Record Cleaning Again

I found the following interesting article on Michael Fremer's site:

I thought my record cleaning routine was fairly thorough. After reading this article I realize its possible to get much more involved, anal actually. I use RRL SDC followed by SVW on new records. On my older records or used ones I buy, an enzyme cleaner, either VinylZyme Gold or Audio Intelligent precedes those steps. Flip caps are not opened with fingers; a pin or end of a paper clip is used. Separate brushes and vacuum pickup tubes are used for each step. The felt strips on the vacuum pickup tubes are cleaned after each record by holding them over the vacuum port and vacuuming the contaminants off. After every 4 records, the felt strips and brushes are rinsed with their appropriate fluid (except the enzyme tube and brush are rinsed with SVW) and then vacuumed dry. Tubes and brushes are stored in a box to keep them away from dust and other contaminants. Anyone go to the extremes outlined in the article? The idea of spreading contaminants from record to record is plausible, and I hope my method limits that.
Sounds like he talked to Brian Weitzel of RRL because it is the same system that he shared with me (separate tubes, brushes, and keeping everything washed off with SVW, vacuumed and stored in a dust free container, etc.) years ago. Weitzel even suggested the flip top cap procedure that MF recommends.

Cross contamination is an issue and if you take the few extra minutes to follow this procedure, you'll be amazed at the results.
Fremer's article

I've been using a similar method for quite some time. Three different record cleaning machines for each disc. Machine one ( VPI 16.5 ) is used to scrub side A of the disc with cleaning solvent and then i vacuum off the sludge. Machine two ( VPI 16.5 ) is used to scrub side B of the disc with cleaning solvent and then i vacuum off the sludge. The third machine ( Nitty Gritty 1.5FI ) is used to rinse side A with distilled water and then vacuumed and then the same procedure is repeated for side B i.e. rinsed with distilled water and then vacuumed. The fact that i've got less money into these three machines than what i could buy one VPI 17 for makes it all worthwhile in my book.

In case your wondering about cost, one VPI 16.5 was purchased from Music Direct, the NG 1.5FI was purchased from Audio Consultants and my other 16.5 was purchased used from a local here in Chicago that advertised the unit on Agon.

I just purchased another used 16.5 off that i found advertised on the net. After one of my friends heard some of his discs before and after cleaning using my method, he couldn't believe the difference in sonics or how good vinyl could actually sound. He asked me to find him an RCM ( record cleaning machine ) and this recent purchase is for him. At the same time, i talked him into purchasing a new stylus for his TT, so between cleaning the records and a new stylus, he can't wait to start playing records again. He has many hundreds that have gone unlistened to for over a dozen years. He's got a lot of discs that i'd like to record, so let's hope all goes well : ) Sean
Wow. Frickin' wow.
"...anal actually." Exactly. If this kind of compulsive behavior works for you, take the time and do it. For me, life's too short -- I prefer to listen to the records I have.
I find if you do one good "anal" cleaning on a record, you don't have to worry about it again. Just an occasional quick rinse with the RRL SVW. So, it's not much extra time really.

Wow! Three different RCMs? Wow! I don't feel so anal retentive anymore.
I sometimes buy a small stack of discs at a time, making "assembly line cleaning techniques" very handy. In fact, i just bought 17 discs yesterday, which all need to be thoroughly cleaned. For the cost that i have in the three machines as compared to what one automated machine would cost that won't do as good of a job, it was a no brainer for me. Sean
Great, now I have to get two more brushes and two more heads for my VPI 16.5 and clean all my LPs again. I thought having two brushes, three fluids (yes I cheat and double uo two fluids on the same brush) and a mat was enough. Can't believe the article did not mention wearing white lint free cotton gloves while handling albums too.

Good thing football season is over, looks like I got some work to do.

Funny thing you mention the white cotton gloves-- I am on my way to the photgraphy store for just that! Pretty cheap insurance for $2.00 a pair.

(I have finally decided that I am tired of getting the jackets all fingerprinted etc.)

Happy listening

Audiobugged: "He asked me to find him an RCM ( record cleaning machine ) and this recent purchase is for him."
Modsound: While your post quoting me looks to be addressed to Audiobugged, Audiobugged never responded to this thread. What is it that you were trying to say? Sean
Sean, I did, I mis-read your post on this thread, & thought you where adding a 4th cleaning machine to your assembly line arsenal. I deleted my post after it registered.
Audiobugged: Thanks for the clarification. Sean
I read through this, and it looks like a record cleaning machine will be my next purchase (got a new TT last week).

Fortunately for me, I find that quirky things like cleaning records makes listening more enjoyable. Maybe I can find some extra steps to add to make it even more quirky. ;)
Gee Sean,

three ring disc cleaning circus, where do you store it all?

I've got my eyes on a Loricraft cleaner - it removes it all in one pass and from the reviews here is that much more effective removing the residue than the pad variety record cleaners.

Hoping I have $1800 left over when I blow my tax refund.
Tom: I live in a three story house. As i've mentioned before, my girlfriend is extremely tolerant of the mounds of electronics scattered all over the house. Then again, one of the spare bedrooms that we have acts as her "walk in closet", so i guess we are on equal footing there. The fact that i pay for all of the electronics and she gets to use them probably doesn't bother her either : )

Once we end up moving, i get the feeling that she's going to want to "go to town" on the interior, etc... Once that happens, i have the feeling that there is going to be a small ( maybe NOT so "small" ) war taking place. I told her so long as the decorations that she wants to use don't detract from room acoustics and speaker placement in any of the rooms, she could do whatever she wants. You should have seen the look she gave me on that one : ) Sean
What I do.

I assimilated the Fremer article quite a while ago and made some modifications that are IMHO realistic. First, instead of disposable cotton pads I bought a stack of white terrycloth wash cloths, and use them in place of the pads.

The environment that people clean records in is always overlooked, and while I do nothing special to mine the bottom line is that contaminants are in the air that are continuously dropping on the record in microscopic amounts. My procedure does nothing to deal with this, and follows through on the concept by not using needles, etc. to open bottles, or cotton gloves to handle records. I do wash my hands thoroughly prior to starting a cleaning session. I do not clean more than 4 records (about an hour of work) at a time.

Many people adhere to using only RRL fluids (and use the time they save to bash Disk Doctor cleaning fluids), which skips an important aspect of the article: Use more than one cleaning fluid. Each of my fluids is designed to clean up the one previously used. If I am out of RRL I substitute Nitty Gritty Pure 2.

Also, no substitute for time. I spend 1-2 minutes per scrub cycle. At the end of the process a total of around 15 minutes has elapsed.

Here is my complete regime for cleaning a record ---

1) on a clean washcloth put record side A face up

2) apply 1-2 tsp of DIY cleaning fluid (1 gallon distilled water + 1 pint 90% isopropyl + 10 drops Dawn dishwashing soap)

3) scrub around with Disk Doctor brush #1

4) wipe up DIY with new cotton cloth

5) apply 1-2 tsp of Disk Doctor cleaning fluid

6) scrub around with DD brush #2

7) wipe up DD with new cotton cloth

8) apply 1-2 tsp of drug store grade distilled water

9) scrub around with Disk Doctor brush #3

10) vac off 3-4 turns on NG

11) apply 1-2 tsp of RRL SVW fluid

12) scrub around with DD brush #4

13) vac off 3-4 turns on NG

14) apply 1-2 tsp of lab grade distilled water

15) scrub around with DD brush #5

16) vac off 3-4 turns on NG

17) replace washcloth from step #1

18) repeat side B

19) air dry in rack for 1 hour.

Following this I clean the RCM brush with distilled water and the supplied brush. Then I rinse the DD brushs with SVW and pat dry with yet another cloth.

Before playing the record it gets a few spins of the carbon fibre brush to dislodge any particulate matter that has fallen on it. As the record is substantially degreased, the contaminates are loose and should come up easily.

Following play I put it in a new sleeve, if it doesn't already have one.