Deep-clean your Vinyl.
How to effectively reduce LP record clicks and surface noise.
I discovered this is a method of cleaning LP's as an act of desperation. The record surface of my copy of "Monteverdi's Vespers for the Virgin Mary, 1610" looked "as new" but appearances can be deceptive. The record had been "professionally" cleaned on the record cleaning machine at the the local Hi-Fi store, but it remained unplayable to my ears with intermittent clicks and general background noise. I couldn't see any scratches of any significance but the record languished on the " for the charity shop" shelf for quite a while. And then I noticed the aerosol spray of Isopropyl Alcohol on the coffee table. It's a switch cleaner used to clean up poor electrical contacts. It contained no lubricants but, as pure Isopropyl Alcohol, it was a highly concentrated form of more conventional record cleaning fluid.
As the record was destined to permanently depart my shelf, it was worth a go.
Watch the video, but do read the text too!
A summary of important points:
- Make sure you use a tin of Isopropyl alcohol with NO lubricants of any description in the list of ingredients. The spray I used was manufactured by Servisol here in the UK and is designated IPA 170. It is widely available from Maplin, the electrical component chain and costs approximately £10.00. It's sufficient for at least 20 records, maybe more.
- Work in a well ventilated environment, especially if you plan on cleaning more than one disc. Keep the spray away from children and pets and WELL AWAY FROM ANY NAKED FLAMES OR SOURCES OF HEAT.
- Work quickly, so have all you need close at hand. Isopropyl alcohol evaporates very easily.
- Don't worry about splashing the record label. The liquid will evaporate and leave no trace.
- Be patient when holding the cleaning brush lightly against the record surface. Let the record rotate for approximately 30 seconds before starting to use the dry section of the brush.
- Use a new inner sleeve for the record after it has been cleaned. If the original inner liner is vintage or interesting, keep it in the main record sleeve rather than throwing it away. A good part of the record value is tied to having the original inner liner.
- If the disc surface has improved but is still not good enough give it another go, if you have the will. This has proved effective on occasions.
- If you have a large record collection and the financial wherewithal to afford one, an ultrasonic record cleaning machine such as the KL Audio will finish the cleaning process nicely. Complete the stage I have shown in the video and then use the machine. I wouldn't recommend you use any other type of record cleaning machine after the Isopropyl alcohol process.
- Never be tempted to use Isopropyl alcohol on the stylus tip, not even in a diluted form. It's a solvent and may dissolve the cement which attaches the stylus tip to the cantilever. Why do I say this? Because it has happened to me with a virtually new Ortofon Black cartridge. Unfortunately, many proprietary stylus cleaners contain Isopropyl alcohol in a diluted form, so beware!
- If you are cleaning records as part of a boxed set, carefully remove and dispose of any foam "cushion" the record company has placed in the box. In time this will disintegrate and tiny particles will be deposited on the record surface. These are difficult or impossible to remove and may render the disc useless.