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Spin Clean substitutes?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Metalhead85, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Metalhead85

    Metalhead85 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Austin, TX

    I do not have the 70 or so dollars for a Spin Clean. I have a record cleaning brush but it does practically nothing. I am afraid I would damage my records by rubbing Dawn soap on them which no way in hell is that gonna happen for me. Same for home concoctions, those also worry me. Should they? Anyways, thanks for the help!
    David Kellar likes this.
  2. David Kellar

    David Kellar I Am Just A Patsy

    Try to cover the labels if you can, use distilled water with a drop of washing liquid (the one you use to clean dishes) use a largish bowel so you can wash the record without damaging it. Use a soft cloth to clean record. Use a drainer to air dry, once nearly dry, use a dry soft cloth to clean dead wax and any droplets of water left on the record.
    Sterling1 likes this.
  3. Fish Master

    Fish Master Well-Known Member

    British Columbia
    I invested $30 in a screw on label protector. I now clean my records by rinsing in the sink then scrubbing them with a paint brush and a homebrew of distilled water, alcohol and a few drops of detergent. Then I rinse them in the sink again, warm water. Finally I thoroughly rinse with distilled water in a spray bottle. Air dry or blow dry on low setting if I want to listen right away.

    I have noticed a significant reduction in surface noise and increase in soundstage with this method. I put a sticky note on the inner sleeve noting the condition of the lp and date of cleaning.
    fish likes this.
  4. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    The best advice I can give is to save your money.

    I've been through all the DIY spraying and wiping, label protectors, home brew cleaners, etc. and much of it was a waste of time because I just had to re-clean those records later when I got a better cleaning system. The Spin Clean works, but a vac-based RCM system is far better.

    Wait until the Spin Clean goes on sale, and buy that. Or if you are good with tools, make your own DIY VAC-RCM. You'll probably spend a few bucks in parts, so it won't be dirt cheap or free.

    Another thing: when I moved on from the Spin Clean to the Vac RCM I ended up giving away my Spin Clean system for the cost of shipping. Many people that move on from the Spin Clean often have one around to sell at nominal cost.
    Big Blue, conjotter, 33na3rd and 3 others like this.
  5. IllinoisCheesehead

    IllinoisCheesehead Forum Resident

    This 100%. In my experience, the Spin Clean is a waste of money at any price. I've used one, never got satisfactory results. You can pretty much get the same results (or better) with a spray bottle of a good LP cleaner meant for manual, non-vacuum machine cleaning, a good record brush meant for wet cleaning, a distilled water rinse, and a lint free microfiber towel to dry. Better yet, rather than hand dry with a towel and potentially generate static, set your distilled water rinsed LP's in a dish drainer to drip/air dry.
  6. drandall

    drandall Well-Known Member

    Jacksonville, FL
    If it were me, I think i would buy a small bottle of Tergikleen, which is a concentrated vinyl cleaner and surfactant. You add a few drops to a gallon of distilled water and you have a safe and effective cleaning solution (used by the library of congress for their vinyl cleaning). Use a second gallon of distilled water for rinsing. Add to this a 2 pack of plastic car dent pullers. These locking suction cups grip both sides of the record, protecting the label. You can use a microfiber cloth or your record brush (if it’s velvet or goat hair) during the cleaning phase. Total cost will be around $45 shipped from amazon. It’s not a lot cheaper...but it will be the right chemicals in the right proportions and the pullers will protect the labels and give you a handle while you you’re working.
    ubiknik likes this.
  7. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    I did all the spray and wipe, label protector, sink cleaning before the Spin Clean. I did get better results with the Spin Clean, personally.

    However, both of those methods were crap compared to a vac-based RCM. Of course I use a strong cleaning fluid, not weak homebrew or one step cleaner.

    Given that at full retail, the SC costs $70, I'd recommend most people just save for a $200 or less manual vac-based RCM. Several on the market now.

    Given the cost of records nowadays, both new and used, ~$200 is nothing.
    Big Blue, MGW and IllinoisCheesehead like this.
  8. IllinoisCheesehead

    IllinoisCheesehead Forum Resident

    Yep, agreed, again. I just found the Spin Clean to be too laborious, time-consuming and messy in proportion to the end-results I was able to achieve. I quickly made the investment in a vac-based RCM and do not regret that decision a bit.

    Out of curiosity, what are your preferred cleaning fluids?
  9. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Simi Valley, CA
    Instant Dharma likes this.
  10. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    I moved away from Alcohol based DIY fluid mostly because of concerns with interactions with the alcohol and the vinyl. To be honest, I never had a problem with DIY fluids, but, I figured a bottle of L'Art du Son can be purchased for $35 from Elusive Disc that will last a long time, I'd rather be safe than sorry. But I'll state that if you just want to skip all the dabbling with hand cleaning, save your money for a vacuum based option. The Record Doctor is $200. A $70 spin clean is more than a third of the way toward the RD. There are also other options with the advent of 3D printing, you can purchase devices for less if you supply the wet vacuum. I've owned an RD as my first RCM. And it's just as effective as my Okki Nokki. But the Okki Nokki is much easier and faster to use. The real cleaning process has more to do with brushes and fluids. The vacuum only aids in removing the fluids and contaminant and drying. So, so as long as the vacuum process does this, one machine isn't really more effective than another.
  11. Jacob29

    Jacob29 Forum Resident

    ubiknik likes this.
  12. Dane Argentini

    Dane Argentini Forum Resident

    Spin Clean fan here. It works very well if you use the correct procedures. Other than washing the disks as instructed, I use high quality microfiber cloths to dry the disks and then stand them in a wooden dish drying rack before storage. The cleaning system is fairly simple and effective. I've never found it too time consuming or particularly messy and I like the results.
  13. Marcev

    Marcev Well-Known Member

    New York
    There is a knockoff you can get from Amazon and its about 1/2 the price. The Studebaker Vinyl Record Cleaning System. Somone from AudioKarma had recommended it. I use and it works, though I ended up picking up a bottle of Spin cleans cleaner to use with it.

    For this link
    Shawn likes this.
  14. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    Lots of people want to avoid alcohol but I don't really know of any actual evidence that it does any harm, I think most of those suggestions are a leap. In fact when I was researching it I came across both a PhD physicist and a PhD chemist that indicated they had been using pure alcohol for years.

    And sometimes I do get an older album that seems to have an inordinate amount of stearic acid (used in the vinyl as a mold release) on the surface, and this is not water soluble, but is soluble in alcohol.

    I suspect this is why my vinyl is so much quieter and has improved clarity over vinyl I've tried cleaning other ways.

    Not trying to change your mind, just providing some perspective for the OP.
  15. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    I use Audio Intelligent #15. Highly recommend if you are cleaning used records, but it does need soaking time and is not a quick cleaner. It also needs rinse cycles. Great results though.

    For a less tough cleaning job, consider AI #6. Never used it myself, but I suspect it works very well.
    IllinoisCheesehead likes this.
  16. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    In all cases, it's all about the operator and the process, and not as much the tool.

    There are many ways to successfully clean LPs - manual and machine. And likewise, any method can be ineffective too - especially if the tool, operator, process is not up to the task.

    Saying there is only one method or tool to clean LPs is basically narrow minded and ignorant, showing lack of experience.
  17. drandall

    drandall Well-Known Member

    Jacksonville, FL
    Regarding the Studebaker record cleaner, it’s not meant to be used with water in the basin like the spin clean. I didn’t believe that, so i emailed the company and they confirmed. the only liquid is the cleaning fluid you put on the pads. It’s not a true wet system, although some may decide to use it that way.
    Big Blue, lazydawg58 and superstar19 like this.
  18. Mattatall

    Mattatall 2-iron draw

  19. Wow! I have never heard anyone consider a SpinClean too expensive? Anyway, I see them as useless. Although I have used a VPI RCM for years, because I have so many records, I needed a way to clean them quickly and efficiently. Because the VPI RCM's are cheaply constructed and way overpriced, I would consider the Po-Ject RCM or a sonic cleaning RCM next time around. Maybe a Disc Doctor. There are cheaper and about as effective ways to clean records. The key is wet-cleaning. I used the Discwasher brush for many years with great success.

    You still have to invest in a good cleaning brush and a microfiber drying cloth, but you can make you own cleaning fluid. You add and mix drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent to a gallon jug of distilled water(deionized water is better) until there is a slightly blue tint. Next, you add 2-3 drops of Kodak Photo-Flo(sourced from photography material supplier) and mix it all up. As long as you are only cleaning records made out of vinyl, alcohol should be added. It functions as a spreader so the cleaning solution doesn't bead up. Distilled water and a damp sponge is good for rinsing the records. I have an old bottle with a spout that used to be full of record cleaning solution but now is filled with distilled water which I use to apply the rinse to the record. I then vacuum it all off with my RCM, but a dry microfiber towel works too. Use it sparingly so as not to statically charge a record. You can invest in a dedicated record cleaning mat, but a soft, dust-free towel works well.

    It is important to never air-dry a record. Unless you are doing this in a filtered air clean-room, dust will settle on the record and if the record has a static charge, it will draw dust to it like a magnet.

    You might also buy or make label protectors. If you have investment quality records that you want to keep that way, you can't damage the record labels. There are idiots that dip and entire record in a tergitol solution and then dip the record in distilled rinse water. It will damage the record labels.

    No matter what you do, you are still going to have an investment in proper record-cleaning materials. It is better to save your pennies and invest in a vacuum-type RCM, which comes with all need accessories, down the road. Until then, the Discwasher cleaning brush is fine, but you are still going to have to keep buying a non-rinse record cleaning solution.
  20. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    Spin Clean, or record bath technology DOES work, and it can work really well.
    I've read some other people's experiences who have compared the reults to a vaccuum RCM and felt the results are similar, which is what I found as well.
    You just have to do it right according to instructions and maybe do it twice once in awhile.
    It's also a very QUIET way to clean and can be done while listening, steer clear of SC's clear anniversary edition as it's clear plstic bath tends to flex out or bow in the middle which makes it hardly effective, or just buy that cheaper Studebaker model.
    gabbleratchet7 likes this.
  21. Marcev

    Marcev Well-Known Member

    New York
    That is correct as they recommend spraying a record with their included cleaner and using it to spread the solution that's sprayed on. The inner tub that holds the record and rollers etc is a solid piece of plastic so using it like a spin clean should not hurt it, nor as far as I can see, damage it. I've been using it that way for 2 years with no issues.
    lazydawg58 likes this.
  22. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    A clean soft microfibre cloth wetted with a solution of tap water and a drop of dish soap and a capful of alcohol, will clean your records as well as a Spin Clean. It just isn't as easy or enjoyable.

    What will be similar, is there will probably be a lot of staticky noise after wet cleaning, either in the kitchen sink or in the Spin Clean, especially on the records with crud deep in the grooves (they can look clean). It's from getting this crud wet, and then moving it around with your cloth or the SC. Sometimes your needle will scrape up this guck in a play or two, but often they will continue to be noisy for multiple plays.

    If you vacuum these noisy wet-cleaned records dry with your wet/dry shop vac, they will almost always come out in very good playing condition.

    Vacuuming seems to be the secret for cleaning really dirty records.
    gabbleratchet7 and lazydawg58 like this.
  23. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
    If you were close I would give you my Spin Clean
  24. Mattatall

    Mattatall 2-iron draw

    I agree Spin Clean can be effective, the amount of crud and black debris that collects in the basin is proof of that. (2) advantages are that it cleans both sides at the same time, and it's quiet (as you said). Also by squeezing the top edges of the basin together with one hand (spinning with the other) the brushes will grip the vinyl tighter, giving a deeper clean. The annoyances for me are 1) the drying process (whichever you use) 2) bathing vinyl in the dirty water- a clean rinse after spinning is really ideal. I'm currently deciding which of the cheaper RCMs to get- Record Doctor V at $200 is appealing..
    ubiknik likes this.
  25. Jacob29

    Jacob29 Forum Resident

    I guess I never actually read the instructions the Basin is made from a single shell and I use it as one would a spin clean with no issues. Just clean records I am happy with my purchase.

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