Swap a Tip: Readers share cleaning hints and new ways to remove adhesive

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Thanks for the answers to my questions about factory flaws in 45s (Issue 737).

In my letter, I suggested having an article or a series taking us through a record plant to show and explain the making of vinyl records, step by step, also with the label attaching and the process of making picture disc. Is this going to be considered?

On the same page about the flaws, there is a part by a fellow collector about removing tape residue from LP covers. I’ve used a liquid called Goo Gone. It is made for this type of problems. It works great and leaves no sticky residue. For really tough stickers/tape, I first coat the sticker or tape using a cotton swab, then very gently work the liquid under as I peel the sticker back. It’s best to try Goo Gone on an area of the cover/label first to make sure it isn’t going to remove a lot of color. Goo Gone can be found in most department stores that carry school/office supplies. It looks bad when you first put it on, but it dries out great and leaves no stain or sticky stuff behind.

Always test first. Sometimes if the sticker (envelope address) is the old wet-and-stick type, use plain tap water and let it sit for a few minutes. The water works super on 45 labels, but not great on picture sleeves.

Through the years I’ve tried most of the various cleaning products to clean the vinyl playing area of records. I have found using 409 on a paper towel (not sprayed on the record) works the best and cheapest (for the amount of records I sell). After the 409, use another paper towel with plain water to wipe away the 409, then dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. I hope these tips will help.

— Doug, via e-mail

{Thanks for the suggestions, Doug. We love to get story ideas! To tide you over, here’s a fun link to a vintage video that explores the general record-making process, courtesy of Capitol Records: http://fromthecapitolvaults.com/main.htm}

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I was reading the Oct. 24 issue where a reader was giving tips on tape residue and baby powdering your sticky covers. Definitely one method I’ve never thought of! I was hoping he was going to mention how to actually remove the tape or stickers. I have a method that works almost every time: Use a hair dryer!

Set the hair dryer on the highest and hottest setting. Take the record out of the sleeve (to avoid any problems), and heat up that label, sticker or tape. Gently pry up an edge of the sticker and slowly remove it, using the dryer’s heat as much as possible. It heats up the glue and makes it much easier to take the darn sticker off. To remove the tackiness of the residue adhesive, I generally use tape. Dab the sticky end of the tape on the sticky sticker residue, and it definitely helps it come off. Just do it gently, so as not to remove the cover’s surface.

—Adam Laboz, via e-mail

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Many years ago. I came to own a record which meant a great deal to me. I had searched for it endlessly, and, finally, I tracked it down. Unfortunately, the label had a sticker attached, and stickers drive me nuts. I carefully peeled it without damaging the paper, but the label was left with unbelievably sticky residue, which I was unable to remove.

By the time I had worked on it for 20 minutes without success, I was out of ideas. In desperation, I elected to try automobile paste wax! Obviously I was willing to try anything.

This method removed every last bit of sticker adhesive. It was amazing, and I have used it often. The only change in the paper is a slight deepening in the gloss when the label is predominantly dark in color, such as RCA or Dot. Caution must be taken to use only pure (carnauba) wax. A combination cleaner/wax will remove the color.

— Tom Likai, Shoreline, Wash.

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