I’ve recently picked up several old vinyl LPs at thrift stores and garage sales. My musical taste is very eclectic, but these discs have one big thing in common: they’re all filthy. Similarly, we have dozens of kids DVDs and CDs in our house coated in toddler goo that would almost certainly beat the adhesive that holds the tiles on the space shuttle. This weekend, I plan to brew up a cauldron of the cleaning solution used by the master preservationists at the Library of Congress. Or maybe I’ll just go with Ivory dish soap, warm water, and an old t-shirt. Anyway, here’s the LoC’s recipe:
Preparation and Directions for Use
1. To prepare 4 L (~ 1 gal) of solution, place 2 mL of Tergitol™ 15-S-7 Surfactant into a suitable container (glass, stainless steel type 304 or 316, fiberglass-reinforced polyester, polyethylene, or polypropylene) and fill with deionized water. This results in a 0.05% solution.
2. Store the solution in a non-food refrigerator to avoid degradation and transfer what is immediately needed to a spray bottle for manual cleaning or other container for mechanized cleaning.
3. Store the pure Tergitol™ in its original container (preferably under nitrogen) and in a non-food refrigerator to avoid degradation that causes an undesirable color and odor.
4. To manually clean records, CDs, or DVDs manually, spray the solution onto the surface, and wipe with an eyeglass or other similar soft wipe to remove contaminants. ALWAYS FOLLOW CLEANING WITH A THOROUGH RINSING WITH DEIONIZED WATER TO REMOVE ALL TRACES OF DETERGENT: LEAVING DETERGENT ON THE OBJECT MIGHT FACILITATE DEGRADATION OF THE OBJECT. Finally, wipe the object dry using a soft, nonabrasive, lint-free cloth.
5. To clean records, CDs, or DVDs in a mechanized cleaner, place just enough solution into the cleaner reservoir so that fresh solution is used each day (or remove the solution every day and store in a non-food refrigerator). ALWAYS FOLLOW CLEANING WITH A THOROUGH RINSING WITH DEIONIZED WATER TO REMOVE ALL TRACES OF DETERGENT: LEAVING DETERGENT ON THE OBJECT MIGHT FACILITATE DEGRADATION OF THE OBJECT. Finally, wipe the object dry using a soft, nonabrasive, lint-free cloth. This last hand-drying step may not be necessary if a record-cleaning machine with a vacuum arm is being used.