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What is the best way to clean vinyl records? Is there a perfect liquid solution? Answered



Reminder: Old _shellac_ records are VERY MUCH MORE SENSITIVE to exactly what solvents they're exposed to. For those, you might want to stick with a commercial cleaning fluid specifically made for them.

One shouldn't use alcohol or alcohol based solvents on anything shellac, although those will only be older 78 rpm records or slow speed radio transcription discs. Woodworkers know this as the preferred solvent to cut (dissolve and dilute) shellac wood finishes is some form of alcohol. You can sometimes heal a slightly scratched dried shellac finish by simply placing a drop of alcohol on it and smushing a little bit to spread over the scratch. The small amount of shellac that dissolves and reflows is just enough to bridge and fill the tiny gouge.

I worked at a library years ago. they used a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol in it.  Keep in mind there are two schools of thought on turntables and audiophiles.  Some people are really INTO IT... and hyper critical of preserving their TREASURED vinyl records.  They would NEVER use alcohol.   The rest of us just want to hear some music and dont care if the record is slightly damaged and will not last 100 years now.  Decide which end of the spectrum you are on... and choose alcohol or some other expensive cleaner to clean them with.  The library just sprayed them, then wiped them dry with a towel. 

Interesting related discussion at http://music-electronics-forum.com/t5809/

(If you want one of the vacuum machines, which arguably is "the best" solution, I know Bags Unlimited sells them; check their website. Good source for serious archival materials as well as general utility bags.)

I recently watched a video of a vinyl record cleaning using wood workers glue.It involved spreading the glue evenly across the entire record, allowing it to try thoroughly and then simply pealing the dried glue off the platter like you would the backing on a label.The results were amazing, If your interested in this technique Google " cleaning records with glue" or something similar I promise you won't believe it's possible.

I have found that regular washing-up liquid (e.g. Fairy Liquid) works very well, with gentle agitation (soft cloth / sponge). Give a good rinse and drain / air-dry.
The glue idea (use PVA) sounds like it would work also.


.  Distilled water. Get a bucket, pan, or other container that is 4-5" deep and about that square. Fill with distilled water and, holding the record vertically, dip it in the water and swish around a little. Turn the record to clean all parts (except the paper label). Very gently pat dry with a lint-free cloth to remove all the water you can, then air dry at room temp.
.  If the LPs are very dirty, use two solutions. The first is distilled or de-ionized water with 2-3 drops of mild detergent (eg, dishwashing soap). Leave records in soap solution for just a few seconds. Do not soak - it will leech the plasticizers. Rinse well in distilled water. Discard rinse water after 2-3 records.
.  Do not use any mechanical means to remove dirt unless absolutely necessary.
.  As Re-design pointed out, do not use anything containing alcohol or other materials (eg, soaps) that will leech the plasticizers from the vinyl.
.  YMMV.
.  Always handle LPs by the edge or label - never touch the playing surface.
.  There is no perfect way to clean an LP. It's fairly soft plastic. :(

Vinyl record cleaner liquid.  Anything with alcohol will do the job but will cause the vinyl to become brittle.