The most cherished thing about vinyl is its authentic sound transferring all the live vibrations and particulars of the instrument and voice. Parabolic grooves are similar to the live sound “shape” and are meticulously tracked by the record player stylus.
It is highly important to keep the grooves and the stylus clean, as any micro speck might let the stylus miss the touch that will result in clicks, pops, and gaps in playback.
Even if you don’t touch your LPs other than with gloves and keep the sleeve constantly on, the record and stylus are not fully protected from debris and dust accumulation. The airflow brings minimal specks of dirt or oils that accumulate and can even damage record albums over time. That’s why it is important to clean both sides getting in contact: the vinyl record and stylus.
The stylus is highly sensitive and fragile and should be treated with the utmost accuracy. Check how to clean the record needle providing for a longer life and richer sound of your LP records.
3 Ways to Clean Vinyl Stylus
- Stylus brush. This traditional method is valued by many vinyl lovers for its feasibility and absence of synthetic substances. When you need to clean something, you take the brush. When you wonder how to clean a stylus, take a turntable stylus brush. All you have to do is move a brush across a stylus 3-5 times lightly while holding a tonearm with your hand. It’s better not to apply any cleaning liquid, as there is a threat of the solvent getting into the cartridge. Using the brush is the most economical and natural way to clean the stylus. Still, pushing too hard while cleaning the record player needle might damage it; so, the brush must be applied accurately.
- Hi-tech stylus cleaners. There are several products on the market offering an efficient stylus cleaning within seconds. Some look like an eraser and others remind of a hair gel in a jar. The principle is common: the stylus must be lowered for some time onto the surface of the cleaner, where the latter glues or dissolves the accumulated stylus litter. The positive side of this technology is minimal user intervention and no room for mistakes paired with high cleaning efficiency. The negative one is a higher cost than that of the brush, which is, however, compensated for by years of use.
- No-static tonearm and other dust-preventive devices. While this method doesn’t refer to “cleaning”, it does help refer to cleaning less throughout the usage of the record player. It stands for avoiding dirt build-ups as much as possible. For that, many vinyl fans use the no-static tonearm that sweeps away all the debris from the LP. There are also multiple ways to clean the vinyl records (before and after each use), including special record-washing machines. The dustcover and record covers are also an efficient barrier in the dust’ way. The positive of this method is decreasing the mechanical influence on the stylus. As a result, the stylus preserves its whole shape and surface, as well as longer life. So do the records.
Products We Recommend
Vinyl Buddy — Safe and Effective Stylus Brush
This mechanical stylus cleaner makes an unmerciful dirt eliminator from the tip of the vinyl record stylus. With just a few strokes, the stylus gets free from micro-debris, dust, oils, etc. The brush comprises thousands of micro-fiber bristles that gently brush away the build-ups, yet do not scratch the stylus surface. The brush is fully anti-static, its strands being conductive. It means that any static will be removed, while the process of cleaning won’t provoke any static electricity that would attract yet more dirt and dust. The brush is very lightweight and compact. Still, the cleaning part is made to match most of the stylus tips and ensure safe stylus’ treatment, without getting further up to the cartridge. The bristles are situated in a manner to reach the “favorite” build-up areas behind the stylus tip and clean them fully. This brush has a solid build and comprehensive design letting understand clearly which part to use on the stylus. For its small cost, this simple yet efficient tool will serve your turntable needles for many years, letting them derive the most out of any record from your collection.
ONZOW Zerodust — Quick Innovative Stylus Cleaner
This turntable stylus cleaning tool features a progressive technology that allows minimizing the stylus contact to a fragment of a second. There is no need for a brush or another mechanic action or strength application. The cleaner consists of a polymer substance. The white substance doesn’t spill or dry out and is undemanding for the proper storage. The usage is very simple and prevents any human factor intervention. The box with the polymer must be situated within the stylus tip reach (in most cases, on a platter or plinth). Then the tonearm must be lowered for the tip to touch the substance and quickly lifted up. The diffusing particles in a substance “grab” the tiniest dust specks and other debris and hold it firmly within the substance. Meanwhile, the polymer has a very soft structure. It doesn’t affect the hard surface of the stylus leaving it pure and unharmed. No cartridge contact is possible, which makes this cleaner a highly safe stylus purifying option. The polymer is easy to wash. An included magnifying glass is a good bonus allowing to check the cleaning result.
The modern market for stylus cleaning tools offers reliable time-proven and innovative methods. Followers of the traditional approach will enjoy easy and caring brushing with the Vinyl Buddy, which microfiber strands are soft yet mighty. They reach the most hidden places behind the stylus tip and free it from build-ups efficiently.
For progress lovers, the ONZOW Zerodust is optimal for its fast action and minimal contact with the stylus. The polymer absorbs all the debris within a second and releases the stylus pure and ready-to-work. Apart from the cleaning, preventing record and needle dusting is important for longer life and better performance of your turntable.
Hi everyone! I’m Thomas Moody, also known as Guitarzan.
All my life, the guitar has always been my real love. I played as a featured guitarist in several bands over the years.
My extensive experience of teaching lessons and blogging taught me to write useful texts. I tried to keep as many notes about musical instruments as possible. So stay tuned—new articles are coming.