The perfect record clean
Ok. All of us vinyl listeners have tried millions of record cleaning techniques. Distilled water. Alcohol. Lighter fluid. Expensive record cleaning fluid. Fairy liquid. But whatever we try, and however much we hope, when we lower that stylus onto the record there's always loads of crackles, pops, tics, crunchy noises etc. even if the record is completely dust free, shiny, we're always disappointed. Well I've got an old Lou Reed record that I must have played 400 times in my youth, then it's sat in the attic since 1995. I have another copy of it now because the old one had lager, fingerprints, poo, you name it, it was smeared in it. So I've just used it as a guinea pig in a very thorough cleaning regime I've just invented. And I'm sure someone's going to say "YOU DID WHAT???? NEVER NEVER DO THAT" when you read what I'm about to describe. But I'm listening to it now as I type, and there is not a sound - absolutely zero pops or tics in the whole lead in, which on this record (Transformer) is about 10 circuits. Not a single crackle, I promise you. Not even 1! It was completely silent, just a low level presence a bit like the silence you hear when you stand in a deep potholing cave in France. I hadn't realised I'd got the volume up so high - about half way - and when the song started i nearly jumped out of my skin! So what did I do?
Well firstly I bought a Knosti Disco Antistat Replacement Record Clamp from ebay for 9 quid plus 2 shipping. Then I sealed the inside of the side with the fixed pole with bathroom sealant because it leaks. And I got two rubber washers with small holes that I could push on either side of the shaft (when clamped) to prevent any moisture getting in. And I got some rubber sheeting (the vinyl material we used to cover our kitchen chairs) and cut 2 rings for the clamps to bite into so they don't damage the label. They give a good seal.
Then I got my EDITEDged Lou Reed record, clamped it up, went to the sink, got a load of domestos and covered the whole record in the stuff and left it in the sink for 10 minutes. Then I filled the sink with warm water and went to work on it with rubber gloves and a jay cloth and warm water. Then rinsed it off with cold and you could see loads and loads of stubborn fingerprints. So I did the whole thing again, pure domestos, rubbing it for about 3 minutes with the J cloth. Then rinsed, still loads of fingerprints. So I had another go and this time I scrubbed hard, really going for those fingerprints. Then filled the sink with clean warm water, had a final wash with the jay cloth, rinsed it in cold, and this time the cold water sprang off it like it was an opposing magnet. It dried in 5 seconds. To be honest there were 2 traces of finger prints - very very slight, and only visible for 3 seconds while the water was in the process of drying. They disappeared when it had dried a few seconds later. That's when you can tell if it's clean or not, at the point at which there is still some moisture and it's in the pricess of drying off. Anyway, I'd had enough for the time being so I unclamped - it was totally dry inside - and put it on the platter. The rest is history. I cannot believe the detail. You can actually hear the metal cymbals - they sound exactly like metal cymbals. And the guitar sounds like a guitar in the room.
Now the web says bleach is safe on vinyl. If it is, that's how I'm going to clean my records from now on. Does anyone have any evidence that it's not safe?