overwhelmed by record rituals

Hi all-

I'm new to vinyl and starting to build a collection. Because I am just buying new audiophile quality vinyl (so far) it never occurred to me I should be washing the vinyl before I play it. So far my process has been to use a bit of Last stylus cleaner on the stylus (maybe after every 3 or 4 plays) and to use an Audioquest brush on the record before dropping the needle. I am starting to get some pops and clicks, though, so wondering if I should be doing more. I read through record rituals and I am a bit overwhelmed and looking for a simple process. My first question is if I should invest in a record cleaning machine before I invest in more vinyl? Is VPI a decent (modestly priced) one? Second, this article in Stereophile on Last record preservation made me wonder if I should be doing that?
So I guess that would mean my process might be VPI (or other record cleaner) for a new record (and periodically, I'm assuming, after that) followed by a one time treatment with Last record preservative. Using the carbon Audioquest brush and Last stylus cleaner as I have been all along?

Any guidance?


Wonderful responses, Audiogoners! I'm excited to get a RCM and to start experimenting with this. Thanks to all for your help! I am grateful! Margot
I skimmed over this post and read about half of it but I am surprised that no one mentioned using steam cleaners on vinyl.

It seems like steam was such a good idea a few years back.

Is this now a bad idea?

sorry to hi jack the thread but I was expecting to read something different.

Pops and clicks lets not get OCD about vinyl now. Its the medium face it and enjoy it. There's not much one can do when we are dealing with a mechanical force tracing an LP. Just keep it clean.
One other question about best practices: After applying the cleaning solution and vacuuming, is it also a good idea to rinse with distilled water? Perhaps apply with a spray bottle so as not to get the paper label wet? And then vacuum again to dry? Also, would it make sense to have two brushes? One for the cleaning solution and one for the rinse cycle?

Go back to old school that's basically everything similar minus brainwash. Keeping records clean is enough.
1. Purchase enough VRP or MoFi inner sleeves and keep the original inner sleeve if you have to (lyrics, poster etc).
2. Don't get overwhelmed by cleaning your stylus. Less stress is best!. I've been keeping 'dirty' styluses for near 10,000 hours before re-tip. sweeping dust is enough in vast majority of cases. Using liquid stylus cleaner only upon necessity if you can't sweep or simply blow the dust away from needle(best!). So if I can't blow the dust away, I'll use brush and if I can't brush it away I'll use stylus cleaner. My stylus cleaner is Stanton .5oz bottle that I still have since over 20 years ago and it's not even half-way down.
3. Don't get overwhelmed by cleaning records before each listening - less stress is best. You can clean right out of the shrink wrap and than keep it this way. Use anti-static brush and keep them clean in good clean sleeves after listening.
4. Don't limit yourself with audiophile pressings. Very and very often these pressings don't match quality of original issues and sometimes even inferior.
5. If you only plan to purchase new records, than I's suggest waiting till you get hefty collection of at least few hundreds before you'll develop an urge to professionally clean them. It may happen probably few or more years after you've purchased your new vinyl. You will probably develop more ticks that professional cleaning can take care of.
6. As vinyl being a large part of my hobby and professional business, I use an ultrasonic bath and self-constructed spindle rack that allows a record to spin at 1...2 rpm inside the ultrasonic well. Also the well has aquarium filter. It's substantially superior to VPI vacuum cleaner.