I recently received a Spin Clean MKII for my birthday at the end of last month from Roger of Hifi Chicken. I have wanted to try one of these out as I buy many records at garage sales and estate sales. Most of these are far from clean and I used to just use a slightly damp microfiber cloth and my record brush to clean dirty ones up. Roger was a great guy and got me the Spin Clean, and I have been waiting for a day where I had time to try it out and clean some records. The Spin Clean kit retails for around 70 dollars here in the U.S. so it’s not expensive at all, but a bit more than a microfiber cloth so is it worth it, does it do a good job? We will get into that in this review.
You need to get everything out of the box and put everything on a table to get started. I recommend laying a couple of towels down if it is a table you care about, you will spill a bit of the solution. To make your washing solution up you fill the basin of the Spin Clean up to the line on the inside then slide the brushed in their slots and pour about 3-4 cap fulls of the soap over the brushes. Next, you will slide the rollers into their spots depending on what speed records you are cleaning. I used the furthest out slots for 33 1/3 RPM records. That’s really all there is to getting everything ready.
Cleaning your records is fairly simple, you slot a record between the two brushes and slide it down until it rests on both rollers. You just need to spin the record to clean it, almost as if it’s in the name. As for a downside, I could only really spin records effectively by holding onto the faces of the record while spinning them. I highly recommend making sure your hands are clean before starting, to avoid making anything worse. The directions recommend spinning records 3 times in each direction, however, I found that cleaner records needed less, and really dirty ones could use a couple of extra turns. After you are done pull the record out of the bath and let it drip for a few seconds and set it on a clean towel, I used one clean towel to lay records on, then one of the supplied towels to hold them in place while drying with the other supplied one. You can repeat the process for about 50 records, though if cleaning a lot of old records you picked up at a garage sale, you may want to clean the brushes and replace the solution more often. Also as a side note, you can clean picture records, I tried it out for you just to be sure.
The Spin Clean MKII works well, it does a much better job than just wiping off your records with a damp towel or your record brush. I have been doing just that for some time now, all while telling myself I should get one of these, they don’t cost that much after all. I played one of my Herb Alpert albums that I picked up somewhere before cleaning it. This record had plenty of crackles, pops, and noise. After a bath in the Spin Clean, it was a dramatic difference in sound quality. Not quite the clarity you get from a brand new record but pretty close. I think it should go without saying but if your record has poor sound quality due to scratches or other damage this won’t help. The reduction in background noise on this record was very well worth cleaning it. Sometimes old records are so covered in junk from over the years they are unenjoyable to listen to regardless of how good of an album it is. I will say the process is tedious, and it took me somewhere around an hour to clean about 50 records so if you have a huge collection that needs to be cleaned you may want to buy a few and find some friends that work for cheap.
Overall I am very happy with the results from the Spin Clean. The records that were dirty are now clean so it clearly works well. The only downside I can really come up with is the time required to clean your records, though, for the cost, you can’t really complain. I know there are better record cleaners out there, and some do multiple records at a time, though they can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. I would love to test one out and see if the price difference is justified, I just have not had an opportunity to do so yet. At the end of my cleaning session, I poured the water out into a glass to see how much crud was cleaned off, I have to say I was somewhat surprised at how dirty the water was at the end. I think all record collectors should own some type of record cleaning device, beyond just your dust brush. The dramatic increase in sound quality was enjoyable, as well it should help extend the life of your stylus, as it will be dragging through less build up in the grooves. At the cost of just two or three new records, it is hard to justify not having one.
Spin Clean did not pay in part or full for this review, the Spin Clean used was purchased by an employee of Hifi Chicken