Vacuuming after ultrasonic vinyl cleaning

For anyone who is a proponent of vacuuming their vinyl after an ultrasonic cleaning rather than letting it fan dry, since both sides will be wet how do you protect the "down" wet side during the process? My VPI 16.5 has a foam mat, but that will get soaked over time and may transfer dust/ particles to the cleaned wet surface.

Thanks for any advice.......


I do a point-source vacuum clean on a Loricraft machine, then use a Degritter. I let the Degritter dry the record, then put it back on the Loricraft for a distilled water rinse and dry.

The issue with fan drying is static accumulation, plus the residues remaining in the used cleaning water that evaporates is being left on the disk. The second point is more important to me. My method adds a couple of minutes but is the only way I can avoid putting a wet disk onto the Loricraft for a rinse. I could use a second tank of distilled water in the Degritter, but there would still be the issue of static from blown air drying.

i think we choose our path;

----ultrasonic cleaning with blow dry or hang dry.


----friction/scrub cleaning with vacuum.

there are many subsets with each approach, most of which involve one compromise or another including excessive time spent.

my compromise is using the KLAudio KD-CLN-LP200. love it. ultrasonic with blow dry. i spend my time listening.

I rinse with a repurposed idler drive turntable with a ribbed rubber mat that makes minimal contact with the vinyl.  I then vac with a KAB.  Nothing but the felt lips touch the record surface.  I could not imagine not rinsing with ultrapure water and vacing after ultrasonic cleaning.  The US cleaning fluid has all kinds of dirt and impurities in it that will be left on the record surface without a proper rinse and vac.


 I don’t have a static problem where I live. For most albums I use a US cleaner and let the machine fan dry it. If there is any static buildup I’ll DeStat the album and/or touch album to my grounding post.

For my special albums I’ll do the same as dogbeery is doing, using my VPI 16 to do a final rinse.

ClearAudio make a cleaner that does both, vacuums and US’s it at the same time. Nice unit. It’s kinda expensive.

Joe Nies

@jim94025: I too prefer to vacuum off the water on ultrasonically-cleaner LP’s, and like you own a VPI. What I did was look on the big website for cork and rubber coasters (that are placed under drinking glasses), about the same size as the 4" center label on LP’s. My idea was to place a coaster on the VPI’s platter, to hold the wet LP off the dry cork platter mat whilst drying the topside, then flip the LP over and do the other side.

There were a bunch available, and I chose an 8-pk. of coasters made by a company named Wow Ding. The product listing described it as felt, but it’s more of a soft spongy foam, each coaster being 4-3/8" in diameter and 1/8" thick. You of course must create a hole in the center of the coaster to enable you to slide the coaster onto the platter’s threaded spindle, but that’s easily accomplished with an X-Acto knife. You can stack as many coaster as you need to raise the LP off the platter as much as you want.

I just looked up my order, and that coaster is no longer available. No matter, there are many others to choose from.

For those who don’t yet have a vacuum machine, and are planning on going ultrasonic, another route to take is to buy a vacuum machine that has a small LP platter, rather than a 12" one. The two models offered by Pro-Ject look real good.

I use a thin plastic slip mat sheet for the first side vac, then remove when flipping the album. It came as a protective sheet with a Herbies slip mat. Works great

I also vac my LPs after ultrasonic cleaning. Glued a rubber & cork mat on a 16’’ lazy susan & installed a old spindle (centered), works like a charm. After a few records, I just vacuum the mat.

I vacuum one side, then flip it and vacuum the second side, then vacuum the cork mat, then vacuum the first side again.

I do this with the Monks, simply by switching out mats. But I had a VPI for many years. Help me remember- can't you adjust the wand holder height with a set screw (or Allen/hex nut)? If so, you could do the mat switch and swap out the wand for a slightly higher platter profile in seconds. 

The benefit I found to vac drying after ultrasonic is that it gives you another shot at removing the contaminants, which in my estimation, air drying, whether passive or forced, does not provide. This is particularly true if you use a surfactant in the U.S. bath. You will improve results with a rinse step-- at least that was my experience. I do add a little purified water to the record when I pull it out of the US and plop it on the Monks platter. While I prefer the results I get with the point nozzle type (Monks, Loricraft), you can get very good results with a VPI if you use good methods. One method I employed with the VPI was to use separate wands (and holders-whatever you call that upright pillar the wand mounts in) for fluid and for rinse. 

If I'm thinking straight, that would ultimately mean three wands - one for fluid cleaning if you are pre-cleaning the records before the US bath, then two rinse wands, one "normal" and one "height adjusted" to compensate for the additional mat, as described above. Changing out these wands, once mounted, takes seconds. 

I bought a lazy susan and hot glued a small dowel for the spindle hole and put down a old rubber slip mat,  purchased a 1 1/2 hp small wet/dry vac back in my vinyl vac days.  I now use it to pre clean old yard sale and estate sale records.  After pre clean I vac LP then put it in the Ultrasonic, after ultrasonic put it on the lazy susan and vac it, then turn it over and dab up any liquid with a microfiber cloth the sometimes gets left on it.  Works great, finally happy with my cleaning system.

Interesting topic.  My take is a little different.  I believe I get more static from vacuum drying than air drying.  I think a statically charged record is a magnet for airborne debris. I think the goal at the end of cleaning is to have as little non-vinyl material on the record as possible, with the possible exception of a microlayer such as Last or detergent remnant.  Its hard to know without an extensive lab set up what is too much remnant.  Clearly material on the stylus indicates residue. There is no question that a super clean record on a revealing system can still have noise (yet better overall sound) post cleaning.I have multiple cleaning systems as an evolution in my cleaning process over the last15 years.  I started with a VPI 16.5 which did a great job, but then ultrasonic became all the rage. I bit the bullet and bought Dave's (RIP)V-8 ultrasonic cleaner and was rewarded with improved sound and perhaps improvement in noise compared to the VPI.  I fiddled with different solutions until reading Neil Antin's online book and have used his fluid recommendations since. Drying was a pain, and Dave developed a dryer which I didn't care for much.  So at that time, I started to preclean with the VPI so I didn't have to change the bath so frequently and would vacuum dry the record fresh out of the US bath with a DIW rinse.  I used different wands and have 3 separate cork mats to prevent cross contamination. But frequently the cork mat would adhere to the record due to static, perhaps secondary to over drying, but it was no more than 3 revolutions. The static was manageable with a furutech antistat. I live in Florida so dry conditions weren't the cuplrit. I was convinced that after hours of research and experimentation, that I had the "gold"standard of cleaning at my disposal.  My good friend, then brought over his new Clear Audio double matrix sonic.  I was sure that my records were as clean as possible and looked forward to showing him that my $2000 investment was going to best his, at 1/3 the cost.  We both listened to an album that I am extremely experienced with before and after a run through on the Double matrix.  I was chagrined.  We both heard things, subtle to be sure, that was not apparent on the first listen.  6 months later, I was the proud owner of a double matrix.  The VPI was still used as a first step with AIVS 15 and a DIW rinse, but thicker discs would get "bogged" down on the Double Matrix and need manual assistance.  Just about every reissue had similar problems. Plus, static was improved, but not eradicated.  I also realized that the ClearAudio wasn't ultrasonic, it was "sonic", whatever that really means. So I reintroduced the ultrasonic unit and used the Double matrix as a final step using DIW and a 20% solution of 95% lab grade ETOH.  Based on Wizzzard's recommendation, I will try to find a more pure solution at a liquor store.  Ever on the quest, once the Degritter came to market -you guessed it-I got one, based on the addition of micro cavitation.  Again, I think there is improvement, but with diminishing returns.Neil spent a fair amount of time helping me with the process.  I don't use detergent in the Degritter, again DIW and ETOH at a level below flash point.  I don't see anything on the disc before I transfer it to a MOFI sleeve.  I change the bath about every 20 cycles.  The vinyl sounds fantastic and I'm pretty satisfied that there isn't much else to do at this point.  Except, I really like the concept of vacuum drying...

@Orthomead- you shouldn't have static problems from cleaning. The VPI could sometimes charge records by over vacuuming. I've only heard positives about the big ClearAudio machine, but have no hands-on experience with the unit. 

I'd go back to basics and look at your methods and processes. The combo cleaning method (Monks point nozzle with thread + older KL and final dry on the Monks) has worked very effectively for me. 

I'd also ask about what's happening apart from the cleaning process or machinery itself. Carpeted floors? Wearing shoes or socks? Those are static generators. 

Neil's (@Antinn) work is rigorous and he might have some additional insight for you as well when he has time. 



Here is the Clearaudio record cleaning solution manual - CA_Cleaning fluids_E+D.pdf (  If you read page 7, it shows how much alcohol to add to their Pure Groove essence "Since our regular Pure Groove has to be shipped as a flammable material, Clearaudio has developed Pure Groove essence which has a low alcohol content, to be easily shipped worldwide. For the proper use just mix the Pure Groove essence fluid with Ethanol denat. (90%) or Isopropyl alcohol (90%), according to the following mixing ratios given below."  and they show adding 30% by volume which yields (30%)(0.9 alcohol) = 27% by volume. 

 Not knowing what little amount of alcohol is in the Pure Groove essence I can only guess that you would end up with ~30% by volume.  One wrinkle, @mijostyn who also has the Clearaudio double matrix used the higher ethanol concentration with less than desirable results. 

the ethanol destroyed the seal in the water pump of my machine 

WRT to static, over-drying is probably the root cause.  Any fully wet process will neutralize any static on the record surface.  You do have the option of using a very small amount of a cationic surfactant to leave as an intentional residue - cationic surfactants are very hydroscopic and form a conductive layer of moisture to prevent static (good to about 30% humidity).  Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK-50) is a cationic surfactant that is often used in DIY record cleaning solutions, just be advised that in its concentrated (50%) form BAK-50 is very hazardous - 31_2006549845_BenzalkoniumChloride50Solution-CASNO-63449-41-2-MSDS.pdf ( use with appropriate PPE.  As far as an in-use concentration - Audiogon Discussion Forum.   If you search Benzalkonium Chloride 50% you will see where to purchase, but not from Amazon.

Personally, I am not a fan of leaving any residue on the record, but there are people who have good results if used very sparingly, and for whatever reason, may be a last resort to managing static and I am advising you accordingly.  FYI - external applied anti-static treatments are not permanent, they will wear off, and any pre-play brushing (that reaches into the groove) dry or otherwise will hasten the deterioration.  

Any of several anti-static devices or strategies actually does work to reduce accumulated static charge on an LP surface. I acquired a meter to measure static charge in order to prove that for myself.  Even the lowly Zerostat works to reduce the charge to negligible (less than 0.2kV), if used properly. So there is no reason or need to choose one's method for cleaning so as to avoid increasing static charge, even assuming that is a real phenomenon (as alleged with respect to vacuum drying). 

@whart Thanks for the input. The VPI is in a room with tile floors and I'm usually barefoot.  The static isn't a huge issue by any means.  Any static that is detected with my highly scientific "forearm hair test" is zapped with the Furutec.  I guess the real question is: Is the small amount of static present after vacuuming going to attract more airborne detritus to the vinyl surface than what would accumulate with the blow dry of the Degritter prior to sleeving? Such worries!!

@antinn Thanks again for all your input, current and past.  I use the Clearaudio ratio exactly as outlined, but have substituted DIW for their cleaning fluid, so hopefully no issue.  I guess this was a more cerebral conundrum than an actual physical problem, trying to fine tune my process as much as possible. Static doesn't really seem to affect my play back, particularly since I started using a Ronxs lighter and tiger cloth. I, too,balk at the idea of using additives to an ultra clean vinyl surface. 

@lewm +1

I suspect this is the time that Roseanne Roseannadanna would say "Never mind" , lol

oops, my bad.  It think it was actually Gilda as Emily Litella who uttered the famous phrase