I agree with Duane that we are beyond the use of household chemicals for
cleaning discs. Every time I see the topic of cleaning discs raised on
ARSClist, I am reminded that as archivists, when we clean discs, we are
performing conservation treatments, regardless of our training. According
to article VI of the "Code of Ethics of the American Institute for
Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works"
"The conservation professional must strive to select methods and materials
that, to the best of current knowledge, do not adversely affect cultural
property or its future examination, scientific investigation, treatment, or
We should abide by these principles, even (especially) if we aren't
conservators. I would argue that archivists have the same responsibility
not to use household chemicals without having them tested first. With all
due respect to collectors (who have rescued many recordings when the
archival profession wasn't paying attention) household dishwashing
detergent is not an acceptable way to clean recordings, especially when
there are other, better options. Dawn and Ivory liquid probably contain
harmless ingredients, but without assurances and testing, we shouldn't use
I can't speak for Duane's products, but any manufacturer that sells
products to the archival community should provide full disclosure on what
active and inactive ingredients are in the product and what testing has
been done to ensure that these products will "not adversely affect cultural
As I have pointed out on this list before, the Library of Congress has
created a recipe for a wonderful cleaning product that has been tested by
their conservation scientists: http://www.loc.gov/preserv/care/record.html.
Some archival supply firm should make this and sell it, since the main
ingredient is difficult to obtain in small quantities.
At 01:09 PM 5/18/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>We've come a long way from the limited cleaning & residues left by using
>household detergents to clean phonograph records. We invite you to hear
>the difference safe & thorough cleaning affords.
>At 10:22 AM 5/18/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>>I have been a collector for many years and have had some records
>>that I have encountered that are visually perfect and still with
>>cleanings, both manually and with a machine, the sound remains distorted
>>and gritty sounding. This conditions persists with every alcohol based
>>I have encountered.
>>I took a copy of a record which suffers from this disease, NRISSTB,(no
>>reason it should sound this bad) and I cleaned it with one tiny drop of
>>dishwashing soap. I made sure to add ample water to it and cleaned it
>>visible residue was on the disc. I then cleaned the surface again with
>>a record cloth to remove any late arriving airborne residue. The results
>>have been really amazing. These records now sound infinitely better than
>>the ever did with alcohol based cleaners.
>>These dish products are designed to "cut grease" and as I understand it,
>>a thin layer of oil can exist on LP's as a result of the stamping
>>itself. It is my belief that this oil coagulates with time and sits in
>>attracting all kinds of contaminants and grit and particulate matter in
>>When the old lemon joy gets in there it seems to dissolve the oily
>>and in the process let go of a lot of tiny noisy particles that have
>>there for decades...I have done this in the presence of other
>>collectors who were
>>horrified and then amazed by the procedure and the results.
>>Obviously, I suggest trying this first on a valueless, noisy record to
>>see if what
>>I am saying is true.
>>Has anyone else out there tried weird counter-intuitive "solutions" to
>>record cleaning and if so what have been your results?
>>I am sure many ARSC people and all polymer chemists will tell me I am
>>doing more harm than good in the long run but the immediate results are
>>in some cases nothing less than dazzling in my experience.
>>BTW, this seems them most effective on records from the mid-60's and
>>earlier, did the vinyl manufacturing process change after a certain
>>point, thus using less oil or something like that when making LP's?
>>Aaron (Don't try this at home kids) Levinson
>h. duane goldman, ph.d. | P.O. Box 37066 St. Louis, MO 63141
>lagniappe chem. ltd. | (314) 205 1388 voice/fax
>"for the sound you thought you bought" | http://discdoc.com