For as long as Flea Market Funk has been in existence, I have been asked this question over and over: What is the best way to clean your records? There have been many tall tales, home remedies and old recipes for this. Everything from butter, to a windex/ water concoction (which I have used for years), wood glue, or biting the bullet and buying a fancy vacuum machine (which is a whole different entity). What if you don’t want to spend your hard earned cheddar on a professional vinyl cleaner? What if you’d rather spend it on records instead? There is such a product. The Spin Clean Record cleaner has been on the market since 1974. Unfortunately discontinued due to retail space issues, but fortunately picked up, manufactured, and distributed a year later by Record-Rama owner Paul Mawhinney. The product itself was revamped by his son Mark in 2009 and a new and improved Spin Clean was reintroduced to the vinyl record community. The good people at Spin Clean sent me one over to review. Here are the results.
The Spin Clean Record Washing System is a pretty simple device. The 4 oz. bottle of MKII washer fluid, the rollers (which can be adjusted for 7″ or 12″ records), two cleaning brushes along with special drying cloths are all you need. A big benefit is that it’s easy to assemble and even easier to clean both 45s or 33s. Fill the device with water up to the specified line, add the required amount of washer fluid, spin, dry, and your record comes out a lot cleaner than it went in. There are no worries about how hard you’re spinning the record to clean it, if you are using the right pressure on the brushes, etc., because Spin Clean has done that for you already. The included set of cleaning brushes slide right into the sides of the device (set at the correct height and pressure), so you are good to go. It sounds simple, and quite frankly, it is. I immediately went to work on some Reggae records I had bought that were filthy from sitting in a dank basement. The Spin Clean got away all of the dirt and grime off the records. My copy of Herbie Hancock’s Point of View on Blue Note Records has been cleaned by hand a few times. The thick vinyl had very few skips in it, but the vinyl itself was always dirty looking after I cleaned it my way. After using the Spin Clean, it looked cleaner than it ever had, and to me sounded a bit more crisp. I could actually see the dirt in the bottom of the cleaner that came off the vinyl. The theory is that the yellow cover helps you see exactly what is coming off your vinyl. They even make a special edition clear version to demonstrate this even more. It’s a little more money, but what special edition of any item isn’t?
For the price, the basic Spin Clean and the Spin Clean package is well worth the money IMHO. With a lifetime guarantee, and the choice to buy any extra parts (rollers, pads, drying cloths and especially the cleaning fluid) I’d have to give a thumbs up on this device. Can you spend a significant amount of money on a different type of cleaner? Yes you can, but for collectors, DJs, producers, or the everyday Joe who wants to give his vinyl a clean look and a better sound by not dropping a mint, this is a smart buy. To a record digger like me, who plays every record I buy, whether it be out at a gig, or for my mixes for this site, having clean sounding records with no skips is imperative. Doing it in an affordable way and still being able to buy records to clean, makes this thing a lifesaver. Check out the links below and the video and see and hear for yourself.
More information on the Spin Clean Record Washer here.