How to clean vinyl records

I am new to the vinyl world, and want to know the best way of cleaning records. I don't have a large buget for a record cleaning machine but would like to know the methods that are being used by others on here. Any help would be great .

thanks in advanced 

One of many simple and cheap ways to do it is to get a flat pan deep enough and large enough to submerge a record.  Get also a soft brush, preferably one that is designed for LP brushing.  There several choices out there.  Fill the pan with tap water plus a bit of Dawn dishwashing detergent.  (Dawn has been blessed by the vinyl cognoscenti.)  Soak the LP in this for a minute or two then brush it down with your brush.  Then rinse the LP in pure tap water, and let it sit vertically to dry or dry it with a cloth that does not leave a thready deposit.  Then open a nice chianti.
Would it matter if I opened the Chianti before the process ? :-) what about the label in the middle, would that be at risk of pealing off ? 
You will definitely run into an issue with the label if it is uncoated or not fully adhered.  Even coated labels don't particularly like getting wet.  At a minimum, it will almost certainly spot.

My personal preference has always been an old-school style record brush with a good cleaning fluid for records in very good to excellent condition already.  Moldy records and records with greasy fingerprints can be handled with a dedicated brush and isopropyl alcohol or Dawn.  I've never needed to submerge any, but there are also things like the Spin Clean that submerge the unlabeled portion.

I suggest you do an archive search here on cleaning records.  There are as many techniques as there are forum participants in 50 or more threads, and one of them is sure to seem feasible for you.

Good luck & happy listening!

This will get much blowback on here, I'm sure, but I use a readily available phono-specific spray cleaner (comes in a blue bottle) with a soft lint-free cloth (shammy) and then run a carbon fiber/velvet brush over the vinyl. For the amazing stack of $1 oldies I picked up at the used furniture store, (here comes the blowback)I decided to try this vacuum cleaner attachment sold on Amazon, cuz I'm not spending 3 grand on a record cleaning machine (not even $500!) - time to get real here. I spent that 3 grand on a reference phono stage and pre/power amp set-up to separate my TT from the HT receiver. I spent $30 on the record cleaner: PVC tube with a hole punched to anchor it to the spindle and a velvet lined slot cut out to suck all the dust out of the grooves. Night and day difference on these old discs. The man who makes them even sent replacement velvet strips and record label protectors as a follow-up gesture of good will. I understand this may not be suitable for some precious rare collectibles, but for the vast majority of vinyl, it's the ticket. Not naming brand names because I don't know the rules on that - but if you can find Audiogon, you can find this cleaning kit. Happy spinning!
Go to the Tracking Angle website, where Michael Fremer has an LP-cleaning primer. A really detailed, thorough one.
I would probably get a LAST deep cleaner plus a bottle of Audio Intelligent ultra pure water, or Audio Intelligent three step system with Archivist as step 2 plus three Disc Doctor brushes, or just Archivist bottle plus Ultra Pure Water bottle and two brushes.
Chianti won't work, either before or after or instead. I recommend good Bordeaux after.
Hmm, I cant imagine submerging a record in liquid!  I highly recommend saving a little cash over time and seeking a used record cleaning machine such as an entry level nitty gritty, Okki Nokki, or VPI, which run $300-$400 for a used one.   If that budget is not realistic, there is a system called spin clean for about $120 that looks both interesting and budget friendly.  Look on eBay, there are spin clean models there now.

while I was checking out eBay for you, I came across something very clever called the UFO record cleaner. It looks like a water tight seal that clamps over the label area to allow wet cleaning without a machine.  less than $50.  That could be a great budget start into cleaning, and let the more expensive machine come later.
The Disc Doctor Miracle Record Cleaner is a hand-cleaning system that works very well.  A little practice is required, and hand cleaning takes more time than a loud record cleaning machine, but is not necessarily less effective if done well.  
Thanks very much for all the tips, in the end I opted for a  professional LP record solution and cleaning kit. Also comes with micro cloths and stylus cleaner. All for £15.95. 
I have looked at some of the other products, and will posibly look for something else when my bank balance allows it . 
Thanks again for all the input . :-)
One word: steam. It is the universal safe solvent. All else just makes it more efficient. 
Invest in a Groovmaster (approx. $50 on Amazon), which protects the labels, and then do whatever you feel comfortable with per to your budget.

I mix my own cleaning fluid and use filtered tap water with super results.

What I do not do is apply a brush/cloth et cetera until a "dirty" LP has been thoroughly flushed with warm water (I use an old WaterPik to pressure wash them) and then I use a basic DIY cleaning solution and a brush.

Applying a brush without this step simply grinds any foreign matter present into the LP.

Therefore, you can have a $5K super duper RCM and end up damaging "dirty" LP's when following the operational instructions.

It's really just simple common sense.


Since you’re in the UK, when funds permit, buy a Knosti Disco Antistat for about £40 if you want better results than your just acquired cleaning kit can offer. It’s not offered here in the USA, so I’ve never used one, but from everything I’ve read you should get excellent results if you use it with distilled water.

Please do not use tap water. Distilled or deionized water is much better for your records since it won’t leave any minerals behind when it dries.

Proper wet cleaning is always going to work best, but I would not risk completely submerging your records and ruining (some of) the labels by needlessly getting them wet!

Here in the USA we have the SpinClean, which is a useful manual wet cleaner that sells for about $80.

I started out cleaning with a Spin Clean, and now use Audio Desk and Klaudio ultrasonic record cleaning machines ($3-4k each) and offer a record cleaning service to others as Record Genie.

I’ve got happy customers who send me records from all over the USA since we have cheap Media Mail postage, but you might look for someone who offers a similar kind of affordable service in the UK.

Good luck in your quest for clean records!
Hi Dave , 

many thanks on on the tip of the record cleaning machine. I shall definatly look it up. Will probably invest in one to. Definatly like the idea of rinsing them with distilled water . 
I don't think we have anyone here with a record cleaning service like you provide, that would be great. 
Anyway, I'm about to test out my Pink Floyd album that I cleaned last night, so hopefully I shall notice the difference .
i shall be in touch ! 
I hardly use my record cleaning machine.   Really dirty ones get pristine clean with steaming. Other than that...just use a Hunt brush before playing to get rid of any dust.
Steve, I have thousands of Lp's, all of them are nearly dead  silent. I clean them using an Audio Technica brush and a record solution formula that I make myself. I got it from the December 1996 Stereophile magazine. If you or anyone else's  want a copy I will email you a pdf.

Email me at   N at normansizemore dot com


I know this thread hasn't had any love for some time but just in case anyone is looking for answers in the future I thought I'd share a quick vinyl care video I made recently reviewing the products that work for me.

Just getting into youtube, feedback welcome.
The KL AUDIO KD CLN LP 200 is the best ultrasonic machine by far however there are a few less expensive ones that are good as well.Records are the best good luck on your journey.
the best i have tried and still use is the Prelude Record Cleaning system by Walker Audio. 
I put the record on a large microfiber towel spread on a countertop. Spray one side with solution of choice. I try to avoid wetting the label. Gently but throughly scrub with MoFi cleaning pad going both directions but always with grooves. Spray with distilled water, use another MoFi pad to clean with clean water. Repeat. Flip record and perform same series of operations on other side. Dry with clean microfiber towel. Place in rack for a few hrs to insure complete drying to grooves before replacing in dustcover and jacket. 

I'm a fan of Big Fudge vinyl cleaning products. They have nice sleaves as well.

I have 1 cat who sheds like 2 so it's nice to have something quick and simple to use.  I hope it helps. The one I picked up was about $20 for everything on Amazon.