Top Record Cleaning Tools Every Vinyl Enthusiast Should Own

Marc HenshallCleaning Vinyl, Record Care6 Comments

Keeping your vinyl records clean is one of the most important aspects of collecting music on wax. It not only ensures that your records will sound great, but it also affects how long they will last – and, how long your stylus will last.

Like any process in life, you’ll need the right tools for the job. Below is a list of the best record cleaners, accessories, and vinyl record cleaning kits for keeping your collection in tip-top shape (Updated for 2023).

1. The Best Record Cleaning Brush for Dry Cleaning

Audio Quest Carbon Record Brush

The humble carbon fiber brush is an essential accessory for any turntable. If you don’t already own one, we recommend starting to incorporate one into your daily playback routine.

The Audio Quest record brush is perhaps the best-known option on the market. There are many others like it, but this is the one that’s been a mainstay of the industry for decades.

Recently, however, Audio Quest went to work in an attempt to improve their original design, and the result is a brand new design that is said to improve the conductivity of static electricity and facilitate better cleaning of micro-dirt particles through the use of smaller fibers in a greater quantity.

2. GrooveWasher Record Cleaning Kit

The Best Vinyl Record Cleaner for Cleaning Records by Hand

Regular readers of Sound Matters will be no strangers to the fact that we highly recommend GrooveWasher as our go-to record cleaning solution. When cleaning vinyl records by hand, this meticulously designed record cleaning fluid goes to work quickly on vinyl records and leaves no discernible residue behind.

Unlike some record cleaners, GrooveWasher G2 fluid achieves excellent results without the use of high-alcohol content. Gentle, but highly effective.

Their full Mondo kit with the solid walnut cleaning handle is the best record cleaning kit we’ve tested. It adds a touch of class to any turntable, and the separate perspex kit storage box is worth the extra money to keep pesky dust off the microfiber pad.

As a Sound Matters reader, you can grab your record cleaning kit for 10% less. Simply use the code SOUNDMATTERS10 at

TOP TIP: View our full guide to the best record cleaning vinyl kits for more info on this topic.

3. Milty Zero Stat

Perfect for Dry, Low-Humidity Climates

These might look like an overpriced kids toy, but they’re actually a serious bit of kit. The Milty Zerostat works by releasing positive ions when you squeeze the trigger (slowly) and then negative ions when releasing the handle. The result works on the record surface to neutralize static. I know, it sounds like witchcraft, but it works. (Check out our full review with GIF images to demonstrate the result).

The Zerostat is a one-time purchase that can extend the life of your records. They’re well worth the investment up front – particularly if you live in a dry climate where the humidity is low.

4. Stylus Cleaning Kit

Protect Your Stylus & Records

No matter how meticulous you are with your record-cleaning rituals, some dust and grime will inevitably build on the stylus and cantilever over time.

Occasional stylus cleaning using a brush and purpose-made stylus cleaning solution will help to prevent further contamination across records, and promote stylus longevity.

5. ProJect Vinyl Record Cleaner – VC-E2 or VC-S3

An Affordable Vinyl Record Cleaner for Serious Stacks of Wax

Ok, so record cleaning machines are expensive; there’s no two ways about it. But if you’re cleaning records in bulk, they’re indispensable.

Cleaning vinyl records by hand is effective but also time-consuming – especially if the record is very dirty and requires multiple cleans to clear the gunk fully. If you have an extensive record collection, or just want to save time, investing up front in a record cleaning machine is well worth the expense.

Devices like the Vinyl Cleaner VC-S3 or its baby brother, the VC-E2 from Pro-Ject are vacuum-based, which essentially sucks up the cleaning solution, taking away dirt and grime in the process.

6. Ultrasonic Record Cleaner

The Best Record Cleaner for Gentle Deep Cleaning

A highly effective alternative to vacuum-based cleaners is an ultrasonic record cleaner. These devices aggravate a bath of distilled water using ultra-high frequency sound to produce lots of tiny cavitation bubbles, which go to work gently cleaning deep in the grooves.

Many vinyl record enthusiasts swear by this technique as one of the best ways to clean vinyl. Once again, like vacuum record cleaners, the downside is the expense; some purpose-built ultrasonic record cleaners could set you back nearly $5000!!

Thankfully, in recent years, there’s been an attempt by many manufacturers to bring the cost down and make ultrasonic record cleaning more accessible.

Manufacturers such as Cleaner Vinyl and ZHANGLI make adaptor products that allow you to clean vinyl inside a standard 6-liter ultrasonic tank for a few hundred dollars.

That said, I much prefer a purpose-designed machine. I’ve had great results combining a pre-clean with GrooveWasher followed by a quick spin in the very affordable HumminGuru all-in-one ultrasonic record cleaner.

Turntable Lab are now the US-stockists, check out the product here. That said, the HumminGuru is also available in many countries from Amazon. Check out our full video review below to learn more.

If you’re feeling a little more flush… I can highly recommend the Degritter MARKII — a unit I tested thoroughly recently and found to be the best all-in-one ultrasonic record cleaning machine for those seeking a fuss-free way to deep clean vinyl records.

Check out the full review here, or watch the video overview below:

7. Spin Clean

The Best Record Cleaner for Bulk Cleaning on a Budget

Need to clean a lot of records but can’t afford a fancy machine? The Spin Clean record washer is a great affordable option for batch-cleaning records on a budget.

The unit requires no power; simply fill the record bath with distilled water, and apply the supplied alcohol-free record cleaning solution directly onto the pads. Three spins clockwise and then counter-clockwise is enough to allow the pads to do the heavy lifting, draining dirt and dust to the bottom of the distilled water bath.

8. A Mechanical Record Cleaning Brush

Perfect for Heavy Cleaning By Hand

Microfiber towels are the standard go-to material for cleaning records by hand. They’re a popular choice as they’re soft and very absorbent.

When using a record cleaner to clean vinyl by hand, you need a highly absorbent material to help take away the contaminated cleaning fluid.

Active surfactant and emulsifiers in your record cleaning fluid help to dissolve fingerprints and hold the grime in suspension. When you apply the pad, you’re aiming to take away as much of the contaminated fluid as possible.

That said, some stubborn dirt can benefit from a more mechanical cleaning process, and by this I mean a pad that is designed to (gently) scrub the record grooves.

To do this, we need a soft pad with fibers capable of getting into the groove as we clean the record in a circular motion.

The aptly named Black Magic Cleaning Pad is much finer than a standard microfiber pad, allowing the very soft, but firm fibers to dig deep for dust and grime. 

When applying this pad, you could feel the fibers lock into the record groove, which is perfect for spot cleaning or cleaning very dirty vintage vinyl by hand.

9. New Inner-Sleeves

An Often Forgotten Swap After Cleaning

Ok, so technically, it’s not one of our record cleaning tools, but this step is essential. Once you’re finished cleaning and the record is dry, place the record in a new sleeve.

This step is particularly important if you’re cleaning used records, as you don’t want to recontaminate your freshly cleaned record with dirt from an old sleeve.

As an easy off-the-shelf option, the classic MoFi Inner Sleeves are great.

For those seeking something a little more premium, try the many inner and outer sleeve options from Vinyl Storage Solutions VSS, who make thicker, premium versions of the classic MoFi sleeves, among many other innovative designs for maintaining a pristine record collection.

See my recent video overview below.

Sound Matters readers can enjoy 10% off their order at VSS when using the code SOUNDMATTERS10 on checkout when shopping directly at

For further information on how to clean vinyl records, check out our ultimate guide.


  • Marc Henshall

    Marc is the owner of Sound Matters and a musician with a BSc Honours Degree in Music Technology. His love for records grew in the fallout from digital downloads and a feeling that, somehow, without the physical medium, the magic was lost.

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I use a VSGO V-B03E Falcon-S Air Blower to remove surface dust before and after playing and ultrasonic cleaning. Replace all of your brushes with an air blower.
I use a Cleanervinyl Pro XL mounted on a UC3360 ultrasonic cleaner. This setup will allow you to thoroughly yet gently clean up to 16 (7”to 12”) vinyl records simultaneously, with rotation speed and temperature control from room temperature to 80°C. Also, you can automate the time spent on each of 3 frequencies: 40kHz, 80kHz and 120kHz. When the cycle is complete it has decent sized fans to dry off your clean, static-free records.
After a thorough clean and removal of static, I store discs in 3 ply rice paper sleeves. Buy the cheapest option. There is no material benefit in any brand, including Mofi, Hudson, VSS et al.
When required, I use a spritz of G2 with a micro fibre cloth for spot cleaning.
I’ve got a bottle of Record Revirginiser that I reach for in certain special cases.
I have a Milty Zerostat 3 that I squeeze on semi-regularly.
I have Hudson, Kaiu and Onzow Zerodust gooey stylus cleaners. There isn’t much between them, but the magnifying mirror on the Kaiu is pretty sweet. I use a Hudson ultrasonic + UV stylus cleaner as required.
I check on the condition of my needles with a Bysameyee 4k WiFi digital Microscope. If you think you don’t need an electronic stylus cleaner, have a look at your needle through a microscope. In a – b testing, the improvements in clarity and timbre are appreciable immediately.
They once were my weapons of choice and necessity, but I am happy to say that I have eliminated the need for brushes of any kind. I would encourage all vinyl record enthusiasts to do the same. The fact is that all brushes are abrasive, scatter debris and cause static buildup on vinyl records.
Don’t buy 1 record at a time cleaning boxes. If your collection is small, they’re all a waste of money. If your collection is large, you will lose years tending to that convoluted machine every few minutes, cleaning your records 1 by 1. Many of these cleaners feature an abrasive brush and actually leave a residue.


Thank you, I own all but on product on your list, so the confirmation makes me feel good about the choices I’ve made. I will be looking to add the HummingGuru to my list, as I value our opinion.

john fraser

First off the audioquest carbon fiber brush does not remove static build up just the opposite which is caused by friction. Most home enviroments would be dry in winter due to heating so a humidifier is recommended


Yeah, I have one of those. HORRIBLE thing to have around. My old Dishwasher system works miles better.

Paul C

I first got the Vinyl Vac but didn’t quite work with my Vacuum (mine wasn’t design to pick up water) and I wasn’t going to go out and buy shop vacuum. So basted on Michael Fremer’s review from his analog planet web site I got a ultrasonic record cleaner Just the machine from E bay. As a machinist I mad the rest except the motor I go that on e bay. It works great I was cleaning 5-6 records in 1 shot. My problem’s I had was 1- the noise it made it’s a high pitch buzzing that last 10-20 minutes depending on how long you put it on there for. The 2nd problem was how do I get the liquid off? I let the records spin / put a fan near it like they tell you to do but I wanted something quicker!!! The Vinyl Vac killed my vacuum 3x and I wasn’t going to buy another vacuum. I thought I was stuck waiting for my records to dry.

Then I saw another review from Michael about the Project Vc-s machine so I bought one. I love the machine so much even though it cleaned only one side at a time and it was made out of the Ikea press furnakit wood. I did make a plastic table top so if I spilled any liquid I didn’t have to worry about it hitting the machine. It was great and cleaning about 50-100 Lp’s in about 3-4 month. The one problem I had is after 3-4 month of using it, it leaked on me and the motor sounded louder than a jet taking off. I did write to both people, The people I bought it from and the project people themselves they told me to send it back and they up graded me to the VC-E machine which is a lot smaller & made out of aluminum not out of the IKEA furniture wood like the other one. The VC-S is a great machine if you own one and it don’t leak more power to ya. But, if it does leak on you could just call the project people and they could upgrade you to the VC-S machine at no extra charge. But still it cleans one side at a time but it’s a lot quieter than the the ultrasonic.

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