So, you are in the market for a record washer and thought you would see what all the hubbub about the Spin Clean Record Washer is about, eh? Or, maybe you just happened to stumble upon this arena of the damned in searching for a record washer of any kind, long overdue is your record collection of a good scrub?
Whatever your reason for being here, let us go on and explore the Spin Clean Record Washer, the names behind the brand, the in’s and out’s and the all about’s, and what makes this record washer different from the rest.
What to Look for in a Record Washer?
Granted, every record cleaning machine is going to be at least a little different, approaching the market from its own hopefully unique and novel angle. However, there are a few things that we ought to look for in just about every record washer – a set of base line bench marks upon which we might be able to rely, so as to compare the various record washers out there and find out which is the best for us individually, and hopefully to allow us a larger answer to the question of how long do vinyl records last.
- Does the provided solution lift contaminants well, thus fulfilling its due purpose?
- Does it remove static, or does it just seek to remove dirt, dust & grime?
- How easily does it dry after it has been called upon to clean the record?
- Does it leave behind any residue once it has dried, a film that might otherwise get in the way of the proper spinning and playing aloud of the record?
- What is the experience like for the user; is it intuitive to use?
Life itself is a highly subjective and tricky business, so we can be forgiven for all having slightly different notion of what a dirty record might be, though we all ought to be able to separate between at least two kinds:
- those that are only afflicted with some dust and static and which would be fairly simple to alleviate of their ailments, and
- those that are covered in thicker grime and contaminants (e.g. mold) and which are thus in need of a far deeper clean.
The Story of the Spin Clean Record Washer
So, before we go any further into this study, let us initiate story time and explore the versed history of the Spin Clean Record Washer.
Thankfully, the origins are reasonably clear, beginning in the year 1974 when the manufacturer Fidelitone Inc. – themselves based out of and manufacturing their wares from Ireland – created a record cleaning device known as the ‘Spin ‘n Clean.
Though they sold their products all over the western world, they were particularly popular in one record shop – Record-Rama Sound Archives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – who had esteemed success selling the Spin ‘n Clean over the counter, leaving it their so they could demonstrate it to customers.
Shortly after the product’s release, however, Fidelitone alerted suppliers that they would be discontinuing their product, which is when the owner of Record-Rama, Mr Paul Mawhinney, got involved. He was displeased with the product’s discontinuation, having much success selling it directly over the counter.
Thus, he contacted Fidelitone and bought the product outright, including the rest of the products they had not already sold, after which he began to build the product himself as a secondary business, hand assembled and packaged by the family under the new name of Spin Clean.
When Paul retired in 2009, his son Mark took over the Spin Clean brand, intending to expand the business from the market secret that it was. He quickly ended up needing a wholesale manufacturer as his family could not keep up with the demand. 1000 yearly units to 35,000, now sold globally through a whole host of external distributors.
Spin Clean Record Washer: Versions
Like many other related products, the Spin Clean Record Washer comes in a few different versions, which seek obliquely to address the varied personal and financial circumstances of all those who might wish to purchase a record cleaner like so.
These range from fairly friendly prices right up to slightly out of range prices, though with none that are particularly eyebrow raising. As ever, the Spin Clean brand is a reliable and friendly option to all who wish to clean their records in this way.
The Record Washer System
This is going to be the cheapest and most budget friendly option for owning your own Spin Clean Record Washer, and thus likely the best option for those just starting out with washing their records in this way.
The bundle itself comes with all anyone would need to get started, including: the Spin Clean Record Washer itself, some record cleaning brushes, some rollers for the machine itself, a 4 ounce bottle of alcohol free record cleaner made by themselves specifically for use with this machine, as well as a couple of drying towels for after the cleaning is done.
This collection of items will be perfect for the record cleaner just starting out on their journey, especially there is a rather small amount of towels included. Unless you intend to purchase your own separate micro fiber towels (or, for some reason, have a whole bunch of them lying around the house for just such an occasion).
Another option is to use a drying rack; any will do, though you will want to make sure that you are using one made from a material that will be kind to the surface of a record, whose surface is inherently imbibed with rather sensitive vibrational data within the grooves.
The Deluxe Kit
The next collection of items up will be the deluxe bundle, so titled for being slightly more expensive than the first and for being one that will most likely be of more interest either to those who have the money to splash and / or for those who are more experienced with record cleaning like this and who will likely be doing a lot of it, perhaps on more of an industrial level.
The bundle itself comes with all anyone would need to get started, including: the Spin Clean Record Washer itself, some record cleaning brushes and some rollers for the machine itself.
In addition to this healthy starter pack, the deluxe version comes with a bundle of extra drying towels as well as a huge 32 ounce bottle of the vinyl cleaner made specially by Spin Clean, the recommended dose of which is only a cap full, meaning that this is likely going to be a lifetime’s supply of the stuff.
The 45th Anniversary Kit
The final bundle is obviously the most expensive, though by a surprisingly small amount. Being a piece that attempts to commemorate the storied legacy of the Spin Clean brand, this will no doubt be an item for the serious record cleaner as well as the nostalgic within us all, who seeks to pay homage to a classic piece of kit along the way.
This bundle comes with all the essentials, including: the Spin Clean Record Washer itself, some record cleaning brushes and some rollers for the machine itself, as well as the deluxe version’s obscenely overqualified 32 ounce bottle of cleaning fluid as manufactured by the company themselves, alongside the extra drying towels.
In addition, the cleaner is clear – so you get to see all of its inner machinations as it does its thing – and you get a free anti static brush with which to remove any accumulation of static from the record in question, something that water and record cleaner cannot do.
A Side Note
The drying towels included in all of these packages are all well and good, and will work a treat in most cases. However, if you are intending to use the Spin Clean record washer for a whole bunch of records, i.e. in a more industrial way, then you are certainly going to want to look into purchasing a drying rack for the records and / or a Vinyl Vac.
For the former, you can use just about any kind of rack that you can imagine, though making sure that it is purpose built to bear the delicate faces of the various vinyl records it is going to meet. Imbibed within the grooves of any record is sensitive vibrational data that will be inherently marked and wrapped if not treated with care and due diligence.
The Vinyl Vac is another product, one that anyone who is seeking to clean their records in more of an industrial way will not want to do without. If the intention is to clean whole batches of records in one session, then having a tool like the Vinyl Vac will do you a world of good, enabling you to keep a steady assembly line of records cleaning and drying with very little fuss.
The drying rack and assorted drying towels that the Spin Clean Record Washer comes with will do a more than adequate job of drying the records of any excess water and vinyl cleaning solution, though the Vinyl Vac is a sure fire way to make sure those records are as bone dry as they should be before meeting the turntable platter once more.
Before You Get Started
If you intend to use any product like a record cleaning machine, then it is highly advisable that you follow any instructions that are provided with said product by the manufacturer, as well as heeding how to handle vinyl records.
The same very much goes for the Spin Clean Record Washer, who have thankfully made their own manual able to view by anyone who might have lost their own copy along the way, or for those curious about the in’s and out’s of the mechanism who do not yet own one.
There are also a few tips that we might suggest that you follow before diving straight into the cleaning process, as well as a few things that you might want to think about prior to engaging with the Spin Clean Record Washer for the first time, or even before purchasing one for yourself.
The recommended amount of records to clean in one session is likely between 10 and 30, that being to ensure that you make the most of the effort put in, the time involved in such a procedure, as well as the spin clean solution provided.
The manufacturer themselves say that each capful of cleaning solution is good for around 20 to 50 records, though it is our belief that the upper limits of this sum seem to stretch it thin a bit. Much more than 35 records of your vinyl collection and the solution will start to lose its pep, meaning that the dirty records will only really be cleaned by the water recirculating within the record cleaning machine.
Likewise, you would struggle to properly clean records in this way without a drying station, with a drying rack or possibly even a Vinyl Vac, allowing you to get a production line of cleaning and drying going with minimal wait time.
How to Test the Spin Clean Record Washer
Seeing as this is a piece of kit that is inherently designed to do one thing, we chose to test the Spin Clean Record Washer using a whole host of different records that were experiencing different gradations of dust and dirt build up, as well as some that were brand new out of the cellophane.
The best thing to do would be to clean a whole bunch of different dirty records in this fashion, as well as a considerably large number of them, and play them before and after to hear the difference.
Use the cleaner, sure, but make sure that you are using a drying station so that the records are properly dried before playing them again – this might otherwise do some damage to the turntable cartridge.
This drying station can consist of simply a small plot within the room used for the process, though it is more ideal that there be a drying rack of some kind, so that you might place the records you have already cleaned onto it to air dry, even after they have been dried with the towels that Spin Clean have so helpfully provided.
This drying station also ought really to have a Vinyl Vac, especially if you intend to test the Spin Clean Record Washer thoroughly with a veritable production line of records being cleaned and dried like so.
Simply having a drying rack to air dry all the records will simply not be able to keep up with the pace necessary to get the job done. The Vinyl Vac, however, will get the job done, no questions asked, enabling the flow of records being cleaned to be lubricated and forthcoming.
Certainly a lot of work, but more than worth it if you take this kind of thing seriously.
The Steps of Spin Cleaning your Records
In case anyone was in need of a refresher of the steps within the Spin Clean Record Washer manual, here it be:
- Remove all part from inside the Spin Clean Record Washer.
- Add rollers to the right channels, making sure to select the right record sizes for the records which you decide to clean (7 inch, 10 inch, 12 inch etc).
- Fill the Record Washer with distilled water to the fill line as prescribed. The use of distilled water is not mandatory but will do your records a whole host of favors, keeping mineral deposits in tap water away from your collection where they can potentially do harm.
- Insert the brushes, ensuring that you wet them with distilled water before doing so.
- Pour the cleaning solution over the inserted brushes. Give the record cleaning machine a gentle stir to make sure that the spin clean solution has mixed with the water properly. This should work for any type of vinyl records
- Insert the record in question slowly until it comes into contact with the rollers.
- Rotate the record in both directions at least three or so times, though you can do so as many times as you feel necessary (without going overboard of course).
- Carefully remove the record from the Spin Clean Record Washer, placing it afterwards onto the cleaning station and, if you have one setup, a drying rack.
- Attach the Vinyl Vac to the vacuum using the equipment provided upon purchase.
- Place the spindle hole over the spindle of the cleaning station, which you can do with the supplied felt pad.
- Turn on the vacuum and carefully turn the cleaning station to suck up the excess water and / or solution on the record, 2 – 3 revolutions in both directions being preferable, doing so for both sides of the record.
How Did the Spin Clean Record Washer do?
As far as record cleaners of this variety go – i.e. those that wash the record physically themselves – the Spin Clean Record Washer vastly fulfils expectations and cleans records without any questions.
Cleaning the records is relatively straightforward, and I would wager that just about anyone can do it, with a system that rids records of contaminants like dust and dirt while sucking them down into the water, which itself can be easily replaced. If you follow the instructions as well as our few words of advice, you will be left with a sparkling clean record collection whose sheen might even be audible.
So, there you have it! Hopefully you are feeling wiser about the Spin Clean Record Washer. Perhaps you already owned one or had one lying around and are now feeling better able to man the thing for the betterment of your record collection. Or, maybe you were simply looking for a record washer but are now wholly convinced that this is what you need. You might even be unsure still, which I strongly encourage. There is not much better than a sceptical buyer looking to get the most of their hard earned pennies.
FAQs Spin Clean Record Washer
Is Spin-Clean safe for records?
Absolutely, and in fact this is their job: to maintain records safely and ensure them a longer life and better sound when spun on your turntable of choice. There are a number of buffers and mechanisms within the Spin Clean Record Washer that make it safer than some competitors. The most important aspect, and one that separates it from a lot its competition, is the fact that, though a machine, the Spin Clean Record Washer is manually operated, negating a considerable amount of the harm that might be done through technological error, though inevitably making room for human error.
Does the Spin-Clean work?
Indeed it does, though of course depending on the state of the records it is being called upon to clean. If some of the records you have are only afflicted with dust and static, then they are likely going to be cured of their ailments through the Spin Clean Record Washer. If, however, some are more badly afflicted, either with thicker coatings of dirt and grime (or even mold), then it will be less likely that the Spin Clean Record Washer will be able to do the job, though that is not to rule it out, nor to say that it is not worthy of a try.
How do you use a Spin-Clean record Washer?
The Spin Clean Record Washer is user friendly, intuitive and remarkably easy to use. All you have to do is follow the fairly simple instructions in the attached manual by Spin Clean and away you go. Place distilled water and a capful of the spin clean solution into the bottom of the mechanism, before placing the record in and revolving it in both directions at least three times, allowing room for your own discretion. Ensure that you properly dry the record afterwards, either with the attached towels or by other means, before you put it onto the turntable, lest you mess with its inner systems, man.
Should you Spin-Clean new records?
It is not a requirement to do so, though it can prolong the life of the turntable cartridge by some measure, for there is often a gummy residue of sorts left on the surface of a freshly minted record that can wreak havoc on a cartridge if left untended. A quick wash will do the trick, though because it is best to clean between 10 and 30 records per session with the Spin Clean Record Washer, you might want to leave a backlog of new records to clean like so.