New Hobby Ultrasonic Record Cleaning

Purchased a cheap $199.00 stainless steel digital ultrasonic cleaner with a very nice record cleaning attachment off Amazon and I am having a blast.

This thing is heated, has a timer and an electric motor to rotate the records in the US tank. It is a 6L unit and it is made in China. Seems well built and it cleans records like a much more expensive machine.

I have cleaned a half dozen albums that are 40 plus years old and have only been cleaned with vacuuming machines and this thing is great. The albums I have cleaned sound darn near new and my wife thought I bought another new cartridge or phono pre-amp.

Can not recommend this type of cleaning system enough.

Rediscover those old albums.. if this thing lasts a couple of years I will be a happy dude. 
DO NOT USE THE HEAT!! It takes very little heat to warp a record. As the vinyl expands it has no where to go but up and down permanently stretching the PVC into a roller coaster. Otherwise have fun! 
Ultrasonics really is the way to go.  I went all in for the AutoDesk when they first came out many moons ago.   Glad to see less expensive systems coming out.   

I second @lowrider57 's ask for a link.
Thanx for the endorsement. May I suggest you use it without heat in any new LPs you ever acquire before first play. This removed residual microscopic stamper release agents before you can weld them in place with a moving stylus.
Because you need fingers to operate it????

Have fun.
@fuzztone not using heat and 35c is room temp.

this device can be used for cleaning small parts etc also.

A for a link I bought the last one at $199.00.

point your browser to Amazon and do a search.

Now, that's my kinda deal. Only double tlhe cost of my trusty Spin Clean. Thanks for sharing this. I'm in!
At this price I don't expect luxury.

skypunk, any tips on use or precautions? Easily breakable parts or eccentricities to be aware of? 

This is "THE BEST" post of the 2021.
What Mijo said.
In fact a danger of US cleaning is heat build up. The last thing you want to do is add heat energy to the tank. Are you cleaning with pure water, or do you add some other constituents?
35° C in your room? Don’t take your records out of the fridge. I couldn’t live like that.
I don’t want a link. Resellers are hoping to get $350-$400 on eBay.
@lewm using distilled water.

Good enough for making my kids formula 21 years ago I am sure it is fine for my records.

Like I said I not using heat.

Love how you make a post about a great deal on a very nice cleaning machine and you get, unsolicited advice and treated like a child.

Guess what kids I am 60 year old and have a masters in mechanical engineering and a BS in CE. 

I know who this schitt work, and if I need advice on chemistry I will talk to my son who is working on his PHD at Notre Dame of and his girlfriend is working on her PHD in EE. 
@fuzztone's What 95F is to hot for you?

No I ran that together was on my phone.

Using Room Temp distilled water.

Heat is for cleaning other small parts. 
It's all good pal. I was just trying to be hilarious like MC and the result was the same. Sorry bud.

Nothing to speak of. Was missing one adjusting bolt for the record carriage and I have metric and SAE hardware out the butt in my shop.

Very well constructed and even if the tank wears out in 2 years can buy a stand alone tank for even less $136.00

The unit shipped from Houston and I had it in 2 days I am in Dallas.

And it looks like they have more stock.

I get it and I live in Dallas so some days it is well over 100F in my shop. 

All good. 
Kudos on the good post. But don’t start the descendant game. My son did his astrophysics in 5.5 years @ the second biggest school in the Midwest and now he’s helping his podner get hers in brain research at Northwestern.
Dear OP, I asked a simple question out of my own curiosity, about what you are using in your tank.  There is some difference of opinion and practice among those who clean LPs using US; some use surfactants and/or mild detergents and some use pure water, like you.  So far as I know, there is no right or wrong answer to my question.  If you find the question itself to be insulting or annoying, your skin is too thin to be posting here.
Also, it was your own words that misled me to believe you might be heating the water in your tank.  Sorry about that, too.
Deal lewm

No worries was irritated with a project and took it out in my post.

Working on a thermal failure event for our aerospace team.

@fuztone I got my Masters at Northwestern and my 2 BS at UIC.

Should never pay for graduate school always get a research gig.

My son is in a 5 year program and is being paid $50k a year for his research at ND.
I ordered it. I’ve never used an ultrasonic record cleaner before. I’ve only got about 2000 records so I wasn’t sure if this made sense for me. We’ll see. To the OP: thanks for making us aware of this.
DO NOT USE THE HEAT!! It takes very little heat to warp a record. As the vinyl expands it has no where to go but up and down permanently stretching the PVC into a roller coaster. Otherwise have fun!
What?  Heat is fine.  I regularly use 90F and nothing has ever happened.  I wasn't paying attention during one session and went over 100F, and again, everything was fine.
@garyalex  You are welcome. Took a couple of days before it shipped.

@ketchup I really did not think that 35c would have any effect and working in a field [mechanical power transmission and thermal dynamics] I had by doubts of validity of the argument er statement.

@lewm I am adding 1 cap of Triton X100 to 1 gallon of distilled H2O. Will see how it works vis straight H2O 
Am I correct in thinking that the main thing missing from this USCM is a water filtration system? I suppose a filter is not absolutely required if one is willing to empty and clean the tank of debris every few LP's. But the cost of frequent water refills adds up to way more than the cost of a filter system!

I have no idea why you would need filtration as there is no recirculation pump. You simply add 6L of H2O, surfactant and you are good to go for about 40 or so albums depending how filthy your record are. There is a drain valve.

???? $$$$ I buy distilled water for $0.70 a gallon so it costs be $1.40 to do 80 to 100 records.

Well alright then! I do believe I'm gettin' one. At $199, it's a no brainer. I still see a Degritter in my future, but until then this one will do. Thanks for the heads up @skypunk.
I have a degritter

so easy, even my 6 year old can clean my records.

making the whole process completely hands free :)


@joey_v This is hands free also.

Other than putting records on the motor shaft and lowering it in the vat...

Even a 6 year old that can put a round peg in round hole can do it. And clean 6 records at a time. ;)
 And with money I saved I can buy said 6 year old something cool like a motorcycle.

Yeah but it also dries well. 
Not to mention the ultrasonic motors are vertically oriented and at the appropriate frequency.

In addition the water is filtered with each record so contaminants are limited.

Or you could buy a motorcycle.

Rather spend it on my Ducati.

To each their own. $2000 dollars will buy a lot of skydives and a couple of rear tires for my Ducati.


Listen to the music not your gear.

Skypunk, thanks for the link and review of the ultrasonic cleaner you found. I had just added building an ultrasonic record cleaner to my do list for 2021. Instead, I went ahead a minute ago and purchased the one you provided a link to. Great price and a whole lot less work than building one. I didn’t really want to go out and search for all the parts to make one during this pandemic, but really did want one.

I’ll do a search for some Triton X100 next. Anybody else have a surfacant they use and might recommend? Thanks again.

I built a DIY ultrasonic cleaner last year and love it as well.  I think the US tank was about $100 and then I used a BBQ rotisserie motor and brackets to turn a spindle and plexiglass pucks as disc separators.

I use Triton X-100 as a detergent and Hepastat 256 as a surfactant, anti-static and anti-fungal (so your solution doesn't start to grow stuff).  Plus some isopropyl alcohol and distilled water from the grocery store. There is a recipe online.  I usually set the heat to 35 but unless I'm doing several batches, it never gets hotter than 32 - no problems.  I do have a separate rinse tank with pure distilled water to wash off the detergent and stuff.  They air-dry just fine but I did buy a little clip-on desk fan to speed it up.  

  It's amazing what it can do for both new and older records.  It's noisy but worth it.  If you decide to try the BBQ rotissery motor, I have a simple trick for getting a round spindle to fit in a square chuck (just took me 5 or 6 attempts to figure it out :-).

If you have the space, I highly recommend it.
Nice thing about this device also is I can clean my collection of watches, the Desmo valves out my Ducati, and my pistols.

all without using solvents.

I moved to ultrasonic cleaning about 4 months ago. Best thing I ever done. My TBond machine cost me only $129. All you need is a 6 qts size to fit the vinyl spin kit that holds 3 records at a time. I set the spin kit speed to its slowest speed and run it 7 minutes for a complete rotation. That's all it takes. Now come the important parts. Use distilled water only and add 20 drops of Tergikleen. That's the magical product used by the U.S. library of records. Run the machine 30 minutes to release the distilled water gases before you do your first batch. Then allow machine to cool down because all these machines heat up as they run. It is very important to wash your records with heat, that will improve the cleaning 10 fold. Temps between 30 degrees centigrade and 40 are optimum and perfectly safe. I heat my machine to 30 degrees before I do my first run and subsequently do two more runs. The last one will end up at 40 degrees. So 9 records a session is the maximum I  clean. The next important part is to rinse the Tergikleen off. To do that I customized a Studebaker record cleaning machine. I spin the records by hand in there multiple times in pure distilled water and then dab some of the water off the record with  micro fiber cloths. Finally I hang them for a final drying in a custom drying rack I built. It only takes me 30 minutes to do 9 records start to finish. I have now cleaned almost 400 records and went to all kinds of learning process to get to this point. The result is awesome. If the vinyl material is of good quality and the record has not been abused or played with a worn stylus, the record will be dead quiet, totally black background. If you check my house of stereo system, you will find a picture named wash, rinse and dry and will see the system. The ultrasonic with spin kit is on the left, the rinse bath in the middle and dry rack on the right. If you are serious about your vinyl, this is the best info I can give you. And one more thing, spend plenty of time and labor setting up acoustic treatments in your listening room. I can't think of anything more important to fully enjoy your vinyl than ultrasonic cleaning and room acoustic treatment. It's a labor of love. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.
One more thing, change the ultrasonic water batch every 50 records if they are fairly clean to start with, more often for dirty records. The rinse bath I change every 9 records. Both super important.
I just followed the link and bought one of these on Amazon it will be interesting to see my experience compared to the others on here.
Interesting how there are several other machines that are very similar for more $$.  I have been very curious about ultrasonic cleaning.  But, my small record (100 or so but growing) collection doesn't warrant buying one.  I was considering trying a local cleaning service at $5/record but this might just be worth a try instead. 
I hand clean with Audio Intelligent Enzymatic Formula, then their Super Cleaner. I follow with my $200 made in China ultrasonic cleaner. I use triple reverse osmosis purified water @ $.35 gal from a local marine aquarium store. I make a small mixture of Triton X (surficant), Hepastat (anti fungal/mold), and 99% isopropyl alcohol (speeds drying). Yes, I do use the heat setting and don’t let it exceed 38C. It’s gotten up to 41 and didn’t damage my LP but no way I would make that a practice. New records have production dust in the grooves. Nothing gets played without prior cleaning as my cartridges aren’t cheap and i need that stylus to last just a little while longer. New vinyl sounds incredibly quiet and old vinyl, depending on the previous owner, sounds anywhere from good (clicks and surface noise, but the instruments still shine) to quiet and dynamic. I have late 50’s, early 60’s vinyl that sounds amazing and nothing like I previously thought because of the layers and detail revealed from a clean groove and a deep stylus. This is a time consuming process, but I want my music to sound it’s very best and I’m willing to put in the effort and be patient. I clean maybe a couple of LPs a day at most. Personally, my wallet can’t justify a $1k plus ultrasonic cleaner. My kids not in college yet. Just offering what I do. Not encouraging anyone to follow my path

i thought perhaps i could dip the head of my 4 watt therapeutic US wand into a tub of water with my record soaking in it, until i read the specs of the amazon unit - 540 total watts! i wonder if that is input or output power, though?
Slaw, were you meaning in your post at the beginning of this thread, that your Chinese made ultrasonic record cleaner lasted two years and went kaput or the tank sprang a leak, or that it’s lasted two years and is still going strong? Having just ordered one, I’m hoping you meant the latter. I usually avoid Chinese products like the plague due to the endemic quality control issues in manufacturing there, and subsequently having to fix their products after purchase, but I couldn’t resist this one.

Just pulled the plug on this unit for $200 what do I have to lose...$200 I guess...ha
For solution it looks like TritonX100 and Tergitol(R) 15-S-7 (likely main component of tergiklean) are similar nonionic surfactants and priced similarly at~$50. Any comments on merits of one over another?  Is a 0.5 %solution the recommended strength? I found some technical papers indicating this.
I am a retired Engineer, involved mostly with the process of making military grade ( class 3 J-STD-001 ) circuit boards for the DOD.  Cleaning anything begins with identifying the contamination, then providing the correct process / tools to to meet your goal (in my case, circuits ready for conformal coatings, some exposed to a vacuum and must be ultra clean). To clean a plastic disk, first identify the contamination, heavy deposits (if any) must first be removed or ultra sonics will not have any effect in that area. Soap and water for this first part of the process. To keep this short,, Mycarnival789 seems to have the proper chems and process to clean. Skypunk, david24x7 and baylinor too, thank you.  Grease from your hands will make dust and dirt stick to the disk, use gloves. Drying is very important, static will attract dust. I was the ESD boss for our factory and I can tell you it costs a lot of money if you want to make a room at zero volts (no ESD). The question of heat : Go to point of failure, use a scrap disk, add heat until it warps, then don't  do that... I'm here to help, thanks,
Versa-Clean is a pharmaceutical plastic cleaner and a whole liter is $19.36 Amazon
i have used several solutions and 3 tablespoons per 1.5 gallons of distilled water is doing a great job and not costing a lot 
Also : The cleaner that skypunk found, is perfect for cleaning a low volume of disks, if you have the need to clean 5 or more at a time you will have to spend more money. The "skypunk" cleaner (link below) is just an ulta sonic cleaner with a fixture added to hold and rotate the disk, very good. I will get one.  When I was working (now retired) I had purchased several of these units to clean parts that went into lasers and optics that needed to be very clean. Circuit boards could not use sonics because the vibrations would break the untra sonic bonds within the ICs. Whatever the cleaning process / tools, the point is, the music. If it sounds good then the cleaning process is good. Enjoy Life !
Willy-T, are you using Versa-Clean along with a surfacant or alone. I’m getting confused as to whether one or both type products are needed or advisable to be used. Anyone?

Thanks skypunk, I have been looking at vinyl cleaners for 2 years since receiving my brothers music collection after his passing. Had trouble spending the 500 + on most machines. Been doing the had groovewasher thing on my kitchen table, works but.....I just ordered mine nice "broke but sincere" audio fanatic item...