A vacuum (or ultrasonic) record cleaning machine is the best way to truly deep clean an LP. Such a machine is a significant investment and for people with small collections or limited budgets, it may not be an option. For that reason we offer the following instructions for wet cleaning records by hand. Although an record cleaning machine makes the process quicker, easier and insures complete fluid removal, careful cleaning by hand can be very effective.

There are two very important keys to wet cleaning LPs that will determine your success.

  1. Using a gentle and effective cleaning solution
  2. Completely removing the dirty solution after cleaning

Our preference for cleaning solutions are those from Audio Intelligent. These enzyme-based products are both gentle and effective. Their Premium One Step No. 6 is the best single step process we have found and the instructions below describe its use. For even better results you can follow up the cleaning cycle with their Ultra Pure Water rinse.

What you will need -

  • Appropriate cleaning solution (we suggest the Audio Intelligent cleaning formulas)
  • Four high quality microfiber or cotton towels (12" x 12" or larger)
  • Applicator brush (Audio Intelligent Osage brush or Mobile Fidelity)

Cleaning Procedure -

  1. Lay out two of the microfiber towels on a waterproof work surface, such as a kitchen countertop
  2. Place the record to be cleaned on one of the towels
  3. Saturate the cleaning brush (not the record) with record cleaning solution until the fluid just begins to drip
  4. Using a circular motion, gently work the fluid into the grooves. Only very light pressure is required. Continue this gentle brushing for 1 – 3 minutes (dirtier records require more time)
  5. Let the solution stand on the record for 1 – 3 minutes (heavily soiled should be soaked longer to be sure stubborn debris is lifted into solution). Do not let the fluid dry on the record
  6. Use your (clean) finger to remove excess solution from the brush with a squeegee-like motion
  7. With the same circular motion used to apply the solution, remove excess fluid from the record
  8. Dry the record completely with the microfiber towel
  9. Flip the record over and place the clean side down on the other microfiber towel and repeat the cleaning process
  10. Allow the LP to air dry before placing it back in the jacket (a dish drainer works very well for this

Notes -

  • Rinse the applicator brush in distilled water after you’ve finished cleaning
  • We recommend you use the AQ carbon fiber dry brush ($20) before and after each play to remove dust
  • If you elect to use the more thorough Audio Intelligent three step cleaning solutions or Ultra Pure Rinse, simply repeat the cleaning process
  • Be sure you place cleaned records into a new rice paper or poly lined sleeve. Paper sleeves shed small fibers which work down into the grooves and encourage mold or mildew growth
  • After you have finished cleaning, rinse the cleaning brush in distilled water and “squeegee” dry with your finger
  • Most of the microfiber towels will shed leaving small fibers on the LP. These are not harmful, but a blast or two of compressed air should get rid of them
  • You can launder the microfiber towels, without detergent, using cold water, and dry on the cool setting


Click here to access a PDF detailing these instructions

Click here to access a Power Point detailing these instructions