How to remove the "smell" from old LPs?

Ki Choi

Member Sponsor
May 13, 2010
754
8
170
Seattle WA area
#1
There's heavy mildew smell from some of the old LPs I had purchased recently. Having them air out in the garage but now it's stinking up the whole space...

Would Fabreze work without damaging the LP jackets? Guess I could try on one of the disposable LPs...but thought to ask the experts first. ;)
 

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,807
1,295
370
Manila, Philippines
#2
I'd like to know if there is a remedy too, as a bunch of Weavers LPs I got as a lot came in a few years ago with that smell and up to now it still smells that way. There is another record which smells like a chain smoker's exhaust chamber. :D
 

treitz3

Super Moderator
Dec 25, 2011
4,803
29
210
The tube lair in beautiful Rock Hill, SC
#3
Good morning, Ki Choi.

Hmmm, that's a good one. I can't speak for the Febreeze, as I do not know the chemical composition of it and I would be leery of introducing anything unknown to an LP or it's cover. One thing you may want to try is to lay out activated charcoal [the kind commonly used in fish tanks] on a large but flat pan. Then place the LP cover on top. Preferably with something placed in the pan, or cookie sheet, to prevent any direct contact. Lay on one side of the cover for about 12 hours, then flip it. The same for LP's, insuring whatever supports the LP will not damage any grooves or the label. The activated charcoal should remove most of the smell. Perhaps a light steam cleaning of the LP would work as well. Just be sure to keep the steam away from the label.

Tom
 
Jul 10, 2010
54
0
6
N.E. Ohio
#5
Mold & mildew are organic compounds. Wipe the record jackets down with a dampened cloth using a very mild chlorine bleach/water solution. Wash the records & store them separately for now. Place the empty record jackets in a closet or trunk for a period of time, at least two weeks time with cedar chips, a couple opened boxes of carpet freshener powder, or a few glycol based automotive air fresheners (the gel kind). If you can spare a closet, you can buy activated carbon furnace filters/fabric & attach it to the back of a box fan & set on low. It works best when the record jackets are spread out like drying beef jerky. Humidity has to be kept low. Depending on how bad the smell is will depend on how long it will take. It works though, I've tried lots of things including stuff to get rid of pet smells. Another thing that helps is exposing the jackets to UV light. You could let the jackets sit outside in the sun for a bit or make an appointment at the tanning salon :).

Negative ion generators are expensive & harmful to health. Which is why they are no longer used in hospitals, nursing homes & pet stores.
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,223
7
315
New York City
#7
Jul 10, 2010
54
0
6
N.E. Ohio
#9
Well..... the thing with UV light is that it is commonly used in AC/furnace filtration & water filtration to kill mold/bacteria. The best way to rid the smell is to treat it. Since we are talking about record jackets the use of solvents would kill such bacteria, but at the same time ruin the record jackets & labels. An hour or two in the sun, even on a cloudy day, would be worth it.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
8,468
2,018
450
#10
generally this smell will go away to a large degree if you (1) clean the Lps and replace the inner liner, and (2) place each Lp cover inside a clear plastic sleeve.

Ki, you have been in my room quite a few times. i probably have 1000+ older Lps in my listening room (and another 6000-7000 upstairs), but almost all of them have had the above process. you don't smell that 'old Lp' smell in my room. my room has HVAC so it never has any humidity or extreme temperature ranges either.

i think that smell is mostly from Lps which have been in garages or other unheated rooms where they get hot and cold and so get a bit musty.

i would agree it's a mistake to use any sort of liquid on an Lp jacket. maybe a slightly damp cloth to wipe off dirt. you can always get the plastic sleeves that seal too if you are really concerned. any soap or spray will have it's own smell eventually.
 

Ki Choi

Member Sponsor
May 13, 2010
754
8
170
Seattle WA area
#12
thanks guys for your good advice and not so good jab at my "cash crop." ;)

The key will be to sort out the keeper LPs and clean the black disc, try to give a quick wipe without damaging the cover. I will also let it bathe in the sun (may be next year - since we are skipping summer in Seattle this year). And follow Mike's recommend plastic covers for the outer jackets.
 

Ki Choi

Member Sponsor
May 13, 2010
754
8
170
Seattle WA area
#14
Copy the LP's to 1/2-inch tape, and throw them away - in my direction :D
Gary:

The Nottingham Dais with 12" Anna arm and the Denon DL-A100 setup properly tuned (by thanks to John Brooks) are making beautiful music. I don't think I sat down for a critical listen from the tunes played through black disc since 1982...It is surprising for me to say... but I have not turned on the music server, fed the silver discs into the transport, nor threaded a tape all this week!

The DL-A100 is special and may qualify for the biggest-bang-for-the-buck cartridge award, IMHO.

As for throwing the smelly LPs away in your direction, it can be arranged depends on what comes back. ;)
 

Mosin

[Industry Expert]
Mar 11, 2012
891
1
0
#15
There is a product that will absolutely work. It is called X-O Odor Neutralizer, and you can get it online.
http://stores.xodirect.com/StoreFront.bok

First, mix it 50-50 with water. Then, mist the inside of the cover with the spray, and allow it to dry while you clean the record as you normally do. Replace the sleeve with a new one, and you are finished. Really bad cases may require a second treatment. By the way, the stuff smells horrible until it dries. Then, it really is neutral.

Edit: If you don't use the concentrate, you won't need to mix it with water.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
6
0
#16
I have found the easiest way to remove "the smell" from old LPs that were stored in someone's damp basement is to drop them off at the local Goodwill store where they will fit right in with the rest of the smells. Most of these "gifts" that come out of someone's damp basement led a rough life before they were dispatched to the dungeon to become a mold magnet.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,063
177
280
Metro DC
#17
Arid air arid sunshine kills fungus. So does Lysol spray. Hanging them in a humid dark garage can actually promote growth. Dont forget to treat the label.
Per uaual test any fluid on a replaceble record you dont care about.
You may want to clean records on vpi machine and use rice paper sleeves.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high-end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing