Stole my wife's Clarisonic to clean records...

My wife picked up a Clarisonic Mia, a motorized brush about the size of an electric razor that makes hundreds of very small movements per second. After hearing the description of how it works I couldn't resist trying it out on a record. Here's a blurb from Clarisonic's website:

"Typical manual cleansing can leave behind dirt and oil trapped in pores. Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing Systems use a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to gently, yet thoroughly remove 6X more makeup and 2X more dirt and oil than cleansing with your hands alone."

What I did:

There are multiple brush types that are available and I went with the softest one that's intended for, "delicate skin types". I sprayed a generous amount of cleaner to the surface of the record and slowly went around the record with no other pressure than that provided by the weight of the device. I then vacuumed the record with my DIY record vacuum based off of a VPI pickup tube and holder purchased from

What I heard:

I used three records to experiment with. One was a new pressing of Axis: Bold As Love and the others were well used copies of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Let It Be from a used record shop, all three had previously been cleaned with a Spin Clean record washer.

In all cases the biggest difference I heard was in the vocals. The cleaned record made my previous listen veiled by comparison and it sounded like I picked up a little more volume. Pops and general noise was down and overall the records sounded much more alive and dynamic for lack of better words. Axis: Bold As Love however, gave me some grief. After the cleaning cymbals sounded harsh and I was picking up on sibilance. I don't know if this is from the cleaning being too harsh or if it was there before and just hiding underneath crud.

What I did wrong:

Anxious to do an A/B test in hindsight I feel like I listened to the record too quickly after cleaning. After cleaning with the solution I didn't rinse the record and only dabbed up excess moisture (which was very minimal) with a microfiber cloth. I will rinse and air dry all the records tonight.


My biggest concern is deciding if the brush is too harsh for the task of cleaning records. What would I need to listen for that would let me know if this routine is too abrasive?

Does anyone have any suggestions for different techniques I should be trying?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!
I would expect that if the brush is too harsh and damaging records that the records would be a lot noisier. Any damage would not likely result in pops and ticks, but a more general elevation of the background noise, and a decrease in detail. If you arent getting that, then you probably arent damaging the record.
I suggest you try some Ajax dish detergent instead of record cleaning fluid, then rinse the record thoroughly, vacuum it and further dry it with a microfiber terry towel as you did.

Most record cleaning fluids are isopropyl alcohol-based and are solvents. Detergent and soap are surfactants. Whereas the solvents try to dissolve the gunk, surfactants make the gunk unstick from the record groove. In my experience the detergent works better because--especially on very dirty records--the solvent can't dissolve all the dirt whereas the detergent can make it unstick from the record.

GIven that LPs are made of polyvinylchloride, a very tough substance, could it be that your cleaning regimen moved gunk into the high treble groove modulations, and that a second cleaning might fix that? BTW, those microfiber terry towels have 80,000 fibers per square inch, plenty small to get into the groove and help pull things out.
This seems interesting. I looked at the manufacturers site and they have a very plush "acne" brush that I would pick if I was to try this. I am considering it.
Thanks for the feedback. I made up some a record cleaning solution using information I found in past thread. It consists of roughly 85% distilled water, 15% alcohol and .75% Palmolive. I've also added a rinse stage to the cleaning processes. These changes have greatly improved the results.

I'll try and pick up the acne brush this weekend and report back.
Small quantities of alcohol are used to reduce the surface tension of the aqueous mixture and aid in wetting of the surface. If the wetting is poor, so will be the cleaning, no matter what surfactants are used.

Please also recall the PVC and record vinyl has plasticizers to keep the plastic flexible. High concentrations of some alcohols and solvents can remove these compounds and create a brittle surface. A brittle surface is subject to spalling, cracking, and degradation.
Would you suggest a cleaning solution with a lower alcohol content?

I found an Acne brush locally and will pick it up this evening. I also have a new record I bought for an A B comparison. I will be listening very carefully for any increase in background noise and loss of detail.
Two things:
how did it go with the new brush? and, I would replace the Palmolive with Jet Dry in your mixture - the best wetting agent I have tried by far.

You didn't specify the proof of the alcohol you were adding, but I have used a similar mixture for many years (40% alcohol in a 1:3 mix with distilled water) without problems.