Can I use isopropyl alcohol to clean vinyl records?

Updated February 21, 2017

Isopropyl alcohol can serve as a cleaning agent for vinyl records in lieu of professional record-cleaning solutions. The person doing the cleaning, however, must take care to use an extremely concentrated, additive-free product.


To clean a vinyl record with isopropyl alcohol, set the record on either a clean towel or the turntable with the tonearm moved out of harm's way, Disco advises. The alcohol goes onto a brush specially designed for record cleaning, and the brush applies the alcohol to the record's surface evenly, following the grooves.


People who decide to use alcohol to clean their records must use only isopropyl alcohol products consisting of at least 90 per cent pure alcohol. Other types of alcohol products such as witch hazel or rubbing alcohol contain additional ingredients that can harm the record.


Audiophiles generally use specially formulated cleaning solutions such as Discwasher D4 on their records, according to Disco Music, either with a brush applicator or in conjunction with a record-cleaning device. Even these "expert" formulations, however, consist mostly of alcohol.

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