… water is very important, …
Water is important. I might do intermediate rinses with Tap Water, but the final rinse is going to be with Distilled Water.
Microfiber towels are not ideal as these can leave fine fibers so the records or push dirt even further into the grooves. a fine brush, rinse and air dry work best for me.
I’ve not found that to be true. And the fine Microfibers do a better job of reaching down into the grooves. I wash record in three stages, for each stage I have a separate flat fuzzy painter’s pad, and separate Microfiber towels. That way there is no cross contamination between stages.
In the first stage, I put a few drops of Dishwashing Liquid (minimum dye and perfume) into a bowl with some tepid water. Then use a natural fiber paint brush to put the soapy water on the record. Follow that up with a Scrub using the fuzzy painter’s pad. Again, a separate brush, pad, and towel for each stage.
At one stage, before Distilled Water, I spray with Iso-Alcohol, but you don’t want to leave the alcohol on the record long because it makes them brittle. But I don’t imagine a second or two will matter. The alcohol acts as a rise agent, and thins the water make sure you get a complete final rinse.
As an alternative to Alcohol, there are rise agent used in printing photographs that can be used. I think Photo-Flow might be one of them. Most Photography/Camera Stores have this, if not it can be ordered on line. Probably better than Alcohol, but more expensive and harder to find.
Some claim that the Rinse Agents used in an automatic dish washer can be used, but I’m not sure I would trust those. Of course, it would be diluted.
But – yes – quality of water does matter. I don’t have any problem coming across cheap Distilled Water, so that is what I use in the final rinse.
ALSO, you an buy commercial Record Label Protectors on-line, I think you can find them on Amazon and Ebay. The nice thing about the Label Protectors is that it gives you something solid to hang on to while you are handling and cleaning the records.
Just a few thoughts.