7 responses Add your response
Along the lines of what John is saying, this notion of there being some kind of ritual is really exaggerated.
If you're the least bit handy you can build your own vacuum record cleaning machine. For the majority of LPs I clean them once with mine, put them into new sleeves and that's about it.
When I take one out to play I just give it a quick wipe with a carbon fiber brush and enjoy.
I do use a piece of Magic Eraser to clean the stylus after each lp side, followed by a few brushes with a soft stylus brush. But the Zerodust John mentioned does a good job as well.
That's all the ritual I have. I guess I spend maybe an extra minute to spin an LP vs. popping in a cd.
[W]hat type of specific manual cleaning (insert brand name here) tools should I use if I just want to clean & play?
Brushro, to just play your records, a carbon fiber anti-static brush as suggested by Jmcgrogan2 and Dan_ed above, works great. It will clear the surface dust, it just won't clean the record of accumulated gunk that may be down in the grooves. For cleaning the record, you can't avoid some sort of wet cleaning process. But wet cleaning can be done without a machine. Some report good results just cleaning at the sink with a liquid detergent and water solution (not soap!). I've had good experience manually cleaning with Disc Doctor following the Disc Doctor Miracle Record Cleaner manual cleaning procedure -- a towel to set the LP on, the DD cleaning brushes (this is what does the cleaning), some cotton cloths to dry off, and a rack to set the records in to dry. For me, this is probably the simplest true cleaning process that doesn't involve the expense of a machine.
Congratulations on getting back into vinyl!
Carbon brushes are great! Here's a tip to take them from "great" to GREAT!!!:
While you're brushing, and with your other hand, after licking a fingertip, grab something that's grounded! Too gross? Do this:
Get a couple feet of "probe wire". That's the stuff used on all volt/ohm meters. Finely stranded, VERY flexible, insulated wire, usually red or black for obvious reasons ;-) Crimp or solder a small spade or eyelet lug to each end attaching one end to the metal body of the carbon brush and the other end to any good ground (I use the ground lug of my phono preamp 'cause it's close to the TT.) Now those little carbon fibers can REALLY drain off the static charges!!