Vinyl Record Cleaning Machines: What Are They, Pros, Cons & More

a picture vinyl ready for the record cleaning machineOne of the best ways to clean your vinyl records is with a record cleaning machine. However, this can be a confusing task to handle.

So, it’s important to know exactly what a record cleaning machine is and how you should use it.

Unfortunately, these machines are not miracle workers if you have a damaged vinyl.

They do not take care of scratches and other issues. With that said, here’s an explanation of what an RCM is.

What Exactly Is A Record Cleaning Machine?

In a nutshell, a record cleaning machine is basically a record player that does not actually play the record. Rather, it moves around the vinyl’s surface and sucks up dirt.

This is different than manually cleaning it because when you clean it by hand, you’re just moving the dirt and debris around, potentially causing even more scratches.

It’s likely that this method will not remove all of the dirt and dust. Also, there are some manual cleaners that are alcohol-based and can damage the vinyl itself. These machines, on the other hand, will completely suck the dirt from the grooves of the record, removing it entirely in a gentle manner.

Pros & Cons

Record cleaning machines are best for cleaning your vinyl, but they aren’t going to remove dents, scratches, or groove damage. They will also not remove years worth of grime that would take a chisel to remove. When choosing a cleaning machine, always remember to consider the realism about what it is capable of.

Unfortunately, these record cleaning machines come with a price. You could pay a couple hundred dollars up to a couple thousand, depending on what you are looking for.

If you have a steady hand and patience, you can save yourself a ton of money by using some distilled water, a cleaning agent, and a cloth. However, the record cleaning machine does everything for you.

Different Machines

Here are some of the best record cleaning machines on the market right now:

Record Doctor V: The Record Doctor V does a great job of removing dirt, dust, grease, and grime. It’s ideal for those thrift shop finds. This machine helps prolong the life of the LP’s and maintain their value.

This particular machine has a high-performance vacuum motor that has the same power as the ones in the expensive machines. It features a vinyl-protecting felt cleaning strip, hand record Turner, a six-foot power cord, and roller bearing. This machine costs just under $200 and is simple to use.

Spin-Clean Washer System: If you’re really on a budget, the Spin Clean is under $100 and has some great reviews. This system cleans both sides at the same time without using the turntable as part of the equation.

You can add life to and preserve your 78’s, 45’s, and LP’s with this cleaning method. It uses a special formula to remove dirt deep within the grooves of the record and sinks it to the bottom of the washer basin so it does not go back on to the record.

Okki Nokki: This RCM is higher up in the price range. It is a fully-automatic European-designed machine that has a cool running turntable for hours of use. The motor is quiet and there is a forward and reverse motion for deeper cleaning. You can also get vacuum tubes for 7” and 10” records.

Pro-Ject Vinyl Cleaner VC-S: The Pro-Ject Vinyl Cleaner VC-S is another more expensive cleaning machine. However, it is a complete package for wet vinyl cleaning. It can clean a record in one or two rotations and it uses a robust metal vacuum arm with no springs. There is a reservoir that shows the level of fluids and it will dry a record with no residual humidity.

Vinyl Vac: It’s not exactly an RCM. but it does attach to your vacuum hose and you can use it to remove embedded dirt and grime from records. It has two suction reducers that allow the user to regulate the amount of suction needed.

There’s also a ring included that gives you a snug fit between your hose and the Vinyl Vac. You will get a felt washer as well to protect your records while using the machine. The best part is – it’s very affordable.

It’s important that you properly clean your vinyl records to keep them pristine and valuable. Someday you might want to sell them and you can get more out of it if they are clean and scratch-free.

These record cleaning machines might be the answer you’re looking for if you have just acquired some pretty dirty records or if yours have seen better days.

Posted by Premier Records

The Premier Records Blog is where we blog about the vinyl records industry, accessories, product features and the latest news.