I have tried many of the different cleaning fluids on the market except for a couple or so, but I am going to show the ones I use and or feel are the best performers.
As I talked about in my article on record cleaning, I have seen every manner of fluid or substance used to try to clean records by people whom just don’t want to do it correctly or maybe are genuinely misleading people as some kind of cruel joke or something. It seems to me like it is more of the former. These people just don’t want to spend the extra dollar or less to get an appropriate cleaning fluid specifically formulated to clean their records properly and would rather ruin their records in failed attempts while claiming they are masters of the subject. I don’t care how many forums or websites or YouTube channels, etc. those people are on, please folks, don’t go using wood glue, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner, high levels of alcohol, furniture polish, lighter fluid, etc. to clean your records.
As I stated, I have tried a number of appropriate record cleaning fluids on the market along with my own DIY fluid and found a number of them to be either in least case, completely ineffective or in worst case left a residue behind or to be destructive. However, there are a few record cleaning fluids I am confident about.
I use Audio Intelligent Vinyl Solutions (AIVS) and Mobil Fidelity (MoFi) fluids at this time. I have found the AIVS fluids to be most effective. Some folks complain about the cost of the AIVS fluids and I used to be one of them until I got a chance to try them, did the math and figured out that the cost is actually quite reasonable when you factor in the capacity of cleanings and performance. Here’s the math: a 16 oz size of AIVS 3-step cleaning kit is around $55, that is enough to do about 200 records! So $55 divided by 200 records is 28 cents per record. For lesser dirty records and maintenance, they have a One-step formula that comes in a 32 oz bottle for around $29. That size can clean about 400 records, so $29 divided by 400 is 7 cents per record. So as you can see, it pays to use the proper fluids. Sure, a bottle of window cleaner or can of bathroom cleaner will cost around $4 or $5, but not only does it do fewer records, the important thing is that the records are being destroyed and so you must go and buy another one. This is actually very expensive. Even if the record only cost you a dollar or two, you have to find another one and how many are you willing to buy as you keep ruining them using the wrong thing? Factor into that the risk of ruining your needle and cartridge and it gets unbelievably expensive.
Before and after I got my first bottles of AIVS fluids I spoke with the maker and learned too much about the fluids to go into here, but I can tell you that I was impressed with the research and development that went into making the fluids. The maker even enlisted the help of a few chemistry professors and mastery students and did everything down to the last molecule. Very basically, AIVS fluids are composed of lab grade pure water as the vehicle with various bio-enzymes as the effective cleaners designed to attack different contaminants effectively and of course a surfactant. In using the fluids over the past years I can tell you that they got it right. (Continued on page 2)