Gels and liquids not to clean the records with

Re: Alcohol damaging to vinyl? Quote from: paulfromcamden on January 21, , PM. I believe methyl alcohol can be damaging to vinyl, but I have not looked into the chemistry. Some record cleaning fluids contain Isopropyl alcohol which I understand is non damaging. Although I do not personally use a record cleaning machine. I'm thinking of making one though, out of an old L68 with no arm on it, which I happen to have knocking about. I see Tom pipped me to the post replying. Quote from: walpurgis on January 21, , PM. I have read that vinyl records are made of a co-polymer of polyvinyl chloride and polyvinyl acetate.

Neither of these is affected by alcohols, so methanol, ethanol and propanol including IPA or propanol have any effect on the vinyl disc. However, I am not entirely convinced that there are not other chemicals in the vinyl record mix other than carbon black , which may be affected by alcohol, so that's my answer.


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Not definitive, is it! A chemist for over 50 years. However, these solvents will only help with the removal of fats and greases, so will not remove carbohydrates or proteinaceous deposits. For that, you need enzymes.

A DIY Way To Clean Your Vinyl

And if you wonder how carbs and proteins can get onto vinyl, you have not found a disc that has been sneezed on! Member Offline Location: Catalunya Posts: 6, Even for a chemist it is not an easy answer. The most common plasticizer is DEHP, which is miscible with alcohols, but i could not find any more precise information as to which alcohol would leach the plasticizer faster out of the vinyl substrate.

How to clean vinyl records

I will continue to use ethanol diluted with distilled water for record cleaning, because once a record has been cleaned properly and put in a clean sleeve it should not need cleaning for quite a while, depending on the number of discs you have and how often you play them. A great many of them use isopropyl alcohol as their active ingredient, mixed with distilled water with a surfactant to break up the surface tension of the water to enable the fluid to better penetrate the groove. Alcohol has been used to clean records for decades, but some claim that it can leach the plasticisers from the vinyl, causing the records to become brittle over time.

Alcohol is also not safe for use on Shellac or flexy discs, and some say that fluids with high alcohol content can damage Styrene pressings too.

How do I clean vinyl? What can you clean vinyl records with? - Radio X

Thus a range of non alcohol formulas exist, including a number of enzymatic cleaners, some based on plant extract and still others with a close resemblance to dish washing detergent, though usually with a chemical formula optimised for the cleaning of vinyl records. Not only can this do catastrophic damage to your record labels be it immediately or over time, but there is no guarantee as to the long term effects of those solutions on your vinyl. While some did offer better cleaning performance than others I never found the differences to be night and day despite using some high end cleaning machines.

I wanted to see whether this claim is true, and to compare an alcohol based fluid directly against a non alcohol formula to see if there really is a significant difference in cleaning performance. I clean my records on a Pro-Ject VC-S which in my opinion is currently one of the best value for money record vacuums on the market with exceptional cleaning performance.

I am hesitant to own one of the increasingly popular ultrasonic machines, as there is a great deal of debate as to the effects of cavitation on vinyl, and many contradictory claims made by various manufacturers with limited conclusive scientific evidence published. Barry Ratcliffe of Vinyl Shelter is an ex band manager, a passionate music fan, record collector and record shop proprietor. Vinyl shelter record cleaning fluid was developed in and the formula uses isopropyl alcohol as its active ingredient, with an unspecified surfactant to break up surface tension and anti-static properties.

For manual cleaning, Barry recommends cotton wool pads or cotton buds as opposed to microfibre cloths. The fluid claims to leave no residue and Barry is keen to defend the use of IPA in cleaning fluid, stating that it is completely safe for use on vinyl records. Vinyl Shelter fluid is available in ML, 1L, 2.

I dilute mine at a ratio of which I have found to produce the best results, making plenty of fluid with excellent cleaning performance. Vinyl Shelter cleaning fluid is among the most cost-effective pre-mixed alcohol-based fluid available when taking into account the prices for equivalent quantities from other manufacturers. Both fluids were put to the test using the same VC-S machine with separate Pro-Ject goats hair brushes used to avoid cross contamination.

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An amount of fluid was applied to each record such that the record was evenly coated, with enough fluid on the surface to suspend any contaminants. The fluid was brushed onto the record following the grooves with the record spinning in a clockwise direction. The fluids were allowed to sit on the record for 45 seconds to dissolve any contaminants, and then vacuumed for 5 rotations which was plenty to achieve a completely dry record while avoiding any possible chance of a static charge from excessive vacuuming.

Both fluids were stored in the same room which is moderately warm in the summer heat but stable in temperature, and both fluids were shaken a few minutes before use to ensure the ingredients were mixed. I have taken one university level chemistry course and that is the level of my expertise. However, I still find this claim about leaching doubtful.

Isopropyl or any other commonly used alcohol couldn't interact with the composition of PVC for the same reasons that oil and water don't mix. Water and alcohol are polar molecules. They have a positive and negative end to them. The attraction between the positive and negative poles is what keeps water molecules together. The polar nature also allows them to dissolve or pull-apart other polar compounds. Alcohol dissolves in water and vice versa. Plastics and oils are not polar. They are held together by what is called van der Waals forces.

Basically polar molecules like alcohol and water can't disrupt the forces that hold oil or plastic together—which is why oil and water don't mix. Obviously, this is a huge simplification, but it forms the theoretical basis for why you probably don't need to worry about using alcohol on vinyl records.

I specify vinyl because alcohol will damage shellac 78s and also acetate DJ pressings. Those however are not vinyl. Also, I would be hesitant to use non-polar solvents on a vinyl record. Perhaps some of these are safe to use on vinyl records, but coming from a theoretical standpoint it isn't a good idea. I'm also not going to try any strong acids or bases—although Drano sodium hydroxide might not harm vinyl I've done lab experiments with sodium hydroxide and it is very dangerous stuff. Any chemists out there who can confirm on deny what I've said?

I've never made any polymers, so I could be wrong. From chemistry standpoint it seems like there is little reason to think that isopropyl alcohol or similar will damage vinyl just vinyl—don't use it on records that aren't vinyl records. Cosmo-D , May 23, Thunderbox , Archguy and Djcoolray like this. Messages: 21, Location: Vancouver, B. Balifly , May 23, Messages: 6, Location: Minnesota. Well, I use practices to dis-spell things like this. Therefore, at least to me, the theory has no credibility. Anyone can make claims when no one has to prove them WaynerN , May 23, Messages: Location: Ohio.

I spent a lot of hours reading the threads on AK and elsewhere.