ultrasound record cleaning machine damaged my records

I recently purchased an ultrasound record cleaning machine. For reasons which I hope you understand I won’t name brands, because I am not wanting to make bad publicity to anyone but to discuss the matter. 

Previously, I had anather ultrasound machine which broke. I cleaned more than a 1000 records with it, with no concerns at all. The machine broke and, due to its steep price, I decided to go for a less costly solution. 

With the new machine I cleaned 7 records. One of themLeonard Cohen’s “New Skin for the old ceremony”. When listening to “Chelsea Hote”, I remarked a distortion that wasn’t there before. IT was clear on the low notes, like the instrument being out of focus or vibrating. I had some old very worn records which had that problem due to bad stylus. At first I started to think that there was a problem with the stylus of my Lyra Atlas. So I went to another version of the same album I have at home, to check if there was a problem with the stylus. Clean passage. No problem at all. 

As on the previous cleaned record I noticed a similar problem, not so apparent, I decided to clean the second version of the LP on the new machine. Playing it i heard  the same distortion on the same music. Checking out all the 7 records I cleaned, I heard issues on all of them, some less apparent ( the mono ones) and some more appparent. 

I couldn’t believe it but the new machine was damaging my records. 

The combination of my atlas and my SME 312 arm gives some “needle talk” - music heard when with everything muted you put your hear next to the stylus on the record. Doing it, I heard the same rumble distortion that was being amplified by the system. 


I used distilled water (not a new one but one which was opened for the previous machine) but it was clear clean. I put the exact amount of surfactant liquid on the mixture of distilled water. I kept all the operating instruction rules. I don’t understand what is wrong, but the fact is this machines damages the grooves on the record. 


Does anyone had this problem before? Any help provided?


Note: I already contacted the dealer who sold it  and I am going to see him next week. It is a very good a solid dealer.  It I’d like to hear your opinion. 


Best regards,


I’m not surprised that a US RCM could damage an LP under extreme conditions. After all, the major use of US baths is to clean and polish. Polishing always involves wearing the surface you want to polish.

No personal experience with it, but I read somewhere that you clean records using ultrasound only once, it can damage records.

Sorry about what happened, this is upsetting.


I thought ultrasonic machines should be TOUCHLESS. 

bummer indeed. 

Sorry to hear this. FWIW, I’ve been using a Degritter for 18 months with no degradation to 100+ LPs I’ve cleaned, some several times because I sometimes leave them on the platter overnight.

There are uses of a US Tank that can cause damage to materials.

In my early days if setting up a tank, I was advised to put Aluminium Foil in to it for a period of time and check to see when it perforates.

The idea being to substantially reduce cleaning time for the LP, to not expose the LP to a cleaning period that has caused the Perforation in the Aluminium.

Today there are much better guidance's available for the different Cavitation Dimension available to be produced from different Hz Ultrasounds.

The question is, How accurate is the guidance, especially considering Vinyl is being Cleaned and certain Vinyl Materials are valued albums, that can have multiple years usage.

Does a Unused Album or Brand New Album need the exact same US treatment, as an Album that might have had a 100+ replays? Maybe the 100+ Hours Album has a wear damage that is inaudible, but a US treatment can be a detriment to such a condition being present. This is all conjecture but has to be on the table for discussion, as their only seems to be one type of info out there, Tank Degas, Tank Temp, Rotation Speed and Clean Time. The guidance all seems to be generic for the differences in the Hz of a Tank and Cavitation Dimension. 

I eventually opted out, and use the Neil Antin Manual Cleaning Method, I now have specific instruction using a formula for a mixture that is extremely Vinyl Friendly.

Additionally I now have LP's that are Clean in a way not before experienced, that I refer to as Purified.

I have a 40 Year owned Album that was put through the Wringer of being Teen Owned and a Party Favourite.

The Album was in the end unusable and kept only for Sentiment, in use it was seemingly able to destroy a Styli.  After being impressed with the Manual Clean, I dedicated Six Minutes of my time to do a Manual Clean on the long time owned Album. With the result being I would take this Album anywhere and allow it to be used on any Value of a Cart', the end clean was way beyond all expectations. 

Even when US was still lingering as a tool to be used, I thought a US final rinse might benefit a manual clean process, but today that is certainly not thought to be necessary.

The Neil Antin produced process for cleaning as attached is worthwhile being familiarised with, especially the section on the Manual Cleaning Method.




Find out the power in Watts and the frequency of your RCM. Also disclose the length of time your LPs were exposed, how many LPs in the bath, spacing between them, etc. Then you might get some informed responses. 


For more information, the frequency of ultrasound stated in the manual is 40 kHz. The output power (electrical) is 60W   The exposed time is 5 minutes and 10 minutes drying time. The machine only allows one record at a time. The volume of water is 400 ml for 12” records. 

A picture is worth a thousand words. How many pics to tell Neil Antin’s 145 pages of words?

Here’s my 1,000.


I also made totally beat LP's from my college days quite listenable again. Surprised me. I think it is getting the grunge out of the bottom of the grooves, where the old stylus never went, and the new advanced stylus's do get.

No such issues with a Degritter here. 40kHz/60W doesn't sound overly powerful. so I wonder if it is a heat issue?

I’ve used the Klaudio US cleaner without issue for years. It sounds as if the OP problems may be from using some US cleaner that’s been adapted from another purpose. He’s being a bit secretive, so it’s impossible to know for sure.

The machine @pfmaudio is using based on the power, kHz and volume is a well-known unit (he has decided not to disclose the OEM, and I will respect that) for which there are 1,000’s in use. The damage being described is contrary to what others have experienced of which no similar type damage has been experienced.

Note that the KLAudio is the most powerful of all the specific record cleaning UT units with a power of 200W at 40kHz and a bath size of only ~700-ml, and this works out to 286W/L whereas the unit @pfmaudio is using is 150W/L, and both spin at near the same speed (~2-rpm),

It is entirely possible that detritus that was there before and essentially burnished into the groove has been removed. However, some people on other forums have noted that the cleaner (some unknown surfactant of unknown concentration) provided with the UT machine was not satisfactory. Most people are happy with 1-drop of the Groovewasher G•SONIC ULTRASONIC CONCENTRATE G•Sonic Ultrasonic Concentrate – GrooveWasher.

@pfmaudio, try recleaning a record with just distilled water. If the source of the issue is cleaner residue noting that you did not rinse and may have used too much cleaner (even using the OEMs recommendation) then the 2nd wash with just distilled water will act as a rinse. If this solves the problem, you can consider continuing use of the supplied cleaner but reduce the concentration. Again, not knowing what surfactant they are using and what the concentration is, it impossible to tell you what a "no-rinse’ concentration would be. Note that most people are satisfied with the G-Sonic used at 1-drop/tank for a ’no-rinse’ cleaner.

Optimally, for best achievable results, some people buy a 2nd tank and then use that for rinsing. There is an active thread at Audio Hardware | Steve Hoffman Music Forums just search for the thread using the OEM name.

Hope this helps


The machine @pfmaudio is using based on the power, kHz and volume is a well-known unit (he has decided not to disclose the OEM ...

That doesn’t make sense. Something cannot be "well known" and undisclosed at the same time.

IMHO, the OP really should have considered revealing the make & model of the cleaner, liquids used, etc.  I understand & respect the rationale of not initially wanting to criticize a specific manufacturer without knowing if the mfr is at fault, but in this case, that seems inappropriate. 

Even if the problem occurs only during a specific use case, it does a disservice to  the community to conceal the details.  Many of us may have the same model or may be about to do whatever it is that specifically damaged the OP's records.  And those of us who do duplicate that use case without a problem should be given the opportunity to say so.

But if there is a real product-specific issue, that should not be concealed, nor should a manufacturer of a defective product, or one that publishes risky procedures, be encouraged to continue without addressing the issue.  If the OP's experience is rare, due to an isolated product defect, or even the OP's own fault, that fact would be more likely to come out in the thread if we know the details.

But if this is a legitimate product issue that affects all units, reporting the issue in detail without giving readers a way to know whether their own systems are vulnerable, or even giving the mfr a chance to evaluate and rectify the issue, doesn't get anyone anywhere.  E.g., if someone reading this thread reports a similar problem, we wouldn't even know if the issue can occur in more than one model of ultrasonic -- a crucial fact for armchair-analysts trying to understand exactly what is happening.

Just my 2c, but worth considering.

I do agree totally with @cundare2 in the post above. I am in the process of buying a second US rcm to place in my summerhouse. In my permanent house I use a Degritter and never have encounterd any problems. For the summerhouse I am looking at a cheaper US rcm to replace my old Okki Nokki. Now I do not dare to buy one of the ones I have been looking at the records in the summerhouse are carefully choosen so I do not want them destroyed in any way So, please @pfmaudio, do provide us with more detailed information as the majority of answering members are wanting. I do not think I am alone hesitating right now..

Based on the specs it sounds like a Humminguru which is touchless. I bought one after my Audio Desk died.

I’ve cleaned maybe 30 records with it, does a good job, no issues.

The only thing I can think of is maybe very old vinyl gets brittle and cannot withstand the US? Or your unit is faulty.

As an aside, my thought is you only need to US clean a record once. After that a brush before each play should be good enough.

That doesn’t make sense. Something cannot be "well known" and undisclosed at the same time.

Sure it can. Based on the specs it can be a well known RCM. If I said I'm having trouble with my amp and don't want to say what the make is but it has prominently colored VU meters, you'd say it's well known though undisclosed by me. I'm guessing based on the specs it's a Humminguru.

I use an Elmasonic, 5000 records cleaned, no issues. Antinn's response sounds right, and based on who he is, is almost certainly right.

Good luck with everything.

HumminGuru Very Highly recommends that you do not use any Surfactant.  100% distilled water only. Just sayin’…


Thank you all for your contribution. 

Thank you Antinn for your suggestion. I cleaned the record again with distilled water only. But the problem keeps there. I believe the grooves are damaged for good. Regarding your suggestion that an existing detritus got removed and showed the problem, all my 12” records were cleaned at least once, more than a year ago, with my late,Audio Desk machine, which broke the pump. It is very unlikely that some detritus was there, IMHO. 

but I made further actions following your advice. I decided to clean another record (old and with a new spare copy) with the distilled water ONLY. After a listening, I didn’t hear anything remarkable. Then, I put again on the tank the old mixture of water and cleaning solution (which I kept on a bottle for my dealer analysis). Listening  again, the problem WAS THERE. It seems the problem is on the mixture. I remember when putting in the 3 drops, the last one might have been doubled. However, if one drop has this effect, it is concerning. 
As the distilled water was old ( more than a year not sealed but closed with its cap) perhaps the problem is there, although a doubt. 

I will do another experiment with the old bottle of distilled only and let you know. 

Regarding some comments of not disclosing the OEM, I do think when someone puts an atomic bomb opinion on a forum like this it might be very damaging for the particular OEM, so I like to be prudent and respect other people efforts and investment in their products. At least until I spoke with them and get proper customer care. 

My old machine was an Audio Desk, which had a pump problem and is impossible to repair because the machine is sealed. Audio Desk offers a new one for half price with return of the original unit. However, it still gets expensive, with no assurance that the e pump won’t break again in the next years. With the audio desk I never had my problem at all I cleaned more than 1000 récords. 

the new machie Brand was añready guessed by some of The members, but please dont jump with conclusions. I Will keep you informed of further progress regardisns the distilled water or The “overdose” ou cleaning surfactant. 

Cleeds, I drive a well known German automobile. Can you name it with any certainty? No. 

I would have guessed that US might damage an LP by affecting high treble frequencies first, since those are encoded by the most tortuous grooves. So I’m a little surprised at this report. Also 40 kHz and 60W do not seem excessive. So I’m wondering whether his generator is out of whack, delivering higher energy than rated. Or whether this is a red herring.


I make no secret of the Label I now give my manually cleaned records using the PAVCR Manual Cleaning Method, as being Purified as the end product after the cleaning process.

I attribute 90%+ to this end result as being the Mixture for a Cleaning Solution that Neil Antin carefully calculates.

In posts in other threads, I have made it known I bought in extra ancillaries to enable myself to produce the Solutions to be used to a very accurate ratio for the mixture.

The mixture ratio for the cleaning solution are critical, the tools are aids to optimise the impact of the solution on the material being cleaned.

The following can be challenged quite outwardly with rebuttal. 

How many US Tanks have been filled / are filled / to be filled, with Solutions that are with ratio's for the mixture of the Cleaning Solution, that does not enable the Solution to perform to the necessary requirements ?

It does seem Cavitation used for Cleaning is optimised when manifesting in a particular solution?

It does seem Cavitation manifesting in a non-optimised solution, does not have the cleaning capability to effectively stop cleaning solution residual forming in the LP Groove, to the point the presence of the residual is audible?   


If the machine in question is a Humminguru, there was a YouTube video I watched where the Humminguru was used to clean an album over 20 times, and there was significant damage.  The other record cleaner (might have been a Degritter) did not cause such damage even after so many cleanings.  One line of thinking is that the lower frequency US machines are potentially not as gentle to the vinyl as the higher frequency machines, and ones that have the transducers located very closely to the vinyl are potentially more damaging, and there are machines that oscillate across multiple frequencies like the AudioDesk that should be safer.  I also saw an US piece that described how the technology could, if not implemented properly, damage the vinyl by removing particles and this was proven in testing.   I was going to go with the Humminguru to replace my AudioDesk until I saw that YouTube review and starting be concerned about my valuable collection (some of which are irreplaceable) being damaged.  I liked what I heard regarding the AudioDesk upgrades to the pump, refined US approach, etc. and got one at a substantial discount from Ultra Systems even though the one that broke was 9 years old and that unit was one that replace a machine that I had bought 3 years prior.  I thought the new replacement unit price and upgrades made for a reasonable deal, and it would be better to pay more and protect my collection than going with an US machine that is a newer design, as much as I was intrigued by the Humminguru concept, positive reviews, and relatively affordable purchase price.  I figure if the AudioDesk lasts several years, prior to replacing again, the cost per month and utility will be justified.  Hopefully we get confirmation of the unit in question that is damaging vinyl.

It is seemingly the Solution used for cleaning that is the key to the end result being able to substantially impress or not, tools used are merely tools being used.

If I were to change a Cleaning Solution it would be one identified by Neil Antin or someone with Neil Antin credentials, offering the Mixture Ratio for the selected substances.

My days of producing a drip or two of this, splurge of that, diluted with this, to produce a potion where info is supplied from a variety of sources, even the manufacturers. When there is no real understanding of the qualities that are on offer from what is produced, are very much over. 

I strongly suggest anybody putting their faith in the Tools and not the cleaning solution, have a rethink, and discover the mixture / solution that really does benefit the cleaning process.  


The damage may not be permanent.  Some cleaning solution residue can be very difficult to remove.  HG provides very little detail on the what is in the cleaner other the standard market speak - HumminGuru The Small Bottle | Ultrasonic Vinyl Record Cleaning Agent.   Also, distilled water DIW that is a year old can have very high total dissolved solids (TDS) and can go acidic.  DIW absorbs CO2 which then forms carbonic acid leading to lower pH and higher TDS.  It all depends on how much air it and for how long it was exposed.

I would not yet give up hope.   Try recleaning one more time with fresh DIW and if you are in the USA, my go to simple nonionic surfactant is Tergitol 15-S-9 you can purchase here Tergitol 15-S-3 and 15-S-9 Surfactant | TALAS (talasonline.com).  One-pint will last you forever, and disregard DOWs 2-yr shelf life, I have Tergitol 15-S-9 that is 5-yrs old and is fine.  Just store in a cool dark place.  For use, download the latest version (3.1) of this book Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records-3rd Edition - The Vinyl Press and look at Table XXIII, Nalgene™ Dropper Bottle Use for Degritter™ & Humminguru™ for directions on use.

For those in the UK & EU, Polysorbate 20 is an alternative you can generally purchase which the book addresses.   

Good Luck,

hmmm that's weird. I have about 1200 albums and have cleaned them all at least once with my US RCM. No issues. I wonder how water could damage records. Vinyl has a melting point of about 100C, about the same as boiling pt of water. So I did an experiment last week with a handful of albums that STILL have a lot of clicks and pops.

20 minutes at 35C

hand scrub with Disc Doctor full strength cleaner

rinse in tap water

20 minutes at 35C

scrub again

rinse again

20 minutes at 35 C again


This process DID get rid of probably 90% of the clicks and pops, with no audible damage - at least to my old retired ears. I also have a TDS - total dissolved solids - meter that also measures temp. My TDS after all the cleaning was 4 ppm. Also found the temp meter on the RCM is totally out of whack - I have to set it to about 45C to get 35C on my TDS meter. Hope this helps.

Regarding the ability to damage a record with UT, there are a lot of variables in-play.  The record spin speed, the kHz, the tank volume, the power W/L, the transducer location and how close is the record to the transducers and the actual record composition - not all records have the same composition.  

The video that shows over 12 sequential cleaning cycles, and it caused damage (whatever that means), is a one-time event with not a lot of supporting detail like what was the tank temperature.  Deliberate improper use of any device can lead to damage; either to the device itself or the object being cleaned.  

Damage that may occur is erosion caused by the cavitation event and the high velocity jet that does a lot of the cleaning.  Watch this video between 6:19 and 8:30 Cavitation - Easily explained! - Bing video that shows with high-speed video how a cavitation bubble collapses.  This video is a computer-generated simulation of a single cavitation bubble collapse Inertial collapse of a single bubble near a solid surface - Bing video.  Pay attention to the pressures and temperatures (which are theoretical and do not actually occur in use) associated with the implosion event. There 'can' be a lot of energy with the event.

Otherwise, here are some of the basic design rules for UT tanks.
-The power to produce cavitation is proportional to the kHz, so a 120kHz UT needs more power than a 40kHz.
-For ultrasonic tanks, the bubble diameter is inversely proportional to the kHz, so a 40 kHz UT produces a large bubble than a 120kHz UT.
-The cavitation intensity is proportional to the bubble diameter and the tank power (watts/L) but there is a maximum power above which no addition cavitation intensity is obtained. 
-The number of cavitation bubbles produced is proportional to kHz, so a 120kHz produces more bubbles than a 40kHz, but smaller bubbles.
-The smaller the tank volume, the more power that is required. It has to do with the ratio of the tank volume to its interior surface area.
-For lower kHz units (<60kHz), if the tank bath flow rate (from filtering or spinning) >50% of the tank volume per minute, cavitation intensity decreases.

Hope this is of some help,

Cleeds, I drive a well known German automobile. Can you name it with any certainty? No.

Of course not. That’s my point. I don’t understand the coy secrecy here.


I’m guessing based on the specs it’s a Humminguru.

Of course everyone is free to speculate. We can speculate that @lewm drives a Porsche. But he could just as easily be a VW or MB guy. Or something else.

I have a Hummingru machine, have used it on all my records, new old, and vintage. It has done nothing but clean them. Some vintage ones need a couple of rounds to get everything out. But there has been 0 damage done. You are more likely to damage a record with manual cleaning than the ultrasonic machine. The Hummingru machine is suppose to have a thermal shut off if the water gets too hot. It also states to not run more than a few times per round. If you do the wash/dry cycles it cools the unit off during the drying cycle. My water never gets hot, even after using it all day, as I usually clean in 20-50 records at a time.

My routine is to use G2 manually, then go into the bath. Only distilled water and one drop of G2 ultrasonic cleaner per gallon. 

You are more likely to damage a record with manual cleaning than the ultrasonic machine.

That's very likely true, but in this case we don't know much about the machine he's using. Perhaps he's rigged a commercial machine intended for an entirely different purpose. Or maybe he's just fabricated the entire affair.

@antinn Not to side track the thread, but at present I work with the suggested for the UK, BASF™ Dehypon® LS 54 nonionic surfactant. as a substitute for  Tergitol 15-S-9.

Can you give a description of how Polysorbate 20 also(Polysorbate 80 is found), fits in as a additional chemical to be used for a solution, or is the chemical to  Supersede Dehyphon as a part of a solution?  


That the distortion problem was related to not effectively removing the surfactant does not surprise me, nor am I surprised that Neil deduced this based on the facts provided. Before I connected with Neil (my blog is where his work on vinyl cleaning has been published), I had worked through all sorts of cleaning processes using a combination of manual cleaning, vacuum removal of fluid and ultrasonic. A lot of this was just working and reworking various records, rather than a scientific approach. I am not a chemist, or engineer. 

One thing I found with older records (typically what I purchase) is that a lot of issues come from a bad previous cleaning in the hands of predecessors. In some instances, you can look at the dead wax of an LP and see residue of liquid spotting. I remember all the sorts of cleaning products, from sprays to wiping, that were used back in the day. A lot of these left a residue, which may be the chief problem with "used" records, apart from groove damage from kludgey tone arms, bad set ups on changers or whatever. 

To me, if you are using any chemistry, you should rinse. That holds true with vacuum machines as well. I know some folks prefer a "one step" vacuum cleaning agent and perhaps the chemical residue of those is low enough? I don't know. @antinn 

Glad the OP got it sorted. 

Bill Hart

The Audio Desk units can be repaired. It’s the pump that dies. I’ve done it. It takes some doing and a bit of creativity, but it can be done. There are several threads here on Agon discussing the procedure.

Agreed. I always run the record through the SpinClean (with only distilled water) after the US.

To me, if you are using any chemistry, you should rinse.

I don't know what you got, but some of those more inexpensive ultrasonic machines are not made for records but rather for things like jewelry.

I bought a DeGritter about 3 years ago and have cleaned thousands of records in it and it still works like a champ. 

I wish you luck in finding a good solution. 

The OP states 40kHZ and 60W output. The Humminguru website states output is 45W. Maybe it isn’t a Humminguru?

I can understand the reticence about publishing the brand, but the worst of all worlds is to allow a brand to be falsely suggested as the culprit. Maybe the OP would simply say it isn’t the HG, but something different if that is indeed the case?

Following my last post, i made more experiments. Cleaning a récord using the old bottle of distilled water gave all the problems I reported before. It seemed the problem was with the distilled water. However, having courage to eventually destroy another good record, I put to wash a new record, 180 g, of JamesTaylor “sweet baby james”, which I have 3 records. I used the new distilled water and two drops of the cleaning fluid, as recommend by the brand. After a careful glistening, I remarked lost of focus and quality. On the 4th music, steamroller, it was clearly noticeable the distortion on the electrical guitar. 
I rest my case, I don’t want to ruin more records. This machine does ruin the grooves. I decided to send it back to the seller and have my money back. There must be a problem somewhere, but I don’t  want to know anymore what it is. 
A machine like this is supposed to clean our precious records and not to destroy them. With the audio desk the problem was the pump but everything was ok. My fight with audio desk is the vulnerability of the pump and having no solution to replace it. Even 1/2 price for the replacement is a lot of money. But it was very trusty and never ruined anything. 
by the way the machine in case is a HummingGuru. I will let you know what will be their answer to the problem. 
best regard and thanks for your time and help. 

And by the way, @cleeds, I don’t fabricate affairs. That’s why I was careful enough not to put the brand of the machine before. 


It will be interesting to hear what the dealer has to say and hopefully if it's a problem that can either be fixed or exchanged for another manufacturer .

I don't own a US cleaner ,  but I've sent in close to 200 albums to Record Genie and had him double clean using 2 different machines with fantastic results .

Meanwhile I am using a Spin Clean with better results than my using a Discwasher for over 25 years before that . 

@pfmaudio Your reporting the Brand, has been more than acceptable, especially now you are convinced the use of the Machine is causing a condition to LP' that is quite a concern.

I would suggest all owners of the Brand who have seen this Thread, hold off from further usage, whilst you pursue an answer to your issue. It does seem quality issues are present and these may already be very similar in other machines sold.  m



As the book says, BASF™ Dehypon® LS 54 nonionic surfactant is a substitute for  Tergitol 15-S-9 but is only available from the UK - Dehypon - 1 Litre – Conservation Resources (UK) Ltd (conservation-resources.co.uk).

Polysorbate 20 is more readily available throughout the EU and as the book says is a substitute for Tergitol 15-S-9. 

Technically, 15-S-9 and LS-54 are preferred due to achieving lower surface tension and have a lower viscosity making it easier to work with but in use Polysorbate 20 is fine.  I did not recommend Polysorbate 80 because of its higher surface tension.  

Take care,



You previously said you tried only your old distilled water and the machine caused no problems.  Then you bought new distilled water and added

two drops of the cleaning fluid, as recommend by the brand. After a careful glistening, I remarked lost of focus and quality. On the 4th music, steamroller, it was clearly noticeable the distortion on the electrical guitar.  I rest my case, I don’t want to ruin more records. This machine does ruin the grooves.

Is the cleaner the problem or the machine?  I previously indicated that the cleaner is an unknown and other forums had indicated less than satisfactory results with the brand cleaner.   Cleaner residue is a well-known problem with record cleaning and people using cleaner w/o rinsing and not all cleaners rinse easy.

Years ago, when I was developing precision cleaning processes for the Navy and its suppliers, and these were large multi-bay UT consoles, balancing pre-cleaner concentration to ensure they were rinsed in the follow-on UT rinse bath before final clean in 3rd UT tank was a critical attribute.  One common commercial product at 10% concentration (as specified by the OEM) was not completely rinse in the UT rinse tank.  This was evident since the final cleaner was a patented inorganic alkaline cleaner that would not foam, and suddenly started foaming caused by it removing the residue from pre-clean/UT-rinse step.  The pre-cleaner need to be diluted to 2% to be effectively removed by the UT rinse step.  

So, is the problem the cleaner or the machine?  Unless there is something wrong with the machine, that leaves the cleaner.


The book in Chapter XIV lists no-rinse concentrations.  Concentrations specified (see Table XXIII Nalgene™ Dropper Bottle Use for Degritter™ & Humminguru™) are good enough for wetting only.  If the concentration is high enough to get detergency, then as the Table specifies - rinsing is recommended to avoid audible residue.

But if we look at say 30-ppm of nonionic surfactant (of those specified by the book) that is essentially the same as 30-mg/L = 0.03-mg/ml.  If we assume 3-ml dries on each side of the record = 0.09-mg of nonionic surfactant and the record surface area (with grooves) is about 1-sqft = 0.09-mg/sqft.  And if you dive into Chapter XI, this is about the equivalent film thickness of 0.01-microns.  This is down at the record surface roughness which is pretty much below audible.  

But to get good detergency from a simple high-performance nonionic surfactant you need to be up at 150-ppm = 150-mg/L, and now the residue thickness is 5X what was calculated above, and now the residue thickness is also 5X higher and now we are into the audible region based on user feedback.

However, note that vacuum-RCM, because there is so little fluid being used, the recommended final cleaner concentration is 500-ppm, so rinsing is mandatory especially since the vacuum is not 100% efficient in removing (sucking up) all fluid from the record.  Testing (as described in the book Chapter XIII) has shown vacuum RCM is only 70 to 85% efficient in sucking up all fluid (depends on the fluid).  The 15-30% not sucked up is essentially dried in-place.  

Take care,


A few have asked me in PM what the heck is my Manual Cleaning method?

Of course you can prove this is a horrible thing to do to LP’s, but

Manually Clean LPs

Lots of words but it is easy.

critical for success: ama zon, sort by price: lowest.

critical for enjoyment: do this while listening to music (I sit dead center).


1st, but the kit from ama zon, search titles are from Ama zon

Big Fudge Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit (whatever one is on sale)

it comes with some washing fluid. Buy some extra fluid.

2. Next buy Alcohol

C V S Health 91% Isopropyl Alcohol, 16 Ounces

3. Buy Jet-Dry dishwasher spot eliminator

Finish Jet-Dry Liquid Rinse Aid, Dishwasher Rinse and Drying Agent, 23 fl oz

4. Find a small spray bottle (not heavy while working) to put your mix in and spritz lps with.

5. Brushes, Baby Scalp, 3 pack

Loofah Sterilized Cradle Cap Brush - 3-pk

5. Distilled Water. C V S has it, but clerks look in the wrong places

C V S Health Distilled Water, 128 oz

6. Waterproof Vinyl Sheet, mine is from Party Store, doubled over to protect my dining room table.

7. Lint Free Cloths,

a. to keep the area of work mostly dry, under the lp so the paper label on the down-side doesn't get soaked.

b. when lifting lp out of cleaning spinner (has ONLY distilled water it in). while dripping water back into the tank, do a preliminary wipe before putting LP into the drying rack so it dries faster (and area below rack isn't a puddle).

8. Final, most expensive: get a lid from a Chinese soup container, they are the size needed to protect the paper label while scrubbing.


cleaning fluid mix (not scientific): supplied lp cleaner with a decent amount of alcohol, and several drops of jet-dry in the spritz bottle. This stronger mix is only going to be on the LP a short while.
tank, fill with distilled water only, leave the kit's brushes in for final rinse

drying rack ready
batch of 10 lps. (as I wash them, I turn the covers upside down in a stack), easy to get the washed/dry lps back in the covers in order without searching.
soup container lid held on with one hand
spritz, scrub, vigorously, you won't hurt them, you want the bottom of the grooves clean so the new stylus shapes which get down deep will find virgin groove information, that is the key for success. This, and the stronger mix, is what I think is better than ultrasound, who knows.
rinse in spin tank, drip/wipe some (change distilled water as needed).
place in drying rack.

you will be amazed the first time you play a previously filthy LP.





Thank you Neil @antinn for recapping the data on "one step" cleaning processes and residue. 



thanks for your feedback. The only time I had no trouble was when I used the new distilled water with no cleaning fluid (the small bottle, of the same brand). However, it was with an old record, to which I listened before and after, without detecting differences. On old records there are always things we hear and it was a record that I didn’t listen to for a long time. I am 99% sure there were no issues. But not 100%. However, I didn’t hear the king of distortion present on the other records. 
 When I used the old distilled water only, the results were a disaster. 
When I used the new distilled water bottle with 2 drops of cleaning fluid, I  got bad results, but it was subtle. Only at the fourth track I could be pretty sure. On the 3 previous tracks there was perhaps a veil which prevented me to immerse on the music. But it was vague enough for me to admit there might be a psychological effect. However, on the fourth track, it was unmistakable. 
so perhaps you’re right and the problem is on the cleaning solution. The problem is that I don’t want to risk more records…

Do you think doubling the drying time can help to remove the eventual residue?

I’ll keep you informed of further developments. 

best regards,

Meanwhile, my dealer contacted HummingGuru and got the following email. 

“Regarding the issue mentioned by this customer, to be honest, we have not received any reports/feedback about such an issue. We assume that the record he cleaned using the HumminGuru is an album released in 1968 from Columbia records. In our testing base, we have cleaned many records from around that period, including from Columbia Records releases, and we have not detected any similar issue. The current vinyl pressing technology, raw materials, and compression molds used was established before that period, in other words, there is no difference between records from 1968 and 2024. The issue of distortion should not be related to the HumminGuru cleaner. 


Anyhow, we will need more information/video demonstrating the distortion in the low notes for further evaluation. However, It's important to consider that hearing is a subjective experience, and individuals' sensitivity to sound can vary.  It is difficult to justify when some people has very sharp ears, some don't. Additionally, as the ultrasonic cleaning process clears dirt from the grooves, it can result in a more open, louder, or vivid sound, which might affect the listening experience as well. 


Thanks! I look forward to your feedback. “


very vague and general, but I will be with the dealer this Wednesday where he might listen for himself and perhaps send a video or recording of the damaged records. Just hope they don’t qualify me has having very sharp hears, which unfortunately I don’t have anymore, at 57. 

The records I clean on my Humminguru all sound great.  I use distilled water.   


Do you think doubling the drying time can help to remove the eventual residue?

Drying longer is not going to reduce/remove the residue.  Nonionic surfactant in their 100% state is often like thin oils and are essentially non-volatile.  When the volatile water evaporates/dries, what is left behind are the non-volatile ingredients of the cleaner.  If the cleaner only contains a simple nonionic surfactant, it will be a viscous type of thin oil that is generally easily removed (water soluble) with a water rinse.  HOWEVER, if there are any inorganic salts in the ingredients, they do not dissolve back into water.  Think about hard water stains - they will not redissolve into water.  You need an acid which is why you use Distilled White Vinegar to clean your coffee maker.  The acid can dissolve the hard water (mineral salts) deposits.  

This whole issue with reside remaining after the water (or solvent) evaporates/dries is what the industry terms "non-volatile residue" NVR.

@antinn Thank You for the supplied information.

Polysorbate 20 is much easier to source in smaller volume, hence much cheaper as a purchase than the cost for BASF™ Dehypon® LS 54.

Options on Costings and Chemical for a Part to be used in a mixture to produce a Solution for the cleaning process, is now improved for the UK and EU individuals that express an interest in such practices..