Mapleshade Steamer Kit.....anyone?


Anyone using the Steamer Kit from Mapleshade to clean records.
For $150.00 it looks like a steal compared to the megabucks vacuum models being sold today. Mapleshade contend that this product (and steam in general) does a far better job than any vacuum cleaning machine and countless brand of chemicals on the market.
If anyone uses this kit, let me know your impression. Good or bad. Thanks
smoffatt
When all else fails I steam....and then I fume....IMHO steaming is the clown of vinyl cleaning. Lol
Pradeep
We need to steam clean our vinyls like we need a bullet in the head.
Indeed, steam is good enough to steam your pants and that's about it.
My vinyl steaming process lasted 30 minutes and i threw the steamer to the curb in front of the house.

I must have been high on something when i started this thread.
I apologize profusely.......
I still think it adds to the process. I think using it alone is probably what's disappointed many. I've always seen steam as an adjunct to a cleaning regimen. As part of a multistep process including cleaning fluids, vacuum RCM and lab grade water rince it's given me results I'm still not ready to abandon. It's safe, effective and cheap. The FDA approves drugs that don't meet all these criteria all the time. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to steam but don't pile on the hate here. I really think it's not a case of the tool but how you use it that matters. My personal regimen is labor intensive but relatively fast. I see the uber expensive cleaning machines as high priced cop outs. I've seen the Audio Desk and the Oddysey working and to me they looked like laughable excuses not to do the real work at hand.
I still think the most important thing about record cleaning is to just do it. Multiple methods give positive results. The tide of popular opinion seems to have turned against steaming. Don't worry, there'll never be a consensus on vinyl cleaning. I'm just glad I've found a regimen that produces great results and doesn't cost as much as a high end table.
As the inventor of a number of patents on the use of high purity steam to clean semiconductor grade silicon substates, I can tell you steam cleaning can be extremely effective. However, there are numerous variables that impact its outcome:

1) The amount of condensate (or steam vapor condensed) is critical. The steam vapor does not clean, the condensed liquid water does. Because vinyl is a plastic insulator, it does not condense much vapor by itself. The heat of vaporization of water is very high. To condense more steam vapor, you need to heat sink that record, so place it on a massive cold surface like a stone tablet. Also, if you hold the record in the air while cleaning, you will heat the vinyl to the 100 C temp of condensing steam, not good for plastics or vinyl.

2) Steam cleaning works because pure steam is the purest form of water. It does not have all the garbage in tap water and the hardness minerals (or the NaCl in softened water). However, cheap steam cleaners have sloppy boilers which entrain droplets of the fluid being boiled. These droplets contain all the impurities of tap water and contaminate the steam being condensed.

3) If you don't have a good steam generator, you are better off using heated de-ionized water from the grocery store. It will be as pure as any cheap steam generator and its cheaper to get. Just don't use metal containers to heat it up. Good quality pyrex glass only if you want to minimize contamination of your DI water.

4) I think there is still the potential issue of pulling the "plasticizers" out of the vinyl with high purity steam. This may in fact damage the vinyl near it's surface by making it brittle. Plasticizers are essential to mantain flexibility of the vinyl surface.
That's the problem. You can't get the steam hot enough to clean the vinyl without causing more stuff to leach out. Then you're just pushing the stuff around. Works great for engine blocks, though.