So here is what I do to thoroughly clean a record,
Step 1 – I give the record a bath in warm water, using a Spin Clean Record Cleaner MK II. The trick I have found is to use very warm water in the water basin and change it fairly often. Most of the records I find have both dust and smoke film on them from whatever they were smoking back then. Set the record in the basin as shown below and then rotate ( or spin ) the record three times clockwise and then three times counterclockwise.
Spin Clean provides a record cleaning solution that you can add a few drops on to the brushes if you need help in removing the dirt. But If the the record is that dirty I have a better way to Pre-Clean the record before you put it into the Spin Clean Record Cleaner. Now this going to gross out you audio purists out there and I’m sure that there is some magical solution that sells for 100 dollars a bottle that might sound more respectable than what I am going to tell you but this works, I have had “Expert Record Collectors” (you know those snooty guys that know everything) look at my records and they cannot believe how clean I can get them. So here is the magic secret below,
That’s right 409 is the secret to cleaning really dirty records, as 409 has both a degreaser and a all purpose cleaner it really can clean out those gunky records that really need help. All I do is spray some cleaner on the record making sure I do not get any on the label, and then using a paper towel I gently scrub the grooves in a rotational motion while the record is laying down. This seems to do the trick every time.
After I am done with the Spin Clean Record Cleaner I then place the wet record on a Nitty Gritty Record Cleaner which then automatically rotates the record as it vacuums out the water that is in the record grooves. after the first side is dry I then turn the record over and do the other side. For those of you that don’t clean that many records you can just use a microfiber towel and dry them by hand as that works as well.
I don’t use the Nitty Gritty as a record cleaner just as a vacuum to dry the record so I don’t use the cleaning solution that you would normally use when cleaning a record. The Nitty Gritty is a fine record cleaner and I use it when I just need to clean off some dust, but for real cleaning it just does not have the scrubbing required when cleaning most old records that have never been taken care of.
Once I have nice clean record I then blow out the dust from original record companies paper sleeve and make sure it is clean. If it is not cleanable or in a old generic sleeve I will replace it with a new one and then the record and sleeve is placed in a vinyl protective sleeve.
It sounds like a lot of work but it is a labor of love and there is something amazing about restoring a old record to sound and look like new.