These three wetting agents are popular among vinyl record enthusiasts. Just add single drops to the distilled water in the cleaner until the records are coated with a smooth water film, while they travel outside the cleaning fluid. That's it! The ultrasonic cleaner does the rest.
There are many different recipes that are discussed in the 'analog audio sphere', and we are not claiming that the approaches below are the final word, but our method has demonstrated that it works well for most records.
Add ~2-4 drops of a wetting agent per gallon of thermally distilled water. Run the records for about 15 min. Dry them. That is it!
Popular wetting agents are Kodak Photo-Flo, Illford Illfotol or Tergikleen. The wetting agent enhances the cleaning power of water by breaking the surface tension, and it prevents droplet formation on the records. The benchmark for the 'right' amount of wetting agent is that the records are coated with a smooth fluid film while they travel outside the fluid during the cleaning process. If you get droplets, just add another drop until the film is smooth.
Very Dirty Records:
recommend using CleanerVinyl Micron fluid filtration to keep the fluid clean while the dirt is removed. This limits re-deposition. It also allows the cleaning of many batches of records before the cleaning fluid needs to be replaced. Without Micron filtration we recommend using two batches of liquid. One for an initial pre-clean to get rid of most of the dirt, and then a second to remove any leftover contamination from the pre-clean. Some of our customers reported using two ultrasonic cleaners in tandem to enhance throughput.
How Many Records Can One Clean in One Batch of Cleaning Fluid?:
Without using the Micron system, the answer depends strongly on how dirty the records are. If the records are from your own well-kept collection and they just are in need of a 'refresh' before playing them, you can clean quite a few records in one batch of liquid. If the records come from an unknown source like a vintage record store or from ebay etc...then the liquid may need to be exchanged after one or two batches. In such cases it is very possible that the removed dirt can be seen accumulating at the bottom of the cleaner tank, giving an indication that the liquid needs replacement. The above mentioned 'two-batch' approach will extend the number of records that can be cleaned before the liquids need to be replaced.
What is the Reason that Some Records Cannot Seem to be Cleaned?
Unfortunately, we need to acknowledge that there are some vintage records that have a lot of clicks and pops, but that cannot be improved by ultrasonic cleaning. Such records were most likely played on sub-standard turntables with high tracking weight and/or damaged styluses. this results in grooves that have abrasions and other damages. Ultrasonic cleaning cannot repair records, it can only clean them...