a boss anymore.
You know I kind of miss it. I will take what I can get.

I suppose, you never clean your shoes either or maybe once.

Since you are asking.....

My black shoes hang in the closet. They only get a little dusty. I use a carbon fiber brush on them,
If I want them to be really shiny, I put some peanut butter on them and call over Koaltar
my running buddy

These days my main shoes look like this.

They are good for 500 miles. So they get changed out every couple months.
There is no need for cleaning. They become walking shoes when their time is up.

Inna

........ I use Okki Nokki machine and Audio Intelligent three step cleaning solutons.

If anyone has a friend looking to get into vinyl. Show him the picture on that website. If he still decides to get involved, he deserves everything that's coming to him.

Inna - I don' think that brush can remove everything. Imagine, as an example, that while playing records you sometimes smoke or cook. You'll get some of that stuff on your records.

A friend got me a brush available through ebay in Japan that works on two AA's. Its great at removing lint. You hold it on the record as it spins. It works like a vacuum cleaner. This is for records that have already been cleaned properly and are stored in a proper sleeve. For Daily use.

Cooking dramatically changes humidity levels. If you want to stop paying someone else to mix fluids for you I can tell you how to make a solution that can be tailored to the humidity in the room. My email is on my system page link.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends
My wife doesn't cook at all, and won't let me near the kitchen for any cooking either. (ocd) We live in the desert..no damned humidity either.
My tonearm loves desert air. It keeps telling me to move out there with it. :) My knees would probably agree.
Ct0517 - All that desert air would be great for a turntable if it wasn't for all that static electricity from that dry air. Your tonearm and knees may love that desert air, but....
Another thing about the desert air (at least the low desert here in S. California) is the amount of dirt in it, blown around by the winds. Since there is little ground cover, there are actual dust storms when it gets windy. Even with all the windows shut (to keep the heat out, if for no other reason), there is dust everywhere, and the house has to be cleaned way more frequently than in L.A.
Albert, if you like the Premier cleaner, then buy it here like I do:

http://www.all-spec.com/products/MCCCCC.html

It's the EXACT SAME STUFF as Premier and as you can see, much less expensive! I understood it is more a replacement for carbon tetrachloride than for freon. It's a better solvent than either of them IMO; it dries fast (too fast!) and leaves NO residue. It's especially great for cleaning electronics too -- especially that stuff you're afraid to use most cleaners on, like tube sockets! (I don't actually use it on records anymore.)
.
I have a Loricraft - hardly used it - too much work

Bought a KL Audio in Dec 2013.
I have cleaned about 1/4 of my extensive collection and can effortlessly clean a few things I want to hear at a moments notice

Static and pops and clicks are nearly gone, brush and use zerostat only on the worst days (precaution only)

No need to rewash a cleaned, quality sleeved, and properly handled record

LAST is the last thing you want on your records. It provides a permanent bond with impurities that partially break down. The ultrasonic cleaners clean out the grooves, LAST coats the grooves initially providiing a smooth surface. I know a few victims of Last Preservative.
New (or used) get cleaned on my VPI rig (new gets a 2 step process, used can get up to 4 steps.... put record in new mofi sleeve. I destat, demag and dust every time I play. Probaly have to clean it again after 10-15 plays... maybe.
All that desert air would be great for a turntable if it wasn't for all that static electricity from that dry air.

It gets pretty dry here on the coldest days in winter. Most homes have natural gas forced air heating, I have found keeping the record in an antistatic sleeve is important. With new/old records I bring in, the paper sleeves are discarded. You can clearly see the particles on the record from these new sleeves on new records when you first pull them out. The records are cleaned but its important to not let them dry out totally from the vacuuming in dry conditions. They are left in the open air for a few minutes and then go into the antistatic sleeves. This seems to work for me. There is no sticking when you pull them out. And its also only on the TT for about 40 minutes. I also would run an extra wire from the bearing sump on the conventional TT's to ground them better. The Verdier which uses magnets for levitation (no thrust bearing) for some reason its not as affected. I don't know why. Maybe someone can better explain the phenomena. For those of you using a regular brush on the record try grounding yourself with your other hand when using it.

I was in Arizona about 10 years ago near Phoenix attending a conference. We went to a bar at night. You went through this Western style gate and everything was open - no roof; but were surrounded by these horizontal pipes maybe 1 inch in diameter ? - hanging above our heads. A thin jet mist of cool water was spraying out of the pores in the pipe on us. After a while I realized we could not have stayed there long without the spray.
11-27-15: Bdp24
Another thing about the desert air (at least the low desert here in S. California) is the amount of dirt in it, blown around by the winds. Since there is little ground cover, there are actual dust storms when it gets windy. Even with all the windows shut (to keep the heat out, if for no other reason), there is dust everywhere, and the house has to be cleaned way more frequently than in L.A.

Hi Eric, so what does the hard core vinyl guy with thousands of records do in S. California? Build some kind of bubble room ? The houses here have a sealed vapor barrier in front of the insulation going around the entire house including the full basements. This vapor barrier is very similar to the dust cover on your Quad 57's except heavy duty. The windows are double pane with similar insulation values to the walls. I guess one of these
would come in handy for some in that type of dusty environment.
Cheers Chris
One way to get rid of the residual dust that gets past filters, seals and every other mechanical strategy available, is ionization. There are room ionizers and whole house units (even some that can be installed in an existing HVAC system.)

They act by charging airborne particulates so that they are strongly attracted to ground, and settle to the floor. If the floor is carpeted, that's helpful as they tend to remain collected there until vacuumed up.

Speaking of 'grounding', like many folks, I usually gave my records a swipe with a carbon brush just before lowering the stylus. But I was never satisfied with the result, because dust remained on the record, or got re-attracted to the vinyl surface during play. I thought of some tips I'd seen or read about attaching a ground(ed) wire to the brush. In theory, that should have solved the problem; but after implementing this suggestion, the results were nil. I was puzzled -- until I realized that the carbon bristles were not electrically in contact with the metal of the brush handle! So wire or no wire, there was simply no way for the charge to drain to ground! I could only find one carbon-fiber brush which construction satisfied this requirement, and that is the Hunt EDA No. 6 brush. The carbon bristles are clamped firmly into the aluminum handle; so if you run a wire from the handle to a suitable ground, a single brush swipe will remove all the remaining dust from your record AND it will also remove any remaining charge from the vinyl itself, so it won't attract more dust while it's playing.
.