I covered this topic about 10 years ago, offering a recipe for fluid to clean vinyl LPs. I still use that recipe in my Nitty Gritty; here’s a summary and a few more tips.
It has 3 ingredients, one of which is optional:
- Distilled Water
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Wetting Agent (optional)
Most wetting agents are soaps which contain fragrances and other non-essential ingredients that you don’t want polluting your record cleaning fluid. I’ve stopped using the wetting agent and it still works just fine. If you use a wetting agent, all it takes is a couple of drops for a small batch.
Alcohol is a solvent that may degrade the seals of record cleaning machines. To avoid damaging the machine, keep the alcohol below 20%. That seems to be a conservatively safe level, and it doesn’t take much alcohol to do the job so adding more won’t necessarily get records any cleaner.
Two kinds of isopropyl alcohol are commonly available: 70% and 91%.
- Recommended: Conservative formula (< 20% alcohol)
- With 70%: 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water = 17.5% alcohol
- With 91%: 1 part alcohol to 4 parts water = 18.2% alcohol
- Aggressive formula (< 25% alcohol)
- With 70%: 1 part alcohol to 2 parts water = 23.3% alcohol
- With 91%: 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water = 22.8% alcohol
As for cost (as of Jan 2018):
You can buy 91% isopropyl for about $3.50 per quart, and distilled water for about $1 per gallon. That makes 1.25 gallons of fluid for about $5. Nitty Gritty charges about $80 for 1 gallon of their solution, which is for all practical purposes the same thing.