Make Your Own Professional Record Cleaning Machine for Less Than $80 and Save Up to $3000 and More.




Excuse my english.

After I found back to the sound of good old vinyl I had the problem every record aficionado has. How to clean the records properly!?
There are many ways around in the Internet. Cheaper ways like the Knosti or the Discofilm but also more expensive to unbelievable expensive ways like the formidable and excellent Double MatrixDouble Matrix from the german company ClearAudio, which also makes very nice turntables. Or the Cleaning-Vinyl-Records-Instructable by mattdp.

But there are always recurring mechanisms. On of them I tried to build on my own and as I can say, it works fine. I have had washed some of my records at a store near by me. They wash with a Loricraft PRC3 or PRC4 and I couldn't here a difference - neither better or worse.

Sadly I built this record-cleaning-device before I thought of making an instructable. So the thing is done, but I will try to give you as much detail as I can.

Please know that there are similar constructions around. This one is quick, cheap and dirty. I did it this way, so you can see that it is possible to construct this thing, even with two left hands. But sure you can improve, upgrade or just built in more accurate way.

The drive of my turntable was the broken part I had to replace. Unfortunately I only had a less powerful motor in the house and - yes, this is ridicolous but also works if you have only the opportunity to clean records - it turnes only counterclockwise. The weakness of the motor is the reason, why I have to push the the table sometimes in the video.

Be careful in every step and practice on old records first. I assume no liability.


Step 1: Supplies

What you need:

- an old turntable (with direct drive will works best)
- a jam jar or something with an air-tight cap
- a desoldering pump/solder sucker (which word is better? Help me to improve my English, please!) with a Teflon nib. As mentioned beneath, a piece of heat shrink tube will work fine also (maybe better, I haven't tried it yet.)
- nylon thread (you can also buy the original Loricraft thread as I have done it, but it is not mandatory.)
- record cleaning brush - I used some other but prefer the Loricraft goat brush
- tube (I used tube for the aquarium with 4mm (milimeter, about 0.16 in.) diameter on the inside and 6mm (nearly 0.24 in.) on the outside) which fitted nicely on the ib of the desoldering pump
- hot glue or super glue
- record cleaning fluid (I use L'art du son, which is not quite cheap but you're about to save thousands of dollars, so... - but for the cheapskates I will post how to make your own cleaning fluid in an Instructable or later in here.)
- lots of tape or a thigh of a person (probably you) that is not too algesic. (I do it the algesic way, because of... - I forgot why, it's very simple to solve this step with tape)
- if you use tape, you will also need a this vacuum cleaner nozzle
- optional a syringe
- dirty records


- a drill, dremel or soldering gun
- a vacuum cleaner
- time, and while washing your records an empty house or an uncomplaining partner

Step 2: Pepare the Headshell.

First get rid of the pick-up and stylus.
Now get a hole into the head shell. The hole will hold the tube and the teflon-nib of the desoldering pump. So keep the dimensions of this and the hole in mind. In my case it was very hard to drill the hole into the headshell. So I melted it in with the hot soldering gun. Be careful with this. It stinks and you should do this not in your room or at least open the windows melted plastic is not very healthy - not at all.

Warm up one end of the tube, so you can easy put in the nib of the desoldering pump. When you have finished this put the tube with the Teflon nib through the hole in the head shell and fix it, if it isn't solid enough with a few drops of super glue - later you can add some silicone rubber.

After the glue hardened follow the pickup to the end of the turntable with the tube and attach the tube with cable ties to the pickup. But avoid squeezing the tube to tight, after all the liquid and the thread should go through the tube.

Maybe you can attach a shrinking tube to the Teflon nib or you can just use a shrinking tube as a nib. This would maybe a soft nib to protect the record. But in theory the nib will not touch the record because of the thread. The thread will function as a spacer between nib and record and will also physically dissolve dirt on the record while the liquid will solute the chemical way.

Step 3: Feed in the Thread.

Now it is time to feed the thread through the tone arm/the metal pipe. The thread has go to the pipe from mounting suspension towards the Teflon nib. You can suck it through with your mouth or with a vacuum cleaner or - as I did it - put a wire through the pipe (the wire is hard enough to push it through) knot the thread to the through-pushed wire and just pull it out of the pipe. Now pull out about a ft. of thread to avoid that the thread is pulled back by accident.

Now put an inch of thread through the Teflon nib. Put the end of the tube into the "little" hole in the cone of the vacuum cleaner, cover the "big" hole and, yes, start the engine.
The thread should be sucked into the tube through the Teflon nib. Feed in about 4 to five inches to be sure the thread doesn't fall out back.This is also a good test, because that will later be the way, the cleaning liquid and dissolved dirt will be sucked off the record.

Thats the thing that had to be done at the turntable itself.

Step 4: Make a Container for the Effluent.

Now it is time to make a container for the wastewater. You don't want wastewater in your vacuum cleaner, so we have to put the container between the turntable and the vacuum cleaner.

Get a jar. Mine is a honey jar with a plastic cup. Drill in two holes. The diameter should be a bit smaller then the outer diameter of the tube. After that put in the end of the tube coming from the turntable into one hole and the end of another piece of tube into the other. The length of the tube coming from the turntable has not to be too long. It will not be strained too much. The other piece of tube must be long enough, so you can handle the tube inserted into the vacuum cleaner cone without paying such much attention.

Step 5: Ready, Steady...

Mix the cleaning liquid.
As I said I prefer l'art du son. It is expensive but good. And as you saved much money on building your own record cleaning machine you may be willing to afford that. If not here is a shorty how to mix your own juice:

  • 70% distilled water
  • 30% isopropyl alcohol
  • a drop of surfactant or just ashing-up liquid
Be careful with the ingredients and do NOT use it on shellac records only on vinyl, because of the alcohol.

Mix all together. That's it.

If you use l'art du son shake it first and mix it in the ratio 1:50.

Step 6: Go!

Clean your records. Here is how to:

Watch the video!

Get the turntable started. Use the syringe to applicate the liquid to the record an bruch the record with the goat brush. Don't be too shy. You can use a bit pressure and turn the table otherwise. Thats the real washing procedure.

After a while of having effect on the dirt the liquid is about being sucked off. Start the vacuum cleaner, in which the tube is inserted into its cone. Seal the little hole with your weak hand and the big hole with your thigh. You will get a bruise because of this, but the record - it is not about you it is about your records. (also you can use the small nozzle of your vacuum cleaner and can seal it with some duct tape.)

Adjust the Teflon nib onto the record and let it suck. Move the arm towards the center of the record. Not too fast but also not too slow. After every record side, feed a bit more thread through the tube to get new thread for every new record side.

After cleansing put the record into a fancy new sleeve ant dump the old one.

That's it.
Have fun and please rate and comment. Also I would be pleased to see yours.



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19 Discussions


Question 7 weeks ago on Step 6

I get the Idea on how this works & all but just did a test & I can't get my thread to be sucked into the jar unless it gets sucked up into the other air hose I guess the cleaning solution pushes it through? I'm lost any help would be great thanks


3 years ago

Here are some more pics...


4 years ago on Introduction

What exactly do you mean by "... Seal the little hole with your weak hand and the big hole with your thigh ... " ?


Direct drive turntables often burn out the electronics when you slow them down and they are trying to speed up. Get a belt drive.


8 years ago on Introduction

why not simply use a cotton with a part of whater and alcohol?


9 years ago on Step 3

This machine is based on the principles used by the 'Loricraft' cleaning system - this from their website explains why the thread is used......

The nylon nozzle tip of the vacuum arm does not touch the record. A fine filament nylon thread threads through the center of the arm and nozzle that allows the arm to lie very close the record. This un-calendared thread acts as a "ski" to support the arm and keep it a small fraction of an inch from the record. In fact, the distance is the thickness of the thread.

Pull a new piece of thread through each time you clean one side of a record to ensure clean thread rests on the record each time.

Hope that helps


9 years ago on Step 6

Your machine looks like it works well, but what is the purpose of the thread? Do you insert the thread in all the record grooves?

2 replies

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

I believe it is there to keep the nib off the record. The only thing touchng the vinyl is the thread.


9 years ago on Step 3

Great job on the record cleaning machine, but I don't quite understand what the thread is doing. Is it actually sucked through the tube while the record is being cleaned, or is it tied off and then you feed out some clean thread when you do the next record. If it's being sucked through, how much thread do you use for each record?


10 years ago on Introduction

i'm not sure that cleaning in counterclockwise mode is ideal. You want to move with the grain and direction that the vinyl is going to play. Otherwise you are also "cleaning out" the surface tracks. think shaving.


10 years ago on Introduction

You are nuts. Why under this instructable...?


10 years ago on Introduction

This is very good project. I'll try to make one. Does string have to be fed through tonearm?

1 reply

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Sorry for answering delay. No, it has not to be fed through the tonearm but in there it doesn't even harm...


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

It keeps space between the vinyl and the Teflon sucking tip. Also it mechanically brushes dirt out. Parts of the thread are sucked in with dust and liquid. So yes, after cleaning the thread is disposed.


10 years ago on Introduction

How would using Methylated Spirits work? Would it harm the vinyl (methylated spirits being 95% ethanol). It would take away from having to suck up the record cleaning liquid because it would evaporate.

1 reply

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Surely it will harm shellac but not the vinyl, even that every treatment with less alcohol would be better. I would not use it undiluted. First of all because the alcohol will evaporate but not the dust and not the dirt. So, without sucking it off the dirt you are willing to get rid off will stay on the record.