Ultrasonic cleaning

How many of you are ultrasonic cleaning your records and what solution are you using? I have a Kirmuss ultrasonic machine and I am currently using Tergikleen solution with distilled water. Have some Audio Intelligence ultrasonic solution on order to try. I can tell a big difference with noisy records lowering the noise floor. 


Just curious since I use ultrasonic cleaners in watch making.  Deionized water has minerals but distilled water does not. 

Definition of "deionized water": Deionized water is free of cations (positively charged mineral ions) and anions (negatively charged mineral ions). Some examples of cations are calcium and magnesium, sodium and iron, while sulfates, carbonates and nitrates are all examples of anions.

I use both a Loricraft and a Degritter. If I had to keep only one, it would be the former, as I think by itself it does more than the Degritter by itself. Together, I think I get the best of both worlds.

I pre-wash with Grove Washer G2, then bathe for 10 to 15 min. in my Ultrasonic cleaner using Reverse Osmosis water. A+

10 drops of Tergikleen per gallon of distilled water.  Dry with a table fan.

Thanks for feedback. I have found using a vacuum Record cleaner to rinse and dry after ultrasonic cleaning seems to give best results.  

I have an  audio desk and use their solution-good results from my perspective. 

@lnitm   I use an ultrasonic machine with a tank of Distilled water, a cap full of Spin-Clean washer fluid MK3, about 2 drops of Mr. Clean and a 1/2 cap full of Kodak Photo-Flo 200.  The photo-flo causes the water to sheet off without any spotting.  Taking the arm out of the water bath, I can rest the LP on it's edge sitting on a towel.  Bone dry in about 15 minutes.  I find I can clean many LPs before I need to change the water.  My one no break rule is never let anything touch the surface of the LP after it has been cleaned.  NOTHING.  😆

I use 2 methods, It’s a process but Amazing results, I pre clean using the vinyl vac method, in small glass bowl with a painters foam brush for applying and painters edger with soft bristles for lightly scrubbing around the record using distilled water, 1ml of Ilford Ilfotol, and 2ml 99.99% Lab grade isopropyl alcohol. Vacuum it off then distilled rinse and vacuum dry then in the 6l vevor with distilled water and 5 ml Ilford (degas for 30 minutes) then put the record in for 20 minutes then distilled rinse using separate foam brush and vacuum dry. New records I do 2 at a time, estate sale or Salvation army I do only 1 at a time. I wait until i have at least 10 records to clean. It’s time consuming but I enjoy it. As long as there is no actual damage to the grooves I get jaw dropping results.  I do not use the heat setting as the cavitation from the degas heats it up to 30 degrees Celsius which is 86 Fahrenheit. Hottest it gets after a batch of cleaning is 90F which is fine for LP records.

I use Klaudio's ultrasonic machine and distilled water and that suffices for the vast bulk of my LPs. For the occasional used LP that is in really bad shape, I have a Nitty-Gritty machine and use Record Doctor fluid.

The beauty of the Klaudio machine is that it is a one-step process: Simply place the LP in the machine and walk away - you'll have a clean, dry record when the cycle is finished.

Same here, ultrasonic cleaning, distilled water with tergikleen, 20 drops to the gallon.

I use a Klaudio machine and add three drops of Kodak Photoflo to my water tank. My water is both softened due to where we live and also reverse osmosis filtered. 

I use Klaudio's ultrasonic machine and distilled water and that suffices for the vast bulk of my LPs.

Same here.  I still have my VPI 16.5 that gets used for really dusty/dirty used records.  

I use an Audio Desk to clean using their cleaner.  I rinse using a Degritter with only their wetting agent (Rinse Aid).  Most records are dead silent or nearly so.

I have a different regimen before play depending on whether the record was purchased new, used, or was previously in my collection. If used, I use my Record Doctor with a 4-step cycle of Audio Intelligent 15, AI-6, distilled water rinse, and then into the ultrasonic using AI-Ultrasonic fluid. If new, I go straight to AI-Ultrasonic. If after play I notice any surface noise and inspection reveals no obvious cause, before the next play I use a 3-step cycle of AI-6, distilled water rinse, and ultrasonic with AI-15. For records previously played without surface noise or recently cleaned using the above process, I use the G2 solution followed by a microfiber cloth over a record brush to remove any excess solution and dust particles.

Most relevant to OP, my ultrasonic step had been using Tergikleen but I found the AI-Ultrasonic produced noticeable better results.

I've used several different cleaning methodologies over the years.  My present modus operandi employs a Knosti Disco-Antistat (basically, a German version of the Spin-Clean but with goat hair brushes, instead of microfiber pads) for a pre-clean step (for clean or dirty records, regardless) using a solution of distilled water and 0.5% Liquinox or Mofi Super Record Wash, followed by an ultrasonic cleaning using a solution of distilled water and 0.004% Tergitol 15-S-9 (not Tergikleen).  I've also used Mofi Super Record Wash exclusively in the Knosti and the ultrasonic machine bath (no additional heat setting) in the past and that worked very well, also.  However, that is much more expensive.  The distilled water and Liquinox in the Knosti is less expensive and the Tergitol 15-S-9 in the ultrasonic bath is much less expensive and both approaches work just as well.  With the distilled water and Tergitol 15-S-9, I set the ultrasonic bath temperature to operate between 32C and 37C but absolutely no higher than 37C.  For drying, I raise the cleaned records out of the ultrasonic cleaning fluid and let them rotate above the bath on a rotating spit device I use with my ultrasonic cleaning machine and let the records spin at the highest speed my rotating spinner allows (i.e.  about 1.5 to 2 RPM) for approximately 15 minutes.  This rotation time above the warm fluid of the ultrasonic bath, together with the surface tension defeating action of the Tergitol 15-S-9 in the cleaning solution results in nearly completely dry records.  After this step, I set the records in the Knosti's drying rack at room temperature to make sure they are completely dry.  A quick swipe with a high-quality microfiber cloth takes care of any few or stray remaining drops of cleaning fluid.

I've done an A/B shoot-out between this method and the Degritter, using several different records, and found the Degitter achieves no better results with respect to sound quality.  However, the Degritter, of course, requires much less space, is easier to use and is less labor intensive than my two-record lash-up approach using a 40Hz ultrasonic cleaner.  If the Degritter were half the cost, I'd buy one for those reasons.  However, at $3,280 and $120 for an additional external water tank to do it right (i.e.  $3,400), I don't mind doing a little extra work.

@oldaudiophile +!

I use the same formula and temperature range (after lots of experimentation) but recently started to dry my records by vacuum... improved the Noise Floor and drying time but greatly increased the effort required to achieve maximal results.


I recently started using a HumminGuru with distilled water and it has been working great so far.

I use a generic ultrasonic machine (Amazon special) but use the Degritter brand cleaning solution. I had reached out to them and they told me their solution could be used in any ultrasonic device. I also use a Discwasher just before playback, with Mobile Fidelity One cleaning solution, since I ran out of D4 years ago. 

I've had such a good experience with Neil Antin's mixtures to produce a Cleaning Solution, it is more than worthwhile familiarising oneself with this option. 

I also use a generic ultrasonic cleaner from Amazon 


I use distilled water and a capfull of Spin Clean Record Washing fluid. 


I heat the water to 30C for the cleaning.  

For what it's worth I precede this with a dry cleaning to remove as much dust out of the grooves and I follow it by a traditionally Spin Clean to get anything stuck in the grooves. Overall I can take a filthy antique store record and nearly fully restore the original sound. 

@Initm Photo Flo is a surfactant like Triton X-100 which breaks water's surface tension and allows it to get down deep into the grooves instead of riding nearly on top of them. A few drops go a long way.  In film photography and printing they call them "wetting agents". +1 on your idea of using a vacuum machine for a quicker drying method after ultrasonic cleaning. I'm sure you know already, but for others who don't, the key is not letting it rotate too many times, after it is dry, under the wand such that the record builds up a static charge and attracts dust. 

Kodak Photoflo contains ethylene glycol as well as a nonionic detergent.  EG is probably something you don’t want for cleaning LPs.

I use the Rush Paul method slightly modified:

I've deviated slightly (Triton -X100, 99% isoproful, just RO water in the US tank), but I am thrilled with the results. I got side tracked by Neil Antin and his Precision Cleaning. It's good if you only have a few records to clean, but when you have hundreds regularly you need to do it in volume. I've tried many different techniques, but Rush's technique is the best and cheapest I've found. It's gotten even cheaper as many US tanks come with a record spinner/spit.


There have been dozens and dozens of threads written on the subject. Just check any forum. VPI lost theirs but it went over 200 pages. Neil's manual technique is the process de jure. He writes as if he is an expert using US and Vaccum cleaning but he has no direct user knowledge. He can probably clean one record real well while I clean 4-6 just as well.




Are you using the Triton X100 at 0.13%?  This would be about 6.8 times its critical micelle concertation (CMC) which is a pretty high concentration - but Paul Rushton specifies rinsing with a vacuum-RCM

Are you spacing the records at 1" as Paul specifies?

Are you spinning as slow as Paul says which is 3-revolutions/10-min which is 0.3-rpm/min?

If you read Chapter XIV of Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records-3rd Edition - The Vinyl Press, how much does this differ?  PACVR would recommend only 2.5% IPA vs 5.0% IPA, and PACVR would recommend Tergitol 15-S-9 over Trition X100 because it's much more efficient - 6.8X CMC = 0.035%, and the record spacing is the same recommendation as is the slow spin speed.  The difference is that PACVR discusses the rational for the why.  

As far as hands on experience, I had many years of experience with using ultrasonic cleaning tanks to precision clean components where the consequences could be essentially an explosion (high pressure oxygen) or life threatening (life support systems).

As far as vacuum-RCM, except for the few automated units, it does no cleaning - it's merely convenience and the chemistry, the brush and the user's technique is what does the cleaning.  Otherwise, I have assisted people across of globe with setting up their record cleaning processes, and the lessons learned are not from one person's experience but from 100's.  

But after all is said and done, cleaning a record is not rocket science, the science of precision cleaning is well documented such as Particle Adhesion and Removal | Wiley Online Books.  The record benefits from being a relatively simple surface with no inaccessible surfaces.  The challenge is removing very small particles that can be very difficult to remove, doing no damage to the surface (which has a surface roughness equal to a highly polished surface) and leaving no residue.  

But if the goal post is hands on cleaning of a record with a UT tank, well then guilty as charged.  

Take care,

Neil Antin


Admittedly, I’m biased simply because I’ve published Neil’s work (@antinn). But I think you don’t fully appreciate what Neil did. When you mention actual application with vacuum RCMs and Ultrasonic, I’ve written extensively on this, from visiting Culpepper (the LOC intake facility) to my own explorations- I currently use a "big" Monks and a KL and have documented and published my "impressions" in terms of results. I’ve also included results-oriented contributions from TIMA, who eventually advanced to multiple tanks and filtering, per Neil. As well as an interesting historical monograph from Mike Bodell on the history of US cleaning of LPs. 


The beauty of Neil’s contributions is the explanation of process and the "why’s" of certain steps. In fairness, I don’t think Neil is dogmatic and neither am I.

As far as Neil himself is concerned, he took feedback from all over the world, more than a 1,000 participants in experimenting with "process," which not only resulted in revisions to the free booklet, but in my estimation, is what it is all about-that is, the results of various methods of cleaning from a huge number of users all over the world.

I was running a lot of records through intake here- upwards of 30-60 copies a month was the norm for a long time. Many highly valuable old pressings.

"Bulk" record cleaning, to me, raises the issue of doing 8-10 or more records in an US bath. That, to my understanding, can defeat the value of US cleaning. My main cleaning machine has been a big ole’ Monks for a while, which I use in conjunction with a KL US machine. I’m always thinking of what comes next due to potential equipment failure (though I bought back up parts for the Monks).

Neil also got feedback from more than a thousand users throughout the world, which, to me, represents "real world" testing in the hands of actual users. To say that he doesn’t have hands-on experience implies that he lacks knowledge (false) or that his recommendations are purely theoretical (also not true based on the feedback of actual users).

I have no need to defend what I publish based on any monetary concerns- it costs me real money for bandwidth and IT support. I do this purely for the advancement of knowledge. If you find it cumbersome for bulk processing, you might look at work flow, since Neil has offered various methods to increase "throughput" that have, in fact, been applied.


I personally clean records in batches. At one point, I’d say 60 LPs a month. Leaving aside around 17 thousand records- not all of which I cleaned- before I moved from NY to Texas.

If you think what Neil is suggesting is too time-consuming for large batch cleaning, Neil can probably provide you with links to those folks who are doing fairly high volume US cleaning. Me-- I’ve slowed down on intake, not for lack of interest, but simply because my focus on all of this has changed to some degree- but (ironically or not), involves archival preservation. music history and technology.

Apologies for length, I did not have time to make this pithy. But I will say (to echo Neil), that you find the right process that works for you (with an understanding of the "why") and proceed from there. I don’t think Neil is dictating that you use one process; just that you are aware of what you are doing in respect to various steps.

Bill Hart

@whart, Bill as always thank-you for the kind words and the acknowledgement and of course your efforts as editor and publisher.

One of the problems with record cleaning is that there are no clearly defined cleanliness criteria.  I address this in some length in Chapter XI but it's very technical.  Absent the criteria, the market is ripe for all forms of exaggerated claims by vendors selling what will be the latest and greatest cleaning agent and/or way to clean a record and the Edisonian technique of trial and error can be screwed by perception and bias.    

Here are 3 different power ratings for a new 40/80/120-kHz UT transducer model #CCH-4039D-120/80/40, PZT-4

35W - China 35W 40k 80k 120k Triple Frequency Piezoelectric Ultrasonic Transducer - China Piezoelectric Ultrasonic Transducer (chinax.com)
50W - 50w 40k And 80k And 120k Triple Frequency Waterproof Ultrasonic Transducer For Cleaner (ultrasoniccleaning-transducer.com)
60W - Aluminum 60w Multi Frequency Ultrasonic Transducer For Cleaning Tank (ultrasoniccleaning-transducer.com).

So, one of the challenges in putting together record clean processes is to understand the user's threshold - how much convenience do they want, how many records do clean?  If you are a power-user, the manual method is not practical.  How much money are they willing to spend - there is a big difference between an Elmasonic P-series UT and an inexpensive Chinese made UT tank.  But I can tailor a 'process' to accommodate the equipment differences.   But designing a process using a multi-frequency 37/80-kHz, high power Elmasonic P-series with multiple operating modes affords options the lower price equipment does not afford and is much easier with a near guaranteed success rate.  The only hick-up was very high throughput users where we had to install a radiator with the filter system to keep the tank temperatures under 100F (the Elmasonic P-series are powerful units).

So what have I learned from working with many people is how to work-around pretty much whatever limitation may be presented - be it the equipment or what cleaning agents are available; and obtain the best results from the equipment they have.  Does better equipment yield a cleaner record, that all depends on the process being used.  A weak UT tank can be overcome by a good pre-clean step; but your throughput can suffer.  Or we can increase the chemistry in the UT tank provided a post rinse is used.  So, after all is said and done, the best cleaning process is the one that is best for you.  

Take care, and best wishes for the Holidays - wishing all peace on earth and good will to all.


I use a little over 1 gal distilled water with 4 ounces 91% alcohol, 3 ml Triton X-100 and 1/2 ml photoflo in my Vevor US cleaner.

I clean 3 Lp`s at a time starting at 30c and I will go as high as 42c.

Very slow rotation speed. 1 rotation per 10 minutes, 3 rotations in total for the 30 minute run time.

I use a Record Dr vacuum then I put the Lp's into MoFi sleeves.

Does a nice job.


We would all do well to read and reread @whart ​​​​@antinn posts and of course tge much and ongoing revisions to the source document they author   publish. Many thanks kind sirs !

i use a Degritter with supplied fluid and distilled water w aggressive water change schedule….my next step is a positive pressure satellite grade clean room… 



If you compare the two SDSs between Trition X-100  TRITON™ X-100 Surfactant | Dow Inc. and Kodak Photoflo \14315sfp-1msdgenfilesarchivessds_usdefault�07903.pdf (lps.org), the CAS #’s are the same, so that adding Photoflo with Trition X-100 is not much benefit; especially considering that the Photoflo is diluted to 5-10%. Your Trition X-100 concentration of 3-ml/gal will get about 0.08% (+~800-ppm) which is more than enough (~4X the CMC) to get the wetting and all the detergency that Trition X100 can give.

Your 4-ounces of 91% IPA will give you about 2.8% which is a good concentration and can be complimentary with the Triton X-100.

The 0.1-rpm can be too slow for some powerful machines. It can depending on the tank depth, place the record very close to the transducers for too long a period of time which may produce record surface damage - its variable since the record vinyl formulation does vary. But for your Vevor machine it’s obviously not a problem (damage can sometimes be seen as a dulling of the surface).

Ultrasonic and then a Nitty Gritty for me.  Great results without having to wait for drying.

I am only struck by the huge difference in recommended concentration of IPA (in the case of Neil’s recommendation) or Ethanol (according to Wizzzard). 2.5% IPA vs 22% EtOH. Somewhere way back when I picked up the idea to use 25% of 99% IPA in distilled water, plus Triton X100. (This was also before I read about Tergitols.) I have no evidence that 25% IPA causes any harm (using a VPI HW17 vacuum RCM). But it would be cheaper to cut back on the IPA, if 2.5% is just as effective. For now, I will stick with TX100, because I have a large supply of it. In any case, I always rinse with pure distilled water after vacuum removal of the wash solution, then vacuum off the rinse water.  That step does make an audible difference for the better.

I have the Kirmuss which cleans 3 at a time for about $1,000. I have seen a new product HumminGuru on Amazon for $499 which cleans and drys 1 record at a time. It has good reviews. 


The reason I limit my recommendation for alcohol and UT cleaning is for a number of reasons:

  • One is liability.  I am not anonymous – you can find me.  Those that remain anonymous, their identity is protected by law.  So, I am going to be very conservative.  I am not going to make any recommendation that I believe to be potentially dangerous.  And that includes fire and toxicity hazards.
  • As I address in the book, there is a big difference between 25% IPA applied at 8 to 10 ml for vacuum-RCM used at room temperature and 1000’s ml in a heated UT tank.
  • As I address in the book, for UT cleaning, alcohol at the lower concentrations will evaporate from the water faster than the water evaporates.  If you are filtering the UT tank to extend bath life and are not monitoring the alcohol with a hydrometer, after a few days, you really do not what you have.
  • High concentrations beyond the fire-hazard can reduce the density and viscosity of the water enough to affect its cavitation performance.  As I address in the book, the best fluid for UT is a stiff fluid since it allows the greatest implosion force – ergo cavitation intensity. Water is a near ideal UT fluid.
  • A small amount of alcohol can be beneficial and complimentary with surfactants. As I wrote in the book, the alcohol can assist with soil-swell and roll-up.  And this paper Alcohols Effect on Critic Micelle Concentration of Polysorbate 20 and Cetyl Trimethyl Ammonium Bromine Mixed Solutions (wiley.com) is suggestive that IPA reduces the critical micelle concentration (CMC) which is beneficial if you are trying to use as little surfactant as necessary while ethanol increases the CMC which may not be beneficial unless you are using so much surfactant that the decrease in CMC is inconsequential.

But for UT, it you are not going to read my book, then maybe you will read this paper awad-reprint II (crest-ultrasonics.com) - Ultrasonic Cavitations and Precision Cleaning, BY SAMI AWAD, PH.D., VICE PRESIDENT CREST ULTRASONICS CORP. 

As far as your experience with Trition X100 and vacuum-RCM, given the CMC of 189-ppm and high concentration (at least 3X CMC) for detergency, post rinse is pretty much mandatory for a record free of residue.  Blower style vacuum-RCM do not suck all fluid from the surface.  As much as 30% is evaporated in-place based on testing I did with someone last winter when the cleaning agent was spiked with a high-performance UV dye (effective in ppb).  After the cleaner was vacuumed from the surface, inspection with a UV light showed no fluorescence.  But as soon as rinse water was applied, the rinse water now fluoresced indicating UV dye residue.  It took two rinses for the rinse water to show no fluorescence.  By back calculating knowing the cleaner/dye concentration and the measured amount of cleaner applied to the record, the vacuum-RCM efficiency could be calculated. 

But after all is said and done, if you are not going to read my book Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records-3rd Edition - The Vinyl Press, or any of the papers I reference, for both of our sakes, maybe its best you just ignore what I say, and spare me the time and effort it takes to write these detailed responses.  No insult here is intended – just being practical and pragmatic.  Otherwise, sincerely, best wishes for the Holidays and the New Year.

Neil Antin

Actually I use the KLAudio unit, which utilizes only distilled water. The records clean well, sound much better and no harm to the actual lp as no chemicals are involved. Also better for the environment.


@antinn Thank you for writing that informative book. I read all 190 pages. You are welcome to come to my home and clean albums anytime.

 I suggest that all should purchase a UV flashlight, per Neil Antin suggestion. It will show you how quickly dust particles accumulate on your clean albums. I was amazed to see micro fine particles on my clean albums. Could not see them without the help of the UV light. There were not many but still there.

Joe Nies


Well pardon me if I choose not to your records - LOL, all in pun.  The UV light can be a double-edged sword.  Perfection is not really possible, and good-enough is practical.  But you will find some records are 'cleaner' than others, and that some records do not so well with the ubiquitous rice-paper/HDPE sleeves or there are variations in the quality of the rice-paper/HDPE sleeves (all made in China) that essentially shed.  I have thrown my hands-up with the quality issue and I am now 'trying' Amazon.com: NAGAOKA Anti-Static LP Inner Sleeves 50 Sheets RS-LP2 : Home & Kitchen.  They are very thin and not very convenient, you need to take a few extra seconds to insert into the jacket, but they are made in Japan, and I am now 'trying' them to see if they are better with regard to consistent quality.   So far so good.

Otherwise, best wishes the holiday and the New Year,

Take care,