Please Critique This LP Cleaning Setup

This is my first post on this forum so please be easy on me :)

I have decided to get back into vinyl in the last half year and have been collecting records for the first time since my youth. And most of my new audio kit is on the way. Long story short: I've led a very nomadic life for the last 15 years, and possessing audio equipment was just not possible -- but now it is.

So for the better part of the past two days I have been reading old and new forum posts on cleaning LPs to include some monster threads such as the one on steam cleaning. Bravo to you steam cleaning advocates. I have yet to read the thread on which water to use though.

Anyhow, I don't have a huge budget (anymore) so RCMs and ultrasonic kit are out. I'd rather spend the funds on music at this point. So this is what I gathered so far from a newbie to analog needing to get his cleaning regimen in order.

1) Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Super Deep Cleaner w/ dedicated brush. I have a lot of new vinyl and they advertise this to take off that new film that comes on vinyl.

2) AIVS Enzymatic Formula with dedicated brush (for the dirtier older records that start to trickle in). I'm not sure if this must be used with other AIVS products in some step process. Can't it just be steamed off?

3) Regular cleaning fluid with dedicated brush for normal cleaning. Not sure here, maybe AIVS one-step or homemade. I know there are other good fluid brands too, but my preference is to avoid proprietary 'step' processes if at all possible. I could be talked out if this though.

4) Handheld Steamer. One of the teapot ones similar to this one It seems close to the same models that have popped up over the years.

5) Water for steamer. Battery water, de-mineralized, R/O, grade 1. As I have said, I still have yet to read the water thread.

6) Spin-clean. Run the LP through the spin clean after steaming it to remove any debris.

7) Drying Rack for air drying.

8) Put LP in Mofi Master Sleeves and date the sleeve with last cleaning.

So there it is. I have tried to read a lot on this from past forum posts, but after reading hundreds of posts the 'chatter' started to get in the way and it became less effective. I read probably 4-6 hours on this topic alone -- not to mention all the turntable and phono stage threads.

I chose AIVS fluids, not because I know it is better, but I had to start somewhere. I know there are other cleaning fluids out there: Walker, TTVJ, L'Art du Son, Mofi, etc, and I imagine they all do a fairly good job.

There are also some things I am still a rather fuzzy on though:

Microfiber cloths. Is it possible to dry records with microfibers after the cleaning process? Or is this not recommended? I see them mentioned every now and then. I use microfibers all the time for various specialized cleaning and it seems as if there would be some applications to vinyl where it could be useful over brushes.

I have also seen videos (stltrains for instance) where one uses a RCM in conjunction with a steam cleaner, but I am not sure if there are some best practices for doing it by hand w/o an RCM. I was also wondering if I could rig up a cheap beater of a record player to rotate the record while steaming. Of course, avoiding electrocution would be nice :)

Again, I am a complete noob to this, and everything I have listed above has been gathered on this forum from a lot of very helpful, knowledgeable, and probably crazy audiophiles.

Any tips, suggestions, or other critiques are very welcome. This is a great resource for audio knowledge, and for that I thank you in advance.

Welcome Drinky,
You seem to have been doing alot of investigating into an area that has many options, each with its own advocates. I will say that I believe clean vinyl is a goal we share. I have been using the Audio Intelligence Record Solutions three part kit (aquired together) that consists of the Enzymatic Cleaner, Super Cleaner, and Ultra Pure Water rinse (saves having to read the water thread). Previous to this combinations I have used other solutions, but find these work best for me in my system. I also agree with your thought on the use of MoFi inner sleaves as a final step, though I save the originals if they were special to that album. I personally went over the cliff at one point and purchased a RCM (VPI 16.5). If you become very enamoured with vinyl I predict at some point you will also go down a similar road. One possible suggestion would be to look at the KAB site for their basic EV-1. It is a cleaing platform where you supply the platter motion by hand, and suction from your own vaccum cleaner. Also there are many threads avaliable on the web about other home made RCM builds using old turtables, ect. I find the main advantage of the RCM is the drying with the final removal of as much of the bulk liquid as possible, whether it be cleaner itself or the water rinse. Also I have found myself using the Enzyme step on every used album I aquire. Enjoy.
Welcome back to great black disc!...reminder....quality inner and outer sleeves as well as proper storage make a big difference in my experience....fwiw...I use the original LAST system...but the manual nitty gritty machine is cost effective and slick!
Hello Drinky - I agree w/Drrsutliff. The KAB EV-1 is low cost and effective...uses the same sweeper as Nitty Gritty. I use one to provide a vacuum step in cleaning that removes debris and aids drying. Depending on how dirty an LP is, I'm using a multi-step process of brushing w/DIY solution, steaming and 2 step AI treatment. I'll use the EV-1/vacuum in between each step and as the final step (after a final steam). Cleaned vinyl goes into MFSL inner sleeves. You can make yourself crazy - so don't. Good luck.
I have been 'doing' vinyl since the mid-60's and started cleaning in earnest in the mid-80's with a basic VPI machine. In the last couple years I have devoted much more time and effort to trying to obtain the best sonic results I can using commercially available products. Without going through a blow by blow description of my current methods (which continue to evolve), I think the combination of an effective enzyme cleaner, like AIVS No. 15 and high grade water rinse, coupled with vacuum cleaning at each step, can deliver pretty impressive results. I think the vacuum step is essential to remove the contaminant/fluid mixture from the grooves. Though opinions vary, I also think the 'pure' water rinse is important to remove or displace the fluids; wand type vacuums may get the record dry but not necessarily remove the fluid/contaminant mix.
The use of applicators is a personal choice- I generally prefer the MoFi/Disc Doctor type pad for applying the enzyme-based fluid because they allow you to agitate, but they do soak up a fair amount of fluid (and need to be pre-wetted). One other critical step- keep your applicators clean through soaking in pure water and brushing off; ditto, any 'velvet-type' vacuum lips which also should be brushed between each use (a toothbrush works fine).
Although I'm using more elaborate cleaning methods these days, this will give you very good sonic results. As you get hands-on experience, you can fine tune your processes.
Thanks for the feedback guys. I really appreciate it. The EV-1 looks like exactly what I want, and if I cut out the spin-clean, it isn't that much more in terms of cost. And having the vacuum eliminates my desire to use microfibers to assist in drying. Long drying times with a 1 and 3 year old rampaging the house might be asking for trouble.

With that said, I have also wondered about the Mofi pad applicator versus the other brush applicators that are often shown in videos, thanks Whart for the perspective. In the end, I will probably try out 2 or 3 brands.

Btw, I have another post about the spin clean that can be ignored. I got an e-mail that my post was rejected, so I asked a more specific (yet related) question before realizing my original had made it through moderation.