Side-by-Side Test: Vinyl Record Cleaning Solutions

Vinyl record cleaning solutions are one of the most highly-debated topics amongst vinyl collectors. The importance of maintaining clean records is undeniable. The benefits are numerous: extending vinyl life, improving playback, preventing needle wear. You can even increase the value of some records with a good clean.

However, there is no clear consensus on which method is best to clean records. There’s certainly something to be said about dry cleaning with a brush or microfiber cloth and no solution. But there comes a time in almost every record’s life when a more involved approach is necessary.

Even the most careful among us are prone to touching the vinyl surface, which leaves deposits of oil which can wear away at the material over time. Mildew can form in humid rooms and unless you store vinyl records properly, your records can become afflicted. Not to mention those filthy records you dig through at thrift stores or garage sales. Who knows where those have been. Vinyl record cleaning solutions help to combat these, and other, vinyl record ailments.

We’ve given some guidelines on an efficient process to clean vinyl records in an earlier post, but we stopped short of prescribing a specific cleaning solution. We simply didn’t feel confident in recommending one over the rest. With so many fervent defenders in different cleaning solution camps, how could we without a proper test? Which brings us here, lab coats on, to test popular cleaning solutions to use without a cleaning machine on some of the dirtiest records we could find.

Homemade Vinyl Record Cleaning Solutions

Full disclosure here, we will be covering only a few of the many homespun cleaning solutions you can find across the web. We provided a basic control group using tap water. We iterated on this using the commonly suggested solution of distilled water, dishwashing soap, and isopropyl alcohol. And we also wanted to try one of the most anxiety-inducing but passionately defended methods, wood glue. Yeah, we know, sounds crazy.

Control – Tap Water

As far as solutions go, there is nothing simpler or cheaper than turning on the faucet and giving your records a rinse.

This method was very quick. However, as you might expect, water by itself was not effective at removing the tougher stains on this record. Though I will say that I was surprised – it did remove some of the lighter marks after some pressure was applied with a microfiber cloth, ultimately leaving the record looking somewhat better than it had before.

That being said, I would never recommend this method. If you are going to take the time to clean the records, you might as well do it better than this.

Tap Water – 2 / 5
Summary – Quick, but lazy. Step up your cleaning with a better solution.

Isopropyl Alcohol (1 part), Distilled Water (1 part), and Dishwashing Soap (1-2 drops)

This combination of fluids is widely recommended as an efficient mixture to clean records using what are household, or at least easy-to-find, materials.

The three ingredients were easy to measure and easy to mix. To apply, we ordered a cheap spray bottle online. This made for an easy application, but might not be necessary if you’re looking to save money. Once we sprayed the solution onto the vinyl, we applied light pressure, in a circular motion, to a microfiber cloth to work on the stains.

The record needed a good rinse after application as there was a shiny film left on the vinyl surface. We found that the solution did remove quite a lot of grime, as evidenced by the before and after. However, it was not great at removing some of the tougher spots of the exceptionally dirty Live Neil Diamond record we used. Not shown in the pictures are the copious amounts of time and elbow grease required. We re-cleaned this record with professional solutions later and easily removed more grime.

Distilled Water, Alcohol, Soap – 3 / 5
Summary – An affordable surface clean, but it’s not going to remove the tougher spots.

Wood Glue

Coming out of left-field is the recommendation of wood glue. I thought this was a kind of sick joke that persisted through vinyl forums, but it turns out some collectors swear by wood glue for heavy-duty vinyl stain removal.

This process is cumbersome. Wood glue is tough to work with – you’re going to want to consider gloves and a surface that you won’t mind tossing out when done. As you can see from the image, wood glue was hard to apply in an even layer on the vinyl surface. You’ll also need a lot of the stuff. We used about one-fifth of a bottle just for a single side of a record. You’d probably end up going through a bottle in less than 10 records, though perhaps we could get more efficient over time.

It also takes longer than any other method tested. For wood glue to be effective, you need to let it dry, then peel it off, then rinse, then dry again. Drying out the wood glue also takes up a good amount of space.

I’ve got to say though, the peel was pretty rewarding.

In what was probably the biggest surprise of the entire experiment – the results were fantastic. We deliberately used one of the dirtiest records for the solution and it removed the vast majority of grime in one application.

The downside is we used around $1 in wood glue for just one side of one record…so if you do the math with more than a few records, this is easily the most expensive solution tested. If you’re looking for a way to clean an exceptionally dirty record, or just want to impress your friends – wood glue might be for you.

Wood Glue – 2.5 / 5
Summary – Remarkable effectiveness, but too expensive and cumbersome to be used outside of rare occurrences.

Professional Vinyl Record Cleaning Solutions

There are numerous companies that offer vinyl record cleaning solutions that are both easy to use and relatively affordable. We put a few of the most common ones to the test to see if their claims of providing superior cleaning ring true.

Near Mint

Near Mint cleaning solution was developed in the UK by DJ’s and Diggers Russ Ryan & Mo Fingaz and came highly recommended by a Discogs coworker. According to their website, Near Mint is the “most effective, chemically balanced & premium record cleaning solution on the market to date boasting a double strength attitude”. They collaborate with record shops, labels, and others in the industry to create limited-edition bottles, which makes them stand out.

They are also active in the London record fair scene, hosting around 12 events each year. We tested out the good-looking X Sister Ray – 360 Vinyl Cleaning Solution, which came with a white microfiber cloth.

The solution was easy to apply. The microfiber white cloth included with the bottle allowed us to clean a record without needing any additional materials. Removed a lot of grime and dirt – even stuff that our homemade concoction did not. The white cloth shows the grime you remove right away, which visually reinforces the work. The solution leaves a nice shine after.

Near Mint – 4.5 / 5
Summary – All around solid cleaner that looks nice on your shelf.


GrooveWasher was inspired by a former professor of microbiology named Dr. Bruce Meier. His famed Discwasher kit was one of the first in the market in the 1970’s. GrooveWasher is an attempt to honor his Discwasher invention. They strive to provide a consumer record cleaning tool and method that cleans the microgroove so the honest sound can be heard without doing harm to the record or the stylus.

Functionally, the GrooveWasher kit is complete. With other solutions, you might need to purchase distilled water or a microfiber cloth to start cleaning. It’s convenient to have everything you need in one package. The display kit is aesthetically pleasing and is a nice touch. Definitely helpful for keeping everything in one place.

We were very impressed by the microfiber cloth w/ handle. It distributed pressure well and kept our grimy hands far away from the clean surface. GrooveWasher wiped away stains that looked tough nearly instantly. It would also last pretty long given how little is needed to clean a record.

In short, Discogs knew what they were doing when they decided to partner with GrooveWasher on a branded vinyl record cleaning solution package. It’s good enough for tough stains and easy to use. It is well organized and looks great next to any setup. You can find an array of their products, including the kit with the stand tested for this article, at Turntable Lab.

GrooveWasher – 5 / 5
Summary – Everything you need to keep your records clean, with an added bonus of the best microfiber system we tested.

TergiKleen™ Tergitol-based Fluid Concentrate

I initially wanted to test The Library of Congress mixture of deionized water and .5% Tergitol 15-S-7. I quickly learned that Tergitol 15-S-7 is not available from any local shops and must be ordered online…in amounts that are both expensive and too large for this experiment. Since this method requires diluting the Tergitol, the amounts I came across were enough to last most collectors a lifetime. Then a coworker mentioned his solution of choice, TergiKleen. Derived from Tergitol, the concentrate can be diluted with distilled water to create a near-match to the LOC solution.

TergiKleen Tergitol Vinyl Record Cleaning Solution

With the warnings on the box, we decided to use precaution in handling this solution. The concentrate didn’t come with distilled water, so that was another item we had to purchase to proceed, which bumps up the cost a bit. They recommend using a cake pan to soak the record. Since we didn’t have this in the office a tin bucket was used.

As a manual solution, it is probably not your best option. You need additional materials (bucket or cake pan, distilled water, potentially gloves, etc.) to use it as described. However, I can see this being the best solution we tested for vinyl record cleaning machines, such as Spin-Cleen. It’s certainly the cheapest per volume after diluting it in distilled water.

TergiKleen is undeniably powerful. We cleaned one of the dirtiest records with little elbow grease and the record was left in pristine condition.

It should last most collectors the full two-year shelf life, just a few drops should make enough solution for hundreds of records. For collectors who have hundreds, if not thousands, of dirty records to clean and absolute purists, TergiKleen is a great vinyl record cleaning solution. If we do an experiment on cleaning solutions to use with a cleaning machine, we’ll test this one again.

4 / 5 – manual, just a few records
4.5 / 5 – if you have a machine or a bunch of records to clean
Summary – An incredibly effective cleaner. Better for vinyl record cleaning machines than hand washes.

Discogs included affiliate links to earn fees from the products recommended in this article.

Return to Discogs Blog
Steven Williams
Steven is a Discogs super fan who lucked out in landing his dream gig. If he's not making cocktails and listening to records to escape the COVID-doldrums, he's likely somwhere deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Oct 17,2020 at 12:25

    Tergikleen does not require such a convoluted cleaning. I simply have it in a spray bottle, mist the groove area and clean on the platter with a microfiber felt pad like this one
    Follow with a microfiber cloth to dry. Wait a couple of minutes for the disc to dry completely and done. Your record is totally clean. No rinsing with water is necessary. The method described in the article is for something that originated in a dumpster! More horrifying still is that they dunked the whole thing including the unprotected label!

  • Sep 4,2020 at 19:18

    I use the GEM Dandy followed by a rinse with distilled water through a water flosser followed by air drying. Has worked brilliantly for me!

  • Aug 24,2020 at 03:30

    why not use ultrasonic cleaners with just deminaralized water? bubble cavitation is it not sufficient for the job?

  • Aug 24,2020 at 02:48

    How much tergitol I have to use with demineralized water? is it necessary the rinsening after ultrasonic leaning? should I rinse with ultranonics after cleaning? I am using an audiorevita ultrasonic cleaner for this. Thanks to who’ll reply

  • Jul 8,2020 at 19:35

    chiedo aiuto, anche a voi, per la pulizia uso un fluido, di cui non ricordo il nome, che dava buoni risultati, ma talvolta, faceva uscire, tagli e imperfezioni. Ora sono tentato di comprare una macchina a ultrasuoni dove il disco 12″ viene immerso in un detergente, ma non so quale, e la macchina da quanti litri dovrei comprare, e quanto tempo e a quale temperatura posso usarlo senza fare danni? Ci sono tante domande, oltre a un vostro parere, dove posso chiedere di più

  • Jun 15,2020 at 00:34

    Hi folks, i made this to clean my records using the tap rince and then use distilled soep water. Works very good.

    Cheers, Kurt

  • May 23,2020 at 16:26

    I use the Knox record cleaning system which is similar to the Spin Clean along with the Tergikleen. My records have never sounded better. The only issue with using Tergikleen is that it must be thoroughly rinsed off your vinyl with distilled water or you’ll get surface noise. I do this with a $10 pump sprayer in a sink just like they show on their website.

  • Apr 13,2020 at 11:45

    All these methods are babaric. If you want to clean micro sized dirt and oil out of micro sized grooves you should use an ultrasonic method. It is a bit more $ but you get what you pay for. Here is the best one i have used.

  • Feb 26,2020 at 02:21

    Thank you for this post. Until I found this I had no idea TergiKleen existed. I bought a tube and another spin clean. I use one with the solution and one to rinse and the records look and sound much cleaner than with just the spin clean. Thank you again for posting this.

  • Feb 1,2020 at 00:23

    Spin Clean works just fine. My LP collection is for listening. Not destined for The Library of Congress☺️

  • Jan 18,2020 at 00:21

    I have tried a few different fluids with varying results.My main cncern is that some of them leave a residue which is collected by my stylus.I do a final rinse with purified water and then vacuum the water off.This final step seems to lessen the residue issue.Does anybody use a fliud that does not leave residue without the final vacuum stage.

  • Jan 17,2020 at 22:32

    Which type wood glue does everyone use?

  • Jan 5,2020 at 07:39

    My two cents:
    I use a good ‘ol yellow SPIN CLEAN machine and just use their special sauce. It certainly is the best for the money and no real maintenance/upkeep IMO! I live in AZ so dry time is super fast.
    I have made several variations of the denatured alcohol/distilled water/photo-flu recipe in my years. They all seem to either work or not and that really depends on the crap that’s on the record that you’re trying to clean! I’ve had dirty records that are great after one cleaning. I’ve had clean records that just won’t give up the static ghost even after several cleans etc etc……. (groove wear can not be cleaned!) One thing for sure is that any marks that cause ticks are not going to be remedied!
    Still sealed lps from the 70s/80s can suck right out of the freshly cut shrink, cleaned, dried then played. Columbia orange labels in particular.

    I have wood glued many records as well to the same results of yea or nea. I have one classical record that neither recipe type cleaning or wood glue won’t help. I clean it once a year just hoping! It is a late 50s stereo French Mercury/Barclay press of Albeniz’ IBERIA / Dorati that certainly would be worth many buckeroos if only ………… (dreaming?!?!) Funny the pictures of the records used in this blog to demonstrate certainly don’t warrant the time spent but that is subject-able per listener. I only use the time consuming wood approach with the more valuable stuff and/or the ultimate audiophile music I would want to listen to (RL ZEP II lol)

    I’ve had records that I clean leave a caked residue to the needle as we all have. Must be crap on it that chemicals just can’t pick up but loosen up so it forms on the stylus post-play even after several cleans. Now we’re talking a stylus cleaner! Then there’s the ‘ol what would be a $200 record if it hadn’t obviously been found by a child with crayons! Those are the most time consuming! HA!
    One thing I think we all agree on is cleaning a record can be a challenging affair!
    Peace, CR

  • Jan 5,2020 at 01:22

    Wow, the glue job application show here is utterly terrible. Glue is easily the best IMO. Cheaper than stated if you buy it on sale. Also, as mentioned the application is VERY easy. Apply glue on a spinning record, use your finger to smooth the glue out evenly. Make sure the inner and outer edges of the glue are built up (not smeared thin) and you are good to go. The only downside is the wait. I wait about a day to dry one side so it takes about 2 days for one record but I will “glue” up to 5 at a time.

    I just did an original pressing of the Circle Jerks Group Sex LP (1980). Before the treatment, it was pop and crackle city. This is after I hand cleaned it with solution. After the glue it sounds like a whole new record. Seriously, even my wife was shocked. The glue treatment should be 4/5 IMO. It loses a point for the time it takes to dry. But that’s it.

  • Jan 4,2020 at 22:41

    No one mentioned the widely used Stereophile recipe that is alcohol, water, and about 2 drops of Kodak Photo-flo. Here is a contemporary reference:

    Ilford Ilfotol is anther wetting agent with different chemical composition but similar effect to Photo-flo. Pick your poison, literally.

  • Jan 4,2020 at 19:53

    I cannot believe that no one has mentioned a good record cleaning machine. I have a Nitty Gritty for sale ( keeping the second one ) and if you have a collection worth anything, you should buy it. Why would you invest all kinds of cash on a vinyl collection but skimp on a cleaning system or a audio system for that matter?

  • Jan 4,2020 at 19:38

    Wood glue works wonders and is much easier and cheaper to apply than described. The way to apply it is to pour slowly while the record is spinning on a turntable and smooth it out with your finger. This works best on a direct drive turntable. The trick is to apply just the right amount – too thick and it takes forever to dry; too thin and it will crack as you peel it off. You buy the glue in one gallon jugs – in this way it is cheap and very effective though it does take up a good deal of room and there’s waiting involved.

  • Jan 4,2020 at 12:01

    Very interesting. I did dabble with numerous solutions both commercial and homemade. I have a homemade mix that 1 part Isopropyl Alcohol to 8 parts de-ionised water. I use this with a cotton cloth to do a single clean to aid with grading. In the main i use an ultrasonic cleaning machine that takes 5 records at a time. In this machine i use 100ML of Isopropyl Alcohol to 5 litres of de-ionised water. I also set the solution temperature at between 30 – 33 oC. Any form of cleaning requires heat, agitation, time and solution. I have found that 5 x 2 minute rotations is ample to produce excellent results. This amount of solution will easily clean 100 LPs or 200 7 inch vinyls.Happy collecting.LV

  • Sep 20,2019 at 00:15

    I too thought “L’art du Son” to be expensive -:before I started using it. Actually, it works out to about 10 cents per record. Best is that it betters every one of the numerous other commercial cleaner and home brew concoction I have tried over the years. To top it off, it is an absolute pleasure to use – no alcohol or caustic chemicals, and it smells great. Leave it to a lady French chemist to brew up something so all around great.
    Highly recommended

  • Jul 14,2019 at 17:15

    My, My, how far we have come! Remember when we were happy to be able to throw four or five records on a BSR, or Garrard changer with a flip over sapphire cartridge. Yes, I’ll admit my preference to vinyl, but while I see complaints as to the expense of cleaning records, I don’t see the same concern over the cost of say a stylus,or turntable. When most of these collectable records were pressed, we were more than happy with a 35 watt Harman Kardon! No, I to have grasp the clean record bit. Having invested in an ultrasonic cleaner. My ears are so old I don’t know if I hear a difference or not, since I try buy recorders that are VG+ or Mint. Somebody struck upon my concern, the click!Not from visible scratches or nicks, but I guess embedded. Perhaps the glue would be best. But the one thing left out is the consumption of time. And many go through these procedures EVERY TIME they play a record! Speaking of time, I’ve probably taken up yo much of your time! Earle

  • Mar 5,2019 at 01:06

    There’s an awful lot of dick pulling going on in record cleaning conversations. It’s all fine to get finicky when you’re only cleaning one record, but when you run a shop and wash all the records before you offer them for sale it’s all about speed and efficiency.
    Washing records in the sink with a smidge of detergent and a splash of IPA is unbeatable for both time and money considerations. You can get records extremely clean whilst incurring no damage when you do it properly, and spot cleaning with a 50% water/IPA solution gets any really stubborn marks off afterwards. Does it get them as clean as a fancy record cleaning machine with all the whizz bang chemicals? Maybe not, but you get 98% of the result for 5% of the time and money required.
    Some people commenting on here have only washed a dozen records in their lives. I have regularly washed 50-60 records a week for the last 10 years. Do the maths.
    The humble wash and rinse method works just fine, unless you’re talking about archiving, or hideously expensive records (which you shouldn’t be playing anyway) then anything else is just emptying your pocket and wasting your time.

  • Feb 15,2019 at 23:58

    I like The Vinyl Record Cleaning System which uses the VRC Easy Spread n Peel cleaning film. It penetrates the groove without mechanical intervention and dissolves into solution all contaminants. Solution dries and the resulting film peeled off. Before you say “oh like wood glue”, nope. Wood glue is, well glue, not a cleaner and also creates static when it comes off (triboelectric effect). Also, listening tests show Easy Spread n Peel’s better than Revirginizer (which also creates static). Don’t like brushes which cannot remove really fine stuff like stylus dust (ie diamond dust).

  • Feb 10,2019 at 22:22

    I purchased the kirmuss record restoration system. It is by far the best cleaning set up out there. I cleaned a copy of the 1959 sound track to M Squad an old Lee Marvin tv show. If you saw the condition it was in you wouldn’t let it near your turntable. It takes time, but when it was done it sounds perfect, looks like crap but there is not a pop, scratch or unrecorded noise on it. I’ve had all types of cleaning machines and fluids nothing else compares to it. 6 out of 5 stars. BETTER THEN ADVERTISED!

  • Feb 1,2019 at 06:16

    Have to ask, if you use the Tergiklean and submerse the album, couldn’t that ruin the label?

  • Jan 20,2019 at 19:04

    Bronco.b1972, I’m with you brother on new and/or ‘clean’ used LPs. I’m referring to the examples posted here, records that are so incredibly filthy that I just cannot fathom the effort and cost associated with methods suggested here. My experience has taught me that vinyl in the type of condition, even after cleaning, will usually expose damage that would deem it unlistenable. Maybe I missed the point that if the methods demonstrated here will clean these, it would clean slightly soiled vinyl to like new condition. ALL newly acquired records must be cleaned. I wish to prolong the life of my Ortofon MM2 Black as long as possible too. Appreciate your reply. AB

  • Jan 20,2019 at 14:18

    @ArizonaBob, It seems impossible to reply you directly. One good reason for cleaning records, even new bought ones, is that every record hat got debris (or/and dirt) in the grooves. Also freshly new records are very static. Put a static record on the mat and voila you have debris/dirt in the grooves. Second good reason is when you want to enjoy your stylus as long as possible, cleaning records is a must. The stylus wears out so much quicker with dirty records. My stylus costs about $500… so I really want to keep stylus wear to a minimum. Therefore cleaning records is a must.

  • Jan 20,2019 at 01:22

    Jeez people. First, the records that are shown must be really rare or why are you going to all this trouble?? Second, I would never personally buy any record in this condition! Thirdly, if these are in your collection, how in world did they get this way?? Like the 74 year old commented, I bought a Discwasher in my teens also and still use it to this day (I have several). If I run across something that’s cherished and doesn’t clean with my Discwasher, a friend of mine has a KL Audio Ultrasonic as well as a VPI 27 Typhoon and he will run the LP thru both. If it still is not up to expectations, out it goes and a replacement is hunted down. Sorry, but I personally cannot understand why you would spend more time and money attempting to clean a record than to just acquire a nice one to listen to? Would one of you please clue me in? AB

  • Jan 16,2019 at 20:32

    WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING?? GRUV GLIDE Is the benchmark and everything else is water and glue.

  • Jan 14,2019 at 16:08

    As most people I tried a lot of cleaning solutions. There’s no magical solution. in my opinion there’s only one secret ingredient, a wetting agent called:”ILFORD ILFOTOL”. Wetting agent reduces the surface tension of water. Because a mixture consisting only of 1/3 Isopropyl Alcohol (99,9%) and 2/3 distilled water will not penetrate the vinyl grooves well enough.

    Also a very very great advantage ILFORD ILFOTOL, it makes the records totally anti-static. You can Use the cleaning solution in record vacuum cleaners and also with the Knosti Disco antistat.

    For more information about the cleaning solution go to:

    Finally I have one last and very good tip for all the Knosti antistat users like me:
    The modified Antistat Clamp from ( This clamp really doesn’t leak! Maybe you will find the clamp a bit expensive clamp but it really pays of. No more damaged record labels.

  • Jan 10,2019 at 11:03

    A RCM is the best if you are a serious collector. Most of the other methods involve a cloth which must surely disperse the grime and without a vacuum it will surely dry with some debris still on the record.
    If you are into sound quality/audiophile kit then a RCM is the only viable solution.

  • Jan 10,2019 at 07:42

    Sorry, but you guys and all your various methods and products for cleaning VINYL LPs? THAT is exactly why I switched to TAPES in 1973! NO Cleaning, NO Clicks & Pops, NO Scratches, NO Skipping and NO warps… Imagine That!

  • Jan 10,2019 at 04:04

    Hello everyone and happy new year … Well, I am still using a homemade method for more than 45 years: Liquid soap for babies and I get a surprising cleaning. It is also true that before placing a record on the turntable, I take the precaution of cleaning it with a silk brush for babies, so that my records never get to deteriorate as much as you see in the article. Also, alternate a normal capsule for less good discs and another supereliptic for select discs

  • Jan 10,2019 at 04:02

    I have a Spin Clean system-can TergiClean be safely used with it?

  • Jan 10,2019 at 00:15

    I have been using Revirginizer. You massage it into the record and let it cure then peel it off. Great product developed by a chemist record collector here in Australia. AUD$38 a 600 ml (pint) bottle. Which will do about 30 12 inch sides. Great results. Removes deep in the grooves and is anti static.

  • Jan 9,2019 at 22:51

    Greetings and happy new year to VC World from Minnesota. I have been testing many methods over the years from spin clean to ultrasonic to own solutions. There seems to be a lot of comments saying how much work it would be to play before and after and being able to tell the difference is a lot of work….well it is BUT it is very much worth it, if you are wanting to hear how wonderful vinyl CAN be. The best process and solutions my father and I have found over the years are to use a Ultrasonic, then tergitol solutions we have made, then use reagent water in the third step to rinse and use a wet/dry vac system for the second and third steps. Some can say wow thats a lot work and money and etc, but time with dad and preserving my investment has been priceless ( and less then 100$ is nothing in this hobby).
    For those that might doubt the sound differences and quality…..just trust me…what we have done and continue to use is making all our vinyl sound amazing, but remember its NOT a miracle work. Even different types of water made difference before and after testing and different amounts per quart or pint jars of tergitol can make a difference.
    If this conversation doesn’t make you a believer then email me and we can get you a pint for 10$ and some testimonials that will blow you away. Thank marcuslattimer @comcast . net

    happy hunting and cleaning cheers !!!!!

  • Jan 9,2019 at 22:47

    Tap water in Sydney is reasonably soft and quite good enough. I was a disc jockey for parties in the 60’s As I was the only one with a record collection (85% second hand) and stereo in my group: I have been using tap water (at 40degrees Celsius) and plain dishwashing detergent for 50 years. I have recently upgraded to using one of those flat paint applicators with the fine and soft bristles: Works a treat!! And cheaper then every other solution proposed! (Playback equipment is Thorens and Supex 900 cartridge – I’ve just replaced my Quad amp setup with Bose Lifestyle 28 I bought for $40 AUD in a garage sale: the purists will hate me!!)

  • Jan 9,2019 at 22:31

    I’m sorry, but if you aren’t going to play the records and hear what they sound like before and after, this whole test seems pretty pointless to me. After all, what exactly is the point of cleaning them if it doesn’t actually make them sound any better?

  • Jan 9,2019 at 22:18

    Currently I use the PRC3 Loricraft RCM. From my experience this RCM is the most practical.
    In my opinion the cleaning results are equivalent in regard to vacuum machines. But the big difference is the noiseless operation. You can clean a disc while your wife is sleeping and stay alive after that.
    I tested several cleaning fluids. My preference is :
    – 20 ml Endozyme AW Plus (non foam enzymatic solution used to clean surgery tools from RUHOFF)+ 230 ml of distillate water.
    – then to rinse with a solution of 3 parts of distillate water and one part of 99,9% purity isopropyl alcohol
    The second step is optional as the Endozyme do not need to be rinsed. Sometimes I prefer to repeat the first step for very dirty discs.

    The Loricraft machines are a manual version of the Keith Monks machine used by the BBC in the golden age of the vinyl.

    I used also an ultrasonic machine. The results were somewhat surprising. I measure the quantity of clicks before the cleaning-up with a software (IZOTOPE RX5). After the cleaning the number of clicks detected by the software have increased !!. However, when listening, the audible clicks have diminished. I’m not able to interpret this fact. Is the ultrasonic cleaning producing non-audible damages ? As I do not have a microscope I cannot say. Meanwhile I stop using the ultrasonic method.

  • Jan 9,2019 at 22:06

    I was pleased to see this article, but there are two major flaws in the testing methodology: 1) no play-grading to assess sonic improvements; and 2) lack of repetition to see whether cleaning solutions are harmful to the music itself. An initial cleaning of a very dirty record does not provide the information vinyl enthusiasts most need about cleaning solutions.

  • Jan 4,2019 at 23:08

    Greetings all, I have been into vinyl off and on for forty years. I currently use a tergitol hand clean, ultrasonic rinse, vacuum and hand finish. I am having excellent results. Most of what I am cleaning now are my worst case albums. I would like to offer it as a service in the Edmonton area. I have a Facebook page I have posted a couple before and after of some thift store records.

  • Dec 28,2018 at 00:29

    Great article. I will try. Thank you.

  • Dec 27,2018 at 20:17

    I have been using a 30% Isopropanol solution to clean second-hand records for many years. I put the record on my old player, give it a spin, apply the solution, use a soft brush (Okki Nokki) to spread it evenly, let it rest for a couple of minutes and then remove it gently with a microfibre cloth. This sucks off most of the liquid and the dirt particles. So far, there has only been one instance where this did not work. Perhaps someone spilled glue over that record, as it was impossible to remove.

  • Dec 22,2018 at 23:59

    The wood glue method works well but, because of the hassle and time involved, I only use it on records I can’t get clean any other way. I’ve had good luck with Record Doctor’s RxLP fluid, working it into the grooves with a mofi velvet brush before putting it on my vacuum machine. Then a distilled water rinse and vacuum repeat. Most of the commercially available fluids work pretty well with a vacuum system. Mofi’s Super Record Wash is another good one.

  • Dec 20,2018 at 22:19

    Would like to have seen knosti’s own brand fluid tested maybe vinylclear too.

  • Dec 19,2018 at 20:37

    I’ve been using a concoction I made both in my SpinClean and for hand washing for several years with great success. It consists of 60:40 Isopropyl alcohol distilled water and about .5% Triton X100 which is a non ionic surfactant similar to Tergitol. I have tried Tergitol as well and can’t really see any difference and since I happen to have enough Triton to last several lifetimes it is my go to. I always follow with a distilled water rinse, a gentle lint free cloth wipe and an air dry. I have also experimented with mild acetic acid (vinegar) rinses but it doesn’t seem to accomplish anything.

  • Dec 18,2018 at 17:07

    The Library of Congress uses a Tergitol (or Triton x-100) solution for cleaning records, so I would not say it has not been “approved”. I use a solution of Tergitol, Hepastat, alcohol, and distilled water that I spread and gently scrub in with a microfiber brush. I then vacuum it off with an inexpensive attachment to my shop vac. I rinse and vacuum twice with distilled water. It’s a little time consuming, but quite effective. It even improves the sound quality of some passages. I do this on a small rotating platform using a label protector. I’d never do it on my turntable.

    The Article is correct in saying that it’s a bit expensive and complex to assemble all these items; but it’s just a fraction of the cost of a record cleaning machine such as the $2,000 one mentioned above. If you are cleaning a lot of LPs, the cost is minimal. The exact formula can be found online at

    I am considering getting a G2 kit for quick cleans. Currently I’m using Pfan-Stat.

  • Dec 18,2018 at 14:36

    All my LPs are pristine. Most of them are from the late 60’s to late 70s. I’m still using the same cleaning device that I bought in the mid 70’s, a “Watts Parostatik Disc Preener record album cleaner” By Cecil E. Watts. It’s a small long round brush made of black velvet. and it’s just wide enough to cover the tracks on the record. It does a great job of removing debris and static. Wipe for one revolution, and you’re ready to go!

  • Dec 18,2018 at 00:17

    Being a budget conscious person also, I opted for a Vinyl Styl machine rather than a Spin Clean. Seem to be pretty similar but the V.S. protects the record labels. I am pretty certain the brushes inside are made with goat hair. Non-abrasive of course. Then after researching online, I make a home brew for my solution. I use a quart container and fill it about 90% of the way with distilled water, along with a good splash of isopropyl alcohol and only 1-2 drops of dish washer drying agent. The key here is not to use too much drying agent, as it will leave a residue that is hard to get off if you do. Without looking under a microscope or anything like that, they come out super clean and never play back with any static at all. The other thing is I clean my stylus after every record is played. Of course, even brand new records, come filthy with white specs of dust or whatever. So every record is cleaned before going on my turntable and I am then able to achieve an awesome listening experience with no background noise at all, as long as the records do not have a manufacture defect.

  • Dec 18,2018 at 00:09

    Troy no, 30 bucks a bottle. Cleans 400+ records. Better than any of the other solutions I’ve tested including most of the above.

  • Dec 17,2018 at 23:25

    Isn’t L’Art du Son rather expensive?

  • Dec 17,2018 at 22:49

    The best cleaning solution I’ve used by FAR is L’Art du Son. Either as a spray solution with a micro fibre cloth. And later cleaning with distilled water. Or the same as a bath using a disco anti stat device. And later a disc vacuum device.

    Shocked L’Art du Son isn’t on this list

  • Dec 17,2018 at 21:48

    >I care a LOT more about removal of pops/crackles, which can still be left on a record even if it looks clean and shiny to look at. Will that be your next test?

    Good point! That would be a well-received test.

    Not that I’d want to pre-empt any test results, but -astounded as I was not to see any mention of it in these blogs- I have to tell you that mine own old-records- cleaning tests came out with 5 stars for Check it out (demo samples onsite), it really does amazing things to clean up crackles … Sadly, it only works with digital material, they’ve abandoned their “live” variant, but it’s the “bees knees” for quickly cleaning old record of pop and crackle – if then you are into digitising …

  • Dec 17,2018 at 21:44

    With regard to wood glue and the difficulty in application due to undue viscosity, it might help to experiment with diluting glue with distilled water and applying it with a soft brush. The effect should be the same in terms of getting down in the grooves and lifting out particles. The trick might be finding the dilution sweet spot where it peels off easily. Once the film gets too thin it will probably be more prone to cracking. As regards cost per record, buying it by the gallon would be more economical than by the smaller applicator bottle size. As mentioned, the wood glue method also avoids wetting the label which I’m surprised wasn’t accounted for with the liquid methods. Also, make sure it’s not the Primate brand wood glue, but rather the Cow brand. If ya know what I mean.

    Just a thought.

    I’m old enough to still have my Discwasher bought in high school in the late 70s along with their anti stat gun, and the stylus cleaner dohickey.

  • Dec 17,2018 at 20:52

    All you’re testing for what method makes records the shiniest? I care a LOT more about removal of pops/crackles, which can still be left on a record even if it looks clean and shiny to look at. Will that be your next test?

  • Dec 17,2018 at 20:19

    for me, the best is same as wood glue but specially maded for vinyls.

  • Dec 15,2018 at 17:14

    I’m quite sure that the ultrasonic cleaners and the Hannl Mera unit are among the best, but for those of us on a budget – or can’t swing $600+ for a cleaning machine, I would have to strongly recommend the SpinClean system. For under a $100 you get a complete system that is very effective – both at cleaning and cost. If your record doesn’t improve with just a SpinClean, I would consider a wood glue treatment and then a SpinClean.

  • Dec 13,2018 at 18:03

    I appreciate the blog article but what is dumbfounded to see that you did not mention protecting the labels. I realized that these were probably not prized records but I use the glass handling suction cups from the Home Improvement store and stick one on each side to completely seal off the label from any liquid. I did learn a thing or two about methods I had not heard of before through this article. Thank you for putting it together.

  • Dec 13,2018 at 16:18

    I use TergiKleen, 20 drops per gallon. Great stuff, never used a bucket/cake pan though. I use it with a vacuum. I have respect for ultrasonic cleaners but don’t kid yourself: the liquid is still important. I buy records from a guy who cleans them ultrasonically. It must be his liquid because I have to clean them again when I get home.

  • Dec 13,2018 at 12:38

    I use stuff called Awsome from the dollar store 10-1 mix works Awsome spray on wipe of with microfiber rag, dry with haire dryer, wipe again with microfiber and record will look new and shiny. Play record and if crackle is noted go through same process with WD-40 and your record will play crisp and clear eliminating 90-99 percent of the crackle from dirt that has accumulated in the groves. I have a collection of 3600 LP.’s that I started collecting at age 16′ I am now 74 and my Gene Pitney records still play like the day I purchased them using this cleaning method. Try it on a 1 dollar thrift store record you will be simply amazed.

  • R.-
    Dec 10,2018 at 18:26

    these are cute for the occasional cleaner. if you want something 1000x better, its not about the liquids, but about the machine. and im not talking about those silly priced “cleaning machines” either. building your own is very straightforward.
    for around 150$, you get a 10 liter Ultrasonic cleaner from Ebay. with some strips of aluminium, you make a simple frame on top of it that holds a disco ball motor that slowly rotates. on a spindle you put 5-8 records in 1 go, and 10-15 minutes in the cleaner will make your vinyl pristine. finish with a home made Loricraft/ monk type vacuum (with a small vacuum cup and a string) made from a cheap old record player, and thats a good as it gets. total cost for everything: maybe 200$ and a little time.

  • Dec 10,2018 at 15:09

    Windex electronic cleaner

  • Dec 10,2018 at 15:08

    I’m probably a huge idiot but lately I’ve been using winded electronic cleaner. It evaporates quickly and they records look great. 3 bucks for a can.. am I missing something negative about this?

  • Dec 8,2018 at 23:55

    Yeah Dirtvinyl… somebody should Shootout these ones!
    We talk about groove cleaning not surface cleaning only.
    Thanks, mate

  • Dec 8,2018 at 16:32

    Sorry typo and I cant edit my comment! Should have read…Actually Felsuch what you suggest IS NOT the only good concept on the market!

  • Dec 8,2018 at 16:30

    Actually Felsuch what you suggest its the only good concept on the market! Come on guys! You’ve not even put the classic Loricraft in these test using L’Art du Son cleaning fluid, if you are interested plesae read here I’ve used this method for years, very happy customers worldwide.

  • Dec 8,2018 at 13:15

    Unfortunaltely the only really working method has not been tested!
    The moste here shown solutions have one in common:
    They do more worse than helping.
    Success has not been approved by microscope and playing A/B befor/after …nice glue shining is not a goal here.

    It is all about mechanics.
    The grooves are 8-70 micrometers and is filled with dust and dirt.
    touching it with whatever mechanic device pushes the dirt back in …the rest of the disc may nicely shine but thats all. The wood glue is the only thing going in the right direction.

    But there is only one good concept on the market, the Hannl Mera rotating brush.
    It does not touch the disc itself.
    It works like this:
    Cleaning water on the disc that has a good surface tension to the water.
    a rotating brush that do not touch the surface and only pull the water upwards.
    with the water the dirt is pulled up and mixed to the water.
    then after left and right direction toggling a hoover dries the disc.

    …test this one!

    I tried it all and this one survived

Leave A Reply