If you love collecting vinyl, then having grubby grooves just won't do. After all, what's the point in spending a fortune on a Beatles LP, only for it to sound like Paul McCartney singing with his head flushed down the toilet. The best vinyl record cleaners can free you of such problems, working to return your precious albums and singles to almost shop-fresh condition.
In this buyer's guide, we've picked our favourite vinyl-cleaning products to help you make a buying choice that suits your specific needs and budget. Here, you'll find everything from crap-busting brushes and vinyl washing machines, to gadgets that'll work with your vacuum cleaner to literally suck your records clean. Intrigued? Then step this way to see our list of recommendations.
Best vinyl record cleaners: Product guide
Best for speed cleaning
Type of cleaner: Electronic suction machine
+ Cleaning is super-fast
+ Sturdy build
- Top end of the price scale
Seeing as it specialises in high-end turntables, you'd expect Pro-Ject Audio to care about vinyl maintenance. And, as you would expect, the UK firm has really pushed the boat out with its VC-E compact record-cleaning machine – a device that's more expensive (and a damn sight more stylish) than a lot of actual record players.
Built from sturdy aluminium, the Pro-Ject VC-E is an electronic gadget that rotates records at 30rpm while powerfully sucking any gunk from within the grooves (cleaning fluid is recommended). Out of the box, it only works with 12-inch records, but an adaptor for 45s is due to be released in the near future.
Oh, and you needn't worry about the Pro-Ject VC-E running up your electricity bill, as it only takes one or two spins to get the job done.
Best all-in-one solution
Type of cleaner: Brushes and solution
+ Great-quality brushes
+ Cleaning fluid included
+ Bag allows for easy storage
- Similar kits cost less
Launched back in 2016 by two record enthusiasts, Big Fudge now ships its premium vinyl supplies – including cleaning kits, sleeves and storage racks – to audiophiles worldwide. Their Record Care System is an all-in-one solution that includes an anti-static velvet cleaning brush, a smaller stylus brush, a 50ml bottle of alcohol-free cleaning fluid and a handy bag for keeping everything together.
It's all very easy to use, and the results the package delivers are great – just ask the 13,000 consumers on Amazon who've combined to give Big Fudge's little cleaning kit a rating of 4.7 out of five.
Best for vinyl & stylus care
Type of cleaner: Brushes
+ High-quality carbon-fibre bristles
+ No need for cleaning fluid
+ Contemporary design
- Electronic kits may be more effective
The Boundless Audio Record Cleaning Kit catches the eye with its classy packaging, but its appeal is much more than skin-deep. Inside the box, you get two brushes – one for your vinyl and another for your stylus – both of which are made from premium carbon-fibre bristles that help to remove even the most stubborn dirt. The brushes are electrically conductive, too, meaning they'll be able to eliminate static in a matter of moments.
Fitted with ergonomic, easy-grip handles, these brushes can be wielded with precision, ensuring you won't leave your equipment looking battered and bruised. And neither will there be any spillages, since this kit is dry-clean only.
Best for ease of use
Type of cleaner: Slime
+ Simple and convenient
+ Grime can be rinsed off
- Feels weird letting this stuff loose on your records
It may look like a massive lump of snot, but the green stuff in this tub is actually very adept at cleaning vinyl. Made by Kentucky's Crosley Radio (which also manufactures turntables, by the way), Groove Goo is essentially a blob of slime that you gently roll over your records to safely remove dust and debris. Despite it having the consistency of a blancmange, it somehow manages to do all of this without leaving any residue.
What's more, Groove Goo gives off a fresh scent that serves to eliminate stale odours – ideal if you're trying to renovate those musty old 78s that your grandpa's had stashed away in his attic.
Best solution-free option
Type of cleaner: Vacuum
+ High-quality carbon-fibre bristles
+ No need to use cleaning fluid
- Electronic devices may be more effective
Planning to vacuum the living room and stairs? Well, why not give your records the once-over while you're at it. Yes, the Vinyl Vac 33 attaches to the hose of your wet/dry vacuum cleaner (1.25” or 1.5” size), meaning you can suck up that groove grit while dancing around like Freddie Mercury in Queen's I Want To Break Free video.
Simply place your vinyl on an unplugged turntable, hook the Vinyl Vac 33 up to your vacuum and then set it to work on that dastardly debris (the device is fitted with velvet padding to protect your discs). Finish off with a rinse, and – voila! – your records will look as clean and shiny as your laminate floor.
Best for big collections
Type of cleaner: Ultrasound
Single/multi use?: Multi
+ Does a thorough job, quickly
+ Enables you to clean 4 records at once
- Hefty price tag
Emitting very high-frequency waves that are undetectable by the human ear, ultrasound devices are used for a variety of purposes, from scanning pregnancies to training dogs. You can even get ones that clean vinyl records. This one uses a combination of ultrasonic vibration, water and solvent to scrub up 12-inch and seven-inch discs, getting the job done in anywhere between 90 seconds to 10 minutes.
Able to clean up to four records at once, this machine is a great option for people who have a big collection they want to clean. And records aren't all it can do – throw anything from jewellery to dentures into its stainless steel basket, and they'll come out looking the bee's knees.
Best non-electric option
Type of cleaner: Spin wash
Single/multi use?: Multi
+ No power required
+ Comes with a drying rack
+ Can clean 10-inch records
- Loads of different components
This spin-wash system doesn't require power or installation – just add water and some of the provided cleaning fluid, rotate your discs manually and brushes contained inside the gadget will get to work on that ingrained grit and grime. Simple it may be, but this little device does a mighty fine job of getting records back into tip-top condition.
The Knox Vinyl Record Cleaner Spin Kit is capable of cleaning seven, 10 and 12-inch records, and handily comes with a drying rack, meaning there's no need to leave your freshly rinsed records lying around on the kitchen table.
Best budget option
Type of cleaner: Brush
Single/multi use?: Multi
+ No fuss
+ Wooden handle
- Might struggle with ingrained dirt
The kits and contraptions that we've featured on this list will do a great job of deep-cleaning your vinyl, but if your records are just a little dusty, then something simpler might be called for – something like the Fasmov Vinyl Record Cleaning Brush. Looking a lot like one of those brushes that barbers use to lather on the shaving foam, this little device combines a solid-wood handle with a mane of soft hair to give you a cleaning solution that's as stout as it is simple.
It's probably fair to say that this brush won't remove more stubborn detritus, but if you want something that'll sweep away those lighter particles, then this handheld gadget has got your back.
Best vinyl record cleaners: Buying advice
How to choose the best vinyl record cleaner for you
There are a few things to bear in mind when shopping for a vinyl record cleaner. First up, how mucky are your records? If they're just sprinkled with a bit of dust, maybe a dandruff flake or two, then a cloth or soft brush will be adequate. However, if your disc is properly dirty, with grime clogging up your grooves like lorries in the Channel Tunnel, then you'll either need a brush with stiff bristles, or a machine/gadget that'll provide a much deeper clean.
It's also possible to buy slime-like products such as the Crosley Groove Goo, which can be rolled around your record, picking up bits of debris as it goes – and without leaving a sticky mess behind.
If the product you're looking at requires you to use a cleaning fluid, then check if it's packaged with some. Cleaning fluid isn't especially expensive to buy separately, but if you're on a tight budget then it'll help if you get some thrown in as part of the price.
Note, that using any old cleaning fluid isn't advised, so put that bottle of toilet bleach away right now. Speaking of cleaning fluid, if you're not careful you could easily spill some on the label in the middle of your record. To avoid such misery, you might want to buy a label protector – they're cheap as chips and easy to put on/take off. Some products, including the Boundless Audio Record Cleaning Kit featured in this guide, come with one included.
How can I stop my records getting dirty
This is easier said than done - hence the existence of this guide - but there are certainly ways you can limit the amount of grime that ends up clogging up the grooves on your records.
For starters, learn to handle your records with care. Never touch the grooves, instead hold the record at its edges. If you do get any finger prints or dirt on the playing surface, wipe away gently with a soft, clean cloth.
Storing your vinyl properly is another great way to keep the grime at bay for longer. When you're not playing a record keep it in a dust cover inside its sleeve and in built-for-purpose vinyl storage that's in a cool dry place and away from direct sunlight.
And this is a good tip generally: store your vinyl upright when it's not in use to prevent warping.
How we choose the best vinyl record cleaners for this guide
Here at Louder, we are music lovers and experts in our field, with many years of music listening and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything music related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products when selecting the recommendations for our guides.
When choosing what we believe to be the best vinyl record cleaners available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.
First and foremost, we are music fans, and we want others to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set and ease of use to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best vinyl record cleaners on the market right now.
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