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Old 09-13-2014, 06:15 AM
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pioneercollector pioneercollector is offline
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OK, So you haven't got 1000 pounds for a record cleaning machine....

I have quite a large collection of vinyl, mostly gathered from various sources (Charity shops, Car Boot sales, Ebay or just given to me), and i tend to clean them before playing...

I do not have a record cleaning machine, they seem to be quite expensive...

What do you do to clean your vinyl without a machine?

I tend to use a damp cloth with a mixture of diluted washing up liquid and a squirt of isopropyl alcohol, and rub with the grooves, then rinse of well, and then dry with a micro fibre cloth...

Is this process OK for the vinyl? and the question goes out to any vinyl officianados out there...... Or is there a better way to clean your vinyl with out a lot of faff and expensive equipment...

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:05 AM
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Parnelly Parnelly is offline
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Got my spinclean for 80 bones. Thing works great, easy to use, and keeps the vinyl nice and clean. That said....there is nothing wrong with the old fashioned way.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:13 AM
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Another vote for the Spinclean.
Used a Discwasher brush before that.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:55 AM
spacedust spacedust is offline
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Originally Posted by pioneercollector View Post
I have quite a large collection of vinyl, mostly gathered from various sources (Charity shops, Car Boot sales, Ebay or just given to me), and i tend to clean them before playing...

I do not have a record cleaning machine, they seem to be quite expensive...

What do you do to clean your vinyl without a machine?

I tend to use a damp cloth with a mixture of diluted washing up liquid and a squirt of isopropyl alcohol, and rub with the grooves, then rinse of well, and then dry with a micro fibre cloth...

Is this process OK for the vinyl? and the question goes out to any vinyl officianados out there...... Or is there a better way to clean your vinyl with out a lot of faff and expensive equipment...

Disc doctor's miracle record cleaning system is the best I've used and works really well. The Brushes and enough fluid to clean 250 or so records would cost about $100 and work better than a spin clean. There is a formula to homebrew your own record cleaning formula, I think it's distilled water, 99% pure isopropyl and Photo flow, I don't remember the exact mixture but i know you only use a couple drops of Photo flow. My brother has used it for years with his VPI record cleaning machine and likes it a lot. The disc doctor's system brushes have replaceable pads for the brushes when they wear out. A vaccum cleaner is nice, I have a cheap, basic nitty gritty that i use to suck of all matter on the record after rinsing( it also dries it), but it's not necessary with the disc doctor's system. There are plans for a DIY record vaccum on the internet as well. LAST power cleaner work well, but is expensive so I only use it on really bad records. I buy mostly used records and half of the sound very good after one cleaning, on some repeated cleanings yield acceptable results and on about 10% nothing you do will make them sound much better. I do weed out really badly scratched record when shopping as there isn't much you can do about scratches. Your current record cleaning solution may leave contaminants on the record mainly due to the soap you are using and the purity of the alcohol.
Old 09-13-2014, 09:06 AM
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50sMonoFan 50sMonoFan is offline
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RCMs give good cleanings to many records quickly. They do not however deliver the best possible cleaning. I regularly buy records from guys that RCM before shipping and often I can get them cleaner.

My method;


Don't believe this crap that you need a vacuum otherwise you grind the dirt back into the grooves. Follow my procedure and let the tap water run all residue off the surface. It's time consuming but imo worth every minute.
Old 09-13-2014, 01:52 PM
JFPturbo JFPturbo is offline
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I'm no expert but purchased some of the record cleaner fluid (£17), stole one of my wife's small hand spray bottles (£1) and got some lint free glasses cloths again £1 each which I regularly wash with water and washing up liquid to keep them clean.

When I purchase second hand records this combination seems able to extract a lot of dirt & dust from the records judging by the colour of the glasses cloths. Even what I thought were clean records (my purchased new but now decades old) sound much better when cleaned.

I think its the record cleaner fluid that is key but if I had a spare £80 (hungry cassette decks to feed) I would go for the Spinclean
Old 09-13-2014, 02:55 PM
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I have a piece of material very similar to what is on a Diskwasher D3 pad, so it has lots of fine hairs sticking out that would reach the bottom of the grooves in the record. I get the kitchen sink water running slowly at a little above body temperature and wet the record under the tap being careful not to get the center label to wet and I use a small amount of dish washing detergent on the pad and go around the record in the direction of the grooves and continue to rinse the areas that I just cleaned as I go so the soap does not dry at any time and after I am done I take a second pad with no soap and keeping the record under the tap of water I rinse it real good, turning the record and moving the pad in the direction of the grooves until it’s rinsed good. My thinking is as the pad & soap loosen particles & oils into suspension in the water flow that the continuing flow of water from the tap will just wash everything off the record and down the drain in the sink. Then it’s important to dry the record with something and not let it drip dry as calcium & lime are in suspension in the tap water and would stay on the record to some degree. I use toilet paper to dry the record as I read or heard somewhere that toilet paper has almost nothing hard in its makeup and doesn’t scratch stuff. I have found it to be true through tests.

This process is a pain in the butt, and I only do it one time to the used records I get from thrift or record stores. After it’s done I just clean the records normally, after I remove them from the sleeve and put them on the table I use a Diskwasher D4 brush and it’s good to go.

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Old 09-14-2014, 10:37 AM
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vince666 vince666 is offline
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Originally Posted by pioneercollector View Post
What do you do to clean your vinyl without a machine?
I wash them fully by hands... basicly, i use slightly warm tap water and dish soap on that typical sponge you use to wash your dishes... just i use it only on the not abrasive side (!)...

It seems quite easy and generic to say... but, really, there are many "details" which truly make the difference... the only drawback is that there is a lot of work for each record... then, if you wish to wash a lot of them in little time, then it may be wise to look for someone with a professional cleaning machine who offers his service to the public.

Point is that my hand-method isn't just that easy to explain in a different language than my native one... but i should try to make a sort of description with the help of some pics, sooner or later...


Old 09-14-2014, 11:13 AM
nobody nobody is offline
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Another vote for Disc Doctor. Takes a bit of elbow grease, but gets things as clean as a machine from records I've played that have been machine cleaned. I've taken records with a pretty thick coating of gunk and get 'em quiet as can be.
Old 09-14-2014, 12:50 PM
MarkC MarkC is offline
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Vince666's comments echo my thoughts about there being much nuiance to the process. I started to comment yesterday and it quickly turned into sounding overly complicated to explain. I'll try again.

Remember, the grooves are microscopic. Debris is just as easily rubbed into them as removed. Google and inspect images of grooves under a microsope if you haven't seen them before, it will give you a whole new appreciation for the need for cleanliness and the cleaning process.

Go over each side (lightly) at the sink in a circular motion under a flow of water using a micro-fiber cloth. Have the record almost vertical with the water stream flowing down from just under the label and exiting off the bottom edge. Keep the cloth's point of contact in the area of the flowing water so that particulate debris is quickly carried away. So this step for particulates. Next step for pollutants and oils.

Use CLEAN water in a spray bottle. For my salt water corals I have a small system that makes deionized reverse osmosis filtered water, I have found that this works very well. Aquarium stores also sell it by the gallon (cheap), take your own jug. This is the cleanest water you will find.

Add a surfactant like Kodak Photo Flo, 100-200:1 ratio to the spray bottle.
Reduces surface tension, help water get into microscopic grooves.
Creates a situation where particulates repel away from the vinyl.
Enhances drying.

Also add a bit of at least 91% alcohol to the spray bottle along with the deionized reverse osmosis filtered water and the photo flo. To my way of thinking the alcohol will help cut oils and the like from the record surface. There may be a better ingredient?

Use the spray bottle concoction to spray and gently wipe the record in a circular fashion with a different clean micro-fiber cloth from the ones used at the sink. Turn the cloth often. I hold the record horizontally with one hand against the far edge of the record and the near edge against my chest. Other hand is for spraying and lightly wiping. Flip record and repeat for other side. This step is mainly for breaking down oils and pollutants and wiping them away
Rinse (don't wipe) under sink flow.

Then repeat the gentle circular wiping using spray bottle and a different micro-fiber cloth dedicated to this step. Just one light moistening per side. At this point you should not be doing anything much greater than gliding the cloth across the surface just under it's own weight, not really rubbing.

Now you have a very clean unharmed record that due to the surfactant and alcohol in the spray bottle water it will dry quickly leaving no residue.
The record should be almost completely dry now. If not add another drying wipe with a more dry micro cloth.

After such a detailed cleaning I drop the record into a new clean inside sleeve and lean vertically against a wall with the opening to one side so any remaining moisture will evaporate out the side while somewhat minimising what dust might settle inside.
A few minutes later verify dryness and put in album jacket.

Use separate micro-fiber clothes for cleaning and drying. So a total of three micro-fiber cloths. If I were doing many in a row I would change out these three as often as I could. I'm anal enough that I usually have a dozen freshly washed (light amount of liquid soap, no powder) and held in food bags to keep dust off of them. Remember that when drying you are not trying to polish the vinyl. Drying cloth should be almost just the weight of the cloth skimming across the vinyl.

Addendum: Now that this is complete it's obvious that I failed in the keep it simple sounding department.

Have Fun

If you ever decide on a DIY cleaner project I highly recommend adapting a 3 liter ultrasonic cleaner, wow what a difference. Especially good if you bring home a lot of really dirty records from the thrifts. Cost about $200.

Last edited by MarkC; 09-14-2014 at 12:52 PM.
Old 09-14-2014, 01:13 PM
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Thumbs up

The Disk Doctor hand brushing system has been highly recommended by some of the grand poo-baz? of the record collecting world and has been verified by many users.
markcearly's regimen goes to show you just how dedicated record collectors/listeners can be as his is a time consuming and I would guess tedious task. Mine is not so detailed or time consuming as I hand clean and use a vacuum system as a follow up. I'm extremely lazy! I believe that the cleaning solution used it the real key to satisfactory results. Mine's a home brew.
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Old 09-14-2014, 07:04 PM
MarkC MarkC is offline
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Tedious yes but really only takes about 3 minutes per record. This type of cleaning is only done once in a great while, as a good starting point.

I have found that if one keeps the platter clean, uses a dust cover while playing and doesn't leave records on the turntable or sitting out that they remain very clean. Not even needing pre-play brushing with something like a discwasher. I have verified these results by monitoring accumulation of debris (or lack there of) on the stylus after repeated plays of various records over time.

I think a very important difference in these two methods is one does an initial wipe while rinsing so that particulate debris is carried away instead of being ground along the groove by the brush with no real time rinsing taking place. That is when permanent damage is done, vacuuming at the end does not repair this damage.

Additionally the OP mentioned cost...as far as I can tell the disk doctor system will cost about $80 for a pint of fluid and two brushes.

Random thoughts.
A discwasher brush used in the first wipe while rinsing step may get into the grooves better than microfiber.

I wonder if a bit of anti stat liquid mixed into the spray potion would help repel dust?

Good reading and photos to get a good idea of just how small and delicate these grooves really are. I haven't really looked into the whole carbon fiber brush thing which is what the article is really about.


I have moved on to ultrasonic cleaning. I like the idea that I'm not touching the inside of the grooves with anything but ultrasonic scrubbing bubbles. Very thorough cleaning without the chance of grinding debris into the grooves. And again, if the records are handled properly the cleaning is not done very often.
Old 09-15-2014, 05:11 PM
trott3r trott3r is offline
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If you cant find a spinclean there is the disco knosti anitstat which is a similiar washing mechanism
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:20 PM
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I Clean my records with this one . works fine


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Old 09-15-2014, 05:21 PM
trott3r trott3r is offline
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Did i mention they last a long time?
Tape=technics rs-b465> Sony 611> Sony WMDC6

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Old 09-15-2014, 06:56 PM
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I've become a fan of the D-4 solution in the past few years and have found some outstanding bargains available online, such as three bottles for around $11 which includes shipping so it's pretty cost effective. A while back I saw a clerk at the used record store clean some records with one of the machines that has a vacuum. (I don't know which one) Except for the vacuum, she essentially did what I do when cleaning a record; get the record wet with a solution, let it spin under a brush for a few revolutions, and then vacuum off the liquid. I figured the difference between what I do and the machine is the vacuum which removes the solution so the dirt does not get re-deposited. So I bought the Audio-Techinca kit because I liked the brush, and I already had an old Discwasher brush I picked up at a thrift store. I use the Audio Technica brush for cleaning and the Discwasher brush for picking up the solution and from what I have been able to discern, it sounds as good as the records that were cleaned with the machine. Of course if a record has a lot of heavy dirt and dust I wash it with dishwashing soap and a sponge first but that's just to remove the really heavy stuff. After cleaning a dozen or so records I wash the brushes with warm water and a drop of dishwashing soap on a soft tooth brush, blot them dry on paper towels, and let them sit for a few minutes under a hair dryer set on low. It takes quite a bit of brushing and rinsing to make sure all of the soap is out of the brushes but the few extra minutes I spend assures me of a clean brush that won't deposit any old soap onto the records. I think the key to record cleaning is effectively removing the dirty solution and this method works for me.

Last edited by Flick; 09-15-2014 at 07:10 PM.
Old 09-16-2014, 12:54 AM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is offline
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Originally Posted by pioneercollector View Post
OK, So you haven't got 1000 pounds for a record cleaning machine....
If this is a hobby, and money is a problem, then maybe that one has to change his hobby
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Old 09-16-2014, 01:28 PM
vinylman vinylman is offline
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Originally Posted by stefan1973 View Post
I Clean my records with this one . works fine

I got one of those several years ago, but quickly got rid of the foul-smelling fluid. I use MoFi's 'One' fluid, followed by a rinse with their, erm, 'Rinse' fluid. Damned near perfect.
Old 09-16-2014, 01:53 PM
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An Audio Technica brush and Audio Technica cleaning solution. Plenty of vendors worldwide on the internet. Best brush, no substitutes. I got a vintage audiophile series one on Ebay but the newer ones are designed the same. Uses velvet and is 100% safe. Fluid is 100% safe too.

Maybe I'm skeptical but I'm not so sure I trust those machines.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:44 AM
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I will be building something along these lines when I get round to it, probably cost you more like £30/$50 at most.

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