Record Cleaner Advice?

The recent refurbishment of my analog front end has me thinking it would be wise to get myself a new-fangled record cleaner.  My old Nitty-Gritty still works, but I'm sure you all have much to tell me about newer, better options.  Advice please!

Not that it matters much, but my front end: SOTA Star Sapphire with new bearing, SME V overhauled by Alfred Kayser in Canada (dismantled, cleaned, new ceramic bearings and shotgun Cardas gold litz cables from cartridge to preamp) and new Audio-Technica ART9XA.  I need clean vinyl!
For what it’s worth I too have a Sapphire , a Nitty and just plugged in an AT ML.
Today I ordered a rolling record cleaner for in between, if I decide to pop for ultrasonic.
I don’t think I will ever put $1500 into a cart though. You should be ultrsonicing that plastic before you ever drop the needle.
Too many questions/concerns regarding ultrasonic cleaners. I've read pros and cons and talked to dealers. I'm saving for the new Monks Prodigy cleaner. About $1000. 
I use a Monks-- the traditional model than relies on a thread to act as a buffer between the point nozzle and the record surface. (It is one of the newer models that was introduced after Keith’s son rebooted the company and is called the "Omni"). I also use ultrasonic. The combination of cleaning methods is synergistic in my estimation.
I have not had any "hands-on" with the newer, less expensive Monks design that dispenses with the thread altogether.
Frankly, most of the results obtained from vacuum type RCMs are based on method rather than the machine itself (although I prefer the point nozzle type to the wand type vacuum cleaner for several reasons).
I can get very good results using an old VPI with a good cleaning fluid, rinse, and using separate applicators and vacuum wands for the cleaning and rinse steps. I’ve done back to back comparisons using the old VPI (which is still sold) against the Monks, and for most purposes, I suspect the VPI would be fine at a fraction of the cost of the Monks Omni.
As to questions and concerns regarding ultrasonic, I suppose you must be the judge of that for your own record collection-- I have cleaned thousands of records in my own collection using ultrasonic in combination with vacuum and have experienced no instances of damage, deterioration of sound quality or any of the other potential hazards raised about the risk of ultrasonic cleaning. I’ve owned the Audio Desk and the KL and when the KL dies, will go DIY (with a caveat noted below).
At the end of the day, your objective is to get the record clean and leave no residue of cleaning fluid or other contaminants. This is another reason why method is more important to me than the particular machinery involved. There is merit in DIY ultrasonic, which doesn’t require enormous skill; many go this route for cost-effectiveness. To me, the DIY route would be an avenue for additional features and functionality not found on the commercial made for LP US machines currently on the market and likely cost more than the commercial LP cleaning machines. Obviously, the first commandment applies here: do no harm.
I have a LOT of dirty vinyl, my old ones and many that people gave me when they quit vinyl, as well as garage sales, ...

Cleaning is more important if using an advanced stylus shape which goes deeper in the groove and makes more side wall contact.

I simply scrub them myself in batches of 10 with kit I bought. Brush made for baby scalp, got on amazon.

See cleaning setup in this listing of an LP I sold on eBay. I listen to music while scrubbing away.

I would be very disappointed if a machine didn’t get them as clean and noise free as I do manually.

Here is how to clean seriously dirty records.  This is better than any ultrasonic cleaning machine according to all who have tried it.  For routine cleaning I have used a VPI HW-17 for years, but recently started using Tergitol in accordance with the instructions in this same paper and it definitely works better than other cleaning formulas I have tried in the VPI.
Vinyl Record Manual Cleaning Process - PAC-Vinyl-Records_2020-05-19.pdf
@billstevenson -that paper, written by Neil Antin, seems almost overwhelming at first but Neil does an excellent job of methodically explaining not only what he is doing, but why. Neil was responsible for the cleaning protocols of oxygen systems on submarines as part of NAVSEA and dealt with life-critical systems. He knows the chemistry, and has methods to evaluate effectiveness, including whether any residue of cleaning agent remains (which is regarded as a contaminant). 
I think Neil is registered to Audiogon, so can be reached to answer questions. Disclaimer: I published the paper (which was an honor to do so).
Bill Hart
Ultrasonic cleaning is the best. There is now unit that is very inexpensive that also dries the record. Sorry I can remember the brand. If your records are very dirty you might want to use a Spin Clean first with distilled water and a surfactant prior to ultrasonic cleaning again using distilled water.
@billstevenson & @whart,

Hey guys thanks for the compliments.  Bill Hart, Bill Stevenson and I have conversated over at the VPI forum.  I am working on the "Second Edition" to the paper, and so far have added 25 pages of new info - its about the lessons learned and further; deeper research into some areas to better understand the why. 

For my own cleaning - for mixing chemicals I now just use disposable pipettes - they are cheap and easy to use  moveland 5ML Transfer Graduated Pipettes Plastic Essential Oils Dropper - 100 PCS: Industrial & Scientific.  For those that do not use a vacuum-RCM (or blow dry), like a Spin Clean or full manual, this cleanroom sponge sucks up water like crazy, leaves no residue, and is cheap  -  PVA Clean Room Sponges, Wipes, and Mops (  I use the sponge to remove DIW only, squeeze out if necessary and store damp/wet - if it dries it will dry hard as cardboard - but will rehydrate.  I have cleaned >50 records and the sponge is fine.  Then I do a final light wipe with the Kinetronics Anti-Static Tiger Cloth  Anti-Static Tiger Cloth | kinetronics; and put the record in the rack, and by the time I have cleaned the next record - the 1st is dry and ready to resleeve.

Take care,

The unit you are talking about is the  HumminGuru | All-in-One Ultrasonic Vinyl Record Cleaner.   HumminGuru | All-in-One Ultrasonic Vinyl Record Cleaner by Happywell — Kickstarter.  Is it going to be better than the Degritter - no.  Its a lower frequency 40kHz unit and using very little water it cannot be very powerful, and it has no filtration capability and you have to refill for each use.  

Is ultrasonic better than manual or vacuum-RCM - technically no, but it eliminates the user as being a variable, and as @whart so nicely captures - "method is more important to me than the particular machinery involved".  But, for many it will be very convenient and much quieter than a vacuum RCM; reliability is TBD.  Also, for 'dirty' records you would still want to pre-clean with a manual process like the Spin Clean (as you say) or vacuum-RCM.  I know the drying process will be convenient, but not sure of how well it will filter out ambient dust and rack drying can be better then blowing ambient dust into the record.  

My one concern with the  HumminGuru is that it is going to significantly expand the user base of ultrasonic record cleaning, and people are going to experiment.  You can bet that they are going to try isopropyl alcohol and recognizing that IPA at 20% is very flammable and vapors are explosive - and the device is not explosion proof - who is going to light themselves or blow themselves first.  
Thanks to all for the thorough and informative advice.
Knowing myself and my less-than-fastidious tendencies, I think I'll want a very convenient do-it-all unit for records that have already been thoroughly cleaned so I can pop them in, pull them out dry and play them.  I'll use the more manual deep-cleaning approach for older records that are really gunked up.
That said, which do-it-all unit do you think would work best as part of day-to day listening?

For a hands-off RCM, that will clean/dry automatically, there are currently only three units in manufacture available that I know of.  Which cleans the best - they will all do a decent job. Can you get better automated cleaning - yes; but not in the same footprint, and not with the automated drying and therefore not with the same push-here convenience.  

1.  Degritter - list price ~$2995 -  Record cleaning machine that is easy to use - Degritter.  This is the newest design.  It uses a 120-kHz ultrasonics for cleaning.  It has received pretty much universal praise and the various forums discuss very strong customer support.

2.  Clear Audio DOUBLE MATRIX PROFESSIONAL SONIC list price $5995 clearaudio electronic GmbH - double matrix professional SONIC, deep record cleaning with sonic.  This device uses sonics to vibrate brushes.  It appears to be very well built and is provided with a 3-yr warranty.  Note that  Clear Audio will void the warranty if you use other than their no-foam cleaning solution.

3.  Audiodesk - list price $4495 - generally on sale at $3995 -  Home - Audiodesksysteme Gläss GmbH .  If you read the forums, there is some debate as to how much ultrasonics are actually used for cleaning; or whether it is mostly using brushes to do the cleaning.  This unit has seen quite a number of design changes with the latest being 2020.

Other designs such as the KL audio record cleaner that use ultrasonics are no longer in manufacture.  Overall, as any automated clean/dry  devices, they can be quite sophisticated, and some such as the Audiodesk do have significant life cycle cost associated with replacement pads & rollers; the Degritter has replacement fluid filters but they are very low cost (simple porous plug).  Given the prices, decent customer support and vendor stability (will they stay in business) is highly recommended.  

Given the prices above, you can see where the Chinese made HumminGuru at what will likely sell for about $399 (import fees not included) will be very appealing,  And, for people who in the past have just used a Diskwasher pad or equal, it will likely be quite a revelation; how well it actually cleans notwithstanding.  But, recall that for every use, you will have to refill the HumminGuru (and the fluid is not filtered - you can collect and filter - but so much for convenience), and assuming the fans have filters - you will have device maintenance and life cycle costs; service life notwithstanding.  
@antinn did a good job of summarizing what is available as a "one button" type pop in the record and walk away type ultrasonic. @keegiam- you are astute enough to appreciate that the ultrasonic cleaning is not a complete solution and if you are buying used records (not necessary bargain bin/Goodwill sourced cast-offs), you may need to resort to manual cleaning (in combination with ultrasonic). The high cost of made for LP ultrasonics is what drove people to the DIY camp- which was, as far as I know, already involved in ultrasonic cleaning of LPs before the Audio Desk was first commercialized.
I think most of us experiment a bit, and based on results, find a method or series of methods that is effective and meets the needs of the user for both efficiency and cost.
Although the Monks was around circa 1970, and the VPI and Nitty Gritty came to market in 1981 if memory serves, my take is that it was only after the Death of Vinyl™ that people really began using RCMs more broadly since they were buying used records, including a lot of the audiophile stuff recommended by HP, Sid Marks and others (older RCA dogs, Mercury Living Presence, Decca, etc).
I honestly don’t know why I got sucked into the record cleaning area as a subject of interest. I had arranged to visit the intake facility of the Library of Congress located in Culpeper, Va. mainly to talk to them about cleaning, but the archives, old equipment, new technologies to read fragile media and the shelves of material on deposit and awaiting intake and accessioning fascinated me. I eventually published a piece on that visit which was one of the first of many on the topic (the recording cleaning part was really subordinate to story of the facility itself, but later installments on record cleaning followed).
My answer to your question is different than Neil's.  For the ongoing maintenance of records that are in good shape to begin with I will continue to rely upon my VPI.  These machines do a more than adequate job of preservation, are extremely reliable and very easy to use.  Mine cleans in both directions under power, which I like, but even their most basic model 16.5 can clean counterclockwise manually.  All have a very effective vacuum drying system.  Current price for a 16.5 is about $650.
Well I need to interject here
My Vibrato, assembled in SC. Works on 80khz, (4) transducers, has a frequency sweep function, a heater. Retail is $875.00

Just had it refurbished. It's unclear if Louis will continue making these.
This site sells 132-kHz units -  CleanerVinyl Ultrasonic Record Cleaning.  I know of at least person that uses their 40-kHz unit for pre-clean and then the 132-kHz unit for final clean.  The individual has some physical limitations and this setup can pretty much clean anything.  

1. Step 1 - 40kHz; use the Tergitol 15-S-9 at 0.05 to 0.1%; for your 6000 mL tank that is 3-6 mL (no benefit for >6 mL/0.1%). For his 6000 mL tank he just adds 60-70 drops. This concentration will develop a wetting solution and micelles that will provided detergency. When he removes the record - gives it a few seconds to drain into the tank. As a wetting solution it will drain very quickly - this will minimize carry-over to the 132kHz tank.

2. Step 2 - 132kHz; use the Tergitol 15-S-9 at 0.01%; for his 6000 mL tanks that is 0.6 mL - to keep it simple just use 10 drops. For the 132kHz this is the final polish and the amount of Tergitol 15-S-9 is only to achieve a 'wetting' solution. You want the US and low surface tension fluid to do the work - he should not need detergency at this level.

I had an old nitty gritty that I thought did a good job. Then I purchased a Degritter and the improvement is clearly audible. I’m cleaning old records that I thought were clean but didn’t sound so good so rarely played them.  after using Degritter they now are wonderful. At first I used the included cleaning solution that came with the machine and was very happy with results. Now I’m trying Tergikleen to preclean records then using Degritter with just demineralized water. Not sure if it is better than the included solution but trying on different records. Highly recommended 
Yes....there is a sonic difference, but too much of a Pia for me.   I have a Nitty Gritty that I use occasionally.   I use a brush before playing....
@lxgreen - your response raises a number of good issues, none of which are confined to the Nitty Gritty machine. One is multiple cleaning methods and steps, which I have found to be synergistic. Despite your delight with the results of the Degritter, you may want to keep your Nitty Gritty around as a pre-cleaner for records that aren’t effectively cleaned with an ultrasonic process.
The other issue is whether you want to use a surfactant as part of the ultrasonic cleaning process. We are told (and have seen photos showing) that the surfactant in the bath enhances the cavitation process by lowering the surface tension of the bath water.
The question then becomes how one effectively removes the residue of that surfactant in completing the cleaning process. Forced air drying will not do so; I had that experience when I owned the AD and could see how records cleaned with it exhibited a different behavior when wetted than a record that had not been run through the AD.
This suggested to me that some surfactant remained on the record surface, though frankly, I never heard a sonic signature from it. (I used little more than a capful of the AD fluid, rather than a whole bottle, based on comments from some early adopters).

I know the Degritter allows you to change out water containers which means you could conceivably clean with a surfactant, then change the water "cartridge" to a "pure" water container for a rinse cycle-- but that "pure" water bath is going to get polluted pretty quickly with surfactant residue.
Distilled water is certainly cheap enough in the States to enable you to change out the water constantly, but you’d probably have to clean the inner walls of that container (and Lord knows what the innards involve in terms of removing any surfactant traces from the inside of the machine itself).
Am I being a bit anal about this? Sure. One solution is to finish the record using pure water and a vacuum process, but the Nitty Gritty may not be conducive to that.
I also wonder if not doing a "pure" water rinse step when you were using only the Nitty Gritty resulted in less than satisfactory results- that is, there was residue of the cleaning solution along with other contaminants (that you were trying to remove) that were still bound to the record surface.
Good luck with your Degritter- in the current market, that seems like the unit to go for "one button" LP cleaning. I’ve only heard good things about the unit, including from @albertporter, a longtime Audiogon member who has owned and used virtually every high end RCM.
I’m still thinking of a design for an industrial level ultrasonic that might accomplish it all for less than 10k Dollars. :) In the meantime, we soldier on.
Bill Hart
When you are using surfactants for the final clean step, and you are not going to do a final rinse, you can do it, but the surfactant and its concentration has to be near perfect to get a near residue-free surface.  In my discussion above, 0.01% tergitol which is equal to 100 ppm (or 100 mg/L) will achieve a surface tension of 30 dynes/cm.  If  you were to leave 2 mL on the surface to dry, you would leave a residue of 0.2 mg which is essentially insignificant.   Now this assumes a clean tank, but most good DIY setups are filtering the tank.

But, if you are using who knows what at  who knows what concentration, you are asking for trouble if you are not going to rinse.

This has been quite a technical tour de force.  One surprise is the respect the old Nitty Gritty units still garner.

It has me wondering if I should do my deep cleaning with my old NG 1.5 (using Tergitol or distilled water) and acquire a VPI 16.5 or 17 for pre-listening treatments.  (I don't care about noise during cleaning.)

None of this would be ultrasonic, but would it do the job?  Also, would I still need an anti-static brush?

The disadvantage with the NG 1.5 is that you cannot work the surface of the record with cleaner/brush and this is noted in this review comparing it to a VPI  Record cleaning machines - Clearaudio Smart Matrix, Nitty Gritty 1.5 and VPI HW 16.5 [English] (  The benefit of the VPI (and similar units) is that you can apply steps as follows:

1.  Pre-clean dirty records with say Alconox Liquinox at 0.5% - vacuum but do not fully dry.
2.  Rinse pre-cleaner with DIW  - vacuum, but do not fully dry.
3.  Final clean with say Tergitol 15-S-9 at 0.05% - vacuum and do not fully dry.
4.  Rinse final cleaner with DIW - vacuum and fully dry.

There is manual labor with using a brush - I like the Record Dr bursh Record Doctor Clean Sweep Brush: Home Audio & Theater - you can use one brush - just rinse with water after each cleaner use (it can be tap water); and there is some technique - you have to work the brush and cleaner.  Will it do the job, yes and more than likely better than ultrasonics because you are using a multi-step process with fresh cleaner and rinse water for each step.  Something like the Degritter is convenient and easy to use with no manual labor, but as single step machine it has limitations. 

Once the record is deep wet cleaned, if you take reasonable care, store in an antistatic sleeve, there should be no reason to clean again.  Static is something you cause.  You can use an anti-static brush - but only just touch the record surface and the brush and you need a path to ground (touch something metal that is grounded).  Otherwise, I use no brushes, just a swipe with the Kinetronics anti-static tiger cloth Kinetronics Anti-Static Microfiber Cloth, 10x18-Inch Tiger Cloth: Camera & Photo  to remove surface particles.

Neil, many many thanks for all the time you spent getting me on the right road (not to mention your amazing treatise from last May that explains everything so well).  Thanks again to the other posters as well.

I now have the entire process planned out, including chemicals, materials, tools and dilution amounts.  I plan to purchase a VPI and in fact have already picked out a handy spot on my kitchen counter to become the cleaning center.

One question left: do you use the VPI for every step of the cleaning?  That seems extremely convenient to me, but I don't want to mess up the machine any more than necessary.


People using the procedure use just one vacuum-RCM.  They are not using multiple vacuum-RCM.  Note that this device : RONXS Lighter, Upgraded Candle Lighter Camping Lighter Grill Lighter USB Lighter Plasma Arc with LED Battery Display Safety Switch, Longer Flexible Neck for Candle Cooking BBQs Fireworks (Black) : Sports & Outdoors can neutralize static on a record.  Just energize for a few seconds while circling around the record about 1" above; keep away from the cartridge.  
This is a wonderful, most helpful post.  So thanks to keegiam, Bill H, Bill S, and Neil for the links and information.

I've been using a VPI 16.5 for more than 20 years.  Until I began reading about ultrasonic cleaning I was satisfied that wet/vacuum cleaning was good enough.  But with a decent sized LP collection, reduced from over 3,000 to about 1,000 from a recent move, I now wonder if there is more sonic improvement possible in my records?

Being retired I'm not interested in a machine which costs $4-5K.  Nor do I want to spend a half-hour cleaning one record.  But if I could improve cleaning, and thus sonics, with different solutions with my VPI, or by adding an ultrasonic system for no more than $1K then this old dog is ready for new tricks.

Let me offer a cheap solution first. Buy the two cleaning agents: the Alconox Liquinox ($22 from Amazon) as a pre-cleaner and the Tergitol 15-S-9 ($22 + shipping from Talas) as a final cleaner, and maybe a new brush. Then try the pre-clean/final clean procedure I listed above for @keegiam with your VPI 16.5. You may be surprised and you just saved about $950.

If you are not surprised, nothing is lost, the Alconox Liquinox is still usable as a pre-cleaner with the VPI 16.5 and the Tergitol 15-S-9 is usable with your new ultrasonic tank as the final cleaner.

One caveat, if you are surprised by the cheap solution mentioned above, it does not mean that the expensive solution with a new ultrasonic tank is going to be even better. It ’may’ only be easier.

Take care,

The information we've been given here represents thousands of hours of scientific research and experimentation.  I appreciate you including me in your thanks, but it's undeserved.  I was simply looking for updated advice since my Nitty Gritty 1.5 purchase years ago, so I posed a question.  Enter the brain trust.

These gentlemen (Bill S., Whart & Neil) have graciously and patiently re-explained their findings that, had we done the digging, were already there.  Folks like this are the backbone of these forums, and I sincerely revere their efforts to help us better enjoy the music we love.
If you don't mind a bit of elbow grease try Vinylwipe  it comes sealed, a wet wipe about 7"x7" I did 12 Lp's both sides with one wipe. It did a great job on some neglected,  used Lp's I was given. They say the solution doesn't contain any harmful chemicals and the wipe is biodegrade. Cost $0.50 per wipe plus shipping.
keegiam, you started this ball rolling and I thought that deserved some credit too.
Neil and all,

I'm surprised this post seems to have gone dormant.  I would have thought there might be more interest, thus further questions and comments.

For what it's worth I'll mention two parts of my cleaning procedure with the VPI 16.5, for those still using any wet/vac.  Long ago I learned better cleaning can be achieved if I move the cleaning brush, rather than simply hold it in position.  Using my thumb and first two fingers to grip the brush I rock it fore and aft while the wet record is spinning.  I also move it side to side, maybe just over a quarter inch.  This seems consistent with comments above about "working the surface".

Effective drying requires the suction tube to be set at the proper angle.  Soon after I bought my 16.5, VPI staff advised the tube should be installed with the slot at a 185 degree position when viewed from the end.  Set up that way I run the vacuum on for two revolutions, then shut it off.  The suction is sufficient so that the tube remains on the record for nearly two more revolutions, then it lifts off.  The record is always dry then, unless I need to absorb any small droplets on the label area.

I look forward to trying Neil's recommended procedure with my 
VPI before any further consideration for a US cleaner.

This subject has been discussed many ways - there is a long thread over at the VPI Forum and starting around page 66 I started contributing

Otherwise, you can swipe the brush back & forth as quickly as you wish - the faster the better, just don't be throwing liquid everywhere.  There are two schools of thought - one is to bear down on the brush/pad to scrub record - I am not a fan of that - too easy to do more harm than good.  I am the school of thought that says move the brush as quickly as you can back & forth to agitate the cleaner/fluid - so that its is the fluid agitation - the fluid velocity/foam (that can mimic cavitation) that does the cleaning.  Some foam is OK for manual cleaning when you are not using a lot of cleaner, it lifts/float debris from the record into the brush so you are not grinding it into the record. 

Your drying method sounds great - especially this time of year when cold weather + low humidity make it very easy to develop static on the record.  

Good Luck!

Neil, I have all the goodies, except the VPI itself, which should be here in a week.  I found a pretty pristine HW-17.

Question: for the really dirty records, is it ok to scrub with the Liquinox solution right on the VPI while it's turning?  This would be handy for me but I don't want to do things that are going to damage the machine over the long run.  Would it be better to remove the record and rinse it with tap water instead of using the vacuum to suck up the Liquinox solution?

I'm not as concerned about the Tergitol 15-S-9 solution because it seems the milder of the two.  BTW, I even bought one of those cool Ronxs lighters to keep right next to the table and figure I'll just zap the blank vinyl near the label before lowering the stylus.  What could beat a last-second anti-static zap?

One last thing: A guy on a Steve Hoffman forum recommended this as a perfect drying rack.  A Hamilton Beach 6600x bread slicing guide.  I ordered a used one but it's still gonna set you back over $20 with shipping:

This version will hold 17 records - sort of overkill - but there's a similar unit out there that would hold 6.


Yes, you can use the Liquinox with the vacuum-RCM.  Use about 0.5% solution and then rinse with DIW and then proceed to final clean  with  the 15-S-9. The Liquinox will foam more than 15-S-9, but most of foam will collect in the brush. I will state that I now use the Liquinox even for new record, unless 45 rpm >$40 which are pretty clean.  The record pressing plants are pushing manufacture to keep up with demand, and cleanliness suffers, but is correctable.  

Per my paper I use the OXO dish rack -  Dish Rack (; the tips are smooth and almost rubbery, but its only good for six records which is pretty much the most I will clean at any one time.

Take care & good luck,
Liqinox and Tergitol are proving quite difficult to source in the UK.

Ilfotol can be sourced, is there any equivalent Substitutes for Liquinox ?

In the UK/EU you cannot purchase  Liquinox and Tergitol.  Aside from ILFOTOL, for a Tergitol 15-S-9 near equivalent you can purchase  Dehypon LS54  Dehypon – Conservation Resources (UK) Ltd ( which is not available in the US.   Dehypon LS54 is a low foaming, high performance nonionic surfactant; and like 15-S-9 is delivered 100% concentrated.  If using at room temperature for hand-cleaning or vacuum-RCM, use it at about 0.025%.  You use Dehypon LS54 at about 1/4 the concentration of Tergitol 15-S-9 (if curious, the critical micelle concentration of Dehypon LS54 is less than 15-S-9, so you can use less).

I have no direct UK/EU substitute for Liquinox.  I have done some searching, but I have yet to find any direct replacement.   However, for the pre-clean step you have any number of alternatives; I choose Liquinox because I knew the product, the company and in the US - its cheap. I have not used this product, but it is clear (so no dye), appears to be formulated for records and is concentrated and the dilution ratio is not bad, Record Machine Cleaning Fluid Concentrate - 250ml by: Electronics. If you go to the vendor site FAQs – Vinyl Clear it does talk about dust - which implies the cleaner if not rinsed (or subject to final clean) the residue can be a dry powder. So long as you use it only for pre-clean, you should never experience this. A cheaper alternative (if you can find it) could be a hand dishwashing detergent that is not colored (no dyes), un-scented (no fragrance) and are not anti-bacterial. These will tend to have a number of ingredients that have nothing to do with cleaning such as thickeners, but diluted-down into a spray bottle can work as a pre-cleaner.   Most thickened dishwashing detergents are at best 25% active so I recommend diluting to get about a 0.5% solution; add (1000 mL)(0.005)/(0.25) = 20 mL/L as a place to start.

Neil, do you know of any videos or can you describe the best technique for using the Ronxs arc lighter (or any similar unit) once the record is spinning on the platter?  I did see one warning about keeping it away from the cartridge, which is sort of a no-brainer.  What would you think about moving it back and forth between the label and record edge for a couple revolutions?  How close to the record surface does it need to be to be effective?

Update: I have my Liquinox and Tergitol mixtures ready.  Waiting on the HW-17, drying rack and MOFI inner sleeves.  (I went for a used HW-17 because of the vacuum power and the fact that I can just move the built-in cleaning wand aside when I'm manually scrubbing, then employ if for a final rinse.)

Thanks again for your tireless guidance.  Your willingness to help the rest of the community by sharing your extensive knowledge is admirable and greatly appreciated.


VPI HW17 - nice score.  As far as Ronxs device - there are no video's, two options - while the platter is not turning - energize the unit and circle around the record for a couple of rotations (few secs) about 1" above the record.  Otherwise with the platter rotating (but not playing) energize the unit about 1" above the record and move back&forth between outer & inner groove. Don't over think this.
With that bread slicing rack....seems like too many chances to scrap a record against those long dividers? Thanks, I'll pass and stick with my tried and true regular dish rack using clean dish towels as a buffer.
They're molded plastic, and I plan to cover the upper ends with those soft usb covers.   All will be fine.
Re: bread rack.

After looking into different materials that are available, I decided to cover every upright on the bread rack with 1/2" ID thin-wall PVC tubing.  The tubing is pulled down over the entire length of each upright (it is a rather snug fit, which is perfect).  Snip the tubing at the top of the post and move on to the next one.  There will be nothing for the record surfaces to touch except for soft PVC.

I doubt I'll ever have 17 LPs in it at once, but it seems better than being limited to 6.
Distilled water is certainly cheap enough in the States to enable you to change out the water constantly, but you’d probably have to clean the inner walls of that container (and Lord knows what the innards involve in terms of removing any surfactant traces from the inside of the machine itself).

Bill Hart's note raises a legitimate issue that is rarely discussed: cleaning tank cleanliness.  None of the push button desktop machines (AudioDesk, Degritter, KLAudio, etc.) have accessible interiors other than through the record slot at the top.  Even after a short period of use, say a couple months, sticking a clean cloth or even some paper towels into the interior of a closed desktop machine reveals accumulated gunk, a composite of dirt from records and cleaning fluid residue built up over time. Small filters mitigate this somewhat but the accumulation still occurs.  Many of the interior parts are not accessible.  Switching out wash water for clean water, particularly distilled water, can, at least in theory absorb minerals from a dirty interior along with whatever residue disolves into it.  Without some method to clean them the interior of closed desktop machines only get dirtier.

DIY ultrasonic machines typically have stainless steel interiors that are open.  Better ss tanks have rounded bottom corners.  These are easy to clean compared to the mostly closed compartments of the desktop units.

With regard to horizontal machines (Monks, VPI, Loricraft, etc) these are vacuums, they rotate the record and suck off clearnng fluid but they do no cleaning themselves. Cleaning comes from cleaning fluids. I used AIVS fluids with my Loricraft PRC-3. Experiments suggest that scrubbing with a brush can do more harm than good. My approach is to lightly agitate the cleaning fluid with a brush to keep released residue suspended in the cleaning fluid.  It takes time for cleaning fluid to do its work, anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes and the record should remain covered in fluid until it is vacuumed off and the record rinsed.
Tim, you can access the reservoir tank on the KL through a screw off port on the back. It has sharp edges (as one learns the first time) and isn't easy to align the threads to get back on properly seated. That said, it does not allow you to access the actual bath where the water and record meet. 
I use clean room wipes to wipe down the inner walls of the reservoir, using rubber tipped oversized tweezers to hold the wipes. What it shows is nothing if the records have been pre-cleaned on the Monks; if a new records goes directly into the KL, there will be a very fine black grit, almost like pigment (a term someone else used to describe this on another forum). Neil has a second edition in the works. It's gonna be good! 

The likelihood of the debris being pigment is pretty remote.  The pigment forms with the PVCa/PVC a polymer so its not going to wear individually.  However, consider this, the stylus develops pressures on the order  of >10,000 psi and very localized (short term) temps approaching 500F.  If there is any residue from past sins (i.e., brushes with record cleaners) and that residue is a hydrocarbon such as a surfactant. At those pressures & temperatures you will get partial thermal decomposition and essentially soot. 

Just some thoughts.
Good for KL owners to know, Bill; thanks.

That said, it does not allow you to access the actual bath where the water and record meet.
And that's where the gunk accumulates.I wonder if multiple ultrasonic cycles, each with clean water and no records, could remove some dirt from the interior machinery.

Neil has a second edition in the works.

Homework!  :-)

Neil- I didn’t think it was actually pigment but it is very fine and stains. See the thread you are in on Hoffman re the Degritter, Neil, where Phil describes it that way. What’s interesting is this-- it only happens with new records that have not be precleaned. If I preclean a record it doesn’t seem to appear in the US reservoir. It must dissolve too, because if I preclean it’s on the Monks which has a clear glass jar (almost like a British mason jar with a metal lid and a couple of barb type fittings for hoses). The waste water will be cloudy after any kind of clean but not dark or show evidence of the stuff as grit (I like examining the entrails of what comes off the record- very Druid).
Tim- it’s too bad the KL is no longer but mine is still (knock wood) running ok and I like the machine. I’ve been kicking around ideas about an industrial approach to this with Neil for the next machine but we haven’t gotten into detail yet.
Perfect Vinyl Forever

I ran across this outfit recently and sent them 16 LPs to be cleaned using their “archival” process. I received the cleaned LPs this past weekend and I have found the results to be compelling.

How will you maintain the cleaned records?  I can understand the temptation to send some of my most cherished LP's for this treatment, but they still have to be cleaned as they're used at home.

Thanks for calling our attention to this service.


Once you have established cleanliness its all about maintenance of cleanliness; and in my opinion the only thing that belongs in the groove is the stylus.