Any record lover knows that besides taking good care of your turntable, it's just as important to keep your LPs in mint condition if you want to safeguard the sound quality. Taking care of them is therefore essential and can even help you to rediscover your records.
maPlatine.com has developed a purchase guide to understand the most effective ways to clean your records.
1. Antistatic sleeves
4. Cleaning products
A. Cleaning product range
B. Cleaning kits
5. Record cleaning machines
1. Use antistatic record inner sleeves
Antistatic record sleeves are the first tool you need to buy to take care of your records. Paper record sleeves sold with LPs wear over time, generating cellulose fibre residue that contaminate the record groove. Antistatic sleeves are designed to keep off dust and prevent static building up on your records.
Nagaoka N-102 antistatic record sleeves are the most famous, the most sold and most certainly the most popular antistatic sleeves among collectors. They keep dust away from the grooves of records stored in their sleeve. They are the thinnest sleeves on the market and with their rounded edges, the record can be easily inserted into the outer sleeves.
2. Use cloths
The cloth is the most basic item for cleaning your records. It is naturally essential for the daily LP cleaning routine, but will not be enough if you're looking for an impeccable result and in-depth cleaning.
Standard cleaning cloths in woven microfibre cotton are intended for removing dust and cleaning records.
The Spin Clean Drying Cloths in soft fabric are specifically designed to wipe and dry LPs after a wet cleaning cycle.
3. Use brushes
There are many brushes that can be used for records, turntables as well as styli and cartridges. The most basic models only remove the dust that naturally comes on LPs, others are used together with a cleaning product and some also have an antistatic effect that eliminates static for a more precise sound.
The Analogis washable silicone cleaning roller is a simple, quick and effective solution to eliminate dust and dirt from your records. It can be washed with water and reused for several years.
The most basic brushes like the Analogis 3 velvet brush can be used either without or with a record cleaning product. The Apollo Velvet brush and Clearaudio Pure Groove cleaning brush are soft and are typically used for spreading liquid cleaning products.
Antistatic brushes like the Milty Super Exstatic Brush antistatic brush are very soft and made of carbon fibre for removing dust, eliminating dirt from records and demagnetizing them by an electrostatic effect.
The Furutech SK-III brush - our favourite - has the softest and finest bristles worldwide, with a natural antistatic effect, enhanced by the Corona acrylic fibres. This brush can clean LP grooves in depth, simply by brushing the surface of the record with the Furutech SK-III brush, holding it by the handle, with the platter rotating. The effect is immediate: dust is removed from the record and the static charge is eliminated. The sound quality is more precise, clearer and less harsh. An absolute must-have!
4. Choose the right cleaning products
A. Cleaning product range
Cleaning products are essential to clean your records properly. Depending on the brand, they have different properties, though all of them are simple to apply and are used with either a cloth or brush to clean deep inside the grooves. Depending on the cleaning product you use, it can be used for your records, to clean your styli and diamonds.
Cleaning products like the AMD Record Cleaner, also available in spray form like the Spray GPX22, are effective and quite cheap. Very simple to apply and wipe off with the manufacturer's special cloth or brush, they degrease and eliminate static charge, with excellent results when you play your records.
You can also find specific record cleaning products like the Spin Clean Washer Fluid or the Clearaudio Pure Groove record cleaning product, specifically designed for in-depth care of your records. These solutions can be applied manually with a brush.
B. Cleaning kits
Cleaning kits are very useful and make it possible to buy a whole range of products from the same brand. They are comprehensive and include everything you need for a good quality manual cleaning.
maPlatine.com offers cleaning kits like the Simply Analog vinyl cleaning set, the most basic but still essential set that will help you take care of your turntable and records. It includes a carbon brush, a care product, an antistatic cloth and an antistatic product for records.
The Thorens cleaning set contains everything you need to take care of your LPs and your stylus. It is the most comprehensive and most practical kit on the market.
The Clearaudio Professional Care Kit, in addition to record and stylus care products, includes a carbon antistatic brush, a brush for applying the cleaning product, a stylus brush, polishing paste, cleaning fluid, a screwdriver for mounting cartridges and a microfibre cloth. We highly recommend it.
5. Invest in a record cleaning machine
There are two types of record cleaning machines. The first one is the Spin Clean, a manual cleaning kit that will give your vintage records a new lease of life. The kit includes a pair of brushes and a pair of rollers that you insert into the machine, two drying cloths and a bottle of cleaning product. The distinctive feature of this machine is that the entire process is manual! You just turn the record inside the machine after filling with distilled water and a few drops of cleaning fluid. This way you control the amount of product, the speed at which the records rotates and you can do this for as long as you want. Simple and effective!
Finally, automatic cleaning machines are the ultimate record cleaning tool. They clean your LPs in depth over their entire surface, thanks to the continuous automatic spinning of the record and the powerful suction that removes any residual product and dirt at the end of the cleaning cycle. They are used with a product that you pour manually (or for the most advanced cleaning machines, the product is directly injected onto one side - and even on both sides sometimes - of the record), as well as with a brush that spreads the product over the entire surface of the record as it rotates. Some of the machines we sell clean both sides of your record in only 60 seconds! They come out immaculate and shiny, as good as new! Crackling and surface noise are eliminated when you play the record.
As an example, we will take the Clearaudio SMART MATRIX PRO cleaning machine. It is a cost-effective product that is uncompromising in terms of design and efficiency. It is very easy to use and the results are undeniable. Even with a record that is in poor condition, as shown below, it works wonders.
The record is dirty and even has traces of mould. We placed it on the cleaning machine to prove the spotless result of the Clearaudio SMART MATRIX PRO.
The solution is applied manually as the record is spinning. The brush cleans the grooves in depth thanks to a constant movement of the cleaning machine.
Finally, the vacuum pump sucks up the residual product as well as impurities remaining in the grooves. Demonstration video:
The result is just amazing. There's no sign of dirt or mould to be seen on the record. Even under the microscope, the grooves seem to be completely spotless and intact. It comes out as if it were new, and the process is so quick!
Finally, we hope that with this guide, you'll be able to find the ideal record cleaning products to suit your needs. Naturally, we're available to help if you need further information, or details on how to take care of your LPs. Happy listening!