Do Tape head cleaner or rubber conditioner go bad?


Well-known member
Dawn is a great flea bath, as well as excellent at getting toxic oil off of animals in oil spills.
Besides, I don't need soft hands.


New member
Dishwasher? ?? Whats that?? Way out of my tech league. I still was dishes by hand. :)

By mild I mean a drop or two of Dawn in a small cup of warm water. dip in with a lint free cloth and clean away. Wipe down with some warm water and dry it really well.
Bingo, clean roller. :D

No soap on heads, just rubber

Well, you see, over here, that brand doesn't exist. And one of the popular brands (Dreft) over here changed it's formula, making it far less effective for a number of things, like chicken fat left over after making chicken stock.

Dreft was also fairly good at removing old liquified rubber from belts. That's gone too. I do have an industrial soap that's good at that. But no brand or formula, as it is made for industrial dishwashers. I got it years ago. The company I got it from no longer exists. You really need to wear gloves handling it. I think there's some KOH in there.

And, yes, I prefer doing dishes manually too. It takes about the same time to stash them in the machine as to wash them.
[MENTION=94267]miroslav[/MENTION]: you should go into politics...


Well-known member
And, yes, I prefer doing dishes manually too. It takes about the same time to stash them in the machine as to wash them.

Dishwashers are very effective. Not at washing dishes (which come out cleaner when done by hand)

But for giving you a place to stash your dirty dishes until you get around to washing them. ;)
So they make your kitchen 'look' cleaner because the dishes aren't piling up in the sink. :D

Besides, ya gotta rinse em off first using more water.
You assumption that additives which are very small amounts of other chemicals is one that has no bearing on the cleaning of tape heads or any other part of the deck. I have gotten Denatured alcohol on plastic over the years and not once has it ever fogged a plastic lens to any amount.
If I have been using Denatured for now 45 years, don't you think I would see some degrading of parts from using it? The industry standard is not Iso alcohol and most service manuals that suggest that are translations from people that have no idea what the stuff is or how well it works.
I have tested many pinch rollers with both products and Iso alcohol is nothing but a pain to clean the rollers off with- it does nothing to oxide deposits. The Denatured works well which is why I keep using it. The Naphtha is used for reconditioning as it requires the oxide be cleaned off with denatured first then it does it's job. It works differently from the Teac RC-1 solution because Naphtha by itself is just that while the RC-1 also had mineral spirits in it which does not say what those are. So those may be the cleaning agent in the RC-1 that worked the best.
Rawn is not giving out the formula and the stuff was made in Wisconsin for Teac.

Manufactures are not always correct in the manuals as they also used that grease in Pinch Roller linkages that have failed all these years- Lubriplate 105 has never failed me in all my servicing. Otari told us the capstan motor never needs oil. This is true of the frozen up motor that then need oil.
They want to sell you a new motor is what they are saying. The best practice is to use the synthetic oil for these motors then they will last a long time more than what was originally put in there.
Many example of directions are wrong or a waste of time. Some direction are there to sell you their products- this is what demagnetization is all about. I measured the residual flux after and before a demag process and it was exactly the same. They are leadng you by the nose to buy their junk.


Cosmic Cowboy
You do what you think is best...
I always love when someone claims manuals are all wrong and that manufacturers don't know what they are talking about. :D

I don't use any kind of solvents on my pinch rollers...just water, and the minute amounts of tape oxide deposits comes off very easily, so not sure what problems you have...but then, I use good tape to start. I'm not understanding why some people have that much oxide deposits that they need to use more involved cleaning methods. Either they are using crap/old/deteriorating tape...or they clean their rollers once a year after heavy use, and wonder why it's so hard to get it off.

AFA all the other chems that are mixed in with some alcohol do what you think is best, but I would have to be stupid to ignore their presence and potential harm, just so I could use denatured alcohol...???...when I can use 99.9% pure Iso, and it does a *perfect* clean up job, without leaving any trace amounts of other potentially bad chems on my tape decks and other electronics.

One cigarette a day is probably not going to ever kill you...but does that make them safe and OK to smoke them?
That's kinda your logic.

AFA demags...I can't remember the last time I demagnetized my heads. I just don't bother because I see no difference.


New member
I don't use any kind of solvents on my pinch rollers...just water, and the minute amounts of tape oxide deposits comes off very easily, so not sure what problems you have...but then, I use good tape to start. I'm not understanding why some people have that much oxide deposits that they need to use more involved cleaning methods. Either they are using crap/old/deteriorating tape...or they clean their rollers once a year after heavy use, and wonder why it's so hard to get it off.

A Google search brought me here and since its likely found by others the same way the thread is still relevant. Lots of contention on the TEAC RC-1 Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner. Nothing wrong with empirical opinions, it helps guide others, so to balance out these experiences I'm adding my own.

The TEAC Rubber Cleaner/Condition, sometimes labelled as RC-1 sometimes not, came originally in green and later a clear version. Not sure if the chemical content was the same or not, but I've used it on many different pinch rollers, belts, and even butyl speaker surrounds since 1979. Never, not once had any application resulted in goo. Perhaps the goo was the result of deterioration that was inevitable and beyond the scope of conditioning, but I can assure the breakdown was nothing like I've ever heard of in my experiences. I have other friends in the field that also used it and never a negative experience. On the contrary, many are frustrated its no longer available. I have enough to last the rest of my days and am glad not to run out because no other product is as effective in MY experience. Those that have found a different preferred method, that's absolutely wonderful, but anyone looking for advice needs to understand that the product is not in any way harmful to the rubber its designed to be used on in tape decks. The original "green" formula will likely turn to a muddy greenish brown color over the years but it still smells the same and gives the same protection it always had, at least if stored reasonably well (cool, dry, out of the sun environment). I use 91% isopropyl alcohol on tape heads as well as as an initial cleaning of pinch rollers, then follow with the TEAC "RC-1" on said pinch rollers. I did this every other month routinely and I have pinch rollers that are over 40 years old and not only perform great, but measure (physically as well as speed variation and wow/flutter tested) perfectly. Heads are cleaned and demagnetized on each side of the tape when recording. Why clean so much? Sure I used premium cassettes and reel tape, but it's part of a regime I've found to be a best practice. Recording studios do this much more often than that so if your recording is important, your entire tape path is critical. It really doesn't need to be defended, but each individual is free to decide what's sufficient for them and what's excessive. Regarding substitutes, I have not used Caig's rubber cleaner/conditioner that's currently available, but when I looked it up on Parts Express just to get an idea of some feedback, the reviews were not favorable regarding its lasting effect of pliability of the rubber, stating the treatment dried out within days versus the longer lasting affect of RC-1. Most people I've read about on forums lament over the loss of TEAC's RC-1 as they try to find an equivalent. If Dawn dishwashing liquid works well, then there's a suggestion that might be worth considering for some.

As an aside, if anyone would be inclined to look up LAST record cleaning products you'd find the same kind of contentious exchange. Some love it and others say they wouldn't go anywhere near it, that it ruins records and have proof. I've used LAST products, including the *gasp* Preservative, and after over 40 years of demonstrable proof to the contrary, those treated LPs sound absolutely fabulous. No harm, great fidelity. If indeed that product ruined LPs it wouldn't be selective about it. Why would thousands of LPs thrive while some did not? Bad karma maybe? Perhaps, as you can't even apply it in such a way to "ruin" an LP; its a fool-proof application. The point being, whether its the TEAC products, LAST, or another product that wins more accolades than dissonance, remember that it can't be good for some people and bad for others. They just don't have a need to pick on some people and reward others. The only takeaway from this kind of debate a person can count on is being able to subtract the difference between excellent experiences from those that can articulate their claims and plain old out of hand dismissals, then make their own call. I just posted this to stand up for the TEAC products in question here because they are specialty products that work perfectly fine for the task they're designed to do. Then again I didn't do anything to piss them off, so maybe I was just one of the rewarded ones ;-)
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Don't defend manufactures as all they are there is to make money and when they try and do someting wrong they get away with it for a time but when you have older equipment then you find out what they know. So if all these Japanese companies are so God like then why do they very often have gummed up pinch roller linkages across the brands. Do you think they hire chemists to determine if they should use a chemical or not- I would say not. If Teac wold have had to make a formula to recondition rubber why did they have it made by Rawn in WI when a cheaper provider would have been found elsewhere. RC-1 and 2 are basically Naphtha and coloring and some Mineral spirits. The coloring is photoreactive which is why a nice colored blue bottle will turn dark green if left in sun light.
I can give you many example of how a manufacture has done things wrong. That is why they had factory Service center for all these corerections. I worked at several with Teac and Sony and I saw what they were doing. You can be led by the nose and also if you use 2" formats allthe time that is nothing like the regular consumer uses. Why is cleaning of an aggressive nature needed? Because a lot of people do not clean their pinch rollers or capstan shafts for years at a time. some not ever. This is what I have to deal with. Iso alcohol is used to clean residue off boards but that is it's only purpose at my shop. So far Denature alcohol over 47 years has caused no problems of any kind on tape decks.

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Oddly, the manufacturers I deal with do range from terrible, but others are simply excellent. Indeed - some are different in other countries. Yamaha in the UK was so unhelpful to me that I never bought anything again from them, yet Yamaha Germany fell over themselves to help me and when the UK version didn't help, they did. Yamaha UK then sent me a nice notes saying that they would have nothing to do with the warranty or spares - ever. I've just got rid of that huge analogue mixer after a long service life with zero problems.

With old chemicals it takes a wiser brain than mind to give firm answers on this one, because they either lose veracity, or get stronger, or morph into adulterated new mixes that can be nasty - alcohol tends to evaporate the volatile components, and UV can do strange things. Since everything has to be labelled now - it's easier to determine active ingredients.