Swann36, this is the right place to post but a real bad question. There are as many ways to clean records as there are record collectors and everyone has a theory. Contrary to popular mythology, records come from the factory pretty clean with maybe some incidental dust and an occasional finger print. You just want of keep them free of static and clean during play. I use a grounded sweep arm and a dust cover. Pay attention to your stylus after you play a record. If it remains clean the record was clean. If it collects a ball of gunk the record was not. Used records are another proposition and should be cleaned. What you are doing seems fine. There is no need to clean a clean record. Records should be stored upright under slight pressure, not loose and leaning and in a smog free environment.
12 responses Add your response
Right now, ultrasonic machines are the gold standard and the people who own them swear by their effectiveness. What you are doing is fine, but it would be a lot easier if you invested in a vacuum machine like a VPI or Nitty-Gritty so you don't have to let them dry overnight. But other than that, I wouldn't be concerned about what you are doing. There are some people who gave up analog because they got too anal about record cleaning, stylus alignment and the countless other things you can obsess over with vinyl. IMO - clean your records, put them in a new sleeve, clean your stylus and play the record. Enjoy.
... ultrasonic machines are the gold standard and the people who own them swear by their effectiveness ...Absolutely. Not only are they effective, but the best of them offer a convenient "one-button" solution to record cleaning, which means you'll be much more likely to use it.
... it would be a lot easier if you invested in a vacuum machine like a VPI or Nitty-Gritty so you don't have to let them dry overnight ...Records allowed to air dry will accumulate dust during the process.
Contrary to popular mythology, records come from the factory pretty clean with maybe some incidental dust and an occasional finger print.That's an oxymoronic statement. If you have incidental dust and sometimes a fingerprint, your records obviously aren't clean from the factory. That's no surprise, because LPs aren't made in clean rooms and, in fact, some record pressing plants are very messy places.
You just want of keep them free of static and clean during play.It's odd that you think an LP arrives clean from the factory, yet is somehow uniquely subject to becoming unclean once it's on your turntable.
@mijostyn firstly thanks for your reply...
I have found some brand new records (still shrink wrapped) very noisy with static and made my stylus dirty, not all only a few but it has happened too many times so i do clean everything even brand new prior to play ...so i think it depends on the pressing plant ...
I am interested to know more about your "grounded sweep arm" as thats a new one on me ...
I always look at the stylus before playing a side and if it looks gunked up by anything i currently use the VP dustbuster ..so seems that's on the right track
Swann, I have thousands of records and I have never had that happen.
I suspect you are seeing gunk from previous plays? Certainly there is variability between plants.
If you look at my systems page you can see the grounded sweep arm in action. The bristles are conductive carbon shorting the surface of the record out to ground. Any static collected by the record for whatever reason (trying to figure that out) will be totally removed assuming you play both sides. https://www.sleevecityusa.com/Antistatic-Record-Cleaning-Arm-p/tac-01.htm I rarely have to clean my stylus and I watch it with a USB microscope. The only record cleaning device I have is a spin clean for record brought by others. I do not buy used records. I do not put anything on my records but I am running an experiment based on a theory of mine as to how Last record preservative works. Last is a chlorofluorocarbon solvent and 100% volatile. With the Last brush it will remove plasticizers from the surface of the record causing the surface to harden making it more durable. Plasticizers are added to the vinyl to soften it so that it presses out easier. It does nothing else. So, I have taken 5 brand new Analog Production's records and blasted off both sides with a chlorofluorocarbon solvent also known as brake cleaning fluid. It does not damage the label at all and the records play like any brand new record from Analog Productions. For $50 (the price for one little bottle of Last) you can get two cases of CRC brake cleaning fluid. It is also great for cleaning your bicycle parts!
Now cleeds, I have seen two fingerprints in perhaps 500 records. They are superficial and do not affect play. There is dust everywhere so it should not surprise anyone that you would see a few flecks on a new record. As long as the record is not charged the dust will stay on the surface where any brush can take it off. Since I use the sweep arm and dust cover during play extremely little dust gets to the stylus. Once in a blue moon I'll have to remove some lint. It is oxymoronic that your comments towards mine are always friendly, well intentioned. Thank you.
Most chlorofluorocarbon solvents stopped manufacture in 1996 per the Montreal Protocol.
CRC brake cleaning fluid https://www.crcindustries.com/products/crc/crc-brakleen.html now come in various compositions, one non-flammable version contains perchloroethylene which is a known carcinogen. One VOC-free 50 state version contains acetone & naphtha and will dissolve the vinyl record.
Please stop recommending the CRC Brake Clean. You may have the old version that did contain a CFC solvent (likely methyl chloroform or CFC-113), but that version is no longer available and never will be again.
In the meantime, I believe Swann is from the UK and most of the current CRC Brake Clean products are likely not allowed to be sold. However, if it is sold - I would recommend you not buy it; its either going to be potentially toxic or its going to dissolve that record.
As @cleeds stated, LPs aren't made in clean rooms and, in fact, some record pressing plants are very messy places.
Having worked in a clean room environment and having analyzed new LPs, I would say that most record pressing plants are dirty. I would definitely clean any new LP. Most new LPs have significant contamination on the surface which is not visible to the naked eye. Much of this contamination is due to mold-release compounds. Once cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner your LPs should be fine for quite a while if handled carefully and stored properly.
Your cleaning process looks fine.