See November 7, 2017 update – My friends at Funky Moose did a comparison of the Spin Clean to the Groovewasher. Essentially they love the Spin Clean too, but use it for “cleaning sessions” when you’re dling more than one record and the Groovewasher is a good single cleaning system.
I’ve reviewed some high-end record cleaning machines as well as making suggestions for inexpensive ways to clean your records. Trying to find something in the middle that wouldn’t break the budget, but would still do a good job I purchased a Spin Clean kit from Filtronique, a Montreal hi-fi specialist.
I purchased the complete kit which comes with extra cleaning brushes, a large (32 oz) bottle of cleaning solution in addition to the 4 oz bottle and two extra cleaning brushes. This took the price from $109 to $174. If those extras were purchased separately, the price would have been $220. Seemed like a good savings. In hindsight, unless you plan on cleaning a collection of 500+ albums, you probably don`t need more than the starter kit. I estimate that a 4 oz bottle of cleaning solution could clean 200-300 records. That said, I`m not disappointed. I`ll be cleaning all of my collection over the coming weeks.
Using the Spin Clean is very simple. You adjust the guides for the size of record to be cleaned (7″, 10″ or 12″), fill the tank with distilled water, add three caps of the cleaning solution over the brushes, insert the record and do three counter-clockwise rotations followed by three clockwise, remove and dry the disc. I’d say realistically it takes about five minutes to clean each record. Because the brushes hold the record fairly tight, its not a matter of “spinning” the disc, but a slow turn. Turning slowly is a good thing because the solution drains off the record before it can run onto the label. I had no issues with the label getting wet or damaged in any way.
The most important consideration is how well did it clean the record.
From my perspective, the Spin Clean did a great job. I found a Mahalia Jackson album pressed in 1959 in the UK at my local thrift shop. For a near sixty year old album, the sleeve was in very good shape and the album itself was also very good.
A side note here – I wasn’t sure about the method of manufacturing the sleeve. I thought it may have been a version of the Stoughton tip-on sleeve, so I reached out to Mike Goldstein at the Album Cover Art Hall of Fame. In true fashion, Mike was able to explain that the outside fold over and gluing was just the method used in the UK at that time. You can compare this to album sleeves today where the edges are folded and the short fold is glued inside the sleeve rather than outside. Its a nuance, but always fun to learn more.
Visually there was a significant difference in this album before and after cleaning.
I played a single track and recorded it before cleaning the album and re-recording the same track.
Clip Before Cleaning
Clip After Cleaning
Bottom line is, I’m happy with my purchase and will start working through cleaning my collection.
Here’s what some other reviewers are saying about the Spin Clean: