Do you know why each time you play a vinyl record the
sound gets worse? You think you know, but it's much worse than you
think: Dust is abrasive, and combined with the pressure exerted on the groove walls by the stylus, can permanently etch the walls worse, dust can also be imbedded permanently into thermoplastic substances. Only a small point of the stylus is actually making contact with the groove walls. One and a half grams of stylus pressure on such a minute surface translates to several tons of pressure per square inch. The resulting drag generates enough heat that the plastic partially melts (though not enough to deform), causing a microscopic flow around the stylus into which dust can be embedded permanently.
clean your vinyl records,
follow this time-tested tip archivists use.
This, and many other audio-visual tips can
be found in the book Audiovisual Equipment and Materials. A Basic Repair
and Maintenance Manual by Don Schroeder and Gary Lare (The Scarecrow
Press, Inc. Metuchen, NJ and London. 1979)
"Put about two good squeezes of
or other liquid detergent in about
of warm water, in a tray. Using a soft
wetted thoroughly and squeezed out,
the disc with short curved strokes
the grooves. Go around the disc at
three times, being careful to keep
off the label. Without rinsing, stand
discs against a wall or cabinet and
to air-dry several hours or overnight."
LP records are usually packaged in a polyethylene,
glassine, or paper inner liner or sleeve
to protect the disc grooves; the liner
then placed in a paper box or dust
which is shrink-wrapped. If shelved
according to the specifications outlined
above, the original packaging is adequate
if the shrink-wrapping is removed.
- Do not use paper or cardboard inner sleeves and do not store records without inner sleeves.
- The paper and glassine inner linings
should be removed and replaced with
liners, because most contain acid that
migrate to the disc and attack the
- Use soft polyethylene inner sleeves. Do not use record sleeves made of PVC.
Never touch the surface of a recording. Use clean, white lintless cotton gloves and handle by the edges.
- Recordings should not, unnecessarily, be left exposed to open air. Return items to their containers when not in use and never leave storage containers open.
- Do not place recordings near sources of dust including paper or cardboard dust.
- Keep the surrounding area clean. Do not consume food or beverages in the area in which recordings are handled.
- Keep storage facilities as clean and dust-free as possible.
- The air conditioning system should be equipped with dust filtering equipment.
- Keep labeling to a minimum, but limit the placement of labels, especially pressure sensitive labels, to the container using conservation ink.
Shrink-wrap must always be removed because it is highly temperature-sensitive
and can contract, causing disc warpage.
Damaged or lost inner liners and jackets
should be replaced, not repaired. Repairs
will create uneven surfaces against the recording,
and adhesives may bleed onto the record itself.
Remove grooved discs from the jacket (with the inner sleeve) by bowing the jacket open by holding it against the body and applying a slight pressure with a hand. Pull the disc out by holding a corner of the inner sleeve. Avoid pressing down onto the disc with the fingers as any dust caught between the sleeve and the disc will be pressed into the grooves.
- Remove grooved discs from the inner sleeve by bowing the inner sleeve and letting it slip gradually into an open hand so that the edge falls on the inside of the thumb knuckle. The middle finger should reach for the centre label. Never reach into the sleeve.
- To hold a disc, place the thumb on the edge of the disc, and the rest of the fingers of the same hand on the centre label for balance. Use both hands on the edge to place disc on turntable.
Here are more cleaning tips: use a soft,
lint-free cloth or brush. Conduct the cleaning
by circling in the direction of the grooves.
Don't use alcohol. Alcohol breaks down the
bond between the laminate and the base. If
the disc is badly soiled it may be washed
in cool (or room temperature) distilled water
with a lint-free cloth. One that is recommended
is the Selvyt cloth used for cleaning and
polishing musical band instruments. It has
a short, stiff nap, similar to a cotton chamois
cloth, that helps remove debris from the
grooves. The cloth is also useful for drying
the disc. The cloth may be purchased in stores
that sell band instruments. Clean the disc
by using a slightly damp cloth in a circling
motion following the direction of the grooves.
- Records are best cleaned using a record cleaning machine such as the
Keith Monks, VPI, Nitty Gritty using 0.25 part of Tergitol 15-S-3 and
0.25 parts of Tergitol 15-S-9 per 100 parts of distilled water. These
machines allow for an even dispersion of fluid and can then vacuum the
liquid leaving a clean, dry surface. The discs must then be rinsed
thoroughly with distilled water and vacuumed dry to eliminate any trace
of detergent residue. Records should be cleaned before each playback.