Did I destroy my records after cleaning them? Is there a way to reverse the damage?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by John Fontane, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. John Fontane

    John Fontane Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I bought a cleaner off of Amazon (Boundless brand), as well as mofi sleeves. A few days ago I cleaned a few records. Sprayed the cleaner on the surface, wiped it in a gentle circular motion with the included cloth, then put them in the sleeves. Today, I tried playing one of the records I cleaned and it is full of static. It was very quiet before the cleaning. I played all the other records I cleaned and it's more static. Tried records I didn't clean and they're quiet. Anyway, I tried cleaning them with distilled water and a Magic Fiber microfiber cloth today and no improvement. Are the records permanently damaged?
  2. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident

    Dallas, Texas, USA
    If the "static" you're talking about is like a lot of loud crackles, it may be because the cleaning fluid dried on the vinyl. I've had this happen several times, and it usually comes off after re-cleaning the record and using a record vacuum to remove all the liquid. I'm no expert at record cleaning, but my initial thought is that the vinyl is not damaged.
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  3. Jking3002

    Jking3002 Forum Resident

    @John Fontane it is highly unlikely that you damaged these records using a cleaning solution and cloth. More likely is that the cloth shed (as many of them do).

    Assuming you aren’t using some mega-bucks stylus, my advice would be to play the same track 3 or 4 times in a row- cleaning the stylus off between each play. I’m pretty confident this will solve the issue because the stylus will pick up the little bits of cloth out of the grooves each time.

    Longer term solution without buying a cleaning machine- get a different cloth.
  4. John Fontane

    John Fontane Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    i played the first couple songs on one of the records a couple times, and the stylus did pick up some bits of cloth i guess.
  5. Jking3002

    Jking3002 Forum Resident

  6. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Spraying stuff on records is not cleaning them. Its spraying stuff ON them. Whats in this cleaner exactly?
  7. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Yo-Yoing where I will...

    Brooklyn New York
    Buy a groovemaster label saver and stop fretting about crazy record cleaners and RCMs and all this other nonsense. Protect the label, wash in the sink with a sponge and some blue dawn and just make sure to rinse with distilled water. People this isn't that complicated! If you find a stubborn record then put the label saver back on and apply Scrubbing Bubbles 5min each side then rinse again with distilled water. Perfect records forever! Viola!
  8. John Fontane

    John Fontane Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    i was so frustrated that i stopped playing the record. no idea if the sound's back to normal. i plan to try again tomorrow.
  9. John Fontane

    John Fontane Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    no idea what's in it. it's "Boundless Audio Record Cleaner Kit" on Amazon. Says it's alcohol-free. Says it contains anti-static and antifungal agents. Says it evaporates quickly, leaves no residue, and that there's no need to rinse. i'm clearly new to vinyl records.
  10. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Yes, the stylus will "clean" the groove as the record plays, but this isn't good for the record. The cloth method of cleaning did not harm your records, just made them very dirty. This method never works well.. dust and dirt are suspended in solution (or partially) relocated and redeposited in the groove. The dust n grit tend to partially dissolve, causing micro-particles (fine silt) that cements itself to the groove wall like concrete. (literally, not imagined) This can be removed but can be stubborn (its "sound" is light background crackle or "hiss" during quiet passages) The cloth also may shed, and deposit lint in the groove. (makes matters worse, not better) The cloth may pull out some the dust n grit, but never all of it.

    So again, cleaning with a cloth didn't harm the record, but playing the record in that condition might!

    I have always said, "the stylus tells the truth, don't trust your eyes" If the record appears clean, but makes noise, it isn't clean. This is assuming the groove isn't damaged, scored, or etched by previous play.

    I'd like to note on the circular motion for cleaning or drying a record.... is not circular motion. The cloth rotates once against the groove per revolution. (such as going around and around) This aids in redeposit of particles back in the groove. To truly wipe in line with the groove, the hand must be lifted, (motion stopped temporarily) and repositioned to keep the cloth inline. To test this, just place a dot on the cleaning/drying cloth, and observe the position of the dot as it "revolves" around the record.

    The above info means almost nothing, however. The best way to clean a record isn't with any type of cloth. If on a budget, look into a Spin clean, and then air dry the records. Warmed solution in the spin clean speeds up drying time.

    Happy listening,
    Steve VK
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  11. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    This method works perfectly fine! Get a Groovemaster! and save some bucks!
  12. E.Baba

    E.Baba Forum Resident

    I use cleaning fluid called L'Art du Son now.

    I pretty much did the same as you when I started but I did damage a nice Japanese pressing.

    You might need to rinse that off with distilled water or equivalent. Micro fibre cloth can shed.

    There's a mountain of record cleaning discussion online.
    John Fontane likes this.
  13. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I don't think the records you cleaned with that are damaged, but don't play those until they are cleaned in a better way.

    It is not good to use your stylus to clean a disc. If there are fibers in the groove, the stylus could make new permanent clicks in the groove when hitting those fibers. Then you have to clean your stylus carefully too.
    Microfiber cloths, or most cloths, are mostly good only for lightly dry dusting a disc. Not cleaning into the groove.
    Is this the kit you got?
    That's unfortunate. It says it has a cotton cloth. The label protector is a nice touch but anyone can make one from an index card or other. The cleaning solution is probably ok. I see one review on the page where that reviewer used his original discwasher brush. Because of that, that review doesn't apply at all!

    Now you need a remedial fix and a better cleaning kit to really clean out those grooves. For simplicity and ease of ordering (from many vendors and even Best Buy in store) I will recommend the Audio Technica AT6012 kit
    This has a brush which is pretty close to the high quality of the original discwasher brush. The one sold currently with the discwasher name is not very good, and is made by a different company. This AT brush is a directional brush which gets in the groove and sweeps any dust, or cotton fibers, up out of the groove and on to the brush. Then you clean the brush, easily. (You brush it, or use a microfiber cloth on it!)

    There are $1000+ things for record cleaning that are discussed here all the time. But the AT6012 is cost effective and works well for what it is, and will fix this problem for you. The AT6012 has been made for 30 years.
    The solution that came with that first one is probably ok and can be used with the AT brush.

    But if you're willing to go through the hassle and if the big A will send you a prepaid return label, you could return that Boundless kit and exchange it for the AT6012 kit and re-clean those records in a much better way.

    (I have an original discwasher that I bought new, and the AT6012, vacuum things, and others. The AT6012 is very good for what it is and a good value in that price range.)
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  14. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Probably not, but you'll have to clean them thorougly. Here's what I would do, without any guarantee that it'll work.

    1. Rinse using distilled water (no tap water!), if you have add some isopropyl alcohol. Let it dry thoroughly afterwards.

    2. Apply wood glue using the method shown in this video

    This is not a joke, it's the best and nearly fool-proof method to get any residue out of record grooves. It might work on its own, but given that we know you applied some chemical before, rinsing that off first is probably a good idea. This is why I recommend the two-step method.
  15. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    To the OP....welcome to the wild wild world of vinyl cleaning! Lol. Opinions and cleaning methods are in no short supply!

    Seriously, do you have any friends with a record cleaning machine (Nitty Gritty, VPI, etc.)? Your easiest fix is to simply reclean these few records. I’m sure they are fine. It amazing how noisy a “bad cleaning” can leave records. If you don’t have any friends with machines, maybe your local record store does. My local has a VPI 16.5 in his store, and most others have a machine as well.

    Send your Amazon kit back for a refund if possible. For a replacement, there are plenty of options depending on what you want to spend. The Record Doctor/Nitty Gritty line is my favorite for entry level. You can manually scrub with a brush and then vacuum. It’s a faster, easier, more on-the-fly process than bath washes or cavitation (ultrasonic) cleaners.
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  16. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    I suggest you find a shop with an RCM and pay to have them cleaned properly. Otherwise buy an RCM (Project or Okki Nokki) or if you can't afford it Spin Clean or Disco Antistat but rinse any cleaning fluid left by passing through medical grade purified water. You could try just buying purified water and a Mo-Fi brush and manually re-clean the records. Dry with paper kitchen towels carefully and don't rub the surface. Can't say good result are guaranteed other than an RCM and you still need to use the right fluid and technique to avoid problems.
    John Fontane, Dubmart and nosliw like this.
  17. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    I think this is only appropriate as a last resort with filthy used vinyl. OP appears to have made minty clean vinyl noisy, so it's a matter of removing deposit left by a bad cleaning agent and any static charge.
    JohnCarter17, AidanB, Frost and 5 others like this.
  18. Wasabi

    Wasabi Forum Resident

    Lutz, FL
    I like this idea...KISS. Where can I buy a Groovemaster? Also, I'm in FL with some hard water (8ish PH). Is a tap rinse OK?
  19. ZenMango

    ZenMango Forum Resident

    You forgot a crucial step. RINSE with distilled water after cleaning. Many cleaning solutions leave a residue that needs to be rinsed off .
    I have a VPI RCM but often do the dishwashing liquid/scrub/rinse cycle in the kitchen sink. Dry with a microfiber cloth. Works great!
    The FRiNgE, Stillhouse and loudinny like this.
  20. loudinny

    loudinny Forum Resident

    Tap water with mineral deposits. No thanks.

    Use distilled water as a rinse and make your own cleaning solution. Alcohol Distilled Water Drop of Jet Dry could add drop of Dawn. Been using this for years without issue. Dilluted alcohol is a non issue.
  21. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    Easy solution. Get them cleaned with an RCM and good fluid before playing them again. Should solve all your problems.

    Never put something on a record without having a good method of removing it later, otherwise its not cleaning.
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  22. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Forum Resident

    I remember back in the Sixties when "Lint-Free" and "Silicone-Treated Lint-Free" cloths were commonly promoted for cleaning records. Sometimes record stores (and department store record departments) would give you one of these cloths if you purchased two or more records. There were two things that could be counted on regarding these "record cleaning cloths": (1) they were NEVER lint-free, in fact, you would get lint all over your hands just taking them out of the package; and (2) they NEVER actually cleaned records or reduced static. Yet those things were offered for record cleaning purposes for years!
    The FRiNgE and John Fontane like this.
  23. Subagent

    Subagent All I know is What I Read in the Liner Notes

    Arlington, VA
    Years ago I bought a Grundig console at a yard sale. One of those silicon-treated, lint-free cloths was stored next to the turntable. Just handling that cloth was unpleasant. It felt almost greasy. Ick.
    illinoisteve likes this.
  24. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    My 2 cents from someone that's been through it all and tried several different methods, from DIY label saver to RCM.

    Most of the homebrew cleaners/label saver methods aren't worth the hassle and you will just end up recleaning those records when you figure out the cleaning method you used wasn't that good. Same thing with "spray and wipe" and "brush and fluid" - just moving dirt around and grinding it into the grooves, or only getting the lightest amount of surface dust.

    If you can afford $200, get a manual RCM. I use the Squeaky Clean M.III, but you could also get a KAB-EV1 or a Record Doctor. Each unit has its advantages and disadvantages - find the one that's best for you. If you afford a bit more, say $500+, then look at motorized RCMs. If you buy a lot of used records, get a good two-step cleaning solution like AI #15. If you buy mainly new records or are not too picky, one step cleaners are probably okay.

    If you can't afford $200, scrape together enough money for a Spin Clean. They sometimes go on sale or you can find someone selling a lightly used one or giving one away because they upgraded to an RCM. Used distilled water only, dump the bath after a dozen records, and air dry on a file rack or dish rack. It will get you approximately 75-80% of the way there on most new and average lightly dusty used records.

    Wood glue is a last resort method and I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a record that hasn't responded to other methods. Not worth the time and hassle for most LPs.
  25. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Or if you have a spare/broken turntable hanging around, you could get a cheap shop vac, adjust the 'mouth' just like on a real RCM (make a small cut out along the length of that 'mouth', double taping a peace of felt along each side) and for $50 or less you just made your own RCM. It will work better than a spin clean just because you are able to suck the dirt from the record.

    Just to get an idea of the modification I'm talking about :

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