Spin Clean newbie: Any advice?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by CMT, Oct 18, 2020 at 3:54 PM.

  1. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I bought my first LP in 1967 or so--the debut album of The Monkees, it was. I was seven. I've been listening to records ever since--53 years and even through the CD era--and I have never owned a record-cleaning machine of any description or felt I needed one. [Don't worry, there's a question at the end of all this text. If you're the impatient type, skip to THE QUESTION below (although the context presented here will be useful--as context almost always is).]

    Frankly, I've never found much need to clean records. I bought records new (still do, occasionally, but now mostly a collector of used classical discs). If noisy, they got returned for a better copy. In the case of used records, I chose/choose copies in good condition. I've used the Discwasher system since it came out and it has always been entirely satisfactory when it was necessary to remove dust. Nearly all of my about 1,400 LPs are in good condition and sound great. They get a quick Discwasher brushing before play and that's it.

    However, once in a while, a used record will be very noisy overall or have loud ticks or pops, or even a skip, or patches of other kinds of noise--despite looking good on initial visual inspection. These are the only records I've ever washed--and not even all of these need a washing. Loud, isolated pops and skips nine out ten times are just a bit of something embedded in the groove. Gently dislodge with a wooden toothpick and the problem is solved. It's the others....

    For 50 years I've washed records the same way (cover your ears if you're squeamish): I wet a paper towel, dip a corner in dishwashing liquid (whatever's in the house), gently wash the grooves in the direction of the grooves, flip the disc and repeat, and then flip the disc again and rinse under tepid running water for two-three rotations of the disc on each side, blot excess water with paper towel, finish drying with microfiber cloth, air dry completely and then wash with Discwasher. I know a lot of people find this method appalling for various reasons, all of which I understand. Yet, in 50 years, I've never had a problem occasionally washing a disc this way. This will not remove physical damage to the record (nothing will). It does remove some stubborn stuff that the Discwasher doesn't. I stress that in the VAST majority of cases this is unnecessary and I do it only once in a while, with something that sounds really noisy (which, again, is rare because I don't buy junky-looking records). I'd say no more than about 50-60 of my records in all those years have been washed this way--one or two records a year. If they're still noisy after this, I generally dispose of them, so the actual number of discs I've tried washing is certainly higher, but not all of those are still in my collection.

    For a few reasons, I recently decided to get a simple RCM--the well known Spin Clean is scheduled to arrive at my door today [It just arrived while typing this]. I made this modest purchase because: 1) I DO get the idea that detergent and regular tap water have stuff in them that doesn't belong on a record surface (despite the fact that neither have ever caused me problems washing as described above for all those years). 2) I'm wondering if the machine will salvage the rare record I come across that's still noisy after washing using my usual method--the ones I would normally reject and dispose of. 3) Simple curiosity.


    My question is this: Before starting to use the Spin Clean for those outliers that seem like they might benefit from more than just the Discwasher pre-listen cleaning, is there anything about this product in particular that experienced Spin Clean users think I should know about using it before I do start?

  2. Roycer

    Roycer Forum Resident

    So you danced to Surfer Joe in school?
    CMT likes this.
  3. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    No, that's a bit before my time. I do, however, remember a third grade classmate bringing a brand new copy of "Abbey Road" to show-and-tell shortly after its original release.
    Nathan Z and Roycer like this.
  4. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    Use distilled water in the tank and rinse with distilled water as well.
    And only use the Spin Clean fluid in the tank.

    MARTHY Forum Resident

    Buy two: one for the clean cycle and a second for the rinse (distilled water only) cycle. And don't believe the manufacturer when they say you can wash 50 (or whatever) albums on a tank. I limit my clean cycle to a maximum of about 16 albums -- and these are brand new (as in just opened and not played yet) albums. Just check out the cleaning water and you'll see bits of plastic and other crap (oil residue, bits of paper sleeve, etc.) in the tank.
    The FRiNgE and CMT like this.
  6. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I anticipate cleaning only one or two records at a time and probably with weeks in between cleanings. Do you really think two are necessary? So you have to rinse the disc manually after the cleaning? Hmmm..... What does the manufacturer recommend about rinsing? I mean, how are you supposed to do it? I imagine the Spin Clean people don't expect everyone to buy two?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 5:23 PM
  7. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    I used one for years and never rinsed. Also I used microfiber towels for drying. Everyone has their own method though.
    gabbleratchet7 likes this.
  8. vinnn

    vinnn Forum Resident

    Yeah the point of the Spin Clean surfactant is that the water penetrates the grooves and the dirt sinks to the bottom instead of floating around at the top and on the surface of the water.
    In other words the wash is also the rinse, don't waste your time deviating from the Spin Clean instructions. It works just fine as instructed.

    My only tip is to wash the drying cloths in the washing machine before first use, it gets rid of any loose fibres and makes them more absorbant. This is in the instructions anyway though.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 6:31 PM
    ego1jr and jlykos like this.
  9. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    Everywhere I look, distilled water is actually just deionized water upon reading the label.
  10. vinnn

    vinnn Forum Resident

    Two different processes entirely but both produce water without minerals deposits which is what you want.
    Slick Willie likes this.
  11. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
  12. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    Keep it simple and follow the directions. Buy an extra set of towels and rotate them during larger cleaning sessions.
    Helom likes this.
  13. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Works great for me. I like air drying in the dish drainer.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  14. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Congrats! I have found a better method of using the spin clean, slower advance! There are many you tube tutorials on using the Spin Clean, but almost all move the record rapidly, some in a jerky motion... s l o w e r is better! The soak time will also improve results. The slower motion of the record automatically increases soak time, both factor into a much cleaner record IME.

    Additionally, the record cleaning brush isn't necessary after cleaning. Just simply remove the clean record from its new sleeve, and play it... pre-play formality only introduces potential contamination. If any dust particles are seen on the surface, I suggest to remove with a short blast from a can of compressed air.

    Thirdly, inspect the Spin Clean brushes that they are just touching. The Spin Clean must work properly to effectively clean the record.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 10:45 PM
  15. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    True! I am sure they would be happier to sell two spin cleans.. but on the other hand advertised that one does a great job! I have one spin clean. The rinse idea is a good one, however. I simply keep the fluid changed, more expensive but more effective.
  16. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    If the discs are very dirty yard sale finds, I just sink wash them first with Dawn to remove any grit. You don't want grit in the brushes! Just rinse well b4 putting them on the SP.
    CMT likes this.
  17. spridle

    spridle Forum Resident

    If you use the Spin Clean fluid you don’t need to rinse. When you’re done, rinse and pat dry your brushes then let them air dry overnight. If you want to prevent the rollers from chattering, dip the ends in the tank. The water makes a good lubricant and the rollers roll more smoothly. It’s a pretty simple device, I think the fluid is cheap so I clean usually 5 to 10 records on a tank. I don’t save used fluid, either. It’s cheap, just use fresh.
    CMT likes this.
  18. matthew2600

    matthew2600 Forum Resident

    Would highly recommend Tergitol / Tergikleen and then a distilled rinse with 2nd Spin-Clean. I love the results.
    CMT likes this.
  19. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Use as directed and don’t use microfiber clothes.
    irender and CMT like this.
  20. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    I moved to a Vac-based RCM a few years ago but here is my general advice for the Spin Clean:

    1) do not clean more than 10-15 records in the batch before dumping, do not save a batch of water + fluid.

    2) clean brushes thoroughly after each cleaning session, allow to air dry

    3) forget the drying cloths, air dry on a dish rack or file holder

    4) clean the dirtiest records last

    5) use at least 6 spins in each direction instead of 3.

    6) clean and scrub the yellow plastic device itself, it will get mucked with stuff over time that's hard to remove.

    Other than that, stay away from microfiber. Every type I've tried would shed and little fibers end up in the grooves and on the records. People say this doesn't happen and I think they either do not notice it or they are straight up lying. Even shops that claim these are good for record cleaning - seen the fibers on records I've bought. Worse case they wrap around the stylus and if you have advanced tip they can be difficult to remove. Garbage crap that shouldn't be near records, IMHO.
    CMT likes this.
  21. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Haven't set it up yet. Thanks for all the advice. After work tonight I plan to remove everything from the box and to take the thing for a spin (pun intended).
  22. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    I loath microfiber cloths.
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  23. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Sunshine State
    Very good advice has been already offered here.
    I find the use of Spin Clean to be especially effective if it is followed by a vacuum RCM that removes all traces of water and cleaning solution from the record. So, this might be the natural next step.
    If there is no such option, the best is to do what @patient_ot suggested above, air dry or maybe use a portable fan to speed up the process.
    CMT likes this.
  24. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I use microfiber cloths that I get locally from a company called TAP Plastics (that I think is only on the West Coast? or maybe just in California?). These are very soft and seem to shed not at all, despite have more nap that microfiber cloths usually do (or maybe, technically speaking, these are not microfiber?). I like them because: 1) they're cheap; 2) they don't shed; 3) they're very absorbent. Will probably use these.

    As for shedding, as long as you give the disc a cleaning with the Discwasher before playing, a little bit of shed fiber does no harm. The Discwasher excels at picking up that sort of thing.
  25. irender

    irender Forum Resident

    Use distilled water and the recommended amount of fluid. I wash 8-10 per session. I rotate 15 times then flip and 15 on the other. I place the wet record on a terry cloth bath towel and dry with the towels provided with the Spin Clean. The records then are placed on folded microfiber cloths until they are rinsed the same way with plain distilled water. Dried the same way. I let them air dry on the microfiber towels around an hour then zapped with a Zeroztat and blown clean with compressed air before being placed in a new Mobile Fidelity record sleeve. Never had any problems with any lint being left on the records. Never.
    CMT likes this.

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