A decent set of beginner advice to care of vinyl

OK, I did some searching on this forum and some of you are really crazy with all the stuff you do to clean the vinyl. It sounds very time consuming.

I am getting back into vinyl and was wondering what are some good (moderately priced) tools to maintain my LPs and keep them in decent condition for years to come. I am not hardcore (not that there is anything wrong with that haha) but want above-average care for my vinyl investment. Please just the basics and nothing that will break the bank.

thanks in advance for your help.
I have bought vast amounts of used vinyl. finally got more discriminating in terms of apparent condition, but felt most needed cleaning. I have spent days and days cleaning vinyl, and it's kinda crazy, because I work long hours at my profession. would like comments as to my method of initial cleaning, and then advice as to what to buy to save me those long days in the future. I have a laundry sink, and next to it two large basins. I run cold or warm tap water over the surface, trying to keep label dry, to dislodge dust and grit. Then i wash it with microfiber cloth in first basin of tap water with a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid and a little denatured alcohol. then I do a final rinse/vigorous swishing in tub of distilled water to wash away the tap water, alcohol, Dawn, etc. lay it out on a towel to dry. when almost dry, I wipe with clean microfiber cloth. Am I doing anything harmful if I rinse really well with the distilled water? even so, I need a faster method, for volume amounts of records. what machine is out there that would cut down my time considerably?
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I realize that before RCMs became relatively affordable, wet cleaning may have done more harm than good. Now, it's pretty well-settled that an RCM will produce far better results than a simple "wipe" or dusting with a carbon fiber brush. You can certainly try working without one. Micro-fiber cloths allow far better drying than was possible before, but, having tried both, there is really no comparision, IMO.

Nor is it necessary to become crazy when cleaning records. You will get excellent results with a Nitty Gritty by simply applying their fluid and vacuuming dry. One simple step - apply the fluid to the velvet pad, let the record rotate, then hit the vacuum. That's it. IMO, the results are not as good as when you use a separate pure-water rinse after, but the records are still very clean.

Just bite the bullet (if finances permit) and pick up an RCM. I highly doubt you'll regret it.

For a small investment, as long as you have a home vac, I second the KAB cleaner http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/. You'll be able to develop much more of a 'routine'-it will still be drudgery, but more of a linear, assembly-line sort of drudge that will definitely speed things up. Plus, you'll have better results-and I'm sure I don't need to tell you that you only want to clean your record collection once.

If you've got the money, the VPI 16.5 is the next step up for speed. Yes, Nitty Gritty has RCMs for less, but the VPI is much easier to use, and worth the extra money. The record rotates on a full-sized turntable, allowing you to apply some pressure to the brush/fluids, and the whole operation faces up at you-there's no need to flip the record in order to vacuum. They're often available used here on Agon.
Lots of good info presented already. If you want cheap but more efficient and effective than hand washing and drying; You can purchase a small shop vac (about 30 dollars) and make a very good wet vac. Just take the crevice tool and cut a 1/4 groove along the round edge of the crevice tool. Glue a felt strip along each side of the groove you just cut and partially tape the end of the crevice tool to get the vacuum pulling thru the velvet strip. Walla, you have a very good vacuum. Second, go buy a junk turntable from a thrift shop (got an old kenwood for 10 dollars) and use that to put the record on to clean. It makes a stable platform that you can spin while scrubbing and vacuuming.
you can make your own cleaning solution or buy a cleaning solution. My cheap homemade version is 1 teaspoon of dawn dishwashing detergent, one quart of distilled water and three ounces of isopropyl alcohol. Now you have enough cleaning solution to last a while. Also, the commercial cleaners are very good especially the enzyme based and pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things. I use both types depending on the record grunge. Finally the brushes, MOFI, LAST, Walker, etc all make very good microfiber brushes that help get the grunge out of the groove. My regime is to spray or apply the cleaner, Let sit for a few min, then scrub with a brush. Then i vacuum up this mixture and apply a rinse with distilled water. Scrub with a clean brush (i use separate brushes for rinsing) then vacuum again.
For real dirty records, i will insert steaming steps as part of the initial scrubbing step and rinse.
It takes about 5 min per record but you do once and its clean. I have made a great collection by buying thrift shops, flea markets,etc and cleaning. When you take that one special album and clean it well and it sounds like one right off the press, it make it all worthwhile. i also tend to clean while i listen to music so its not too bad though cleaning is a chore. I have a collection up to about 1500-2000 with most coming from sources that needed to be cleaned well.