vinyl records
Last updated: 01/14/2020

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If you collect vinyl records, you are sure to have some classic albums, released by some of the greatest artists in history. However, this format requires significantly more maintenance than CDs (especially if they are older vinyl records). No need to stress though, there are lots of products out on the market designed for this very purpose, such as brushes, solvents and even machines.

Although you can simply clean vinyl with a basic alcohol cleaning solution, it is advisable to buy a specific product for the task. Generic cleaners will only clean the surface, but for the best results a deeper clean is needed, especially if your discs need to be repaired. We have prepared this guide to tell you everything you need to know, to find the vinyl record cleaning option that is best for your individual requirements.

Key Facts

  • The best way to keep your records in good condition is to store them properly. If you keep your discs stacked horizontally, in a room that is humidity free, at a low temperature and away from direct sunlight – cleaning will still be necessary, but it will be much easier to do.
  • Not all vinyl cleaners are designed for the same type of tasks. You need to consider whether you want to repair a scratch, improve the sound of an older record or simply clean the surface. Obviously, a product that offers a combination of cleaning methods is more useful.
  • When selecting a vinyl record cleaner, it is highly advisable to check the customer reviews. There are many products that don’t work as well as they claim (although this is not the case with the those we review on our list), so the experience of other users will give you a better insight into how well they perform.

Our Selection: The Best Vinyl Record Cleaners on the U.S. Market

If you are looking for a vinyl record cleaner that offers professional results, you have come to the right place. The first thing you need to know is that there are several different types of cleaners available on the market. In order to find the option that best suits your needs, in this section we feature the four best products in four different categories.

Best Anti-Static Vinyl Record Cleaning Brush

Any collector will tell you that preserving and maintaining your record collection and stylus is of extreme importance. Regular cleaning leads to increased vinyl and stylus longevity, while improving overall sound fidelity. This record brush is electrically conductive, helping to eliminate static charges which attract dust and dirt. The brush removes static by allowing it to pass from the aluminum shell, through a person’s hand/body.

Best Vinyl Record Cleaning Solution

Lasermedia VNC-8 Vinyl Record Cleaning Fluid is another top archival quality product used by demanding archives and record collectors across the country. Precisely formulated to maximize efficient cleaning of the pure vinyl used to make records, VNC-8 gently lifts accumulated dirt and other contaminants without use of any harmful chemicals like Isopropyl alcohol or ammonia. And since the formulation is precisely blended for the maximum performance, no cleaning fluid residue is left on the recording and an after-rinse is not normally needed.

Best Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit

Collector Protector Cleaning Kit can help you keep your cherished LPs in premium condition. This kit consists of a bottle of cleaning solution as well as a hand-held carbon fiber brush. To use the carbon fiber brush, spin record on turntable and lightly mist brush with spray cleaner. Place brush at a 90 degree angle on the record. With light pressure on the brush, allow record to rotate a few times and then slowly slide brush towards you. Rotate brush bristles back and forth against underside of handle to clear the dust from the fibers.

Best Vinyl Record Cleaning Machine

Quickly and effectively clean both sides of any record simultaneously without using your turntable as part of the process. With the patented Spin-Clean Record Washer MK II complete record cleaning system, you’ll enjoy better sounding records, add years to your turntable, and preserve your LPs, 78s, and 45s. With the patented Spin-Clean MKII Record Washer Deluxe Kit, you’ll have everything you need and more to clean and maintain your LPs. Whether you’re a beginner or have been collecting vinyl records for years, the MKII is incredibly effective, easy to set up and use, and offers tremendous value.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Vinyl Record Cleaners

There are so many different methods for cleaning vinyl records, and the best option will be different for each person, depending on their individual requirements. To find the product that is best for you, it’s important to have some background information on how these cleaners work. So that you can find out everything you need to know to make an informed choice, in this section we answer the most frequently asked questions about vinyl record cleaners.

browsing vinyl records

Although you can simply clean vinyl records using an alcohol-based cleaning solvent, it is advisable to use a product specifically designed for the task.
(Source: Sirylok: 22884606/ 123rf.com)

What are vinyl record cleaners exactly?

A vinyl record cleaner is a product that helps keep vinyl records in good condition. They are available as a single cleaning product, or as part of a kit that contains various additional elements. They eliminate the static electricity that builds up in records that are used frequently, as well as reducing clicks and pops, caused by the accumulation of surface dust.

As you will see below, there are several different types of vinyl cleaners, which perform either soft or maintenance cleaning, medium cleaning, or a deeper cleaning designed to repair a damaged record. A combination of soft and medium cleaning will keep your vinyl records in perfect working order, just as they sounded when you first purchased them.

What types of vinyl record cleaners are available?

Now that you know why it is important to keep your vinyl records clean, it is good idea to know what kinds of cleaners are currently available on the market. While liquid solutions and brushes are adequate for maintenance and light cleaning, sometimes you may need to repair a scratch, or the record may be so dirty that is needs a much deeper clean.

Type of vinyl cleaner: Perfect for cleaning vinyl discs:
Antistatic Brush With light surface dust and a low level of static electricity.
Liquid Cleaner With light surface dust, in addition to moderate dirt or grime, and a moderate level of static electricity.
Gel Cleaner With light surface dust, in addition to embedded dirt or grime on the surface and in the grooves of the vinyl record, significant levels of static electricity and some scratches that cause jumps or pops.
Cleaning Machine That are older or vintage, and have degraded due to improper storage, are scratched, and have dust, embedded dirt and/or mildew.

Is a carbon fiber or a velvet brush better for cleaning vinyl records?

In cases of lighter dirt, or dust that has not become embedded, the best vinyl cleaner you can use is an antistatic vinyl brush. There are two types: velvet or carbon fiber. If you are looking for the easiest option, it is best to use velvet, as it is softer and less abrasive.

However, carbon fiber can cause scratches if you press too much. Another thing to remember is, if you are going to combine it with a liquid to clean vinyl, make sure it is of decent quality and that it will evaporate. Otherwise, you will make the disk dirtier, rather than clean it.

How is an anti-static brush used to clean vinyl records?

Although an anti-static brush is very easy to use when caring for your collection of albums, LPs and singles, it is a little tricky initially. It is not sufficient to use the brush to clean vinyls just like removing lint from clothes. The system is somewhat more complex, although once you figure it out, you will not have any further problems:

  • Select the disc you want to clean and place it on your turntable.
  • Switch it on so that the disc beings to rotate, but do not play it.
  • Rest the anti-static brush lightly on the surface of the record. It is best to hold it at a slight angle.
  • The movement of the turntable rotating will allow you to remove any dust using the brush, without needing to move your hand.
  • After a couple of rotations, gently drag the brush outwards and shake of any accumulated dust, and then reapply.
vinyl records

For the best results, use a combination of several different cleaning methods.
(Source: Tomertu: 26950249/ 123rf.com)

Buyer’s Guide

With the birth of CDs, and the advent of the internet soon after, many people thought that vinyl records would never been seen again. However, over the last two decades they have experienced a rebirth, which has led to a new generation of audiophiles discovering the format and building up collections. In order to find the vinyl record cleaning system that is best for your individual requirements, it’s important that you keep a few key factors in mind when making your purchase:

Vintage Vinyl Records

Although repairing a scratched vinyl record is very difficult to do, without using a professional vinyl cleaners, some of the best products are specially designed for this purpose. They allow you to significantly improve the sound quality, almost restoring them to their original state.

The Spin-Clean Record Washer Mark II that we reviewed earlier in this article offers fantastic results for a very low price. It is actually a very economical option, considering that comparable machines can exceed $1,000 and range up to $3,000 in price. This product has a fantastic reputation thanks to its excellent cleaning results, and positive reviews from happy users.

Vinyl record with copy space in front of a collection albums dummy titles, vintage process

There are ecological and vegan-friendly vinyl disc cleaning products available on the market.
(Source: Viktor Nagornyi: 59793625/ 123rf.com)

Maintenance

Don’t wait until your vinyl records are covered in dust before you clean them. Constancy is the key to keeping your collection in the best possible condition. This is especially true if you don’t listen to them very often. Prevention is better than cure, and regularly maintaining you records will keep them in pristine working order.

User Reviews

It’s possible these days to buy products made all around the world on online marketplaces such as Amazon, with just the click of your mouse. There are so many vinyl cleaners available that choosing the best one can be difficult. So that you don’t get sold a product that doesn’t perform as promised, it is best to consult the opinions of other users. Otherwise, simply choose from one of the products on our list, as they all have fantastic customer reviews.

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Format

Most vinyl cleaning liquid solutions come in bottles of various quantities usually ranging from 3 – 9 ounces. This may not seem like an issue, however, some of them do have an expiration date. After they have expired, the can lose their effectiveness and can even damage the disk. Therefore, if you are going to buy liquid or gel, think about how often you are going to use it and if you will use it up before it expires.

Summary

In the last twenty years, vinyl records have had a rebirth among a whole new generation of audiophiles, and they are here to stay. Many collectors are dusting off their old records, or are snooping through their parents’ collection in search of some forgotten gem. However, a great LP is worthless if it is not preserved correctly and able to be played without skipping or jumping.

So that this does not become a problem for you, find yourself a great vinyl record cleaning product. It will allow you to keep your collection in pristine condition, as well as improve the sound of old or damaged records. There are lots of different options, such as gel, liquid, machines or anti-static brushes. Choose the most suitable one for you, or better yet, combine them for a superior result.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our shopping guide and it has made your purchase process easier. If you liked this article, please be sure to leave us a comment and share it with your family and friends!

(Source of Featured Image: Belchonock: 96640731/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Writing and reading have always been passions of mine, and I have a really fun time being part of the team. I have a wide range of interests, so reviewing products is a great way to share my experience with people. I'm always researching online about the latest tech gadgets and looking for things to buy for around the home. With so many new options constantly hitting the market these days, I hope you have found my articles helpful in finding out about the latest products.