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LP CLEANING RITUAL
(adjust according to acceptable level of obsessive behavior)
 

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

LPs (Duh!)
A record cleaning mat (for VERY dirty LPs only)
LAST Power Cleaner (for Very dirty LPs only)
The best vacuum-type record cleaning machine you can afford*
Record cleaning fluid**
LAST #2 Record Preservative
Nitty Gritty record sleeves

NEW LPs

New records are given a quick visual inspection for obvious flaws (warps, scratches) to avoid cleaning a defective LP that would have to be returned in any case.

On a VPI 16.5 or 17, Side One is cleaned first.

With Side One showing, place the LP on the platter, take the knurled clamp and tighten the LP down with moderate pressure (the LP should not spin freely).

On a 16.5, apply a small amount of fluid at three places across the LPs grooves, (at 10, 3, and 6 O'clock) and start the turntable motor. On a 17 make sure there is sufficient fluid in the reservoir, swing the nylon-bristle brush over the LP surface and lower in onto the LP. Start the motor and press the fluid dispenser button quickly but firmly three times.

16.5: While the LP is rotating, apply the nylon-bristle brush to the LP, using minimal pressure, holding the brush across the grooves in a straight line from the spindle. Do NOT allow any fluid to touch the LP label area. (If the label gets wet, quickly and gently blot up the excess fluid on the label. Do NOT rub the label! Let the label air-dry.) Allow the LP to rotate with the cleaning brush in place for four or five complete rotations. Remove the brush.

17: Allow the LP to rotate with brush in place three rotations clockwise, reverse the motor for two counter-clockwise rotations, and then three more clockwise rotations. Pull the cleaning brush straight up from the record and swivel it up and away from the LP.

16.5 and 17: Swivel the vacuuming tube into position across the record grooves and throw the switch to engage the vacuum motor. The arm will automatically drop to to proper height on the LPs surface. Allow the vacuum to dry the LP for approx. three rotations. With one hand, grasp the vacuum motor switch, with the other, the vacuuming tube and, at the same time, lift the vacuuming arm up from the record (there will be some resistance), and turn off the vacuum motor. This procedure will prevent any water from beading up in a line as the vacuum motor releases from the LP surface.

While the LP is still on the platter and rotating, apply a treatment of LAST #2 Record Preservative.

Repeat for Side Two.

Place the clean, treated LP in a new Nitty Gritty inner sleeve (if you choose to use the little LAST stickers to remind you which LPs have been treated, remember to apply the sticker to the outside of the Nitty Gritty sleeve only, NOT the LP label or outer jacket!) and back into the record jacket. Let it sit for at least a few hours before playing. (This lets the LAST #2 absorb into the walls of the LP grooves.)



VERY DIRTY LPs

For records that have obvious, heavy dirt deposits, pre-cleaning is necessary. First, remove any loose dirt from the grooves with a simple, dry record cleaning brush (such as the Hunt EDA Mk6 carbon fiber brush). Run the LP through a standard wet vacuum cycle (as outlined above) but without the LAST #2 application at the end.

Place the LP on a clean, lint-free mat (NOT the record cleaning machine's platter) and treat, according to the enclosed instructions, with LAST Power Cleaner. After treatment, the Power Cleaner "carrier" will evaporate, but the active part is still working up to a minute afterwards. When both sides of the LP have been "deep-cleaned", wait another 30 seconds, place on the machines platter, and proceed as per instructions for a new record, adding the LAST #2 at the end.

LP COVERS

Often, there is nothing that can be done to fix obvious "ring-wear", tears, and other flaws in a record jacket. If the jacket surface is of the older, shiny variety, it may be possible to clean off dirt and ink writing from the surface using a paper towel sprayed with Formula 409 or, in the case of gummy price sticker deposits, alcohol. This is pretty much a last resort and shouldn't be tried on matte-finish or plain paper covers.

You'll have to get creative for seam splits and tears. Rubber cement can sometimes work wonders. The same is true of covers where the front has separated from the back, not due to tearing, but because the original glue has failed. These can easily be fixed using rubber cement and a couple of heavy books.

LP WARPS

The only method we've heard of that successfully removes major warps from LPs is this: Place the LP between two, clean pieces of 13" x 13" x 1/4" glass in the middle of your oven. Turn the temperature up to @125 degrees for 5 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it cool for a couple of hours and remove the LP. Good Luck!

Notes:
*We sell record cleaning machines from both VPI and Nitty Gritty. Our personal preference is for the VPI; we've been using an HW-17 for more than five years without hassle. The Nitty Grittys are recommended for audiophiles on VERY tight budgets who simply can't afford the basic VPI HW-16.5. The instructions are written with the VPI machines in mind, but are easily adapted for the Nitty Grittys.

**Our favorite pre-mixed fluid is the VPI which comes in one gallon or 8 ounce bottles of concentrate. A few years ago, VPI stopped using alcohol in their fluid because of shipping regulations. We recommend adding alcohol back into the VPI fluid in the amount of 20% per volume, i.e., 2 ounces for every 8 ounces of VPI fluid. Our favorite "mix-it-yourself" record cleaning fluid is Genie-in-a-Bottle concentrate. With Genie you get to use your own distilled water and alcohol (use only 95% or better Isopropyl alcohol only, NOT denatured or "Rubbing" alcohol) mixed 75%/25% with 6 to 8 drops of the Genie per gallon. You can make more than 60 gallons of record cleaning fluid with the Genie.



 


 
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