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 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.