Cleaning vinyl - am I using this thing right???

I have owned a VPI 16.5 for a couple of years, but only in the past two months have I been (re)immersed in vinyl. Now I'm wondering just how to get rid of all that junk in the grooves. I spin each side in the 16.5 with a few drops of RR Vinyl Wash, then use the VPI brush to spread the drops out and hopefully disloge the junk. Then I run two revolutions with the vaccuum on and repeat for the other side.

The problem is that there are STILL pretty fair ticks and pops, and sometimes I can actually see the junk. It just doesn't get the junk out (and neither does the Hunt fibre brush). I *thought* I was using the VPI per directions - is there some other secret handshake necessary to get these things cleaner?
There are some other solutions--deeper cleaning ones that are good to get the junk from garage sales out. I've made my own solution, and for deep cleaning you want a good mold releasing agent. Many albums that have been in storage in damp areas have mold--which is not easy to get off and your Hunt brush won't help here--it's really designed only for the light dust on top. Disc Doctor makes a deep cleaner. Others use soap and warm water, but the mold needs scrubbing and an anti-mold agent.
I use the VPI 16.5, but only after cleaning with the Disc Doctor fluid and brushes. I really use the VPI just to dry the records. The Disc Doctor brushes and fluid give a much deeper and better cleaning.
For records with a lot of dirt or mildew, I picked up, as per Fremer's recommendation, a Eureka Hot Shot Enviro Steamer. It really works well to loosen up dirt and wash the record (use distilled water) and there is no danger to the vinyl. You can pick one up for $89 new, or $49 factory reburbished (which I bought -- it's like new), delivered, from:
After the steamer, I go through the whole Disc Doctor and VPI routine, as well. can also use vpi for brushing as well while it rotates the record. it does have a powerful rotating motor that can be somewhat abused with limited stringth of brush or sponge pressure.
I have used Torumat fluid and the VPI brush for years, on thousands of records, with my 16.5 with few problems. Use enough fluid to really get the record covered and scrub with the brush for 4-5 revolutions. Then use the vacuum tube for as many revolutions as it takes to completely dry the record. Two revolutions isn't enough, use a high intensity florescent light and you'll be able to see when the record is dry. If you get gunk on your stylus you didn't dry it enough, if you get a bunch of static you dryed it to much. Use lots of light!

The angle of the suction tube is important, test it on a few disposable records to determine the correct position. Clean the tube often and replace it when it begins to show signs of loss of effectiveness.
I've had very good results using my VPI 16.5 and distilled water. I gave up mixing in a small % of alcohol.

The VPI has a very high torque motor and as previously mentioned you can apply quite a bit of downward pressure.
You can also really scrub the record (you don't just have to go round and round). Be sure to use plenty of fluid, that's the real advantage to a vacuum system.

However, when all is said and done, you aren't going to be able to remove all ticks and pops. These are seldom caused by dirt lodged into the grooves.
There have been numerous posts on this subject and there seems to be as many methods for cleaning as there are posters! I began without a vacuum cleaner but now find my VPI 16.5 to be indispensable. I tried a host of products and have settled on a combination of stuff that works well for me. I used to go with an all-LAST routine but now use mostly Record Research products because a get a more “silent” result. I agree with Jim that the removal of every pop and click may never be achieved, but one can try!

FWIW, this is my routine for very dirty records from garage sales and Goodwill, not for albums needing a less thorough cleaning. First, I use a Groovemaster, a device that uses O-Rings to seal off the album labels and provide a good handle to keep fingers off the grooves. Then I head for the sink (I hear the screams already) and fill two meat loaf pans with about two inches of distilled water. In one I put just a couple drops of liquid Ivory soap. Then, while holding on with the Groovemaster, I use one of two flat painting pads with an attached handle that I bought at the hardware store (don’t recall the brand name but they are foam covered with very, very soft and fine fibers). If anyone is interested I will find out the name. These pads are almost the exact width of the grooves and I have SCRUBBED a blank side of an LP with one of these and there was not so much as the tiniest of scratches. I use this “just less than sudsy” one in the direction of the grooves with water/soap solution. Then using the other brush, rinse with plain distilled water. A soft lintless towel is used to pat dry. I f doing several, I will place them in a vinyl dish rack as I go. Off to the VPI, at this point. I will generally apply about 4 drops of RR Super Cleaner and apply with a Clearaudio carbon fiber brush (these are cheap and I think the VPI brush is too coarse), followed by a one-revolution vacuum. If I know it is a record I will play often, I will apply a bit of LAST Record Preservative. After about 30 seconds, I follow with a good dousing of RR Standard Cleaner followed by a two-revolution vacuum. I always swish the vacuum wand in distilled water between sides. If the mood hits, I sometimes apply Gruv-Glide at this point. I have been doing about 1 in 4 records with Gruv-Glide lately to test whether I can hear a difference consistently.

I know, long-winded and anal, but this works for me. Oh, and I use RR #9 Stylus cleaner and brush OFTEN, though not after EVERY record.
Blw, you have the right company (Record Research) but the wrong cleaner. To get the dirty ones clean you must begin with Deep Cleaner, then go with Vinyl wash.

I may have a sample of Deep Cleaner left from the last CES. If I spot you a bottle maybe you could test and write your results in a mini review?

I suggest the after cleaning with either of the RR fluids, you allow the LP six or seven revolutions of vacuum to get it completely dry. As Egrady said in his post, two revolutions are absolutely NOT enough.
Gee, my mistake, too, Blw, it is DEEP Cleaner, not SUPER cleaner, though it does do a super job. I have generally found two revolutions to be sufficient for drying im mopst cases sometimes a time or two more. Certainly wouldn't "blanket drop" that two is never enough. As Egrady notes, you'll likely get static if you spin too many times. Even the instructions with the VPI warns against this (at least mine did). Nothing a Zerostat won't lick, however. I have also been told that too many spins on an already dry record can do harm, as well.

I looked up in my instructions for my VPI 16.5 (maybe the 17 is different) and it says, "As you become familiar with your HW-16.5, always (in bold) use the shortest possible vacuum time. In many instances, two revolutions will be enough. Do not think that if two revolutions are good, then ten are better. This is not true. (previous three sentences underlined). Excessive vacuuming time can cause a buildup of static electricity which will then attract the very same kind of dirt you have just removed". Perhaps you long-term veterans know more from experience than the directions from VPI might indicate.

As to some here, I guess a person's posts can be as easy to ignore as an e-mail.
The quantity of fluid applied to a record could be a factor in differing opinions as to number of revolutions to "dry" vinyl.

I flood my records with RR fluid, then scrub both directions before vacuuming six revolutions.

I have used this method with my VPI 17F and arrived at this formula by trial and error. What works best for me may not apply to others.

I am more concerned with leaving dirt and mold release in a suspended (watery) state on my vinyl than risking static.
4yanx, can you direct us to a website that has info on the "groovemaster's" that you mention ? Sean
LOL... well, I'm glad I asked the question.

In my industry, there's an old saying... if it doesn't work, Read The [Fine] Manual - abbreviated RTFM. I've definitely RTFM'ed, and I interpreted the manual as "two revolutions is enough, don't overdo it." It's obvious from others' experience that two is often NOT enough.

I'll try the Deep Cleaner (sure I'll write a review!). The LPs I'm complaining of are used, often very lightly, but often very old; but sometimes they're not that good, although I generally buy only near-mint selections. I never dreamed that there might be another type of cleaner, since the VW works very well on *my* records. On the other hand, mine have been lovingly cared for over the course of 30 years, and there isn't any junk in them except maybe 30-y-o release compound.

Where does one buy a ZeroStat? I had one 20 years go, but it died or disappeared when the expensive gear left the house and the wife, kids and house payments came in. (Now that the kids are leaving, and I can afford the house payments, I am back in the audio hobby!) Anyway, I haven't seen one since about 1988, as far as I can remember.

I'll take the light thing under advisement. I still have to design the area of my dedicated concert hall/theatre for the equipment, so I have the opportunity to put in the right lighting.

Thanks for a LOT of useful information!
I think most of the mail order places carry the zerostat., and others...
...that technically does nothing to a record but still cost $60...
I use the Zerostat to what seems to be good effect. I live where dryness and static are a problem and removing an LP from the jacket will sometimes make the hairs on my arm jump to immediate attention. I find that using the Zerostat eliminates this effectively. The directions claim the introduction of positive ions when sqeezing the trigger and negative (cancelling) ions on the release of the trigger. Beyond me to interpret the technicalities, but it works for me. Squeeze and release have to be done S L O W L Y , though.

Sean, I called the device I use for protecting the labels a Groovemaster because this is what the guy I bought it from MANY years ago told me it was called. I always figured it was made my Stanton (it doesn't have a label) but have been unable to find any info that such a product is still available. It is basically two pieces of round wood with a knob on each end. One piece has a threaded stud while the other has an accepting nut countersunk into the wood. Each piece has an o-ring partially set into a round groove and are glued in place. One simply slides the stud through the spindle hole and tightens down the two pieces to effect a seal between the o-rings and the runout groove area. A friend of mine made his using mine as a pattern. In his case, he used two blocks of clear acrylic. Tapped one piece to hold the threaded stud and used a router and drill to drill a hole passing through the other and a countersink hole where he used epoxy to hold the accepting nut in place. Then he carefully used glee to affix his o-rings. He claims he has had to re-glue the o-rings a time or two but the device works well for him. Hope that helps.
I use the same regimen as "4yanx", and it always works very well for me. A VPI cleaning followed by Gruv-Glide treatment sounds the best. And I can definitely say I hear an improvement with the Gruv-Glide.

I have taken 2 of the same records and done direct A/B comparisons with and without Gruv-Glide. The record "with" the treatment has always had improvement.(fyi for 4yanx)

Hope this helps, Best Regards,
4yanx: Thanks for the info. It doesn't sound like something that would be to hard to make. I've got some ideas spinning in my head and will have to see where they go : )

Marakanetz: Are you saying that you don't think that the Zerostat does anything to a record ? Sean
Sean, yes.
anywha you would use liquid to clean records.
a professional cleaning liquid has an antistatic effect and nothing else i believe is needed on that belalf. so why zerostat?
No problem, Sean. I have also heard of folks using the turner/label cover from the Nitty Gritty machine to use when doing hand-washing. Maybe they can be purchased separately. On occasions, when I have to lay an LP flat on a soft towel in order to remove something really stubborn, I used the "female" end of my gizmo as a combination hold down/label protector. Yes, I agree, the prospect of making something yourself is rife with possibilities. Check with me first on applicable patents and licensing fees, though! :-)
Marakanetz: I agree that most cleaning fluids and even water will tend to neutralize static charges. However, those are only a temporary thing and the record may build up static depending on the sleeve that one is using, lack of humidity in the air, walking across synthetic carpet, etc... In these cases, a Zerostat or similar product may come in handy as i don't VPI / Nitty Gritty an LP each time it is played.

4yanx: I'm a "diy'er". I don't pay attention to patents or licensing fees : ) Sean
Marakanetz: I'm surprised that you say that the Zerostat has no effect. This one is, in my experience, trivially demonstrable. In fact, I remember doing this once for my distinctly non-technical mom. She asked me why I was "shooting" my records, so I stuck a wad of cat fur to a magazine using static electricity and then shot the paper with the Zerostat, returning the kitty fur to random distribution...
...instead of "shooting" you can use a drop of Last while on the turntable and spread it over the record surface. Last dries out with no residue whatsoever and takes off the statics even better than zerostat pistol.
I don't totally disagree that LAST may remove the static to a degree approaching the Zerostat. If cost is an issue, as it seems to be since the $60 price tag for the Zerostat was bandied (mine cost $50) a comparison can be made.

Assuming we are speaking of LAST All-Purpose Cleaner, we are talking $20.50 (without shipping or tax) for a 2 oz. bottle. Directions call for using 4 drops per LP to clean, and a bottle will clean about 100 LP's. That makes about 400 drops/bottle. Let's stipluate that one drop of LAST can indeed be spread effectively over an entire LP side (I dunno). The math works out to about 5 cents per drop/per LP side (geez, that is a scary thought). As such, after 1,200 LP sides, a Zerostat at $60 would become the better bargain. Add to this the fact that a Zerostat will likely last most folks a lifetime of listening and that it is easier to use than applying drop(s), I'd have to opt for the Zerostat even when based solely on the financial issue.
As you've just mentioned 4yanx I also have about 1200...1400 LPs in my collection and even barely I should use Last drop on them. I keep them all in either Nitty-Gritty polylined sleves or Discwasher. Once I make a liquid cleaning with VPI the static problem is out for the good three to four months and on some of the records upto half of year(usually light pressed ones). During the three... four months especially on record that I might freequently listen the neccessity to clean becomes more freequent issue than the neccessity to simply "shoot". In case if I pull out the clean vinyl but it has statics(probably it stayed more than 4 months unplayed) I'll drop Last and spread it with the Discwasher sponge arround the surface(usually enough only to use on one side). It figures that Last will last years while Zerostat... well who knows?
Damn! I only WISH that static stayed away from me and mine that long. Where I live, there is often static buildup BEFORE the record has played through! I've tried humidifiers, spraying the carpet with clothes softener, grounding the spindle sump on my TT, and various and sundry other approaches. Guess it is something I have to live with. Oh, I had an old Zerostat that lasted nigh on 20 years before I lost it in a move, so I know that they stand up well.
4yanx, y're right! I live in NY where the humidity is always on the high level and statics arn't the issue in my case,
but i still don't wear acrylic clothes giving preference to cotton wool and leather :^)
If static is your main issue, I can highly recommend Gruv-Glide. Nothing I've used (to include zero-stat, LAST, etc.) removes, prevents or neutralizes static as well as Gruv-Glide. We took various field effect meters & the like and measured it in the lab, on records and CD's and found it to render the lowest reading consistantly.

I now use Gruv-Glide on my computer screen, CD's, and my machining equipment. It outdoes Static Guard by a wide margin, and is still economical.
as a satisfied user of Zerostat I take exception to the statement that "it does nothing". These are great little gizmo's & I wouldn't even sell mine for twice what I paid for it >25 years ago; it still works wonders.
On removing static.
A simple carbon fiber brush has always done the trick for me. Put your clean record on the turntable, brush over the surface while touching your other hand to ground (important). Use the top of your preamp (or wherever your turntable ground goes) for a ground. This way you form a conducting path through your body. The carbon fiber brush is a good conductor and you'll be discharging the static build up while taking off surface dust. I've been doing this for over 20 years and never felt the need for a Zerostat. Typically I machine clean my records only once and carbon fiber brush before each play. Its easy and it works.

Anyone know where you can get the Tourmat stuff these days?

John Moschella
BLW: I used a device called the Groovmaster (they are sold on Ebay). It seals off the label portion (both sides @ once) of an LP so that it can be placed under running water, or completely submerged if you wish.

I now use running filtered/warm tap water instead of distilled (we just installed a better filter) for the first heavy rinse (also use a Water-Pik when I have the energy for my seal act) and afterwards follow up with cleaning solution and a brush (I make my own solution). The final rinse is done with water and plenty of it.

This works for me and I purchase tons of used vinyl.

The Groovmaster sells outright for $35 and a first rinse (using this device) followed by a run through your machine may give you the results that you desire.

I never brush an LP before it has had such a power rinse as I do not want to grind contaminants into the vinyl surface. I also use quite a bit of cleaning solution as my home brew is very inexpensive (probably go through a gallon every for every 40-50 LP's).

Once the LP's are clean they just get a carbon brush follow up (before play). Once an LP has been cleaned it goes into a new liner.
Dekay- A little more info on Groovmaster, please. Are they still being made and, if so, who carries it? I don't care to use eBay, so purchasing one there is not a good option.
I may have inadvertently caused confusion regarding the Groovemaster (Groovmaster). I posted earlier in this thread that I used a Groovemaster because that is what the guy I bought it from called it at the time. It is two pieces of wood with rubber o-rings that seal off the label area of the LP when using manual cleaning. It is at least 15 years old. It is similar but not the same animal to which Dekay speaks. A guy sells something on E-bay that he also calls Groovmaster and it uses the same principle. His is made of something that looks acrylic and appears strikingly like a homemade unit produced by a friend of mine. Go there; search for Groovmaster, and you’ll see the listing, most of the time. You can contact the guy directly and buy, or so I have been told, or just bid to win.

Yes, as 4Yanx mentions the Ebay vendor will sell the item direct (I checked this out with the seller/manufacturer recently and posted this info @ AA in the Vinyl Forum along with the contact info - do a search of Groovmaster). I was told that a direct sale would be $35 (his "buy it now price") and that a discount would apply to sales of 5 or more units (like for audio clubs).

By searching Ebay you can view some nice photos of the product.

Basically it just takes the worry out of agressive wet hand cleaning, making things go faster and I am getting better results (without damaging labels). I also do not worry about adhesives from the label contaminating the music portion of the LP (I use warm water).

I treat the unit gently (store it in it's own box and don't over tighten) as to not damage the "O" rings and place it in plastic once it is dry as the air in LA eats rubber, but can't think of any hints other than this. It is well designed/made and should last a long time with proper care.