The Record Revirginizer Record Cleaning System

Surely you’ve seen the YouTube guy who uses wood glue to clean records. He brushes it on and when it’s dry, he peels off the glue and the record gets a “facial peel.”

I’ve not tried that. I don’t know if wood glue is good for vinyl but fellow named Cary Stoddard in Australia has invented a safe-for-vinyl liquid formulation he calls Record Revirginizer that works in a similar manner as does wood glue, and he sells it by the16.9 fluid ounce bottle, which is enough to clean many records.

Another individual, under the name "Vinyl Record Cleaning System" sells a “system” consisting of a hand-spun platter that makes easier applying to a record a thin coating of the viscous blue fluid, as well as a tall spindle and foam spacers that allows you to coat and stack many records, so you can do a dozen or so at a time.

Using two fingers you spread the liquid across the record surface adding a paper tab at the end that makes easy peeling off the dried film. You do both sides and then stack the record on the spindle using supplied foam spacers.

Best to let the records dry overnight before attempting to peel off the dried blue film. As you’ll see in the video, if you don’t pay close attention to what you are doing and use the precise recommended amount of fluid, you can run into problems.

I show the problems caused by my assumption that I was to fill liquid to the top of the supplied cup and the later successes.

I’d definitely recommend “rehearsing” on a disposable record before moving on to your dirty gems. You must exercise extreme caution when you apply the fluid to keep it away from the label. If it gets on the label you do risk tearing off some of the paper. And if a small section of film separates from the main "peel" getting it off can be difficult—particularly around the label.

That said, if you are careful, you will find the peeled record very “appealing”. However, after cleaning and playing a 1A Columbia pressing of Here They Come! Paul Revere and the Raiders I cleaned it again on the Audio Desk cavitation-type cleaning machine and found it to be even quieter.

I’d use “Record Reverginizer” on really fouled records you perhaps thought were unsalvageable, rather than as an everyday record cleaner. But as always, your choice! If you don’t laugh along the way as you watch the video, I’d be surprised!

COMMENTS
sunderwood's picture

I use a dirt devil steam cleaner with some success on records that still have too much surface noise for my taste after being cleaned on my vpi 16.5. Have you compared the two procedures?

avanti1960's picture

mikey doesn't like just take a pebble and lucky man? for shame mr. fremer, for shame..... :)

Daniel Emerson's picture

I have, very occasionally, used the wood glue treatment for a REALLY dirty record.

Because I don't know about possible long-term effects, it has always been a last resort and the treated record is immediately archived to digital (just in case). PVA doesn't bond to PVC, but does stick to dirt and crud. It does take a long time and can be messy.

MeanGreen9's picture

PVA (white) has no solvents except water and is a vinyl polymer. It can decompose to acetic acid (vinegar), but not quickly and not at high concentrations. Sounds both safe for vinyl albums if removed within a few hours and non-toxic.

Anton D's picture

I told her I was going to get her a vinyl revirginizer and told me that was a 'me' issue and not to touch her with it.

My neighbor wants one for his daughter, however.

tube dog's picture

I'll just stick with my Audio Desk cleaner. There's no substitute for cavitation.

Lazer's picture

Someday I will have one.

recordhead's picture

I think I'll save up my dough for one of those Audio Desk cleaners.

Anton D's picture

I went in for one, and find it idiosyncratic.

Many times, the thing won't soldier on after 2-3 LP's and I have to push down on the edge of the LP to make it spin. Its lack of stamina is worrisome to me and has taken some of the luster off my joy of cleaning.

The fit into the groove has very narrow diameter tolerances and the cleaning slot aperture gets very narrow at the edges, making for easy rubbing.

Also, and this is probably my own psychological issue: the disc spins pretty quickly while cleaning, making me wonder just how much time the ultrasonic aspect of the cleaner has to get the job done. You can increase cleaning time, but compared to other ultrasonic cleaners I have seen, this one is visibly different in terms of rotational speed.

RCZero's picture

...until I can afford ultrasonic, this might have its place. I did my first wood glue "peel" tonight, and it gave a 90% improvement over what my vacuum machine did. Recommended for records in bad condition. You may be surprised at what is still there, under dirt you didn't know was there!

Mister Tim's picture

I set up an econo wood glue rig to test out some older beat up records. Perfected my technique using a spatula, a $25 Sylvania TT (http://amzn.to/2b4DiVO) and refined my hand-eye coordination. I did some A-B testing vs my Spin Clean. No discernable audible difference to my ears anyway. Vis a vis the branding concept of "revirginizing." Well it speaks to a certain segment of the "ophile" population I guess.

Lazer's picture

I need to get a life....I enjoyed this video...makes me think I need to get a life even more. Makes me want an ultra sonic cleaner even more.

Wimbo's picture

My Nitty Gritty 1.5FI using The First and Second.
All I needed. Sold it though when I sold my system 10 years ago.
After all that time,sitting in their plastics, still perfect with my new System. Although some of my bad second hand LP's are the same, cant fix groove damage.

Eskisi's picture

If you look around the web and eBay, there are several enterprising people selling gadgets which spin LPs in a separately bought ultrasonic tub. The combined cost is very modest and many of the more expensive audiophile systems seem to use the same tanks. It works very well.

(Or so I think. I never had a record so dirty that such extreme cleaning methods do not seem a bit OCD. Plus why is it that the more expensive a record player is, the less likely it is to have a cover? With some I could not even imagine what cover would ever fit!)

Lazer's picture

Covers cause vibration...vibration causes distortion ....distortion causes colorations in sound.

PK 19's picture

In 1980s I used to clean my dirty records the same way. It was very difficult to get vinyls in mint condition behind the iron curtain so the proper cleaning was crucial. I used PVA thinned with alcohol and sensibilised by ammonium dichromate. On daylight the solution networked into polymer layer in about 2 hours. (You can speed it up with UV lamp.) Results by heavy contamined vinyls were really excellent.

AnalogJ's picture

;-)

AnalogJ's picture

A while back, MF had reviewed a record roller costing about $20. It's a cylinder with a very tacky surface. By rolling it over a dirty LP, it picks up surface crap. The roller itself can be washed and reused over and over again, keeping its tacky surface.

ravenacustic's picture

Oy vey!

audiof001's picture

I think I'll 'stick' with my record roller for quick cleans and my VPI 16.5 that I paid $150 for with one cabinet side that was warped. I got it repaired by a wood worker who charged me $0 and only asked me to clean 50 albums. ;-) Sorry to gloat... it was an incredibly great deal all around.

kleinbje's picture

I am a very happy owner of several bottles of revirginizer and an Audiodeske Pro(got caught up in the waterpump scam) and love the stuff. You don't you use it on garage sale pressings it's for your Uk Ziggy 6E/4E that has anoying crackle during Rock and Roll suicide. It has routinely cleaned up my best pressings, usually a very significant difference. I alway audiodeske it after, just in case, it agitated but didn't remove all particles upon peeling off. It always reliably peels off, and quickly dissolves in water, so very safe.

BobW's picture

Michael,...thanks for the video...entertaining and informative. I first read about the use of wood glue to clean records many years ago in Audio Amateur mag. Reg Williamson (I think) came up with this seemingly off the wall idea.

Tried it myself and found the whole process to be a royal pain in the ass (and IMO confirmed by your video with the new product). While it did/does seemed to work, I found that the little bits of residue (dried glue) invariably left behind on the lead-in groove (and elsewhere) hard to see and remove. As a result, I was afraid to play my "seemingly" clean record for fear of damaging the cartridge stylus as it encountered this stuff. My $.02

Chemguy's picture

I echo BobW in his comments. The wood glue technique works, but it's the the bits that are a pain. And it actually did contribute it a wrecked stylus for me. Beware!

My records get perfectly cleaned by distiller water, a few drops of soap, two sponges and a felt device that I rigged onto the vacuum cleaner hose. Absolutely perfect.

JC1957's picture

I'll just stick to wood glue.

avanti1960's picture

I a going to have a chat with my local record store. If he would purchase an ultrasonic cleaner I am sure he would have a profitable cleaning business. In by 9 out by 5, cleaned and pressed.
More should follow suit.

Rudy's picture

"Revirginizing" a record would be returning it to a brand new condition, exactly as it came out of the package when new. In other words, reasonably clean but more importantly, with zero groove wear. "Virgin" to me means "untouched." And all this "glue" stuff is, is a deep cleaner.

That is my biggest issue with used vinyl over the past several years--they clean up OK on the ultrasonic, but they are unacceptably worn.

jarroyoeq's picture

If I´m not a ultra specialist Spin Clean is the cheapest, easiest, quickest and consistently very good resulting (except for repairing scractchs). When I consider ALL those things together it is the best. It ended an endless search.

cundare's picture

That looks like a pain in the ass. Life is too short.

My big question: what did the peeled-off coating look like? Was there anything visible in the material? If this process does indeed remove debris deep-seated into the grooves, something should have been visible, if only under a magnifying glass

Mendo's picture

No dog in this fight, but the combination of a 60 kHz ultrasonic tub and this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ultrasonic-Vinyl-Record-Cleaning-Kit-Vinyl-Stack...

is just incredible. All in at $600 if you find a good deal on a UL (look for 60-80khz, smaller cavitation bubbles than 40). I use steam for really stubborn, old, lodged micro organism LPs or lots of mold release, then UL. Otherwise for most records this combo I bought kills it. Not taking anything away from the other UL cleaners, but UL can be done very well, much cheaper if one desires. This clean more than one LP at a time as well.

Bert29's picture

Over the past year, I've used steam cleaning to really get the grime out of my grooves in the record. I used a hand-held steam cleaner (with a narrow nozzle) and use distilled water. I have an old turntable platter I place the record on to spin it--then hold the steamer about 2 inches above....the pressure and steam really do a great job of getting the records clean in a safe manner. I move the steamer across the record from the outside edge to the near the label at a 90 degree angle (staying away from the paper label, of course). Once I "steam" a side, I take the record off, wipe it with a clean micro-fiber rag in same direction as the grooves, then repeat..I do both sides of the record twice to make sure I remove and get out as much of the dirt and grime in the grooves as possible. I complete the process by using a clean micro-fiber rag for a final drying/wiping, and then use a plastic drying rack for dishes to keep the records upright and let them dry even more before I place them back into their inner-sleeves. Before I actually play the record, I will use a grounded anti-static brush (I ordered from a company called Mapleshade) to help remove any static I built up by using the micro-fiber cloths to clean.
I've found that this cleaning process is easy, safe (as I'm not using any chemicals of any kind--just steam-induced pressured distilled water) into the grooves. The combination of steam and pressure really lift and remove not only surface grime, mold, etc, but that pressurized water gets down into the grooves and makes the record play so much better. That Mapleshade company also has for sale a steam-cleaning kit, but you can get what you need cheaper (get your own steam-cleaner, micro-fiber cloths, etc). Again, using pressurized-distilled water only to get into the grooves has made tremendous improvement on playing all of my records, from the garage-sale rough shape ones, to even some of my more valuable records (I've cleaned almost a 1000 of my records and have not once ruined one--the steam by the way, won't warp or melt your record as it comes out of nozzle as pressurized water at about 140-150 degrees.

jkingtut's picture

I guess I can search but care to mention where the best places are to look for the tub with the specs you mention? Thanks

jkingtut's picture

Regular store bought microfiber towels will scratch the clear coat on any car ( lets not even mention records) no matter who they are branded from they all come from the same place that starts with a "C". Go here for the real deal from our friends in South Korea. Amazing difference, check out the Junkman on youtube for you car washing fanatics (I lie and say it's for the exercise ;~}) http://www.theragcompany.com/
I have only used a a VPI 17f I picked up in brand new condition on Audiogon many years ago, and I always worry about the microfiber or whatever it is glued onto the tube. I like the idea of cavitation and believe Mikey and Art but wonder if all cavitation is the same and also the longevity of a 4k machine if it has already been updated once and there could be possible issues like mentioned above. The Ultrasonic deserves to be in a shootout with the Audio Desk, what might you say sir? Or has anyone info on this.

SLS's picture

and the laughs. What was lacking was how it sounded after cleaning!

I would have thought you would have listened to one of the revirginized lps then re-listened after an ultrasonic cleaning to report if you noticed any difference.

DigitalIsDead's picture

I've done it and it does work .. fundamentally, a scratched record does not improve.

Packgrog's picture

Tips:
- Only use about 15 milliliters. Even 20ml is a bit much.

- Also, be sure not to get it on the label. Having a puck on top of the label while massaging the grooves seems like a bad idea, and clearly was from this video.

- Covering the playback grooves is more important than getting every last part of the lead-in and lead-out grooves.

- Try to only place the pull tabs in the lead-in groove area rather than on the playback groove.

Comparisons:

- Key differences between Revirginizer (ie: Reg Williamson formula) and wood glue is that Revirginizer is more water soluble and thus more easily rinsed off, and Revirginizer doesn't produce a massive static charge in the record the way that wood glue peeling does. I also found that wood glue can leave behind chunks that are more difficult to remove, and Revirginizer does a better job of getting further into the groove, thus removing more contaminants.

- Revirginizer should still be used with a vacuum RCM for at least a distilled water rinse pass (which I do even after a cleaning session with an ultrasonic machine). Revirginizer has a chemical smell that does get left behind on the record, so rinsing is wise.

- Revirginizer may remove contaminants that are too stubborn for ultrasonic cleaning, and vice versa. There is no magic bullet. Thus far nothing that I've tried has removed mineral deposits from tap water dried into the grooves (I want to kick the guy who did that to an album that I bought from him).

- Once again, NOTHING replaces a vacuum RCM. Other things can help loosen junk that certain fluids alone cannot, but you have to get the fluid OUT of the grooves. All other cleaning options should be in conjunction with a vacuum RCM. This can be had for $100 or so if you're REALLY frugal, but even Revirginizer alone is inadequate to truly clean records, and that's still far better than the Spin Clean alone.

- Semi-DIY ultrasonic cleaning can be great (again, in conjunction with vacuum RCM for rinsing), and you don't have to completely break the bank. 40kHz machines can be found for around $300, and a DIY rotation setup can be made for under $100 (slower rotation is generally better), though the Vinyl Stack setup works pretty well for people. Higher frequency machines (ie: 60kHz or 80kHz) may or may not clean more effectively, but the audible noise is definitely less obnoxious.

I have tried a fair number of cleaning options, and currently ultrasonic followed by distilled water rinse and vacuum on a KAB EV-1 is the most effective while only moderately tedious. I still have a full bottle of Revirginizer unused for a couple of years now, but I haven't had much motivation to use it given the results of the ultrasonic & vacuum process leaving my records so quiet (apart from groove damage). I've been tempted to cobble together a DIY Loricraft/Monks style vacuum setup with a spare direct drive turntable to eliminate the static build-up from vacuuming, but a couple of blasts from a Zerostat before playback seem to address the static.

So yes, this stuff is very effective if used correctly, and there are other options that could be just as/more effective, but not without significant cost. And as always, vacuum RCM is paramount. Without that, results will always be inferior to what they could be.

RVS's picture

Revirginizer does not leave a static charge on the record which glue does, immediately attracting atmospheric dust to the record surface.

Revirginizer is designed to dissolve oils, mould release, etc, i.e. it's a cleaner. Glue is not.

Any traces of remaining revirginizer (sometimes in the lead in groove or on the edge) are easily removed using peeled film. What's the safe way to remove solid glue remnants - fingernail? chisel? Plus remaining glue nuggets are a threat to stylus longevity; not so revirginizer.

As to technique, Michael's demo was entertaining though reminiscent of Larry, Mo and Curly; see www.revirginizersystem.com for a polished demonstration.

RVS's picture

The 'polished' application demo may now be seen at www.vinylrecordcleaningsystem.com