LP Cleaning

Hi Guys
Need some advice on cleaning. 
I have a Clearaudio Smart Matrix cleaner. I am using Distilled Water with Spin Clean solution mixed roughly two caps (Large Bottle) to a litre. My TT is a Clearaudio Performence with a Dynavector Karat D17 and the Clearaudio Virtuso V2 both running through an Avid Pellar Phono. 
New records play fine no static or dust noise. Older records play with what seems like a lot of dust noise no matter how well I try and clean. The result is the same with both the Cartridges as well as switching to a combo of a Project TT, Project Phono and Ortofon Cartridge. 
I realise it must be my cleaning efforts. I have seen various videos on line and have tried to do exactly the same. I have also tried to clean with the Clearaudio solution that came with the machine. Can some one please advice how to get rid of the dust or better clean. Should I increase the amount of the Spinclean solution?
There are many threads already on this topic.

When you describe "new records play fine no static or dust noise. Older records play with what seems like a lot of dust noise no matter how well I try to clean." (This doesn't really make sense to me).

My memory says the Clearaudio has the velvet pads, right? These are static inducers. When using this type of machine, the goal is to perform as few rotations as possible. Does your TT have an acrylic platter? If so, these types of platters react with vinyl records to produce static.( These two pieces of equipment represent major dollars but are having this negative effect on your vinyl).

With no change to equipment, I'd buy a Mapleshade static gun as your current best, low cost option.

(I always steam my lps before my VPI and Audio Desk).
Thanks Astro for the input. 
I agree that it does seem the cleaner does introduce some static. I do have a Milty Zero stat but did not use it on records fresh from the cleaning session. Dont know why but the thought never crossed my mind. I will try and clean in as few turms as possible. 
Can I use an alternative brush/pad to spread the fluid and clean the records. DIY preferred as these things are not easily available in my country. Most of these items have been bought on travels abroad. Next trip wont be for another year. 

The use of any alternate brush before the vacuum process would be counter-productive.

The (fact?) that your platter is acrylic, is of no small consequence!

Another inexpensive method would be to buy a steamer. (Around $40.00). Use a good fluid, let air dry then compare! I'm all about trying out for your self. This would involve some time & effort, but seeing how you're into vinyl, this comes with the territory.

( My memory of the Zerostat is you have to use it according to specific directions)

My Mapleshade trounced my Zerostat and is less expensive to boot!

In a perfect world, one should be able to clean their records then immediately play them. This is another reason why I like my method. There is no substitute for steaming. None!

believe or not... are you wearing sneakers when you play records? This causes static, especially in the winter months. Good luck!
My take- based on your description is that your "cleaning" is actually leaving something on the record. Probably residue from the cleaning fluid, mixed with whatever you might have dredged up out of the grooves in the process of using brushes and fluids. 
It sounds like you are using two machines? A Clearaudio machine and the Spin Clean? Or is your reference to "Clearaudio Smart Matrix cleaner" just a fluid (and you are relying solely on the Spin Clean)? 
The key, in my estimation, is to do no harm. All things that contact the record- whether applicators, brushes, pads or lips on vacuum parts in contact with the record surface, including any RCM "platter"--have to be kept scrupulously clean, not only before and after a cleaning session, but during it. 
Vacuum machines-- if you indeed have one-- particularly those of the "wand" type, can introduce static in the process of "drying." Ditto hand drying a record with a cloth.
The concept, in general, is to apply a cleaning fluid, let it do its work, and then get it off the record. I will prepare a record using a bulb type "puffer" to blow surface dust off- those can be gotten cheaply- (I like the big Giottos Rocket Blaster but there are a variety of these things used for cleaning camera lenses); if the record has obvious surface stuff on it, I do a pre-clean using a very mild fluid without any sort of agitation or scrubbing- I don't want to grind any particles into the record surface. I'll vacuum that off, and if the record needs more intensive cleaning, will use an enzyme type fluid, e.g. AIVS No. 15, agitate and soak. 
One step that is absolutely necessary in my estimation is to do a rinse step using some grade of "pure" water after the fluid cleaning and vacuum step. (How pure depends on your degree of compulsiveness, pocket book and access to various types of water). This helps remove cleaning fluid residue- it is often a dried fluid residue with suspended contaminants in the mix that makes a "cleaned" record worse. 
Everybody has their favorite fluids, machines, methods and steps. I'm pretty agnostic- I've tried many, not all of them, and much comes down to basic good practices of the type I outlined. I have brought many old used records back from the dead- from unplayably noisy to a high state of play-just based on good practices. I do think some sort of vacuum machine is an essential part of the process. (I use both vacuum RCM and ultrasonic since I find the different methods to be complementary). But, I can get an old "bin find" record very clean and in a high state of play using a basic RCM, like a VPI. You don't have to spend a huge amount of money to get really good results, since much of it, as indicated, has to do with method, rather than the RCM gear itself. 
whart, If you would re-read, the OP is using Spin Clean lp solution. The OP also stated clearly , he has a Clearaudio Matrix machine.

The post you made immediately discounted the facts the OP laid out clearly. Gimme a break!

Here is your post " Vacuum machines- if you indeed have one......" need I go on?

whart, you may have more time on your hands to review lps if you read others' posts with greater accuracy. This would free up your reviewing time.

Then again, this makes one wonder if what you hear when listening, translates accurately to what others hear?
astro58go...back off dude!  Bill's a good guy and has given excellent advice here.  So he didn't read the post quite right, so what?

Whart just to clarify I have the Clear Audio Smart Matrix machine and just use the Spin Clean Fluid. I do not have the spin clean it self. I have not tried to blow the dust of the record before cleaning. 
Absolutely right on best practices. Here is what I am gonna try and do right now and see if it works. 
1. Blow dust off using a Gitto. 
2. Brush dust off using a Carbon Fiber Brush. 
3. Clean on the Clearaudio Matrix and vaccine. 
4. Use the Milty Zero Stat. 
Please feel free to add anything I may have missed. 
Thanks everybody for your excellent response and advice. 
mofi..I'm sure whart is a great guy.

"So he didn't read the post quite right, so what?"

Well, isn't THAT exactly WHAT we are suppose to do in order to draw upon our experience so we can give the BEST advice to anyone???

SO WHAT??? Damn right, SO WHAT!  That's what this forum is all about!

Am I missing something?

I think I'm in the "wrong place" for direct, honest talk."

Please accept my apologies for any correct statement I've made.

astro58go...so you’ve never made a mistake in your life? Gee, what it must be like to be you!

Direct honest talk is fine, but you don’t need to attack someone.

We have a very nice little community here, that you have only been a part of for less than 2 months, maybe you should run along and find some of your own kind?
mofi, yes, I've made plenty of mistakes. Most of them, if not all, I've had to account for myself!

When I have the opportunity to read someone's post, (with no time limits), I would hope I could respond accordingly without someone else interfering on my behalf.

I did not find my direct response to a post as an ":attack". I feel sorry that you took it this way. If your idea of a direct, informative discussion is to just be (nice) with no alternate point of view... well, i guess I'm in the wrong forum.

Acutually, I've been here for longer than you know.
astro...I completely understand what you are saying, but you don’t have to to be mean in doing so.

Sorry that I've taken this off topic.  I apologize to the OP...
mofi, your own response leads me to ask myself...If I had more posts, (in numbers), say 2000, would you have responded in the same way?

whart, you should really chime in now. You have the FLOOR.  You have a long time member "backing" your misinformation.

What do I have?

Facts? This doesn't seem to be relevant here, does it?
mofi, In your response to me, (I assume you are saying you were wrong?)

If by my expressing the "truth", I'm somehow being mean??? Well;, I was just trying to defend myself from false information.

Is this taken by you or others as "mean"?

mofi, still, you will apologize. Why?'' Is it for hijacking the thread in order to try and make a mockery of my informative guidance?

I'm the one that was misrepresented. I'm the one who did my best to give the OP a basis for going forward, by my correctly reading the original post.

You now say, "sorry, I've taken this off topic", then apologize to the OP?

By my trying to apprise all of my intent, I'm somehow being "mean"? 

What world am I living in??
mofi, your own response leads me to ask myself...If I had more posts, (in numbers), say 2000, would you have responded in the same way?
Yes, I would have.

mofi, In your response to me, (I assume you are saying you were wrong?)
No, I am not wrong you are. Also, you apparently don’t read, (or comprehend) very well. I said I understood, not that I agree.

whart, you should really chime in now. You have the FLOOR.
whart never asked me to comment.  I did that on my own.

You now say, "sorry, I’ve taken this off topic", then apologize to the OP?

Yes, because I was the one that spoke out about your comment to whart. I could have left it alone, but didn’t. See that’s how human beings are supposed to act.

What world am I living in??

You’re own little world that’s for sure...

Man you need to switch to decaf!
My world responds to others who should save their defense of other's misinformed. misread comments for more relevant, INFORMED responses.

I finally get it... I'm living in the "bizzarro world"!

I'll now bow out for you all to continue on.
Back on track here, hopefully, I can relate some LP cleaning experiences.  I started way back when using a mild dishwashing soap solution and rinsing with tap water followed by towel wiping, then going to a Discwasher brush onto which a cleaning fluid was applied, then 25 years ago going to a Nitty Gritty vacuum cleaner.  With this I tried various alcohol-based and non-alcohol-based cleaners, then enzymatic cleaners, the last of which seemed to work best when followed by a purified water rinse.

Recently, though, I went to a KL Audio ultrasonic cleaner and this has made a big difference in both surface noise and fidelity of the records I clean.  The problem with the KL is its cost but there are some others seen here on the Gon that use a simple motorized spindle to spin the record through a relatively inexpensive benchtop ultrasonic cleaner like those seen in a laboratory.  In many cases the use of my KL Audio cleaner has allowed me to buy somewhat lesser quality records and then resurrect them.  If you have a large investment in LPs and a high-end system, I would highly recommend the purchase of such an ultrasonic cleaner.
I have a pretty large ultrasonic bath that I absconded from my dental office. I use the Audio Intelligent cleaners, basically just apply and let it stay on the surface 5 minutes of so, with light brushing. Then I wash under a faucet and immediately place in the ultrasonic with distilled, no mineral water at a buck a gallon. That way there is no cleaner transferred to the ultrasonic bath, and I just use a piece of wooden dowell to support the record and hand turn. 
Or you can look up Dave's V8 Ultrasonic cleaner. Either way, no vacuum or other physical method to dry my records. Nothing touches the surface, just support the dowell from any two points. No static, no residue from towel or vacuum. 20 minutes, it's dry. 

srafi, the possible solutions to your problem with surface noise have been mentioned in previous posts but I think were lost in the bickering that ensued. Here are my thoughts on things to try...

First off, I'm going to assume that your Clearaudio Smart Matrix is doing a good job of actually washing an LP and not just wicking the cleaning solution around the LP surface. And, the brush is clean and not contaminated with gunk and merely re-depositing it on the LP surface.

That said, I'd try using a cleaning solution and rinse that are specifically formulated for a vacuum record cleaner and abandon using the Spin Clean solution. It's formulated for more of a one-step approach to record cleaning. There are many fine products available (not sure about your Clearaudio mix) but I have been using Mobile Fidelity (MoFi) cleaning and rinsing solutions for years and they work very well, specifically, Super Record Wash and Pure Record Rinse. A quart bottle of each solution will clean hundreds of records if the solutions are used judiciously. An amount equal to a small pool of solution about the size of a dime is sufficient to clean/rinse each side. You could use standard distilled water for the rinse but I've found that the Pure Record Rinse works to remove (nearly) all traces of solution so the result is a very quiet record.

Secondly, if the Smart Matrix isn't doing a good job of vacuuming up the cleaning solution and the rinse, you'll hear residual deposits of groove gunk when you play a record. Make sure you're getting a good seal between the vacuum wand and the record and that there's sufficient vacuum suction to completely dry the surface of the LP with no more than two rotations. I twice vacuum each side of an LP with my RCM; once clockwise and once counter-clockwise. No problems with static charge build-up.

Thirdly, for really dirty used albums I first brush off the worst of the dirt using a felt brush and a mix of Super Record Wash, distilled water, and alcohol. Then I use MoFi Super Deep Cleaner solution and sometimes the MoFi Plus Enzyme Cleaner for stubborn grease and gunk. And I may rinse twice just to be sure I get all the residual gunk off the record.

Good luck and may you find a method that works. You shouldn't be hearing lots of surface noise using a vacuum RCM. The results should be "dead" quiet if everything is working as it should.



I want to thank all those who contributed to this discussion. As it turns out it was static that was causing the noise. A few zaps with my Milty and it's all good. Seems the drying was adding static charge. 
I have some old records that still have noise after good cleaning. I just assumed this was due to the previous owner using bad stylus wearing down record and I was hearing noise from that, not gunk or static. Is this possible or are you all saying that all noise is due to dirt?
my proven process:
1. pre-clean with simple anti-static brush while record spins on the turntable
2. either ultrasonic spin or vpi.

Ixgreen noted that lots of used records might've been played with worn needle. they will look near-mint but sound like G+. that happens

Benefits of Proper Vinyl Record Cleaning.....

I first posted this in Audiogon in 2002.

Reposting for the benefit of the audio community.

Benefits of Proper Vinyl Record Cleaning

This web site has been an excellent source of information and knowledge sharing for audiophile’s worldwide. This analog thread has been created as a product testimonial and instructional guideline based upon my personal experience in cleaning vinyl. I started researching this subject approximately a year ago. Please keep in mind this thread is for the budget minded, and requires a time commitment as well as patience. I ultimately purchased a record cleaning system called “The Disc Doctor” (thedoctor@discdoc.com), along with a manual operated vacuum machine called “The Record Doctor II” from Audio Advisor. The instructions for both products are easy to follow and understand. Do not utilize the needle bearing provided with the vacuum machine, it does not function as advertised. Following is the procedure I followed/developed for cleaning my collection of vinyl. Patience is required. It took me 16 hours to clean 105 albums, or 210 sides. 

Materials required: Card table, one gallon distilled water, two stainless steel cereal sized bowls with folded over lip, two white terry cloth bath towels with no fabric softener used during laundering, cleaning solution, vacuum machine, new rice paper anti-static record sleeves.

Process sequence: Place one towel onto table. Place vacuum machine on towel on the right side. Fill one stainless bowl half way with distilled water. Add four ounces of cleaning solution to two ounces of distilled water into other bowl. Place both bowls in front of vacuum machine. Place both cleaning pads in front of bowls. Place record on towel, to the left. Dip one pad into cleaning solution; gently scrap on lip of bowl to remove excess. Place pad onto record, and under its own weight, make one revolution. Then in an arc, following the radius of the record, gently sweep the cleaning pad back and forth in approx. 90-degree increments. Perform the “scrubbing” procedure for three revolutions. Place cleaning pad in cleaning solution bowl. Place second towel on record and pat dry only. Dip second cleaning pad into bowl of distilled water, and gently scrap off excess on bowl lip. Follow same procedure as cleaning. Place pad into water bowl. Place record onto vacuum machine, wet side down, per instructions. Four slow revolutions are sufficient to remove all spent solution. Repeat procedure to the other side. Once completed, place record into a new sleeve, and return to its cover. After about 15 to 20 record cleanings, replace both spent solutions with fresh solutions. Its best to call it a day after 30/40 record cleanings.

Results: You will be astounded by the results! Over 95% of ticks and pops will be removed. All frequency ranges will drastically improve. You will be shocked at the new sound quality and very, very pleased. It is well worth your time and effort to perform this cleaning procedure. Note: This procedure will not repair damaged vinyl. Manufacturing defects will not be erased. Good news: This is a one shot process. Future cleaning is not required. Just gently brush record one revolution with dry carbon fiber brush; Hunt makes a nice one.

I feel like a spineless worm but I agree with what astro and whart are saying!... Being happily married for like a zillion years, a few kicks below the belt feels normal, Vinyl-style to me.
 My 5 cents is that Milty Zero stat II is a cheap peace of garbage that works (I got 4 of them), they just break and "misfire" but the original Zerostat, available as used only, works each and every time!! 
Anyone has anyting nice to say about that static killer with a fan? Its kinda pricey but with summers here in SoCal getting hotter and dryer, is it something worth considering? Anyone?...

Best results I had so far are with PureVinyl record cleaner, brushed in the grooves with a 2 in. pure bristle brush (available at hardware / hobby stores), followed by a distilled water rinse.