How pure is your water? Scoring the right H2O for record cleaning

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by eflatminor, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Whatever the method used to clean records, from a manual cheap and cheerful process to multiple steps with fancy machines, brushes and fluids, I would think it always makes sense to use the purest water you can, particularly for the rinse step.

    Obtaining certified 'Type I Grade' lab grade water (or better) is not only expensive, I've read it's illegal to send such a clearly dangerous substance (!) to a home address, even if there is a business in that home. Ludicrous I say...

    So, I sought to locate an accessible and reliable source of the purest water I could find. Before sharing my experience, I would very much appreciate all your thoughts, even if you think I'm crazy for caring about such things!

    Using a three gallon Polycarbonate PV7 container, I'm about to try for the first time De-Ionized/Reverse-Osmosis water from a machine at the local grocery store. The purity is described thus: "In the deionization process, water first passes through the pre-filtration and the reverse osmosis systems. It is then filtered through a special deionization medium, which further “polishes” the FreshPure® Waters RO water by removing the 1-2% of trace minerals that may remain."

    It sells for 49 cents a gallon. Link to the company here: Fresh Pure Waters

    In researching a source for pure water, I found an old write up on Audiogon that I found extremely detailed and very helpful: Finding Pure Water for Record Cleaning - very long | Audiogon Discussion Forum

    Based on this fellow's overview, the DI water from Fresh Pure should be equivalent to Type I water. In case you don't want to read the entire write up (it's quite long), here's an excerpt: "DI water (from ion-exchange resins or RO filtration) is far less common commercially than distilled water. Fortunately, many specialty-food stores are starting to have in-house purification systems to produce excellent DI and RO water at very low cost...This de-ionized water meets or exceeds Type-I grade. It is an outstanding product for record cleaning and very affordable..."

    So, that's what I ended up with. I'll be trying it this weekend with my VPI Cyclone and in my Klaudio ultrasonic machine.

    Lastly, I have no ability to test water purity, but I'm wondering how my new source would compare to AIVS's lab water, which is much, much more expensive.

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
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  2. Otlset

    Otlset free-range audiophile

    Temecula, CA
    I have a water distiller and distill my own for various purposes, including use in my KLAudio machine as well as for rinsing on my VPI 17f vacuum machine. I believe improved or noticeable results using anything more exotic would be very minimal.
  3. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You may be right about going overboard on this. I don't want to get too crazy about it, but when I found a 49 cent per gallon potential solution, I thought I'd share it.

    I'd love to see your distiller. DIY or a commercial product?
  4. DocBrown

    DocBrown Musical hermit of the frozen north

    Edmonton, Canada
    I have the good fortune of having a daughter who works as a QA lab tech in a petrochemical plant who regularly refills my DI water supply at the best possible price. I find it ironic that the plant produces, among other things, polyvinyl chlorides. Because I am a professional tree hugger, I just tell people she's the piano player at a particularly fine whorehouse to minimize my shame...

    (And yes, DI water from reverse osmosis filtered stock is as pure as it gets, according to my daughter the chemist)
    TimB, Tommyboy, Mugrug12 and 2 others like this.
  5. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    I heard Flint. MI water melted a record.
  6. Otlset

    Otlset free-range audiophile

    Temecula, CA
    A commercial product. Mine is very much like the one in this picture, but is a different make (which I can't remember now), and has a much larger opening on top. It produces one gallon per distilling session, which usually lasts a bit over three hours. I've been using it for many years now, maybe even decades (very reliable!). I ordered and had it shipped from Canada where it was made.

  7. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Worcester, MA, USA
    I just use store bought distilled which at 99 cents a gallon it is cost effective. Works well for my Spin Clean precleaning before the second stage Record Doctor cleaning. Also use it to clean my brushes and cleaning equipment. Seems to do the job and my vinyl comes out very quiet.

    Not saying the ultrapure lab grade stuff would not be an improvement but I don't know if it would be noticeable when I consider the hassle and cost.
  8. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    I buy gallon distilled water at the grocery store. My records are clean.
  9. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I too used distilled water with good results. What prompted me to try a different approach was when I received "lab water", which was part of an AIVS package of RCF. I did my best to compare distilled to the lab water and found the latter superior. It's a near impossible thing to measure with specificity, but every time I rinsed with distilled, I still heard a less-than-pristine recording. Even with multiple distilled rinses, I could not get the record as quiet as I did with one lab water rinse. However, the AIVS lab water is rather expense...which is what sent me on my search for an equally effective but less costly alternative. The link I provided explains what distilling leaves behind and why multiple approaches to filtration produce a more pure product.

    That said, distilled water certainly works! It's the OCD in me looking for the best option out there.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
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  10. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Germantown, Tn
    You can also use Aquafina bottled water which is reverse osmosis water recommended by Fremmer and others. I also use it in the iron and in the Keurig.
  11. Nephrodoc

    Nephrodoc Forum Resident

    I honestly have not noticed a difference between the untra pure water from audio intelligent, distilled and RO water for rinsing.
    I have access to dialysis grade RO water, which I store in a glass gallon bottle. I also use Arrowhead distilled water from the grocery store. My RO dialysis water is tested daily. Arrowhead also publishes their distilled water purity testing.

    They all bead up the same. They all rinse the record with no added noise. I will sometimes rinse a previously cleaned LP with improved playback, less pops and tics.
    kronning, Dan Steele and SandAndGlass like this.
  12. crazy eights

    crazy eights Truckstop Lovechild

    new york
    i have a reverse osmosis system with a de ionizer cartridge under my sink with a 3 gallon reservoir and a tap by the faucet, we use it for drinking and cooking water and i use it to clean my records, it's left over from when i had an aquarium service business but compared to some audio tweaks a set up like i have is not terribly expensive

    so if you clean a lot of records it may make sense to install one, you also get very nice drinking water as an added bonus

    the mechanics of the thing; an R/O filter is a molecular sieve - the R/O cartridge itself has micron sized holes that only allow the H2O molecules to pass thru, everything else is rejected as waste water, the de ionizer cartridge is a final polish that can grab anything other than H2O that has passed the R/O sieve itself so you get pure H2O and nothing else
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  13. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    New Orleans

    If they don't use it in hospitals for in vitro procedures, I don't use it either.
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  14. I'm an Aquifina man myself. Triple distilled reverse osmosis.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
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  15. MacMan2007

    MacMan2007 Well-Known Member

    Atlanta, GA
    what is the consequence of just using tap water?
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  16. Wngnt90

    Wngnt90 Forum Resident

    Distilled water user's as pure as it needs to be.
    DrZhivago likes this.
  17. gguy

    gguy Well-Known Member

    Wildomar, CA
    If you don't want to spring on a RO/DI unit. Find a saltwater aquarium store nearby, they will sell RO/DI water by the gallon, typically for 75 cents a gallon.

    The good thing about DI water is that it is stripped of all minerals and will act as a sponge for contaminants, ect.

    But me, I just use distilled water. I'm too lazy to set my RO/DI system back up.
  18. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Tap water contains soluble organic compounds, soluble minerals and solid particulates. It's the last one, solid particulates, that are particularly bad for records. From the link:

    Some particulates (sand, quartz, dust) are insoluble in water; they exist as sediments, solid suspensions, or colloidal suspensions, which are sub-micron particulates that can scatter light and make water appear hazy-blue (Tyndall light scattering). If embedded in the Vinyl grooves, these particulates can cause very unpleasant clicks and pops, especially large particulates that act like giant boulders blocking the path of the stylus. Fortunately, distillation and reverse osmosis do an excellent job of removing these particulates. Purified waters are commonly micro-filtered to removes all particulates including colloids (0.22micron filter). Though solid particulate can be very harmful to records, they are usually—not always—absent from consumer water.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
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  19. Nephrodoc

    Nephrodoc Forum Resident

    Is aquafina distilled and reverse osmosis? I thought it was just reverse osmosis purified.
  20. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

  21. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    It will leave minerals on the vinyl, not cleaning it properly.
  22. Nephrodoc

    Nephrodoc Forum Resident

    Your local water company should publish a yearly water quality report. You can take a look at all the minerals and other additives in your area. I have extra hard water in my area, no way I want that on my vinyl.
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  23. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    The city of Harrisburg offers some particularly-satisfying, high-quality hydration, despite all the designer water-coolers displayed by paranoid yuppies who can't tell the difference between vinyl & CD, or just the fault of a compressed mastering. It's actually understandable, considering how poor the farmland-adjacent groundwater supply is just outside of the City, where regulations are lax and industrial farm corporations toss the most arcane things in those "mystery troughs" hiding behind planned forestation tracts to distract the commuters (and of course, there's the half-life of controversy still aglow from the Susquehanna's most famous disaster site: an Island just south of our State Capitol, approximately Three Miles wide...).

    We host a lot of visitors (CouchSurfers), particularly from out-of-state, and out-of-the-U.S; upon arrival we offer them something to drink, and surprisingly the overwhelming choice is "a glass of water, please".

    Since we started hosting visiting CouchSurfers, I have only encountered ONE certified audiophile amongst the 170+ so far...and he chose a beer. And, he never even considered requesting to bring his Nitty Gritty in from the car to fill his fluid reservoir. :crazy:
  24. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    I've personally worked with DI water. It is dangerous if consumed as drinking water. Distilled water not so much. DI water water is also extremely corrosive. It has absolutely no minerals in it. So it tends to suck the minerals out everything it come in contact with. This includes robbing your body of minerals, this is big danger. Lock it away from children who might mistake it from drinking water. If you are using DI water, it should be labeled as such. Labs use DI water because it reacts predictably with other chemicals. But they are very careful with it. I am not suggesting that it wouldn't be a good work with in a record cleaning fluid. On the contrary, but some precaution with it's use is necessary. Keep it in lab quality container and away from any ferrous items. I will corrode steel at much faster rate than distilled water.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  25. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A glass bottle (amber color) or PC7 Plastic (light blue color) are best for storing DI water, or so I've read.

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