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May 11, 2015

How to Clean Your Vinyl Records

clean-your-records

FIVE EASY PIECES OF VINYL CLEANING ADVICE

T.H.E. SHOW NEWPORT BEACH MAY 29 – 31
The greatest HI-FI event of the year is upon us. T.H.E. Show Newport Beach has moved to the luxurious Hotel Irvine where you have the opportunity to audition hundreds of world-class audio and home theater manufacturers. And, if that’s not enough, there’s live entertainment every day and tons of new and high quality collectable vinyl records for sale. Without a doubt, T.H.E. Show is my favorite party of the year.

Get directions, etc., at theshownewport.com

WE GOT A LETTER!
Cleon Smile writes in and asks, “Is it OK to use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean my records?”

This is a great question. The answer is, it depends. If you have a wet style vacuum device such as a VPI, Nitty Gritty, Music Hall, or Clear Audio, etc., you might want to use a soft, clean toothbrush on the very first track where the record is dirtiest. Make sure you use plenty of cleaning fluid but, beware; never use a soft bristle toothbrush on dry records.

Basically, there are four effective ways to clean your records. Lets start with the simplest.

DRY BRUSH
Every time you play a side, you should use a dry brush to just dust off the record. The right brush can help reduce electrostatic noise as well. We use the Hunt EDA Mark 6 here at RCN World HQ. Why? We love it.

WET BATH
The most common type of wet bath is the Spin-Clean Record Washer, although, many just wash their records by hand — being careful not to get the label wet! Wet labels are forbidden at RCN World HQ. We use a Spin-Clean for really dirty records.

Pros: It’s an inexpensive way to get your records cleaner than by hand.

Cons: You have to set-up the wet bath and then put it away. Not really convenient for cleaning one record. It has no vacuum.

VACUUM CLEANERS
This is where your records start to get really clean and protected from dirt permanently scratching the groove. With vacuum machines you place a record on the platter, turn on the spin mode, squirt some magic record cleaning fluid on the record and, as it rotates, gently scrub, at right angles to the groove, with the manufacturer supplied brush. Let is soak for a minute then, switch to vacuum mode to suck up the dirty liquid. Wanna keep your records perfect forever? Clean every brand new record before you ever play it.

Pros: It really works. It sucks the dirt out of the groove, which, also, protects your cartridge.

Cons: Most models are pretty noisy.

ULTRASONIC RECORD CLEANING MACHINES
By far the best way to clean your records. That’s our experience here at RCN World HQ. With ultrasonic record cleaning you give the record a bath as ultrasonic sound waves use cavitation (big word) to loosen dirt deeper in the groove that otherwise might not get removed. The resulting sound is stunning. You will hear detail that you never knew was there.

Pros: Quiet and effective. You probably only have to use it once, tho really grimy records can improve with a second cleaning.

Cons: Kind of expensive (but worth it!).

NOT RECOMMENDED: GLASS CLEANER WITH A MICROFIBER CLOTH
Forget about it. I know and love lots of record stores that do this, but it’s sure to grind dirt deeper into the groove. It’s very important to clean these “clean looking, but really not” records on a VPI or Ultrasonic device. You’ll definitely notice a difference and it will extend the life of your vinyl.

Well, there you have it. These are the most effective ways to clean records that we recommend, here at RCN World HQ.
After cleaning your records, always put them in a new, antistatic inner sleeve. Have a supply on hand.

You can keep your vinyl sounding, and looking, like new for a very long time, with a little tender lovin’ care.






2 Comments


  1. Joe Yanulavich

    We still use Allsop Orbitrac and it seems to do a great job. We change the soft pad often and use Last Vestige “secret sauce” fluid (no harsh chemicals) and nary a complaint from any customer for years.


  2. With something as important to me as my records, I always fear cleaning them. I’m scared of scratching or damaging the record while cleaning it. I think I will eventually just wash them by hand, and I’ll make sure to be very careful, and avoid damaging the record. Thank you so much for the great advice and tips!



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