Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records-3rd Edition

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bill Hart, Jan 21, 2022.

  1. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Austin
    [​IMG]
    The first edition of Precision Aqueous Cleaning was published in May, 2020. Since that time, Neil Antin has addressed countless questions over chemistry and method in more than 1,000 posts on fora like this one.
    This 3rd Edition takes account of different types of chemistry available in different parts of the world, adds an acid wash step that can dramatically improve results for those who are not using ultrasonic cleaning as part of their regimen and expands on ultrasonic cleaning; that section alone has been expanded by 14 pages.
    This latest edition is highlighted to show the changes so those already familiar with the work can see, at a glance, what is new. This is, to me, the standard reference on almost every aspect of record cleaning. Neil's cross-disciplinary approach not only reveals his "smarts," but his ability to explain various sciences in a way that is accessible to the average reader. I hope you find this as informative as I do, and want to thank Neil for his willingness and effort in assembling this Third Edition. (Scroll down in the link for the download)
    https://thevinylpress.com/precision-aqueous-cleaning-of-vinyl-records-3rd-edition/

    feature image: David Clode
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
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  2. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Bill,

    Thanks for posting and to reiterate, "It’s been quite a journey, but Bill Hart has been instrumental in bringing this book to ‘print’. I am, and hopefully you are, grateful for his guidance and insight that has helped guide this effort and his selfless volunteering to ‘publish’ it. In the Navy we would simply say “Bravo-Zulu.”

    Take care,
    Neil
     
  3. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    A BIG thanks for posting ... this is great information and really helpful :edthumbs:
     
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  4. haz2000

    haz2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    nowhere
    Thank you for this!

    I am curious to ask - can you use Liquinox past its best before date?

    Thanks!
     
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  5. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Yes. Most manufactures indicate that chemicals are good for about two (2) years shelf-life. There are too many variables for them to commit to durations any longer. But, properly stored, cool, dry, dark location they can last much longer. As long as the fluid is clear with no floaties and no offensive odor, its fine.
     
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  6. haz2000

    haz2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    nowhere
    Hey, Neil!

    I have a couple of questions:

    1) When using a vacuum machine, how would you go about cleaning your nylon brushes? Would it be okay to clean them under tap water or would minerals from the tap water transfer to the vinyl?

    2) Before using a vinyl brush, should it be made wet so as to soften the bristles? Are the bristles softer when wet? If the answer is yes, should they be soaked in distilled water before using on a vacuum machine or is tap water okay?

    3) Would you recommend rotating the platter on the cleaning machine mechanically or by hand? My findings are that some machines have a lot of torque, so much so that I would be worried about accidentally damaging the record with stiff bristles.

    Thanks for your help. Your work is a great boon to the vinyl community!
     
  7. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Austin
    I'm not Neil but can sub in until he replies. Yeah, clean with distilled, D/I or whatever purified rinse water you use.
    I prewet any applicator simply because some, like pads, are more absorptive and I don't want to put that as a dry brush or applicator on the surface of the record while wetting.
    I think it depends on the machine. I could not hand turn my VPI 16.5- the motor was locked with the platter. My Monks- I hand turn if I am doing agitation because I don't want to strain the motor. So, I guess it may depend on your machine.
    Let's see what Neil says. Thanks for the kudos on Neil's work-I agree.
     
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  8. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    First, what @Bill Hart says is right. For any brush you want to pre-wet. But, if we are talking vacuum-RCM, you want to pre-wet with DIW, and this is what the book says:

    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.

    In summary, you can always use tap-water to rinse the chemical (cleaner) from the brush, but ALWAYS final rinse the brush with DIW to rinse away the tap-water. That way you do not transfer/leave the tap-water total dissolved solids (TDS) on the record. The benefit of the tap-water to rinse cleaner from the brush is that it takes more water to rinse the cleaner from brush than the DIW to rinse the tap-water from the brush.
     
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  9. lazydawg58

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

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I have a question or two for Neil and any others that would like to comment based on Neil's work. I use a hybrid manual / vacuum cleaning method. It is based on feedback from Neil and others here at the forum. I've been reading the third edition and am considering further modifications based on the new information.

    First I'll explain what I do now. I don't have easy access to a sink where I clean so I use basins, shop vac, and old turntable.

    Step 1 - Saturate record with Liqinox solution, vacuum off to get any particles resting on surface.
    Step 2 - Spray record with same solution and scrub with Record Doctor brush, vacuum, repeat if extremely dirty.
    Step 3 - Place in basin with Triton X100/Alcohol/DIW mix, spin 10 rotations, vacuum
    Step 4 - Place in basin with DIW only and spin 10 rotations to rinse, vacuum.

    I'm considering dedicating the basins to rinsing and adding the acid wash step. I'll need to buy another basin, Citranox, and two more Record Doctor brushes to avoid contamination. I'm considering this sequence.

    Step 1 - Saturate record with Liqinox solution, vacuum off to get any particles resting on surface.
    Step 2 - Spray record with same solution and scrub with Record Doctor brush, vacuum, repeat if extremely dirty.
    Step 3 - Place record in basin #1, for DIW only rinse, spin 10 times, vacuum
    Step 4 - Acid clean as Neil recommends in 3rd editon. Spray with Citranox mixture, scrub with Brush #2, vacuum
    Step 5 - Place record in rinse basin #2, DIW only, spin 10 times, vacuum
    Step 6 - Spray record with Triton X100/Alcohol/DIW mixture, scrub with Brush #3, vacuum
    Step 7 - Place record in rinse basin #3, DIW only, spin 10 times, vacuum dry

    So basically what I'll be doing is stop using the basin as a cleaning step and instead utilizing 3 separate basins as rinsing stations. Each cleaning application is now utilizing a manual brushing. What had been two cleaning solution applications is now three. I'm vacuuming between cleans to pick up particles clinging to solutions and so that rinse water doesn't contaminate to quickly.

    Am I over doing it? Are there any unnecessary steps? Am I crazy to add all this to my system. Thoughts, suggestions, or just tell me I'm a little OCD.
     
  10. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    There are a few complications. The first is that your process is a variation of the vacuum-RCM, and there is a CAUTION on Page 145 (Section XIII) which states: "Do not use acids with vacuum-RCM. The blowers and vacuum pumps use metals that can be corroded and damaged by acids." Note that the Liquinox and Triton X100 are neutral-pH.

    So, your Step 4 is not recommended. And you really want to use a record label protector (RLP) to protect the label; the Citranox is an acid.

    Step-back and put this in perspective: I adjust the cleaner/concentrations to support the available equipment and rinse process; and for manual:

    Chemical........................Process....................Concentration.................Rinse
    Liquinox (detergent).....Manual-RLP............1% = 5000 ppm..............Tap-Water (large volume available)
    Liquinox (detergent)......Vacuum-RCM.........0.5% = 2500 ppm.........DIW Spray/Wash Bottle (limited volume can be used)

    Citranox (acid).............Manual-RLP .............1.5% = 9750 ppm..........Tap-Water (large volume available)
    Citranox (acid).............Vacuum-RCM.............Not Recommended

    Tergitol 15-S-9 (NID).....Manual-RLP.............0.1% = 1000 ppm........Tap-Water (large volume available)
    Tergitol 15-S-9* (NID)....Vacuum-RCM.........0.05% = 500 ppm.........DIW Spray/Wash Bottle (limited volume can be used)
    *you use Triton X100 + IPA as an alternative.

    The acid wash is intended for manual (sink) cleaning using a record label protector (RLP) and applied while wearing gloves, where you have lots of rinse water (tap-water) available to quickly/safely (lots of dilution) rinse away the acid. The Alconox Citranox is about 65% concentrated as delivered, and when using at the recommended 1.5% concentration, that yields an in-use solution of 0.975% = 9,750 ppm. And, as the book says - VIII.12.3.d ... The product does not foam as much as Alconox™ Liquinox™ or rinse as easily.

    So, even a concept of filling one basin with Citranox and another basin for rinse may not be practical. Because the in-use Citranox has a high non-volatile residue 9750 ppm, the rinse basin is going to be quickly contaminated by the Citranox requiring frequent refresh and quickly get $$$ unless you use tap-water for the acid-rinse basin; and we are talking about refreshing the acid-rinse basin every other record which is not very practical. And this assume the wash basin is compatible with the acid. Also, when working with this acid, you really want to wear gloves to protect your hands; and you want a basin that has a label protector to protect it from the acid.

    If you want to use the acid, my recommendation (and you can take it for what it's worth) would be to buy a record label protector (the best is the USA-Made Groovemaster - - The Clear Choice For Cleaner Sound® (groovmaster.com). There are cheaper knockoffs that are not as well made. And consider the following procedure which is essentially pre-cleaning using the book Chapter V through Step 8 followed by final cleaning with your current Steps 3 & 4. This process is the least expensive - you are only buying an RLP, Citranox Amazon.com: Alconox 1832 Citranox Phosphate-Free Concentrated Cleaner and Metal Brightener, 1 quart Bottle : Health & Household and a spray bottle (I recommend -Pinnacle Mercantile Plastic Spray Bottles Leak Proof Technology Empty 16 oz Value Pack of 2 Made in USA: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific). For the below process you can use the same Record Dr. brush throughout.

    Pre-Clean Station - Sink
    Step 1 - With RLP applied, rinse with flowing tap-water.
    Step 2 - Clean with 1% Liquinox and then rinse record/brush with flowing tap-water.
    Step 3 - Clean with 1.5% Citranox and then rinse record/brush with flowing tap-water.
    Step 4 - Rinse with record/brush w/DIW spray, shake to remove loose water, remove from RLP, and move to final clean station.

    Because of Step 4, you can clean a stack of records as above before moving the stack to your Final Clean Station which is not co-located.

    Final-Clean Station - Basins + Vacuum-RCM
    Step 5 - Place in basin with Triton X100/Alcohol/DIW mix, spin 10 rotations, vacuum
    Step 6 - Place in basin with DIW only and spin 10 rotations to rinse, vacuum.

    Good Luck,

    Neil
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2022
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  11. lazydawg58

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

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Neil, thank you so much for responding. I'm processing what you suggested and trying to figure out how I could make it work with my situation. Just to be clear, I'm not using a RCM, but I have a shop vac with a vinyl vac wand and I place records on an old turntable to clean. I see now that vacuuming up the citranox can damage my shop vac so I'll scratch that from the plan. I'll need to transfer records from my cleaning station to a bathroom sink for the acid wash so I'm wondering if this might work. It is an adaptation of what you suggested. I want to replace the basin cleaning with the Triton with a spray and scrub, on the assumption that that would be more effective. If that is overkill just let me know and I'll keep do the Triton clean as a basin wash.

    How does this sound?

    At the work station ( table with shop vac, old turntable, basins )

    Step 1 - Saturate record with Liqinox solution, vacuum off to get any particles resting on surface.
    Step 2 - Spray record with same solution and scrub with Record Doctor brush, vacuum, repeat if extremely dirty.
    Step 3 - Clean 8-10 records placing on a rack as each is cleaned. Then transfer all to sink at one time.

    At bathroom sink

    Step 4 - place label protector on and rinse with tap water
    Step 5 - Clean with 1.5% Citranox, scrubbing with brush, rinse with tap water
    Step 6 - replace on rack until all are cleaned. Then transfer all back to the work station at one time.

    Back at work station

    Step 7 - Spray record with Triton X100/Alcohol/DIW mixture, scrub with Brush #3, vacuum
    Step 8 - Place record in rinse basin (DIW only), spin 10 times, vacuum dry
     
  12. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Your DIY setup is a vacuum-RCM in principle. There are the self-contained vacuum-RCM's and there are the semi-DIY vacuum-RCMs that provide a mount for the record with a top-mounted vacuum pickup tube that connects to a user provided separate stand-alone wet/dry vacuum cleaner such as the Squeaky Clean Vinyl Record Care and the VinylBug Vinyl Record Vacuum Cleaning Machine.

    There is a potential problem with Steps 2 and 5, and it has to do that there is no quick DIW rinse; so, some records will dry with either Liquinox residue on the surface (Step 2/3) or with tap-water residue (Step 5/6). Some dried Liquinox residue on surface is not much of a risk since it quickly rehydrates when exposed to water and the follow-on Step 4 and Citranox (Step 5) will rehydrate and remove any Liquinox residue. BUT, dried tap-water residue from Step 5/6 is really bad since then you need the Citranox to remove it. So, modify your procedure as follows:

    At the workstation ( table with shop vac, old turntable, basins )

    Step 1 - Saturate record with Liquinox solution, vacuum off to get any particles resting on surface.
    Step 2 - Spray record with same solution and scrub with Record Doctor brush, vacuum, repeat if extremely dirty.
    Step 3 - (Optional) Wet record with DIW and vacuum. (As I said above, you can first try w/o this step). Note that this is what people with self-contained (or the semi-DIY) vacuum-RCM do. Or you can try using one basin with DIW for Liquinox rinse -spin 10 times, vacuum.
    Step 4 - Clean 8-10 records placing on a rack as each is cleaned. Then transfer all to sink at one time.

    At bathroom sink

    Step 4 - Place label protector on and rinse & brush with tap water. (If you do not do Step 3 above - observe for how much foam is developed. This will indicate how much Liquinox residue there was)
    Step 5 - Clean with 1.5% Citranox, scrubbing with brush, rinse record/brush with tap water.
    Step 6 - (Mandatory) Spray record/brush with DIW to remove/rinse tap-water.
    Step 7 - Replace on rack until all are cleaned. Then transfer all back to the workstation at one time.

    Workstation

    Step 8 - Spray record with Triton X100/Alcohol/DIW mixture, scrub with Brush #3, vacuum
    Step 9 - Place record in rinse basin (DIW only), spin 10 times, vacuum dry

    Good Luck,
    Neil
     
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  13. lazydawg58

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

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I can make that work! In step 3 I'll first try using a dedicated basin to rinse. In step 6 do you mean I should spray the record with DIW and brush the record while doing so? Or do you mean spray the record and the brush to rinse off the tap water, no brushing needed?

    Thanks,
    Elliott
     
  14. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Elliot,

    For Step 6, just spray the record with DIW, no brushing required. The brush only needs to be rinsed with DIW at the end after you have cleaned the batch of records.

    Good Luck,
    Neil
     
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  15. haz2000

    haz2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    nowhere
    Hi Neil!

    Just wondering if you have had any experience with the disc doctor or nitty gritty brushes? I worry about the nylon scratching the vinyl.

    Thanks!
     
  16. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    @pacvr would love your input on the following items and what you think it actually is and it’s safety:

    NITTY GRITTY - PURE 2 RECORD CLEANING FLUID | Shop Music Direct

    I recently had my nitty gritty vacuum RCM repaired and they sent it back with the above solution.

    “Purifier 2 is a strong cleaner, capable of overpowering the most stubborn residue or grease. It contains a degreaser, a static neutralizer, a mild detergent, and surfactant. Purifier 2 has a remarkably low 6 parts solid per million dissolved solids, making it residue free. Contains alcohol and is totally biodegradable.”
     
  17. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    No experience with those brushes. I use the Record Dr Amazon.com: Record Doctor Clean Sweep Brush : Electronics and when used wet the very thin bristles (50-micron) actually soften because nylon is hydroscopic - it absorbs water (but releases when dry). A number of people use this same brush with no reports of scratching. Also, the Record Dt Brush has fairly long bristles that make it soft in use (wet).

    Neil
     
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  18. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Without an ingredient list - not a clue. However, to have a measured total dissolved (TDS) level of only 6-ppm, means that its likely nothing more than a blend of nonionic surfactant (which does not contribute to TDS) and alcohol (which is also nonionic). If the label does not say flammable, then the alcohol concentration would (by law) be less than flammable (<10%). But, as I said w/o the details, I am just guessing. For a quick check of residue, allow a few drops to dry on glass or stainless-steel plate - what kind of residue is left.

    Neil
     
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  19. haz2000

    haz2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    nowhere
    Hi Neil,

    I have both the Loricraft and Osage brushes. I do feel like they cause marks in the runout grooves. I have some singles with especially large run-out grooves - I.e. of 4 inches or so. It's noticeable on those which has made me cautious of using a nylon brush.

    I do think wetting the brush first is important to ensure that the brush is sufficiently soft for record cleaning.

    How sudsy should a record be when cleaned on an RCM with your solution? Does it matter if there is only a little bit of foam on the album while scrubbing?

    Thanks again!
     
  20. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Thanks Neil! I figured as much. I emailed them but never got a response. I figured it was a pretty simple/basic solution but just wanted to make sure that it didn't sound too crazy or esoteric to cause harm. My degritter is my main cleaner and my pre cleaning process uses your method so the nitty gritty is basically a vacuum step if needed in between.
     
  21. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    This is what is written in the book, Chapter XIII:

    XIII.4 The following pre-clean/rinse/final clean/rinse/dry process using the Alconox™ Liquinox™, Dow™ Tergitol™ 15-S-9, BASF™ DEHYPON® LS 54 or ILFORD™ ILFOTOL™ (see paragraph IX.6 for use) chemistry has been successfully used by persons with vacuum-RCMs such as the VPI™ models and the Loricraft™ PRC-4. For records that are not exceptionally dirty, the pre-clean process can be deleted. The process mimics the process in CHAPTER V. MANUAL CLEANING PROCESS: except it substitutes a vacuum-RCM and reduces the CLEANER and NID concentration to minimize foam and improve rinse efficiency.

    XIII.4.1 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 17.

    XIII.4.2 Rinse pre-cleaner with DIW - vacuum, but do not fully dry. XIII.4.3 Final clean with Dow™ Tergitol 15-S-9 at 0.05% (0.5 mL/L) or BASF™ DEHYPON® LS 54 at 0.025% (0.25 ml/L)- vacuum and do not fully dry. There will be some foam as noted Figure 21, but most of the foam will be in the brush.

    XIII.4.4 Rinse final cleaner with DIW - vacuum and fully dry. When drying be careful of drying too long that can cause static to form.

    Good Luck,
    Neil
     
  22. haz2000

    haz2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    nowhere
    Hi Neil,

    What if there isn't very much foam? I notice that there is a lot more foam with a nylon brush but not as much with the pad. Will the fluid be less effective with the pad-style brush? The pad just doesn't agitate the way the brush does.

    Thanks!
     
  23. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    As written in the book Chapter V, Step 4 - The foam that is developed by the cleaning process is beneficial. It helps to lift debris and soil from the record groove. The Nylon brush adsorbing the foam assists with lifting the debris and soil from the record minimizing the risk of grinding debris and particles into record"

    Neil
     
  24. haz2000

    haz2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    nowhere
    Hi Neil,

    Any plans to sit down with a few different RCMs so that you can see the results firsthand? I would love to know your impressions!

    Thanks
     
  25. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    No. First and foremost, I am not a reviewer. My function is strictly as an engineer that developed cleaning processes that can achieve a clean record using a wide range of equipment and skillsets at a wide range of cost; anywhere from $200 for the complete manual process with enough initial chemicals to clean ~1200 records up to >$10k for a full Monty Keith Monks vacuum-RCM for dirty record preclean followed by two Elmasonic ultrasonics tanks one for final clean, one for rinse, filtered and cooled for high throughput use.

    Any functioning vacuum-RCM be it the self-contained or the semi-DIY (such as the VinylBug Vinyl Record Vacuum Cleaning Machine) or full-DIY can be made to work effectively with the right chemistry/concentration, right brush, right process and correct technique. The only real difference should be inherent to the engineering WRT noise, how convenient, how quickly they dry, and how reliable, i.e., what is the equipment life cycle cost. The most convenient (and $$$) models that essentially clean automatically may not clean as effectively as manual brushing the surface. But there is always the trade between performance, cost, convenience and speed.

    Take Care,
    Neil
     

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