Cartridge cleaning

There is a lot of information in the forums reagarding record cleaning and preperation but, little about the art of cartride cleaning. In the past I always used the discwasher stylus cleaning solution and brush. Now I have a Lyra Helikon cartridge and the paper dust cover has made me afraid to use a liquid.
What are the accepted cartridge cleaning rituals among all you more experienced than I? Is the Zerodust cleaner a good product?
The Zerodust cleaner is an EXCELLENT cleaning product if you are afraid/skeptical in using a liquid based product.
Yes, this is a topic that has been debated a lot on A'gon! I'm sure the other experts will chime in shortly.

Meanwhile I have the Discwasher fluid & brush. I use the fluid very, very, very sparingly (for the fear of having the fluid run up the cantilever into the coils & magnet system). I have found that most of the time several gentle brushes with *only* the Discwasher brush gets the stylus clean. I shine a flashlight on the stylus & observe if I can see light thru the stylus. If affirmative, the stylus is clean. If not, I use a stingy drop of Discwasher fluid & repeat the cleaning process. With a bit of fluid I can get the stylus clean to my satisfaction.
I do not have personal experience w/ the Zerodust product but my friend uses it. I personally do not think that it scrubs the stylus clean enough. It seems to be good for in-between LP plays but not for getting off the black stuff that sticks to the stylus over several LP plays. Of course, JMHO. FWIW. YMMV.
I've had the Helikon and now a Lyra Argo. Jonathan Carr of ScanTech who designed the cartridge and the distributor, Immedia, both recommend the Lyra SPT liquid cleaner and NOT the Zerodust.

I've used the Lyra SPT for two years and never a problem. Just take your time and use as directed.
I use demineralized water.
I use a Zerodust on my Orotofon Jubilee - works great. Ocassionally, I use an old (circa 1985) Signet SK305 electronic stylus cleaner, with a very, very small bit of Last stylus cleaner. That also works great.

Here's a tip (assuming your records are squeaky clean to begin with) - use a carbon fiber brush (like an Audioquest) on each LP side *both* before *and* after each play - - since following this procedure (for a couple of years now) my stylus stays much, much cleaner longer - - which means less use of any cleaning agent/mechanism applied directly to the stylus.
I agree with use of carbon fiber brush before each play, but have not used after each play by personal habit. I have been impressed how much the Zerodust collects from the stylus which I do clean before and after each play. Very simple compared to use of Last stylus cleaner with its brush. Bombaywalla's idea to see if light passes through the stylus seems quite clever, and I'll have to try it. Hope it doesn't force me back to wet cleaning again.
I use the striker on a match book.
Light passes through my stylus easily enough, although the color is more amber than clear. Does this seem right?

The ExtremePhono stylus cleaner works alot like the ZeroDust for a substantially lower price. I'm too terrified of breaking my cantilever to try Tom's match striker.
Hey Doug,

That's right! The light passing thru my stylus is also amber coloured rather than white.
The point I was trying to make is that when the stylus is clean, then it will appear translucent (with whatever colour it is supposed to be as each manuf. is different). However, when the stylus is dirty, no light will pass thru it & it should signal the user to clean the stylus.
Best would be to look @ the colour of a brand new cart. before mounting it just so that you have a colour ref. If not possible or too late, then as long as light passes thru it, you should be fine. FWIW.
I, too, use the extremephono stylus cleaner. Works great.
Thanks, Bombaywalla.

I bought my cartridge used from a gentleman here. It's good to know the stylus wasn't stained yellow by his choice of music! ;^)

I was thinking about the colour of the stylus after posting a reply to you.

The stylus is a diamond tip. We all know that the more colourless & clear it is, the more the price of it increases exponentially. Thus, it is highly unlikely that a clear, white diamond tip will be used for the job of tracking a LP groove. The most plentiful & natural occuring colour of diamond in nature is in the yellow/amber/beige family. So, I think that this colour will more than likely be used to make stylii for cartridges. I'm sure that if we polled others on this forum many others would report an amber coloured stylii. FWIW.