Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cleaning Vinyl Records | Album Cleaning Methods

Cleaning vinyl records

How to clean a vinyl record was the title of the video. My interest was piqued because this person was about to use a very unconventional method. Before I get into that, I thought I would do some research into how to truly clean an old or dirty record. Mind you, I’m doing this post while playing an old Eagles album that was thoroughly abused by me back when I was a kid.

Record Cleaning Machines

Is using a record cleaning machine the best route to take? I say yes, if you have hundreds of albums that need a serious cleaning. Machines that clean records cost about $200, so you have to have one serious music library, or some urgent need to get your disks back to pristine condition if you spend this kind of cash. Basically, these machines go through a multi step process of vacuuming, washing, brushing clean, and finally drying of the album. Your job is to clean out the brushes after every run through. That’s the best way to keep things in working order, and doing the best possible job. There is a product out there that costs one third of the price, and does a pretty good job of cleaning vinyl. It’s basically a reservoir that holds cleaning solution, and brushes that work the groves of the album.

Cleaning Albums By Hand

I recommend using a cleaning solution made for albums. Most products come with a brush. Be sure to place the album on a non-scratch surface like a "shammy" cloth. The key to doing a good job when cleaning by hand is to give the album a double run through. The first time you use the brush and solution, you will most likely see dirt. Clean the brush, and run through the steps again. I suggest that if you still see dirt on the second run, do it one more time. Be sure to apply the solution to the brush, not the record.

Unconventional Way to Clean a Record

I watched in horror as the guy cleaning his record applied a layer of wood glue to the album. He spread it out in an even layer, with a piece of painters tape applied to the end. The tape would be used later to pull the dried glue off the disk. Yes, this guy covered the album evenly, waited 12 hours for the glue to dry, and then carefully peeled the glue off. He claimed that the glue method pulls dirt away from the album. He recommended using a cleaning solution to spot check for any residual glue. I say stick with the conventional album cleaning products.

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