Useful info about cleaning LP's

I subscribe to a number of audio publications, ranging from "The Sensible Sound" on the low end to "Stereophile" and "TAS" on the high end, as well as a few online sources such as Richard Hardesty's "Audio Perfectionist" journal. You never know where you are going to find useful information. The Nov/Dec 2001 issue of "The Sensible Sound" arrived today, and it contains a tip about a cleaning fluid that is intended for use on LP's.

Some of you older vinyl-heads may remember a product that used to be sold by the makers of LAST, which was called "First". Essentially, "First" was simply freon sold under a different name. Freon, which chemically is a cholor-fluoro-carbon, is no longer distribed in small commercial quantitites due to environmental protection restrictions. Freon was a good product for first-time cleaning of LP's, because it removed mold release agents, and evaporated very quickly. Records were then cleaned a second time using a standard wet cleaning, vacuum system such as Nitty Gritty.

According to the writer in "The Sensible Sound", there is a chemical substitute for freon called Vertrel C, which is made by Dupont. The product is distributed under the name "Micro Care Contact Cleaner", and is available as an aerosol can that costs about $15 for 11 ounces. The writer went on to say that he has been using the product for about 6 months, and found it does an excellent job not only for first-time cleaning of new LP's, but is also a very effective agent for cleaning older LP's (such as those acquired at garage sales, etc.). As with the earlier freon-based product, the record should then be cleaned with a wet-vac system to finish the job.

The author added 4 tips for good cleaning with "Micro Care";
1. If the record is especially dirty, remove gross dust using a soft brush, or with an initial cleaning with the wet-vac system.
2. Liberally spray the record with the "Micro Care" while the record is mounted on the record-cleaning machine.
3. Immediately brush the record in a circular motion, using either a soft carbon fiber brush, or a stiffer VPI-type brush.
4. After brushing the record, rotate the record using the brush to spread the cleaner. Wait until the cleaner evaporates. Follow by cleaning this side with the usual wet-vac method.
5. Repeat process for the second side of the LP.

The author of the article claims excellent results, saying that used records sounded much quieter after treatment with "Micro Care", and there was NO crud on the stylus after playing the LP.

I'm going to track down a source for "Micro Care". If someone beats me to the punch, please let the results of us know where you bought the product.

Best to all - Scott C
After I posted my thread, I noticed that the article in "The Sensible Sound" listed two phone numbers to call regarding "Micro Care Contact Cleaner".

Micro Care can be contacted at 1-800-638-0125, and they will give you phone numbers for retail dealers that sell the product.

There is also a dealer in Maryland, Mark Electronics Supply, that sells Micro Care by mail. Their phone number is: 1-800-446-2228, or 301-595-5040.
I have been cleaning my records with electronics grade isopropyl alcohol ($25 a gallon at Lab-Pro in Sunnyvale, CA) mixed with distilled water from supermarket water dispensing machines - dispensed directly into my own glass containers - and a few drops of "Genie in a Bottle" from Record Magic in Toronto, Ontario (it was $38 for a lifetime supply of an ounce when I bought it several years ago - don't know if it's still available).

FIRST was good stuff, and I used it while it was available, but I don't think it was sonically superior to the mix I am using now. I hear NO residue on my records. And the stuff I make myself is a lot cheaper!

I have heard concern about isopropyl alcohol leaching valuable stuff from the records, but my records do not seem to be any the worse for the use of it.

I couldn't be happier with my concoction and I clean a lot of records.
Hi, Rob:

I participated in a fairly recent thread here that discussed cleaning solutions for use with wet-vac systems. At that time, I offered the formula for the record cleaning solution that I've been using successfully for about 20 years. This post was really intended as an addendum to the earlier discussion. Thanks, Scott C-