Can I use 91% isopropyl alcohol to clean vinyl?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Veech, Oct 4, 2021.

  1. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Can I use straight uncut 91% isopropyl alcohol to clean vinyl? Or is it best to dilute it? Will it damage the vinyl?

    I would use it with my VPI 16.5. Is rinsing with distilled water necessary?

    Thanks
     
  2. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Never mind.. a quick Google search answered my question.
     
  3. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    IMO. You should never clean your vinyl with undiluted alcohol! Some people prefer using diluted alcohol in their rc solutions. I completely moved away from its use, since I found that enzyme based formulas do an excellent job in cleaning, without the risk of alcohol leaching plasticizers from the record.
     
    quicksrt and Veech like this.
  4. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    yep. I found this out right after posting here. I have an LP that is going to need multiple cleanings, the thing is filthy but worth reviving. I thought one run with alcohol might help but turns out it isn't a good idea.
     
  5. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Huh. The records I've cleaned dozens of times with uncut alcohol must be getting brittle by now.

    Wait.

    Nope.

    That said I wouldn't use uncut alcohol with a vacuum and I'm not sure you could, I'd think it would flash off before you had a chance to vac it.
     
  6. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I have used Dawn dish and penguin soap straight on moldy, filthy vinyl and scrubbed with a wet microfiber cloth while holding the record under a running faucet with very warm water. Then I follow that up with a towel dry and a run through my Record Dr and they come out fantastic. Just sayin. Used no alcohol other than what may have been in the Dawn.
     
    recstar24 and Veech like this.
  7. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah, this LP needs some deep cleaning. A couple of runs through my VPI still left fingerprints and smudges. What is penguin soap?
     
  8. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I've also used uncut 99% several times on NM visual records I buy that sound like campfires. Many times it works amazingly well. Zero issues IME. It's really not a big gamble. The record is already crap.
     
    kings81 likes this.
  9. Damien DiAngelo

    Damien DiAngelo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I'm also in the use straight 91%+ isopropyl to clean my records camp. I've been using it for 35+ years with no issues. It also evaporates really quickly, so I can go from cleaning to playing pretty quickly.
     
  10. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    If you ever saw the old documentary shorts about environmentalists trying to save penguins and other wildlife after an Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in the ocean, they were using Dawn dish soap to clean the crude oil off their wings and bodies. And it worked great where, apparently, nothing else did.
     
    Brian Lux and rednedtugent like this.
  11. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    You can, but not everything dissolves in alcohol so well. Water dissolves most other stuff, so a mix is best. I haven't used an enzyme cleaner seriously, as they take some time to work, and I just want to wipe the damn record and listen to it. I have customers who swear by it though. You have to spread the enzyme cleaning fluid on and let it sit on the record for a good while, like 5 - 30 minutes. ANGTFT...



    -Bill
     
    sunspot42 likes this.
  12. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yep. 91% also evaporates quite quickly, so sugary compounds (for example) which don't dissolve in alcohol as well as they do in water, don't get much of a chance to be suspended, either.

    But I've never found this to be a problem, apparently the 9% water is sufficient to get the job done or the stuff on my used albums wasn't too sugary. You'd think sugars would actually be something we'd find a lot of in grooves, though.

    Now that I've been using a carbon fiber brush misted with water, my alcohol usage has dropped quite a bit.
     
  13. WithinYourReach

    WithinYourReach Resident Millennial

    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Early on before I got my Spin Clean I would use 91% ISO to four parts water. It worked well enough.
     
  14. Angry_Panda

    Angry_Panda Pipe as shown, slippers not pictured

    recstar24 likes this.
  15. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    My rule of thumb is to never exceed 20% iso alcohol. I routinely take a 1 gallon jug of distilled water, pour out 21 oz, then add one bottle 16oz bottle of iso alcohol and 5 oz of Triton X-100 diluted to 10%. That will give you a gallon of dang good record cleaning solution for spray bottles, basin cleaning etc.
     
    rednedtugent likes this.
  16. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Yes, but even for the dirtiest of records, I cut 91% with 70% distilled, bringing the final mix to around 20% alcohol content, 80% distilled (and yes I still put a few drops of a detergent of choice, it does help with stubborn fingerprints).

    A weaker mix means sometimes I have to work a little harder/ longer on the "crud loosening phase" with the Taklon brush, but I'm OK with that, it's plenty of alcohol for the intended purpose. The goal is to clean it, not to sterilize it and kill any possible living microbe on it.

    EDIT: Note I always do a final rinse pass with straight distilled, not sure if required, but I like to get all the "cleaners" off as much as possible, not sure how they dry up, so don't take any chances.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2021
    Ingenieur and lazydawg58 like this.
  17. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I used to use the recommended archival solution of 1 part 91% alcohol and four parts distilled water and 13 drops of Kodak photoflow. I thought I was getting my records clean because they did tend to sound *cleaner* than before especially if they were very dusty.

    After many many years of using that cleaner with my RCM I decided to $pring for a real record cleaning fluid that had zero alcohol. What I found was that what I thought was record wear noise on some of my older albums was dirt that was never picked up by the alcoholic cleaner. So, I am not saying alcohol is or isn’t safe for records. But I will say it’s a mediocre deep cleaning, record cleaning agent at best. YMMV.
     
    lazydawg58 likes this.
  18. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I've gone back and recleaned some of the records I had cleaned in the past that still had some noise. When I started I let them air dry and didn't rinse. I added a rinse and then a little later I added a vacuum. I'm not sure which are which, but by using a spray bottle of cleaner applying with a painter pad, really scrubbing for a few turns, then going to a basin of cleaner as I always did, then vacuuming, then going to a rinse basin and finally vacuuming one last time I often eliminate a lot of the noise I had mistaken for groove damage.
     
    Pythonman likes this.
  19. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I have become a more recent proponent of rinsing and vacuuming again, even though the cleaner I now use claims to be a one step cleaner. In most cases, the rinse cycle further improves the quietness. I never used to rinse when I used the alcohol solution. Didnt think it was a necessary task.
     
    lazydawg58 likes this.
  20. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    1st from a fire safety standpoint never use undiluted alcohol such as 70% or 91% with a vacuum RCM. The flashpoint of the liquid and the vapors is very low and the vacuum-RCM such as the VPI 16.5 is an electric device and the fan is known to reach red-hot. I never recommend over 2.5% alcohol, but that's a liability risk for me.

    From a practical standpoint, concentrated alcohol wants to evaporate fast which makes working with it for any time consuming scrubbing impractical.

    For any manual preclean of grungy records, Alconox Liquinox Amazon.com: Alconox - 1232-1 1232 Liquinox Anionic Critical Cleaning Liquid Detergent, 1 quart Bottle : Health & Household at a 0.5% concentration (5 mL per L of distilled water) is used by many with generally excellent results. For exceptionally dirty records - preclean/rinse and then repeat. The brush I like is Amazon.com: Record Doctor Clean Sweep Brush : Electronics.

    For more details read this article and at the end download the free book - Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records-2nd Edition - The Vinyl Press. In Chapter VIII there is a review of some common DIY cleaners including those that use alcohol. Otherwise Chapter XIII provides the following vacuum-RCM cleaning process:

    XIII.3 If using vacuum-RCM for a pre-clean step, and if using the same brush for pre and final clean, rinse the record brush separately before any follow-on step to ensure pre-cleaner is not on the brush. In this instance first rinsing with tap water to remove the cleaner and then a quick spray with DIW or dip in a bowl filled with DIW can work.

    XIII.4.a Pre-clean exceptionally dirty records with Alconox™ Liquinox™ at 0.5% (5 mL/L) - vacuum but do not fully dry. Depending on the record condition, two pre-clean steps may be required. Although the Alconox™ Liquinox™ will foam, most of the foam is collected in the brush as noted Figure 15.

    XIII.4.b Rinse pre-cleaner with DIW - vacuum, but do not fully dry.

    XIII.4.c Final clean with Dow™ Tergitol 15-S-9 at 0.05% (0.5 mL/L) or ILFORD™ ILFOTOL™ at 1% (10 mL/L) - vacuum and do not fully dry. There will be some foam as noted Figure 17, but most of the foam will be in the brush.

    XIII.4.d Rinse final cleaner with DIW - vacuum and fully dry. When drying be careful of drying too long that can cause static to form.

    You can buy Tergitol 15-S-9 here Tergitol 15-S-3 and 15-S-9 Surfactant | TALAS (talasonline.com).

    Good Luck,
    Neil
     
    Rad Dudeski, Kyhl and Veech like this.
  21. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    wood glue.
     
  22. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans

    Much more recently, Dawn was also used in the Deepwater Horizon 2010 oil spill in Louisiana.
     
  23. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Here is what was in old-Dawn - CPID (whatsinproducts.com)
    Here is what is in current Dawn - CPID (whatsinproducts.com)

    The stuff that does most of the cleaning is the following. The first three are anionic/nonionic surfactants and with the ethanol can total as low as 26% or as high as 45%.
    -Sulfuric acid, mono-C10-16-alkyl esters, sodium salts; CAS 068585-47-7
    -(C10-C16) Alcohol ethoxylate, sulfated, sodium salt, CAS 068585-34-2
    -C10-16-Alkyldimethylamines oxides, CAS 070592-80-2
    -Ethanol, CAS 000064-17-5

    Just the surfactants can clean very well (that's the basic ingredients of Liquinox) and rinse very easily. But, the other 10+ ingredients in Dawn include thickeners, coloring agents, and stuff to be kinder to hands, but makes its difficult to fully rinse.
     
  24. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Hi Neil,

    I think you must have misunderstood my post. I don't use undiluted iso alcohol or an RCM. I use a DIY formula by taking out 21 oz's from a 128 oz (gallon) of distilled water and replacing it with 16 oz's of 91% or 70% iso alcohol (since the pandemic the 91% has been hard to come by so I've had to use 70%) and 5 oz's of 10% Triton X-100. So we're looking at a mixture of about 9 to 11 % iso alcohol, 0.04 triton X-100, and about 90% distilled water. With a combination of a wet/dry vac, two basins, an old turntable, a painter's pad I do everything manually.
     
  25. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    That's why I switched from Dawn to Triton X-100.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine