If you were the kid in elementary school who spent all of arts and crafts time peeling layers of glue from the palm of your hand, have we got a project for you. Grab your collection of dusty vinyl records. Not only is glue a really fun way to clean records, it's also the best one.
This thread on Reddit brings to light an old record store trick: To clean dust and dirt that's lodged into the grooves on an old record, just grab for a bottle of wood glue.
By spreading a layer of wood glue over the entire record, then peeling it off just like you did to your 3rd-grade palm, you're encasing any foreign particles in the glue and then lifting them away as you peel. Reddit user texacer did this with an old LP, letting a layer of Titebond wood glue dry for over 20 hours to get the clean finish you see in these shots.
Don't believe it works? Just check out these before-and-after sound samples from the Audio karma message board of how a good glue cleaning can improve your records' sound.
It works because wood glues are polyvinyl acetate glues and won't bond with vinyl or plastic records. The use of polyvinyl acetate chemicals to clean records is nearly as old as the record itself. A 1981 issue of Audio Amateur magazine documents the use of a PVA glue cleaning technique.
Of course, wood glue isn't the only way to clean vinyl records, but it might just be the best one. Here's a few tips from vinyl-minded Reddit users on why the glue method is better than...
- WATER: Tap water is full of minerals that can become launched in your records grooves. As soon as your "clean" record is dry, you'll find it produces more noise than before.
- CLOTH: Cloths can scratch vinyl and push loose dust and dirt further down into the tracks.
- Or A RECORD BRUSH: A record brush is a good option, but it can also remove pieces of vinyl with the dirt if used incorrectly.
The wood glue method is foolproof. As long as you wait for the glue to dry completely, there should be no residue leftover to damage your record. If for some reason the glue disc comes off in pieces or leaves bits or tracks of glue behind, just add more glue on top and peel it off after it's dried.
(Images: Reddit user texacer)