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How do you clean and preserve your 78rpm records?

Discussion in 'Radio' started by astaire, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. The Fedora Lounge is always a great source of learning how to take care and preserve precious items from the past.:eusa_clap

    As i am getting ready to purchase my first set of 78rpm records, I need to learn from experts here the safest way to clean them.

    Would anyone share their knowledge here?

  2. Salv

    Salv One Too Many

    Cousin Hepcat posted some cleaning tips on a thread about vintage jukeboxes, starting at post #27. Also you could try the Record Collectors Guild which has plenty of care and cleaning tips, and very good forums.
  3. John K Stetson

    John K Stetson One of the Regulars

    How do 78s differ from 33 1/3s ?

    There are several cleaning and preservation systems and products available
    for 33 1/3 Lps, you can check on audio forums. I think one of the better known
    (and expensive) is VPI


    Perhaps you can check with them, maybe different cleaning fluids are needed if the actual surface is different from LPs.

    There are probably cleaning services available as well...once you get them cleaned up then maybe all your would need is modern-day equivalent to a discwasher.
  4. Rule number one: Never use a cleaning solution made for LP records. These products contain alcohol, which is fine for vinyl, but which dissolves shellac. Using any alcohol product on a 78rpm record will permanently destroy the surface.

    There are expensive archival cleaning products, but unless you have an insitituional budget it's just as well to stick with mild dishwashing soap applied with a soft paint pad, Don't scrub, don't use anything abrasive, rinse thoroughly, and don't ever play your 78s wet.

    As for storage, paper sleeves are the way to go. Albums look nice on the shelf, but it's too easy to break the edges of the records while turning the album pages. All those 78s that turn up with cookie bites out of the rims got that way from being stored in albums.
  5. max the cat

    max the cat Familiar Face

    cleaning 78s

    some (even serious) 78 guys have said Ivory liquid and an old ( soft )toothbrush-dont get the label wet. It was fun( records played better) and I wonder if I have the patience now.!!
    after I toweled them off they looked funny in the dishrack.
    I am told this is not ok for edison diamond discs and to use windex on these- anyone have a clue about the latter? Lizzie?
  6. Prairie Dog

    Prairie Dog A-List Customer

    Ivory liquid isn't what it used to be, it's very concentrated. So I recommend diluting half a capfull in a glass of water. And don't use a toothbrush on your 78's. The 'soft' brush will damage the record grooves.
    I suggest that you go to an auto supply store and buy an inexpensive 'shammy cloth' to use instead of the brush.
    What kind of phonograph do you have? It's hard to find one that plays 78's. Anyway, here's to good listening. Enjoy your new records.
  7. Diamond Discs are just the opposite from 78s -- alcohol-based products work fine on them, but stay away from water. Diamond Discs are made from entirely different materials than 78s -- they contain no shellac at all, but rather are made of condensite lacquer laminated over a wood-flour core. If water gets into that core, thru cracks in the surface, it'll swell up and ruin the record -- so not only shouldn't Diamond Discs be allowed to get wet, they should also never be stored in a humid environment.
  8. John K Stetson

    John K Stetson One of the Regulars

    Thanks LIzzieMaine, I thought 78s were made from something other than vinyl, but wasn't sure. Poking around a bit more I found a site that has alternatives to VPI's cleaners, and in particular, fluid for 78's:

    then follow the link to record cleaners.
  9. max the cat

    max the cat Familiar Face


    Prarie- Ill try that chamois cloth-

    Lizzie-thanks -just as I thought, no water on the diamond discs.

    to answer playback question-
    a victor consolette w/ orthophonic repro-muted w/felt
    the Edison Baby consoleand ortho Credenza are stored in the folks basement, Ive been planning to move them here for 5 years.

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