Brushing a record seems to be an easy and obvious way of cleaning it, and while it may seem effective, it can’t work on its own and could even be dangerous in the long run.
This article is a warning: your vinyl library will suffer if your preferred way of keeping your collection clean is simple LP brushing. Let’s discuss several options of improving your vinyl record cleaning habits.
Using an LP cleaning brush seems to be an easy way to expedite the routine of cleaning my collection of records. Why should I reconsider?
Anyone who owns a vast library of vinyl records is painfully aware of hoops one has to jump through to clean every single record. The most accessible and easy approach seems to be simple brushing; after all, it’s just dust that has slowly piled up in the grooves, so a brush should be able to take care of it without any trouble right? The internet tends to agree, as there are many online stores where you can purchase a “special” carbon fiber vinyl record cleaning brush with the technology to keep your audio archive neat and tidy for all eternity (through the power of magic, I suppose).
Here is the unfortunate truth: while weekly brushing is not inherently bad, it is not appropriate to rely on it as your only option for cleaning. It is our basic instinct to attempt ro simplify things as much as possible; here, however, the more sophisticated approach is necessary, as using even the best vinyl record duster might even aggravate the situation. The explanation is fairly mundane: most dust tends to pile up in the little canals and trenches of a disk; a typical brush will lift up most of the lighter grime and grease from the exterior, but heavier substances will be pushed even further into the depths of your disk by your brushing motions. Thus, the “cleanness” of a record is actually more of a visual placebo effect, as the harder and denser stuff never goes anywhere and continues accumulating deeper in the disk.
And what are the ramifications of that?
If you know how a turntable works, you should be able to answer the question immediately. The more dust is gathered in the depths of your record, the more problems your turntable will run into when playing it, due to the fact that the stylus has to work through heavy dust, grease and other various dirty substances that have gradually amassed after a certain time period. This, in turn, results in a significantly worse quality of sound (ironically, sonic “muddiness” directly correlates to with the presence of literal mud in the vinyl disk).
As you can see, all of these problems directly stem from only using a duster and nothing else.
So even if I have the best vinyl record duster at my disposal, it still won’t thoroughly clean the record?
Then what is the point of buying a record cleaning brush if it doesn’t work?
Well, it does work, just not to an extent we want it to. Again, weekly brushing is perfectly fine, but it has to be done in conjunction with better cleaning recipes for maximum effectiveness.
Well, what are my options?
You’ll find a lot of solutions with varying levels of effectiveness on the Internet (from the aforementioned brushes to expensive record cleaning machines and DIY recipes (some decent, others absolutely ridiculous)). Of course, we offer our own solution with our Easy Groove line (including the Easy Groove superset, which is basically a cleaning kit comprised of all of our vinyl care-related products). You can learn more about what exactly we do differently in other articles on our website. We also include our own vinyl record duster, but it works as a cleaning activator and should be used with special cleaning fluids for optimal cleaning and maximum efficiency.
So, basically, there is no magic one-size-fits-all quick fix for my cleaning cycle.
That is correct, but we at Chisto believe that we are as close to that as one can possibly get. After our long and arduous hunt for such a “Holy Grail” for cleaning, we found that the combo of specially developed cleansing liquids + LP brush is optimal both in terms of estimated cost and efficacy. This is why we encourage you to be more mobile in your approach of preserving you library of audio treasures and not just stick to one method that seems to be the most straightforward and painless out of the bunch.