Interesting information from Analog Planet on Stylus Cleaner Onzow Zero Dust.

Here is the link, judge for yourself. 
No residue on my stylus but I binned my onzow anyway 



Dear @jerryg123  : I own that cleaner that I bought several years ago and is totally new because I never used. I was confident on it even that audiophiles said was " marvelous ".


Good to know that does more harm than any kind of cleaning stylus help. Thank's to share it.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


I bought mine at 2017 RMAF for a lot of coin and now it is ng?  I am so tired of spending big bucks on something everyone raves about only to find out it is complete junk.  Just goes to show even we seasoned audiophiles can still get scammed.


I use a method that was approved by Peter Lederman, or so I was told. Blue Tak, I put it on an old credit card and simply lower the stylus onto it. Then every few plays I use the MoFi LP9.My Onzow was too high to fit the cart onto. Hope this helps, respect.

I’m skeptical this can be solely attributed to the Zerodust, without some other "unusual" factors coming to light. Either way, it’s not going to affect my occasional use of the DS Audio gel pad. I also scrub the stylus after each session with Magic Eraser, and vigorously brush around the stylus and cantilever with firm bristles often, so nothing’s gonna accumulate there anyways.

Every single cleaning tool has its weaknesses, but when combined you’ll have a clean stylus for its (long) lifetime. Like with dental hygiene - don't JUST floss, or just brush, or rinse. Do them all. You can tell audiophiles who don’t brush well because their carts always have large particle beards lol.

I've used ZeroDust for over a decade.  Just checked all my styli/cantilevers under the microscope, and not hint of this problem.  

Mulv, I certainly hope you don’t “scrub” with magic eraser. I use it too, but down on the ME and up off the ME, preferably maintaining a 90 degree orientation of stylus tip to pad seems the only safe method.


I use a method that was approved by Peter Lederman, or so I was told. Blue Tak

Same. I have my Blue Tak mounted on top of my Onzow Box 😁 Which I used to use before the warnings from Peter.

And wait just a minute here - how about the crap showing on the TOP side of cantilever? I doubt Onzow could be culpable for that. Maybe the pictured cartridge’s owner is a hairspray aficionado. I remember in the 80s I would go to steal my sister’s CDs from her room and they were completely encrusted in the crap - absolutely disgusting.

I’m pretty clean around my stuff. I don’t even use lotion for fear of that stuff getting on my gear. I suffer through the dry scaly skin every winter for the sake of analog :)

When I was with the Garrott Bros many years ago they showed me on an electron microscope the crap in most cartridges in for repair -

The most common and worst 2 problems were minute pieces of carbon fiber from either record or stylus brushes and gunk and residue from excessive use of fluids that would wick its up the cantilever and gum up the works - worst was Stylast & First.


worst was Stylast & First.

You could tell under the microscope what fluid it was?

Atomic absorption will tell you also as well mass spectrometry.

we use it a lot doing analysis on fluids. 


Yes, I can believe that about fluid residue. Before I had my Koetsu photomicrographed, I cleaned it with 95% pure ethanol. 40 hours later the pump on the electron microscope couldn't pull a sufficient vacuum because of off-gassing - and the only possibility, which I was assured was quite possible, was the alcohol.

Over the years we have heard from numerous ’experts’ in the analog field that there are all kinds of ’no no’s’ when it comes to stylus cleaning. I clearly remember those very same people telling everyone that the Last Stylus cleaner can migrate up the cantilever and cause problems. Then we heard that the same cleaner can damage the glue that is used to hold the stylus. We heard that US cleaning of the cantilever and stylus can damage the coils, we then heard that using BluTac is not recommended ( if I remember correctly it was due to the possibility of BluTac dislodging the cantilever assembly)...and on and on.
Now we hear that the Zerodust can leave a deposit on the stylus, which if one really looks carefully, could be from any number of various culprits...from the vinyl formulation, to the use of a cleaning brush leaving behind a CF strand, to residue left from the inner sleeve and on and on!

Maybe a better question would be to ask..and verify, IF a reduction in SQ is heard by any of these ’deposits’...and then IF the answer is ’yes’ to go about a more scientific process of ’cause and effect’...rather than assuming anything! Just IMHO.

BTW, we then have the disclosure from the source of the information...Wally tools, that they are intending to release a microscope to check on your stylus....hmm, curious timing, if nothing else!!

Remember folks, there are numerous characters in this industry who are 100% sure that all audiophiles are in fact gullible' audiofools' who are just ripe for the taking!! This industry could seriously benefit from a MAJOR clean-out of these very same folk...again IMHO.

Maybe a better question would be to ask..and verify, IF a reduction in SQ is heard by any of these ’deposits’...and then IF the answer is ’yes’ to go about a more scientific process of ’cause and effect’...rather than assuming anything! Just IMHO.

I am sure that is what started the investigation....Though I have one in my lab I do not stick my stylus under an electron microscope never have.

I've seen a stain form on my graphite platter when exposed to a gel which looks and feels a lot like Zero-dust. So I would take @mijostyn 's caution seriously.

As for waiting until the cantilever is so bunged up with goop that you can hear it, well, you first @daveyf  . The ear just ain't that good at perceiving gradual changes.

"I am sure that is what started the investigation...."

How would you know this???

@terry9 There are many folk here who have used Zerodust for years, do you seriously think that none of them would have noticed major build up of goop by now that someone would have heard a difference in SQ???


Alas, we have no idea how many of them perceived something but did nothing about it. Perhaps they had no access to a good lab, Perhaps they put it down to stylus wear.

@terry9  or perhaps none of the above, and none of them heard any degradation at all. ..:0)

"I am sure that is what started the investigation...."

How would you know this???

And how do you know different?

Can play this game all night. Every picture tells a story don't it. 

Clearly it is not cataracts, or it it?

@jerryg123 it it is very strange….

a strange coincidence….with regards to Wally tools.

You aren’t connected to them…or are you?

@daveyf Like we say here in CHi Town, Not only No but F NO.

Why would I post Part Due.

Your not Millercarbons son are you?

I use the DS Audio, stylast frequently, and every now and then AT liquid / brush. I never had much luck w magic eraser or blue tac…

Having said that with 30+ years experience in tech, there is no way i would publish that photo without some form of comparison to a control ( see design of experiments, ishikawa diagram, etc… ) if as asserted by Wally that the residue presents in 8 hours, it’s just not that difficult to build a slam duck root cause case…..or not…..

@tomic601 I am sure this will all come out in the wash (yep I said it).

Engineering 101 Ishikawa or as we call herring bone diagram. At Cooper Industries it was a diagnostic Tree. Tomato....


So what IS the best stylus cleaner? 

I've got a new Benz LP-S and Miyajima Zero about to be mounted so I'm perplexed.

I have a Zero Dust but that goes in the bin now. Record brush? NG it seems. 

@vinylshadow @jpjones3318 posted this.

I use a method that was approved by Peter Lederman, or so I was told. Blue Tak, I put it on an old credit card and simply lower the stylus onto it. Then every few plays I use the MoFi LP9.My Onzow was too high to fit the cart onto. Hope this helps, respect.

@jerryg123 ya man, strange how it took Japan Inc to relearn us our own tools. I actually prefer fishbone diagram. My team knew to show up without one was perilous… eventually they marked my parking spot with…..a fishbone….

My Lyra dealer sold me the Stylast, he moves a lot of both….for now i feel safe…



Those pictures are pretty meaningless without some context. First of all, was this after 1 cleaning? 10? 1500? Were there other substances used in addition to the Onzow? How clean is the area around the turntable? Lots of other factors could be at play, but if Mikie says it's bad, by all means stop immediately. 😐

I ordered a Flux Hifi ultrasonic stylus cleaner yesterday. Been meaning to do so for awhile. Won't throw my DS Audio pad away just yet.

I have been against the use of solid cleaners from the beginning. Almost all if not all of the best styli are glued on and even if your motion was perfectly down and up you still risk tearing your stylus off. The residue problem was an unsuspected problem that is unacceptable in any amount. The residue gets deep into the grooves, dust sticks to it and you have a real mess. 

I have seen many very poorly kept "audiophile" systems so it does not surprise me that the problem went undetected for so long. Most people do not routinely check their styli under magnification. Wally Tools is expert at looking at styli and I would take their warning seriously. If they are wrong Onzo will sue their asses off.

I use the Lyra Stylus cleaner which comes with a nice soft brush. I use to use an artist's brush with 50% IPA but I was told this might attack the glue and cause failure eventually. I clean my stylus every month or two maybe. Using a conductive sweep arm and a dustcover effectively keeps dust from getting to the stylus. I have a look once and a while with a USB microscope to make sure nothing is forming on the stylus. Large clumps of dust are obvious. 

I had custom acrylic dustcovers made for my 2 turntables to keep dust out. But I can't use them when playing. 

I used to use a brush with Last with dry brushing first. Then got the Orzo and I won't risk stylus damage with my new cartridges.  So I am now lost as to what is the definitive best cleaner.

And now Fremer says you have to use a carbon fiber static brush like the AudioQuest or Clearaudio etc. But why if you use a Loricraft or Ultrasonic before every record is played. 

I need to find the consensus!


@daveyf    “Maybe a better question would be to ask..and verify, IF a reduction in SQ is heard by any of these ’deposits’.”

+1 Yes, my first thought as well. 

I will admit to being lazy. I want to do the least amount of work as possible (I worked 75 hours / week for over 45 years)… if I see some fuzz on the needle I’ll use my KAIU Anti-Static Turntable Stylus Gel Cleaner. I use as infrequently as possible. Don’t really notice a difference before and after. I used to use Last, never lost a needle.

I was surprised to learn from the articles, that the DS Audio left residue also.

I believe their gel is “clean room” quality + the flat surface seemed safer to use than the Zerodust. I’ve stopped using both ( for now) in favor of a brush used by professional photographers. 

Yes! This is certainly disconcerting news for those of us vinyl heads who never liked free-handing stylus brushes. Every time I did that, I channeled a special ops sniper holding his breathe before squeezing off a round! The Onzow and some of the other goop stylus cleaners, handled appropriately (i.e. not free-handing, as some instructions advise, but locating a safe, non-movable spot at the correct height so as to allow just the tip of the stylus to contact the goop; not the cantilever and using the TT cueing device to lower & raise the stylus into & out of the goop), seemed like the perfect solution! DAMN! Now, it's back to channeling the special ops sniper?

Some have criticized Mr. Fremer and WAM Engineering for this sort of half-baked alarm. However, half-baked notwithstanding, I would rather know about stuff like this before continuing to use my Onzow. The first article stated: "An analysis of the residue shows it is not silicone but rather a polymer of some sort." Then, in the follow-up article Wally Tools said: "I got more news from the lab yesterday (it is coming in slowly) and the material is an oligomer, not a polymer, so it can't be polyvinyl chloride." I'm not a chemist. So, I Googled "oligomer". Some sites say it is a polymer. Some say it's a polymer intermediate. Well, is or are the residual deposit(s) still "not silicone"? Isn't the Onzow and some of the other goop cleaners silicone or silicone-based? If it's "not silicone" would it be reasonable to conclude these residues are not coming from the Onzow and silicone-based goop cleaners? Is it possible use of these goop cleaners cause, in some or any way, the build up of these deposits? Seems, to me, we need to know where this or these deposits are coming from and exactly what they are. At this point, we are all chasing our tails. It also would be instructive to know if this or these residual deposits are all the same from one stylus to the other. There are simply not enough controls, thus far, to come to any hard & fast conclusions. It would be great to hear from Onzow, DS Audio and the others.

Just thought I'd post this as a follow-up, for what it's worth. I got tired of waiting for people like Michael Fremer, WAM Engineering and J.R. Boisclair to do the obviously right thing under the circumstances (i.e. ask the manufacturers or makers of Onzow Zerodust and other gel stylus cleaners for their feedback or response). So, I took a stab at it. I was hoping for more detail. However, I'm just some guy, some audiophile out there in the great ether asking general questions about their product. I would assume someone with considerably greater stature in audiophile circles would get a more substantive or in depth response. I would think Michael Fremer, at least, owed that to his readers & followers. I hope Onzow Labo takes the time to read the articles published in Analog Planet and respond directly. Anyway, here's the response I got from Mr. Akira Ishibashi of Onzow Labo of Yokohama, Japan:

"Thank you for your inquiry:

We carefully select resins that do not build-up residue from the beginning of develop ZERODUST. No residue build-up to the stylus. The materials are completely different from the products of other companies. ZERODUST has no adverse effect on vinyl records too. This is because ZERODUST is made of material with the same properties as mold release agent used when pressing records. Please use it with confidence.


Akira Ishibashi

Onzow Labo"

@oldaudiophile thank you for your follow up.

Still have my reservations. And I am going to pull a stylus and take it to our lab in Ohio to see if we see any residue. 

An "oligomer" is nothing more than a short "polymer". So, all oligomers are polymers but not all polymers are oligomers. Further, the distinction is vague; the number of units or "mers" that define an oligomer is not specified by the term. One dictionary definition says an oligomer contains from 2 to 100 units, for example. So, to say that a molecule is not a polymer but is an oligomer, does not say much, and it’s technically incorrect. It just means the chains are shorter than long.


I am still wondering about Peter Ledermann’s beef with Magic Eraser. Maybe because of this controversy about Onzow, I just examined a few of my cartridges that have been regularly exposed to ME under my Olympus laboratory microscope, and I see absolutely no problems. Further, the areas of the cantilever that do come in contact with ME are much cleaner than the top side of the cantilever (between the cantilever and the cartridge body), where the ME cannot reach.


In the old days, I used to clean styli with Stylast.  I never had a problem, but I did not own the Olympus Microscope or even think about close examination of the styli back then. I do think it's prudent to avoid liquid cleaners.


Thank you for the follow-up with Onzow's response!

I'm in no position to make a scientific assessment or educated guess, so here's my uneducated guesses:

The stylus gunk show in the infamous pics is simply mold release agents and other crap from vinyl records, accumulated over time. The Onzow and DS Audio gel dips are NOT abrasive enough to fully prevent this buildup, over time. They DON'T contribute to the gunk; they're the wrong bogeyman. They simply aren't powerful enough to clean it off. Regular dry brushing, and ME dips may or may not be enough to prevent gunk accumulation. Occasional regular liquid cleaner use, the ME "scrub" methods, and/or ultrasonic cleaners are almost certainly strong enough to prevent gunk buildup when used properly & regularly. 

All of the pics show a filthy, disgusting cantilever that is the telltale sign of an inadequate cleaning regimen. Whatever cleaning regimen you choose, full stylus & cantilever brushing should be a part of it. 

@mulveling .. +1 on this:

"Whatever cleaning regimen you choose, full stylus & cantilever brushing should be a part of it."

Sometime over the last week my vinyl lost some of the magic. As part of this Onzow gunk thread, I've been scrutinizing my cartridge with 8X magnification. From both sides, from the front, from the back. Seems a small hair or fiber wrapped itself around the cantilever and was acting as a leash on the motion. Very carefully unwrapped it since just a back to front brushing wouldn't dislodge it. Adding regular magnified cartridge inspection to my routine.