Review: Record Research Lab Super Deep Cleaner and Vinyl Wash Tweak

Category: Accessories

I have been enjoying my first turntable setup for about a month now, and have recently acquired a lot of used, classical and jazz LP's. While the music and performances are all fantastic, I was less than enthused with the condition of many (if not most) of these LP's. I was growing numb to all the surface noise I was hearing, and began to accept it as one of the drawbacks of spinning vinyl. In my mind, the benefits of analog still outweighed the shortcomings of digital, even with the ticks and pops.

After reading up on some DIY vaccum cleaning designs, I picked up an old Pioneer direct drive turntable, and a wet/dry vacuum from Home Depot. I then constructed a customized attachment and hose, and bought some distilled, de-ionized water. I gave a few of my dirtier records a thorough wash with the distilled water (2 washes per side), and vacuum dried them (2 rotations were sufficient to make the records appear dry, then I did another 2 rotations for good measure). Upon playback, the surface noise was reduced a good bit, and the lower background noise did allow me to hear more low-level detail. And the records certainly looked a LOT cleaner. All in all, I was happy with the results, and thought the whole process was worth the time and (minimal) monetary investment.

About a week later, Albert Porter graciously sold me two bottles of Record Research Lab cleaning fluids--the Super Deep Cleaner (SDC), and the Vinyl Wash (VW). Per the instructions on the bottles, I used the following cleaning routine: (1) Application/wash with SDC (2) 4 rotation vacuum clean (3) application/wash with VW (4) 4 rotation vacuum clean (5) re-application/wash with VW (6) 4 rotation vacuum clean. Time consuming, but from the very first record I cleaned, the results have been quite dramatic. Several records which I had written off as being hopelessly worn out or dirty are almost silent. In addition, the frequency extremes immediately opened up, particularly the highs. The drop in background noise was much more significant than with the distilled water, as was the corresponding increase in detail and transparency.

I haven't used any of the other cleaners out there (e.g. Disc Doctor, Nitty Gritty, etc.), so I can only make direct comparisons to the distilled water I had been using. However, I can say that the RRL fluids have made a tremendous improvement on every record I have cleaned with them. I have read about others' positive experiences with RRL fluids in various threads, but was surprised to see that there has been no formal review posted. So, I thought I would get the ball rolling. Hopefully, others who have been able to compare the RRL fluids directly with other cleaning solutions can chime in here. For me, I am very pleased with the results I've gotten with the SDC and VW. First, it's allowing me to enjoy my LP's at an entirely new level, and second, I'm much less hesitant to buy used records. The level of improvement on the older, dirty records I had acquired is nothing short of astounding.

Hope this review is helpful, and happy listening to all.


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Distilled/De-ionized water
I agree, it's the best product line for making used, garage-sale records sound good and quiet. I've even used it on some Elvis 78's (from the Sun days). I never play a new record without first cleaning with RRL, I think they last longer not to push the mold release crap through the grooves, I'm not sure what that stuff is, but it must be abrasive at least a little.
hey Ewha, What did you make your "custom attachment" from. I was thinking of using the Teres DIY record cleaner design, with a crevice tool. Only thing is I have been out shopping the used markets and can't find one! Just curious, I have both solutions and no attachment yet to use them. I though of buying the StylinLP kit here on the 'Gon, but felt I could make one cheaper.
Ewha I also got some of the cleaner and deep cleaner from Albert last week. I was spinning lots of LPs tonight, and used up the rest of the SOTA LPC cleaning fluid I had.

I decided to try the new deep cleaner on a few old LPs. Some of them came back to life. I was listening to an LP from the 70's and after using the deep cleaner I could tell there were at least five seperate voices singing during the chorus, when in the past I only determined that there were several singers. The results were very good on all but one LP that was so worn out the not even the deep cleaner could breathe life back into it. I guess since five out of the six sounded lots better, the cleaner is worth the cost!
Albert too (in his posts here) put me on to the RR stuff. It is amazing. I have tried various home brews of the local experts, and vpi fluid, and none touches it. I highly recommend it. I find it very useful in my dry climate to use an antistatic gun with it. Thanks for the post. The only thing I haven't decided on is the stylus cleaner. I will have to give that some thought

I am also surprised that there hasn't been a review of Record Research cleaning fluids here. I've been using them since the mid 1990's when Irvington Music ran out of Turomat TM/7 and they suggested that I give RRL a try. Larry said that it was unlike any other cleaner that I'd tried, and boy was he right.

With RRL there is no need for a rinse afterwards, no film, and no sonic signature. It is the first cleaner that truly cleans the record. Resolution, dynamics, and frequency extention are all improved. There are darker areas around each instrument, tighter focus. I highly recommend RRL to anyone that hasn't already tried it.

my "custom attachment" is made out of plastic sprinkler system tubing. i cut a piece that is approximately the length of a record from the label to the edge, and cut a very thin slit down the tube (about 1/16 of an inch). i then put self-adhesive felt on either side of the slit, and sealed the end of the tube with 3M rubber tabe. works like a charm!


if you like the RRL fluids, you should also try the RRL lp #9 stylus cleaner! very effective, fast drying, easy to use cleaner. i use it before and after every listening session.
Does one order these products from Albert or is there a web link you can share?

Also, I use a Nitty Gritty 1.5 with the automatic fluid dispenser. Do these cleaners work with this particular machine? Or would I need two machines?

Thanks for having shared your experience with us vinyl-lovers.
I buy my RRL from

You use the same Record Cleaning Machine for both Super Deep Cleaner and Super Vinyl Wash. It seems to me that 4yanx and AlbertPorter have both covered their prescribed methods of using RRL in previous posts. You may want to do a search, for Record Research, Record Research Labs and RRL.

I use and love the RRL Super Deep Cleaner for garage sale records. I first give them a quick wipe with a cotton cloth spritzed with Tourmat fluid to remove the dust, then brush and vacuum them with the RRL on my Record Doctor II. One recommendation: you HAVE to try the Disc Doctor brushes. Nothing I’ve ever used scrubs deeper down into the grooves. Plus, they last forever.