Line Out: Music & Nightlife

RSS icon Comments on How To Clean An Old Album Cover


I heard this worked, but I have always been afraid that the fluid would be way too strong and take off the album art along with the sticker, so I never tried it.

Thanks for showing how it's done, Terry!

Posted by Megan Seling | April 9, 2008 11:59 AM

the great thing about the fluid is it ONLY takes of adhesive, so it won't discolor your art, or lift off the album cover art from its old cardsleeve.

it can sometimes also help to get things like crayon, old water-based pen ink and just plain grime off covers. this works on books too!

It also evaporates, so once you do this let it sit out for a bit, it will totally look amazing in 10 minutes!

Because it evaporates so fast it doesn't have time to "wrinkle" the paper sleeve either.

Posted by terry miller | April 9, 2008 12:05 PM

ah...use a COTTON ball!! and no razor blades!!!! soak the stickers, just give 'em time to get soft...the lighter fluid doesn't work that well on cellophane/scotch tape, like where aholes tape up any seem slipts tho'!!! and NEVER EVER try to peel those big white timing stickers off '70s/'80s DJ/promo copies. they won't come off and you'll tear the sleeve art! plus to some folks it's MORE important that the timing stickers are on the LP.

Posted by nipper | April 9, 2008 1:23 PM

Thanks Terry, nice!
Nipper, nothing to add?

Posted by Dougsf | April 9, 2008 1:26 PM

Isopropyl alcohol should also work. Use a firm, wood cotton swab instead of a paper towel or razor blade.

Posted by john | April 9, 2008 2:12 PM

Goo gone anyone?
It removes all stickies from everything. And all manner of stains and industrial adhesives.
But it might hurt the art work?

I dunno. It'd be interesting to try on a crappy sleeve to see.

Posted by Nay | April 9, 2008 2:28 PM

hey nips! why no razor blades? i been doin' this shit for a while and i hve yet to slice through an album cover.

cotton balls just seem to get messy, and there isn't a lot to hold onto, where paper towels you can just dab the tip in the fluid and you have a big scrunch of towel to hold onto. i have yet to ruin an album cover, but i might just be being slack, can you let me know.

would you just not use the paper towel on glossy covers?

Posted by terry miller | April 9, 2008 2:36 PM

Crap #3, I think we were posting at the same time. Nevermind!

Posted by Dougsf | April 9, 2008 3:37 PM

I peel the sticker off first IF it's DOABLE w/o out tearing the sleeve, the older the sticker the more stuck it's gonna be, so that determines if it gets the juice on it first or after the sticker comes off. then I drip the lighter fluid on the glue then scrub with a cotton ball, generally it then only takes a couple swipes. on a good day I can make the cotton ball last for 25 LPs. paper towels, for me, turn into an oily lighter fluid mess that STINKS up the house (there is more fiber area for the lighter fluid to soak into so it can get saturated), but i wait till I have 40 -50 LPs to clean so Ican do it in one HUGE swipe, so to speak. But really it's what works for you...I DO sometimes use a paper towel to scrub off sticker glue from CD cases. I've never needed to use a razor blade...with my luck I'd cut something I ought not to, just seems like an extra and maybe dangerous step.

BTW - alchohol might damage the some covers as some inks were/are alchohol solvent, like from '50s/'60s. And I've had lighter fluid damage a few sleeves...tho' out of thousands of sleeves I've cleaned I'd consider it no big loss.

Posted by nipper | April 9, 2008 4:19 PM

A solvent called Bestine is much better than lighter fluid for this kind of job. Lighter fluid is a witches brew of multiple aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, and can indeed damage ink on certain kinds of paper; maybe not so much album covers and sleeves, but definitely with cheaper inks on less stable substrates, like vintage movie posters (which I collect). Bestine is basically pure heptane, which is also less toxic and evaporates faster than lighter fluid.

And I've found that a small artist's paint brush is safer and works better than any kind of blade; it allows you to get the solvent right under the edge of the sticker, gradually lifting it off as you go, without damage. Again though, this is for more delicate work than album covers.

Posted by rk | April 9, 2008 7:55 PM

i'm prone to just using a razor blade and a lighter to melt the glue on the sticker. making sure to take the record out first, just pass the flame along the sticker a few times, then use the blade to peel it off. i've never lit a record on fire, and it does work most of the time. it only gets tricky with really OLD stickers that have been on the cover for years and years.

but lighter fluid words great too! i'm just normally too lazy.

and obviously don't use the fluid and the lighter at the same time. unless you want the awesome beach boys album you picked up at bop street to become a pile of dust.

Posted by jen | April 10, 2008 1:53 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).