Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records

FYI, I have previously posted a bit of information on cleaning, and I have now complied that and much more into a paper titled “Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records”. Bill Hart of The Vinyl Press who has a keen interest in cleaning vinyl records is hosting the paper. He has written an article on the paper that captures it better than I could, and a link to the article that has the free-download load option for the paper (85 pages) is here: . If you have not been to his site, check-it out, there is a lot of good info, and its well written. While at his site, check out the about-tab and then scroll down and click on System-Notes-Austin-2017. He has a pretty impressive system and near the end shows quite a ‘cleaning station’; using both a Keith Monks vacuum-RCM and KL Audio UCM.

Best Regards and Stay Well,




Agreed, however, I an not sure wiki is correct - here is just one example of reagent 'denatured' alcohol contents ( and methanol is just 5%.  However, this form of denatured alcohol \\TAHOE\APPS\MIRS\REPORTS\MSWRPTM.FRX ( is just nasty.  But, if you or anyone else wish to dive deeper, there are legally two types of denatured alcohol - specially denatured alcoho (SDA) l and completely denatured alcohol (CDA) - TTBGov - Industrial Alcohol Denatured Alcohol and the variations in SDA alone should be enough eCFR :: Home to give one  pause let alone the CDA.  Take away - when it comes to denatured alcohol read the SDS.  Otherwise, as @lewm says and I agree  isopropyl alcohol (same a 2-propanol/ CAS # 67-63-0) is the solvent of choice if that is your preference - but know the risks (flammability and toxicity - do not ingest) and stay away from rubbing alcohol - that is another mine field - see the book Table VIII.  

I do not wish to delve deeper into denatured alcohol. I would steer clear of it for anything except mandatory use. And that does not include cleaning records. I think it is ill advised to go out and buy products of complex composition, when really what is needed to clean a record is only a fraction of what is in the solution, and one has to be concerned about what else is in the solution. In this case, we are talking about alcohol. First of all denatured alcohol is derived from ethanol, and I believe for reasons stated above that propanol is slightly superior for the job of cleaning a record. And on top of that you can acquire nearly 100% pure propanol  without going to the black market or a guy named Joe. But that’s just my opinion and I commend you for the tremendous effort you have made to codify the subject.


Your opinion wrt IPA being a superior solvent to ethanol is spot on with the science.  In the book, I did a basic Hansen Solubility Parameter analysis, and of the alcohols, IPA has the lowest Hildebrand solubility parameter - the lower the value essentially the more powerful the solvent.  The Hildebrand solubility parameter considers three parameters - the energy from dispersion forces between molecules; the energy from dipolar intermolecular force between molecules; and the energy from hydrogen bonds between molecules; and is calculated as the square root of the sum of the squares.  The book Chapter X addresses the details.

Otherwise, I suspect like you, I am no fan of solvents.  When I was with the Navy and was developing cleaning procedures for life support I had a three member medical board that reviewed every cleaning agent - the Senior Navy Toxicologist, the Senior Navy  Industrial Hygienist and the Senior Diving/Submarine Medical Officer (this represented the most critical application).   We also off-gassed every cleaning agent at NASA White Sands Test Facility labs so got a view into what was actually in the cleaning agents.  Over the many years I got quite an education on the hazards of solvents and 'other' hidden hazards even in some commercial water based cleaning agents.

My experience is as a molecular biologist. We used ethanol and acetate to precipitate DNA and RNA. SDS plus or minus Triton X100/Tween20 to solubilize cell membranes and intracellular organelles. Also there are a slew of nonionic detergents with different characteristics suitable  for isolating various proteins with specialized physical chemical properties. That was usually a hit or miss proposition.

The science of surfactants is pretty amazing - there is very little they do not touch.  Although Triton X100 is now banded in AU/EU/UK because it's an aquatic toxin.  But Polysorbate 20 (same Tween20) is still available, so the book now lists Polysorbate20 as an alternative for those overseas.  The viscosity is about the same as Triton X100, it does not reduce the surface tension as much, but its good enough and its critical micelle concentration is less so less is used - easier to rinse.