LP Cleaning Philosophy
The cleaning of LP is a very hot topic among web pages. All discussions point to a fact, it is best done by a vaccum-clean machine such as VPI, Nitty Gritty, etc.
Cleaning LPs are like cleaning dishes. First of all you use a spoon to remove all solid food on the plate. Then you wash them with detergents. Finally you rinse the dishes with tap water.
Common sense enough!
We all know that LP is very prone to scratches and dry dust is very scratchy. As such we suggest first apply the mint LP solution to the surface. This action softens the dust and dissolves all surface filth. However, we should not brush as this may press the dirt deep down into the grooves. Just a vacuum clean and all they are gone.
With the first vacuum clean done the top surface layer of dirt is gone. It is time to wash the LP like dish but please brush very lightly. The harder you press the deeper the dirt gets into the groove!
After the second vacuum clean we suggest to rinse the LP with distilled water. Reason is simple, to remove the solvent. Only nuts will believe that LP wash leaves very little or nothing behind on the LP surface. We play honest with our users and ask you to rinse.
Please never use tap water on LPs as tap water is a source of contaminants. It consists of minerals like calcium, which, if deposited on to the grooves, will create nasty noises.
How much solution to use per wash?
Some brands claim that a few drops on the LP surface are enough. This makes us laugh.
The LP solution has three functions to play. Firstly it dissolves all kinds of dirt and release them from the grooves. Then it acts as a medium to be carried away by the suction force created by the vacuum-cleaning machine. Finally it serves as a lubricant to protect against the building up of static charge when the felt pad of the vacuum tube is pressing on the LP.
It is simple chemistry that a limited amount of solvent can hold a limited amount of soluble. If so, how can a few drops of solution take away all the dust, dirt, oil, etc. on an old LP?
We suggest always use a bit more solution for a LP wash as long as it does not spill over to the vacuum-cleaning machine.
Kind of Dirt
Unless you maltreated with your LP with wine and cheese, often the following are the main components of dirt found on your LP:
- Oil and Water Moisture
Over time they react with each other and form stains on the surface. If only all dirt are formed on the surface of the LP then we live a much happier life. Dust and mold on the surface are never a problem as they are readily dissolved by the solvent and carried away by the vacuum suction force.
Oil when dried up becomes a form of glue which is sticky. By the help of the cartridge stylus they are pressed into the grooves. Such dirt is stubborn and you can tell their existence by the 'black soot' formed at the stylus tip. For this kind of dirt, time is needed for the glue to be decomposed by the solvent and bit by bit drained out by vacuum wash at a regular interval.
If you use dirty water to clean LPs, no matter how hard you try the LPs in the end remain dirty. Similarly if the brush and the vacuum pickup velvet are dirty your LPs will remain dirty after you have cleaned them. Hence it is important to keep the cleaning utensils in clean condition.
We highly recommend a velvet brush. Velvet surface of the brush and the vacuum pickup should be replaced every 30 LPs cleaning routine.
Do's and Don'ts
- Wash your hands before a LP session
- Clean your stylus tip before a play
- Wet play a LP
- Brush heavily
- Use Tap Water
- Dry Brush your LP
- Never Smoke and Never Cook while LP-ing