what to do before you get the vpi record cleaner?

I bought a Nottingham spacedeck and have nearly doubled my record collection to 800 in the last 2 months

problem is I am waiting to afford a VPI record cleaner

snap crackle and pop are having fun on my vinyl collection

I am using a decca (dry method) stylus brush
and stylast on the cartridge (with ultrasonic battery operated stylus cleaner)

any suggestions to clean records before I get the expensive cleaner? I don't want to engrain the dirty records (the flea market variety) by playing them and I don't want to destroy my expensive audiophile pressings (Japanese and MSFL)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated


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Buy a Sota record cleaner instead.
You can also use the kitchen sink, or Disc Doctor stuff. They will do a good job while you are waiting. The only real big difference is the vacuum system for removing the fluid.
I have a VPI and Disc Doctor stuff. The Disc Doctor stuff works just as good, maybe even better than the VPI. Twl is right -- the only real difference is drying. With Disc Doctor, you let them dry in a dish rack (really! ask the Disc Doctor himself!). It's just more labor intensive than the VPI.
Another simple option is Orbitrac. I think it's sold by Music Direct (amusicdirect.com)
Use Disc Doctor, http://discdoc.com/.

I've been committed user and fan of the VPI 17 for well over a decade and have used it to clean thousands of records. This past summer I had a chance to try the Disc Doctor cleaning process, and I was totally blown away by the significantly improved results with Disc Doctor. Now I use Disc Doctor and the VPI handles only the rinse and vacuum as I gradually work back through cleaning my record collection with DD. I never thought this is where I would end up on this topic; I wouldn't have believed the difference if I hadn't tried it.
I add my second to the recommendations for the Disc Doctor and/or the kitchen sink. Also I have found that a standard power puff---a face powder applicator found in the cosmetic section of your local drug store---works well for the application of cleaning liquid and the scrubbing part of the cleaning process. After the scrubbing, a good rinse under the kitchen facuet removes most of the snap, crackle, and pop stuff. Then, if you're worried about the mineral residue left over from the tap water, you can rinse with purified water.
Before you spend any serious money on a record cleaning machine check out the "record cleaning" thread for my home made record vac. A VPI or any other record VAC is just a simple vacuum which you can make yourself at a fraction of the cost. This is one of the easiest and most cost effective vinyl addict enhancements you can do. Record VAC's definitely make a huge difference. I have virtually no click or pop after cleaning with my home-made vac. The only problem is records that have been trashed by playing with a bad stylus.

Pick up a "Groovmaster" on Ebay ($25-$35). It seals off the label portion in order that the LP can undergo some serious wet cleaning by hand.

Placing a dirty/grungy LP in a commercial cleaner (vacuum or not) will most likely do more damage than good.

Commercial machines do not properly flush the record grooves prior to brushing and are intended for clean/new LP's, not dirty/grundgy ones. Whether the manufacturer's point this out, or not, it's only common sense.

Not irragating/flushing the grooves of most/all hard deposits/foreign particles, prior to brushing, will allow such particles to act as abrasives when brushed about.

My first cleaning step, after attaching the Groovmaster, is to blast the LP with luke warm water via a Water-Pik (I do not bother with clean/filtered water @ this point).

I never brush a new/old LP until it has been irrigated in this manner.

The second step is to then use a mild soap/Iso alcohol/warm filtered water solution which is applied/worked with a fine/soft long bristled brush. A decent well trimmed "natural" paint brush works well as does the mystery brush that is supplied with the Groovmaster.

The third step is to rinse with filtered warm water via the water pick.

The fourth step is to allow the LP to air dry.

I do not bother with surfactant chemicals (like Kodak's Photo Flow) due to using extreme pressure via the Water-Pik and/or long bristled brushes. Why add more chemicals to the mix if they are not needed?

Another bonus of this method is that the plain/filtered water & the cleaning solution are so inexpensive that you feel free to use plenty in order to get the job done right.

I suppose that a faucet (supplying filtered water) with strong pressure would work in place of the Water-Pik. I just happened to have a W-P on hand and it does a super job. My wife calls the cleaning ritual a "seal act".

The last step is to place the dry/clean LP in a new/clean plastic liner.

After this I just use a dry carbon fiber brush before and after play. No need to ever deep clean the LP again unless you play the crap out of, loan it to Cher, drop it on the floor, et cetera.
I echo everything Dekay just wrote, which nearly mirrors my process.

I don't have a W-P but the spray hose on the kitchen sink works okay. I'm sure the higher pressure from a W-P would be better.

I wipe the LP and blot up the ring left by the GroovMaster before stacking in the drying rack. WalMart sells 100% lint free microfiber cloths in the paint dept.

Note, BentAudio is about to introduce an ULTRASONIC RCM. He showed a prototype at VSAC. Unless I hear something bad about it, that's the machine I'm going to buy. Cleans 7 LP's at a time with virtually no chemicals. Only downside is no vacuum but, as Jyprez points out, you can make your own attachment for next to nothing.
I have long trumpeted the use of the Groovmaster and am pleased to see that is being more widely used. One point regarding use of the Groovmaster, in extension to my remarks concerning its usage in the "Record-Playing Rituals" thread. If find it helpful to use a slightly moistened hand towel to CAREFULLY clean and dust the label and run-out groove area before using the Groovmaster. That way, you don't have dust migrating from there to the grooves after you've washed. Whatever method used, I wholeheartedly agree with and strongly recommend "irrigating" the grooves before using a brush. As an aside, I find the soft synthetic painter's pads work extremely well, are nearly the exact size of a record side and have a handle for extremely easy use as compared to a brush.

Second, before letting LP's dry in a rack, I like to spread a very slightly moistened bath towel across a table, lay the just cleaned LP on one end, fold up the other end on top, and gently blot the LP dry.

The "in-the-sink" Groovemaster method is a decent way to clean LP's and a MUST, IMHO, as a first-step for grungy garage sale-type LP's. However, nothing removes residue and the attending pops and clicks like a good vacuum cleaning with quality fluids (Record Research Lab products are vastly superior to others in my experience).
I have the 17f and it is a great luxury. I must ditto all the Disc Doctor stuff. I now use the VPI to rinse 'vac before and after a rubba dub dub with the doctor's velvet pad. I do use purified water because my water is really hard. Even though VPI takes it off immediately, I don't want that in the brushes or inside the tubing. I am now intreagued by Groovmaster. I want to add that after th final rinse and vac, I use last preservative. It cuts friction and noise. You can also use Last after the manual blot and air dry. Noise is also exaggerated by inexact cartridge orientation.
thanks for all the responses

I was away this week

I'll order the disc doctor and look out for a groove master

most of my stuff is not the grungy variety, I look them over pretty good and I have lots of very nice lps that I just don't want to hear pops on

JYPREZ, I recall seeing your homemade cleaner thread,
do you make these for a fee?