Cleaning makes my records sound worse and skip!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by zakbowen, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. zakbowen

    zakbowen Active Member Thread Starter

    Hey guys, hope this is the right place to post this!

    I recently bought some awesome new inner sleeves and thought while I change over all the inners, I'll clean my records as I do so. Below is a photo of the tools I used.

    I cleaned them yesterday and woke up this morning, put one of them on to play and either the record skips more than it used to, the sound is muffled or there are more clicks and pops than before (sometimes more so around the outer edge). Any help would be most appreciated!

    I have had the turntable since 2016 and using the same needle since then so definitely need a replacement I assume?

  2. Remote Control Triangle

    Remote Control Triangle Forum Resident

    Las Vegas
  3. displayname

    displayname Forum Resident

    Are you doing anything to rinse the records? Distilled water or anything? Because if not you're just moving dirt around and letting a cleaning agent dry on top of it. You need to either rinse, or vacuum up the liquid with a vacuum record cleaner to remove it.
  4. zakbowen

    zakbowen Active Member Thread Starter

    that helps, thanks.

    I'm using one cloth to apply the spray and the groovewasher and orange cloth to dry. At the moment I don't have it in my budget to buy a record vacuum. Can you recommend a cheaper "at-home" alternative?
  5. Lebowski

    Lebowski Hey, careful man, there's a beverage here!

    Eastern MA
    Try Elmer’s School Glue. Not nearly as convenient as a record cleaning machine, but cheap and very effective. Takes some practice however, so try it on a record you don’t care about ruining.

    It works. Google it.
    Kyhl and zakbowen like this.
  6. displayname

    displayname Forum Resident

    Rinse with distilled water and let air dry.
    SandAndGlass, tmtomh, Manimal and 5 others like this.
  7. E.Baba

    E.Baba Forum Resident

    Hey mate.

    What you have there is a basic starter kit.
    As mentioned above you're probably just moving the dirt/dust around.

    Find distilled or demineralised rinse water at Supercheap , BIG W etc.

    I use le art du Son fluid with KPH vac cleaner. KPH is hand made in Brazil.

    Also search up Aussie site where you could place a WTB RCM.
  8. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ, USA
  9. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I have a VPI 16.5 which has suction to remove the fluids and debris from the record surface. It looks like you are putting fluid onto the record's surface and then using the cloth. This will smear the fluid and debris into the record grooves. You want to remove the fluids and debris, not leave them on the surface.

    That is what's causing your noise and tracking issues.

    Szeppelin75, Aftermath and zakbowen like this.
  10. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Your stylus is likely well overdue for a replacement, but yeah, those cleaning tools are no good. Get an RCM if you can (manual units start at $200 or so) or a Spin Clean, bare minimum.
  11. zakbowen

    zakbowen Active Member Thread Starter

    Awesome guys, thanks for the advice! I’ve got some distilled water at the moment so I’m letting that air dry and will see what happens. I’ll have a look at investing in some of those other options you guys mentioned. Cheers!
    displayname likes this.
  12. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Wash under a warm tap.
    Use a label protector,,( available on Ebay)
    Use a bar of soap( dove?)
    Combined with some cotton wool.
    Wagh in direction of grooves.
    Rinse under tap wiyh cold water.
    Dry with a thin sponge partially and leave to air dry.
    When dry, lighlly polish with a lint free cloth again in direction of grooves.
    Record should now look as new.
    But water alone leaves record noisy.
    So.... clean in a Disco Antistat.
    I use 50/50 Iso propyl Alcohol and distilled water. For 5/10 minutes.
    Again, leave to dry.
    Again polish record( lay it flat on old record inner sleeve)
    In direction of grooves.
    It should be free now of any bits of groove jumping 'Gunge'.
    Last stage is to apply ,winyl( available from Ebay)
    Thid dries in a few hours.
    Remove by using masking tape.
    Using ONLY masking tape.
    Remove any stubborn bits of Winyl.
    You will now, have a silent record.
    Sonically its supercharged.
    LakeMountain likes this.
  13. Dan Steele

    Dan Steele Forum Resident

    Chicago suburbs
    Vote for spin clean here
    MikeInFla, CBackley, nosliw and 2 others like this.
  14. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Hey Mate!
    Don't get your hopes up with that record cleaning system. The cleaning cloth does not clean the groove, never did and never will. The surface gets cleaned, but not the groove. Of course, a cloth or wet sponge does the job for cleaning a lustrous car finish, which does not have any groove cut into it. Dust on the surface is "pushed" into the groove, where the stylus tracks it, and then heard as ticks and pops. Additionally, adhered dust in the groove tends to collect on the stylus, which then causes "muddy sound" and distortion, and can skip. If you're getting a lot of crud on the stylus, the groove is filthy. Never trust your eyes. The stylus tells the truth. That clean looking record is not clean.

    Here is my advice,
    Abandon the cleaning system, the cleaning cloths, and the velveteen wand.

    Buy a Spin Clean or a vacuum type of record cleaning machine such as VPI or "Nitty gritty". With the Spin Clean, a warmed solution does a better job. Air dry the record for about 15 minutes (warmed solution also speeds drying time) then place the clean record in a new audiophile grade inner sleeve. Simply play the record. The record is clean, do not use the velveteen cleaning pad (wand). It makes your records worse. If loose dust falls on the record, I have found a can of compressed air takes care of it.. and I avoid wearing high shed clothing when handling and playing my records. The records will remain clean and noise-free after dozens of plays.. or more.

    Just one caveat, once a dirty record has been played a few times, the groove wall may be etched from all the abrasion. In such case, some records could still make noise after cleaning, although not as much as before.. the cause from previous "dirty" play and damage.

    Cheers! You'll be much happier with a better record cleaning regimen, :cool:
    Steve VK
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
    CX2000, tin ears, nosliw and 3 others like this.
  15. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital

    Would you now like to know how to get from here:


    To HERE:


    This is the same record after I cleaned it with $10.00 worth of supplies or less! By the way, I should mention what the nasty looking crud on the record is, it's a nice mix of water and sewage. This spot dried on this record for over a year, the bottom pic shows what it looks like after I cleaned it the RIGHT way. An overflow into a closet where the record was.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  16. Blue Cactus

    Blue Cactus Forum Resident

    Even with a record cleaning machine, in my experience, if a record was cleaned with the wrong stuff or cleaning residue has dried on the record surface then the only real way to get it completely off is to use the glue method. Record Revirginizer or Winyl works even better but more expensive and harder to find.
    Thorensman likes this.
  17. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital

    It absolutely amazes me how many people buy these solutions online and literally wipe the solution physically into the grooves of a record, smear it all in there real good and then let it dry there, coating the grooves with a nice crud. Much like washing your car with a moist rag and not rinsing it. During my cleaning process which takes about 5 minutes, I am continually making sure NOTHING has an opportunity to dry anywhere on the record, before the complete rinse process. Many people confuse actual cleaning with simply preparing a record to play, two entirely different processes. If you will notice my post #15, everyone can have records that are this clean and not pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for cleaning machines to make it happen, and certainly not a Spin Clean, oh my gosh, please!

    I'm much like the "My Pillow" guy who guarantees the BEST sleep of your life, I guarantee the "Cleanest Records Of Your Life" using about $10.00 worth of supplies, so come on, get with it! :shake:

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  18. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital

    I can tell by reading your posts that you know exactly what you are doing in regard to cleaning. We go at things a bit differently, but both methods work beautifully! :edthumbs:
  19. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    The method i suggested i have used for years.
    It will remove previous chemicals.
    As the Fringe says many methods pusg gunge further into the groove.
    Winyl will remove these.
    I have never used an RCM.
    One day perhaps,
    One thing 40 years of cleaning make this point clear, cleaning is one thing
    Or loosening the gunge.
    Its woth the effort.
    The use of an aantistatic inner can serve as a record of fact that record in such a sleeve has been cleaned.
    I kerp a record of all cleaning.
    Also, some records benefit from more than one attempt, as dirt can be stubborn
    And in the world of physics a stylus
    Running in groove in relation to its size can exert high forces impacting dirt into gròves like a roller on tarmac
  20. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Thanks for the kind words.
    Indeed as you say working to a proven system yields superb results.
    But i am always open to new ideas, other
    Than my own.
    One thing i suspect ,is that whrn using RCM S is that the cleaning process is that
    Dirt is not removed thoroughly.
    I have not used one so i do not know
    Much about this side of the process.
    I do have to rub quite hard sometimes
    To remove stubborn deposits.
    Ome thing is certain.
    Good audio starts with a clean record
  21. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    I recommend both not either.
    displayname and classicrocker like this.
  22. StuTube

    StuTube Active Member

    I use a cleaner called clear groove from amazon and clean the record with a velvet record brush and the rinse it in a spin clean with just distilled water and let air dry in a rack
  23. artanoloog

    artanoloog Member

  24. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Yes, i have used this for years.
    Part of my cleaning regime.
    Try washing with soap and water
    Using cotton wool
    And rinsing.
    When dry polish record with a lint free cloth to remove residue.
    Do this prior to disco antistat.
    It makes disco antistat fluid last longer
    And is reallt effective.
    I clean 5 to 10 minutes with disco antistat.
  25. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    @ OP : listen to this man, as you will not get a better explanation why your records sound like crap afters what you thought was 'cleaning' them.
    If you want to go cheap : don't buy an off the shelf RCM but buy a cheap shop vac and use an old or even broken turntable platter. Adapt the suction mouth of the shop vac, to suck off the cleaning fluid. Google how to do this, lots of info to be found. Shop vac costs $25, a broken TT (you just need to be able to turn the platter manually) can be found for a few dollars. Then you make your own cleaning homebrew (Google) and you are good to go. If you can't invest $30 in this, why are you even buying records?

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