So, just off the top of my head, I’ve tried carbon fiber brushes, the Discwasher cleaning system, spray bottle record cleaners, home-brewed record cleaning fluid, and that strange wood glue method. Once I even built my own record cleaning machine using a shop vac and an old turntable. None of those approaches did much to clean up my old records. The best results I had were with Discwasher, but I couldn’t get a nice deep clean with it because it involved spinning a record on my turntable and cleaning it with a brush and special cleaning fluid; I could only apply minimal pressure because the more pressure I applied, the slower the platter would spin.
The best cleaning system for my money is Spin Clean. The Spin Clean is a thin tray with two removable brushes and two removable rollers. How it works is you slide the brushes into their slots inside the tray, and put the rollers in. Fill the tray up with distilled water to the measuring line on the inside. Pour a capful (or three capfuls depending on the size of the bottle) of Spin Clean fluid over the brushes.
Slide the record into the the spin clean between the two brushes and spin the record three complete revolutions clockwise and three complete revolutions coutner-clockwise. Dry the record off with a lint-free cloth by following the grooves. That’s it. You are supposed to be able to clean up to about 50 records with one batch of water and fluid, but I’ve found that the water gets pretty filthy after about 25 records. There are differnt placements for the rollers depending on if you are cleaning 7″s, 10″s, or 12″s.
The first record I ever cleaned with a Spin Clean was a hammered old copy of the T. Rex Electric Warrior album that I bought for a dollar at a garage sale. it was my “test” record because it is the one I would use to trial different cleaning methods, hoping to remove all the crackle I would hear during the first track. While Spin Clean did not remove the crackley noise completely, it DID reduce it significantly. Plus cosmetically, it really brought a nice shine to the vinyl.
I have tried the Spin Clean using home-made cleaning fluid – a concoction of isopropyl alcohol, distilled water and a drop of dish detergent – hoping to save a few bucks. I had read online that it’s “the same stuff” as the Spin Clean fluid. But let me dispell that myth, it’s not the same. It did not leave a shine on the vinyl the way Spin Clean fluid does. I also must emphasize the need to use distilled water for best results.
Having been manufactured in my home state of Pennsylvania since 1975, Spin Clean is a tried and true cleaning method. Recommended!