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Subject: White film on vinyl record

White film on vinyl record

From: Ron Stark <rstark9955>
Date: Sunday, November 19, 1995
Miriam Meislik <70243.1707 [at] compuserve__com> writes

>Recently, we became involved in a project involving old vinyl
>records.  The records are from the late 1940s to early 1950s.  Two
>of the records in the collection have a thin, white, pasty film
>covering the entire record (all but the edges).  It does not brush
>off.  I need to know what to use to remove this film and any
>preferred procedure.

Please provide more data relative to the discs' storage conditions,
relative humidity, etc. Were they in paper or plastic sleeves and is
there any coating on the sleeves?

Vinyl is a suitable food substance for a host of microorganisms,
fungus and molds. It is probable the entire collection is infected
and may need treatment even if dramatic overgrowth is not visible.
While identification of the overgrowth (the white fuzzy stuff) is
quite important it may be even more important to carefully wash and
dry all the less affected disks with an appropriate biocide. I
suggest you use Hibiclens or Exidine. Both contain hibitaine
gluconate and it will certainly leave the surface quite MO free. You
*must*, however, rinse each surface well while protecting the labels
from water insult. I suggest you examine the overgrowth using a
stereoscope in order to determine if the MO caused pitting. While
some pitting is inevitable the grooves have probably also shrunken
as well. Both anomalies will create hiss when the recordings are
played. I'm assuming these are 33 RPM discs. If they are 78 RPMs the
hiss will be tougher to deal with because the early recordings had
so much hiss in the actual mastering process you won't know which is

Try using a solution of 99% isopropyl alcohol and distilled water
75:25 ratio. Warm the solution in the microwave oven but don't boil
it.  The warm solution should get the overgrowth off. Once gone use
the biocidal soap as above.

*And* when handling the discs wear gloves as its the mold or fungus
from your hands that grows on the surfaces and in the grooves! If
the recordings themselves are important to save you'll have to
transfer them to audio tape *asap*. Clean the discs. At the time of
transfer use the 99% iso alcohol on the record as its being played.
You'll have to use a syringe to lay a fine bead of liquid into the
groove just ahead of the needle. Be careful not to use too much or
you will dampen the needle from vibrating and kill the range of the
recording. Just enough will completely kill the hiss, snap, crackle
and pops of the uneven grooves. Lastly, place the discs in new
paper, not plastic, sleeves. Please let me know of your progress.

Ron Stark, director
S/R Laboratories

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:44
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 21, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-44-003
Received on Sunday, 19 November, 1995

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