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I need more specific instructions on washing vinyl in soapy water. -D.G.B.

As a hospital infection control officer, I am not only interested in cleaning, but the rinsing of lab equipment which will leave no residue. Could you please address the following:

1) What you would use for “mildly soapy water”?
2) Does rinsing with “barely warm water” mean tap water? (Triple-distilled water can be hard to come by outside a hospital.)
3) Once a record has been thoroughly cleaned with “Last All-Purpose Cleaner” and treated with “Record Preservitive”, do you have a rule on how often it should be recleaned?

Thanks Again, D.G.B.

Because I happen to live in an area with very clean tap water (with very low level of dissolved salts and minerals), I fear I’ve become cavalier with my directions.  By mildly soapy water, I mean, 3 or 4 drops of Dawn Detergent in a shallow bowl of filtered or bottled water.  This solution is used in a pre-cleaning step to remove the bulk of dust, dirt and air-borne debris that may be on used records.  The rinse can be filtered or bottled water of sufficient quantity to remove the (now contaminated) cleaning solution from the surface of the record.  The polish (or finish) cleaning is accomplished by the All-Purpose Cleaner.  I have not found it necessary to use triple distilled or 18 M ohm water for this pre-cleaning step.  The whole idea is to remove the bulk of heavy contamination (if necessary) before proceeding to the final deep cleaning step.

The determination of when to re-clean is based on the environment where the records are stored and played.  If the turntable surface is clean and a dust cover in place, with careful handling, a record could go for years without the need to re-clean.  If there is any mistracking of the cartridge, or build up of debris on the stylus tip, this is a indication that material is adhering to the record surface and must be removed.  A dusty environment will require more frequent cleaning, while dust free environment can free the music listener of extra cleaning operations.

When cold winter weather sets in with very low relative humidity, there can be conditions where the mere removal of a record from its sleeve can create a substantial static charge on the surface of the record.  The charge can draw dust out of the air as if it were magnetized.  Under those conditions, I use a carbon fiber brush that has a grounding wire connected to the pre-amp chassis ground.  With the record spinning on the TT, I hold the Carbon Fiber brush just barely touching the record surface as it spins.  This allows the static charge to either drain away, or be neutralized sufficiently to no longer create a noise/dust problem.

I hope the foregoing is helpful, Walter Davies

[Since Walter first answered this, we have continued to do some testing on water quality. Typical filtered water is not very clean, though it is indeed cleaner than what comes from your tap. However, grocery store distilled water is actually quite pure. We have tested a few different brands and they are dramatically better than anything we can get with regular home filtration. At The LAST Factory we have converted from our in-house triple column system to industrially produced purified water, but for home application the grocery store distilled is really quite good. This is NOT the same as any of the water listed as drinking water!! Any of those have minerals added back in for consistent taste. Good for taste, bad for records!] -Jeff