View Full Version : mildew smell: how to clean record jackets?


postman
08-05-2008, 06:21 AM
I've been hitting up the thrift stores over the past few days and I've picked up quite a few old records. A lot of classical stuff (I'll post another thread later detailing my finds).

While sorting through the records at the thrift stores I was assaulted by the stench of mildew, which I happen to be allergic to... :puke:

However, I can deal with it while shopping... it's worth it in the end. :D

Now that I've got them home, I can unfortunately still smell a strong mildew smell coming off of them (some are worse than others), which is upsetting my allergies.

Does anyone know a good way to clean the record jackets without damaging them? I am ordering some new inner sleeves to put the lps in after I clean them, so that will probably help. But as far as I can tell the mildew smell is coming from the outer jackets.

similost
08-05-2008, 06:26 AM
I've bought a lot of albums that had this smell. Seems most lots I buy have it. I've found after about a week it's gone. Do you have a garage you could set them in (separated) that doesn't get too hot? Other wise, I'd try a very slightly dampened rag with some very weak bleach water and lightly wipe them down.

drknstrmyknight
08-05-2008, 06:50 AM
I've had decent luck:
I wipe them down with a very weak bleach solution and a barely damp cloth.
I then stick them in a plastic wardobe (without the vinyl!) fanned out with a dish drainer and have an Ionic Breeze running in there for a couple of days. Theo zone seems to get rid of the musc odor.

Just putting them in the sun works OK too it you don't have too many.

ferninando
08-05-2008, 07:25 AM
let em sit outside in the sun for a week and spray with lysol disinfectant once a day. turn over each day

cfranz
08-05-2008, 08:00 AM
Clean the record, toss the inner sleave, leave in the sun and air for a while. put a lego or something between the back and front of the sleve to air out the inside.

spartanmanor
08-05-2008, 08:03 AM
I have used rubbing alcohol diluted with water. I got a batch that reeked of cigarette smoke and this worked very well. As others mentioned leaving them outside for a little sun and fresh air does help. I did my cleaning on the front porch.

Nakdoc
08-05-2008, 08:13 AM
Mildew can appear on the LP as well. I have never been able to clean that off, even with multiple passes on my VPI. Mildew leaves a visible, mottled dullness on the grooves. After cleaning, constant background static is heard.

Arkay
08-05-2008, 08:41 AM
Mildew can appear on the LP as well. I have never been able to clean that off, even with multiple passes on my VPI. Mildew leaves a visible, mottled dullness on the grooves. After cleaning, constant background static is heard.

Mold/mildew is very common here in Hong Kong's humid climate. I've found that visible mottling and background static to remain only on the worst cases. In most cases, where the mold wasn't growing for very long, the records come up shiny and new-looking, and without audible artifacts.

How are you cleaning them? With mold, I always start with a soapy-water solution cleaning in the kitchen sink, gently but well rinsed with tap water, before going on to using the usual record-cleaning solutions on the VPI. In the worst cases, the mold has eaten into the record surface as you say, but it seems rare here. Usually the stuff seems to wash off completely. Wonder if we are mostly dealing with different species of mold?

dvdchance
08-05-2008, 08:50 AM
I haven't yet tried this, but I read that for the covers, you can place them in a big ziploc bag with some cat litter. That should suck up the mildew smell. I imagine you could leave the vinyl in the bag too and it shouldn't hurt it.

Like I said I just read that somewhere and haven't tried it out, so YMMV.

howie123
08-05-2008, 08:53 AM
I have used rubbing alcohol diluted with water. I got a batch that reeked of cigarette smoke and this worked very well.
Everyone smoked in the 50's, 60's and 70's. The aroma adds to the whole vintage record listening experience! ;-)

KlipschFan61
08-05-2008, 09:13 AM
I haven't yet tried this, but I read that for the covers, you can place them in a big ziploc bag with some cat litter. That should suck up the mildew smell. I imagine you could leave the vinyl in the bag too and it shouldn't hurt it.

Like I said I just read that somewhere and haven't tried it out, so YMMV.

Fresh Step? :D

My boss gave me his collection of vinyl and the mildew smell was pretty ferocious. I just used a little Febreeze (sp?) on them and now they're fresh as morning dew.

howie123
08-05-2008, 09:27 AM
Fresh Step? :D

My boss gave me his collection of vinyl and the mildew smell was pretty ferocious. I just used a little Febreeze (sp?) on them and now they're fresh as morning dew.

Yes, Febreze does a great job at removing the musty smell.

dvdchance
08-05-2008, 09:58 AM
Fresh Step? :D

My boss gave me his collection of vinyl and the mildew smell was pretty ferocious. I just used a little Febreeze (sp?) on them and now they're fresh as morning dew.

Wouldn't spraying any liquid on them leave spotting on the jackets? And do you spray inside the jacket too or just the outside?

KlipschFan61
08-05-2008, 10:08 AM
No spots that I'm aware of on the jacket (inside or out). I suppose you could use a soft cloth towel if you thought you got carried away.

The spray comes out in very fine mist and provides good overall coverage plus it dries fairly quickly.

howie123
08-05-2008, 11:21 AM
No spots that I'm aware of on the jacket (inside or out). I suppose you could use a soft cloth towel if you thought you got carried away.

The spray comes out in very fine mist and provides good overall coverage plus it dries fairly quickly.

Good advice. Just spray from a foot or so away and lightly mist the cover and liner. I'm a smoker (cough) and this stuff really does work! Just be sure to get the fabric spray and not the air freshener.

FredC
08-05-2008, 12:37 PM
Yes you don't want to per-se "clean" as much as you want to kill the Mildew. Febreze, Lysol or any other anti-bacterial is the trick.

onepixel
08-05-2008, 12:46 PM
Do not leave the jackets out in direct sunlight to long. They will curl and fade.

KlipschFan61
08-05-2008, 01:14 PM
Do not leave the jackets out in direct sunlight to long. They will curl and fade.

The same can be said about me but at least I don't always smell like mildew. :D

MaxSeven
08-05-2008, 01:42 PM
Everyone smoked in the 50's, 60's and 70's. The aroma adds to the whole vintage record listening experience! ;-)

I agree! Nothing wrong with the smell of cigarette smoke.

eb2jim
08-06-2008, 01:50 AM
I have had good luck with Clorox Disinfecting Clean up Wipes for mild mildew/musty jackets. You wipe them down in AND out, and it wipes out 90% of the stank. An afternoon in the sun ( I like the lego idea ) can do a lot too. Dry air and sun is mildew's enemy. I got a Zappa lp recently that had a bit more severe mildew, with some on the lp surface, and I used a Clorox wipe there, followed by some rinsing in warm tap water. Clean and no noise after. I have had some real classic old jazz lps with mildew damage to the jacket. A wet but not soaking pass with a dilluted bleach towel is about as much as you can do, but if it is heavy it eats the paper and the ink to some degree anyway. At that point you hope for the best.

audiodreamin
08-06-2008, 09:35 AM
I buy vinyl all the time at thrifts, garage sales, etc. I wipe them down with antbacterial wipes, and let them dry, and then pop in a garbage bag with some sort of spacing method. Toss in some fabric softener (dryer towels). The more you use the better they smell, and you can even put them inside each album, and between each album considering they're cheap, and you get so many per box. While treating the album covers, I wash the vinyl. Buying new sleeves will definately help too. :thmbsp: