Rushton's DIY approach to ultrasonic record cleaning published by Positive Feedback

Over the past several months I’ve invested a fair amount of time exploring ultrasonic cleaning because I’ve fallen way too far behind in my record cleaning. With over 6000 LPs, I needed a faster way to clean than my trusted multi-step manual wet/vac cleaning process. That manual process got the best results I’ve ever found, but I was not keeping up with my collection and it is just painful to me to play a record that I’ve not cleaned.

In exploring ultrasonic cleaning, my hope was to find that I could complete multiple LPs in a single US cleaning cycle and greatly speed up my rate of cleaning records. My goals were to FIRST do no harm and then SECOND see how close I could get to the results of my manual cleaning regimen.

My past experiences with ultrasonic cleaning demonstrations were completely underwhelming. What I heard did not approach the excellence I was achieving with my multi-step wet/vac cleaning regimen.

What I’ve learned, and now apply in my new ultrasonic cleaning regimen, are multiple elements to the cleaning process that must be used in combination to achieve the best possible results. And these results have far exceeded my expectations.

I’d thought of posting here on Audiogon the summary of what I’ve learned and am now applying as my new record cleaning regimen, but the inability to post images and to apply formatting here caused me to send my summary to David Robinson at Positive Feedback who has graciously published my comments as a guest essay. Please read that essay, and then come back here to Audiogon with comments and to share your experiences:

I look forward to some further discussion and sharing of experiences.


This is awesome, thanks for contributing to all!

I'm having a tough time finding Hepastat 256 in the Toronto area. Will any quat do? I found Epquat by Lawrason local to me which apparantly does all the same germ/virus/bacteria killing that Hepastat does.

Would Epquat be ok, and what are the differences if anyone knows?

Thanks guys!

This thread is why I love AG forums 
thanks for the contribution all but especially OP

@rushton Having gone through this thread and looking into different ultrasonic cleaning tanks I find a wide range of quality tanks and pricing.  That said how has the Trusonic holding up for yu.  If you were to purchase an ultrasonic cleaning tank today would you upgrade, and if so to what unit?  The Trusonic 10 Liter 40 khz unit seems to get the job done.  The Vibrato units look good, but are out of stock.  The Sonix4 ST126H looks pretty good for a commercial unit.  Thanks.
@weedeewop ,  I've been away from the forum for some time but got a notice of your inquiry so I'm logging back on to give some replies to your question and a couple others that have come up since I've last visited. Glad to read of your interest in US cleaning for LPs!

First, a status update: I have now downsized due to retirement and preparing to move to apartment living. This has meant selling all of my LP collection and my analog system as I shift systems to a much smaller footprint: I'm now listening entirely to digital files and headphones. This means that I'm no longer actively pursuing advances in what is possible with ultrasonic cleaning of LPs, but I continue to be convinced that what I have used is the best LP cleaning regimen I've ever experienced. I've sold my US gear to a friend who continues to use all of it and is quite happy with it. Also, I stay in touch with a number of people who have adopted the cleaning fluid formula I suggested and use it with both ultrasonic cleaning and with manual cleaning (but in a stronger concentration for manual cleaning). Thus, I continue to get reports of others' experiences.

On to some replies to questions posed:

Ultrasonic Tank Options:  I've not kept up with what may or may not be available these days. The Trusonik tank I purchased is still going strong without any problems. I see no reason to "upgrade" and am not sure what would truly constitute an upgrade given how well this tank has worked for my purposes and continues to work for my friend who acquired it from me. I know three others who are using this same tank with similar positive experience. The 10L version of this tank is what I had and, for me, was the perfect capacity.

Hepastat256 and other quats:  The principal reason for using the Hepastat256 was static reduction that the quats in the formulation provides. The quats in the cleaning fluid truly do reduce static on the vinyl. Given this, any quat might work. Some people report success using quats sold for "beauty salon" use, but I can't give a recommendation nor can I suggest an amount to use. If you can find it, the Hepastat256 provided an additional benefit as a bactericide and fungus killing agent - very good for managing the moisture that alway remains in the US tubing, filters and valves! If the online retailer QUILL.COM is available to you, they sell Hepastat256 in 64 fl oz containers for about USD $25. Here is a link:  

@sauce82  I don't know about "Epquat" - you'd just have to try it it the ingredients seem similar. The challenge is that quats and other chemical formulations can be different. So, watch out for anything in the Epquat formulation that might be unkind to vinyl. A good resource would be to ask the chemist on the AudioKarma thread I referenced in my original article.

Time/Revolutions in the Tank:  @ketchup , sorry for not replying to your query about time and number of revolutions from so long ago. There is no magic to my suggestion of 3 revolutions over 10 minutes. My goal is to keep the surface of the record wet and allow for a goodly amount of cavitation time in the tank. If I were to go one direction or the other, it would be to increase rotation speed to keep the record surface from drying while exposed above the water in the tank, so I might go to 5 revolutions per minute but stay with the total 10 minute cycle time. My choice of 3 revolutions over 10 minutes was just a compromise based on some completely unscientific trial and error and that speed choice available to me with my variable voltage adapter.


Thanks for that update.  Kind of a sad postscript about your analog situation as I am facing a similar decision, although I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of my core collection.