Rest in Peace SpinClean, you had a good life…
So my SpinClean finally died yesterday. It’s been a vital part of my record buying/cleaning/digitizing regime for a really long time. I got it was back in 2013 and I’ve been using it ever since to clean almost every thrift store record (and most new records) that have come before my turntable. In fact, it was around longer than this turntable.
But whatever, why is this news? Well it’s not really, but when I was looking around about SpinCleans when I was first considering one, no one said anything about how long they’d last, so I thought I should share.
Because I scan ever album cover that I buy, I can say pretty conclusively that this particular SpinClean cleaned over 6,000 records. That’s a lot. For a device that costs just over a hundred dollars (Canadian prices), that’s an impressive feat. I think I’m on my third large bottle of cleaning liquid, and multiple bulk packs of lint free clothes, but one SpinClean was all I needed.
So what gave out on it? Well, I always thought it would be the brushes, but it wasn’t. They still look great and look like they could last another good long time. I always took care to rinse them off, squeeze out the extra water, let them dry, then run a lint brush over them when they were dry to get all the extra dust and dirt out. Nope, brushes weren’t the problem.
No, it was the rubber inserts that were in the spinning wheels. I didn’t even know they had rubber inserts until they stopped being in the spinning wheels. And in fairness, it was only one. But it did flame out spectacularly (well, as spectacularly as a record cleaner can).
So six years and six thousand records later, I guess it’s time to buy a new one. Can’t afford much downtime since I still tend to go through about 100 records a month. I’ll happily buy another knowing I will get a lot of life for the price. I share this info pretty much only so anyone else out there looking up online whether a SpinClean is decent and will last, I can tell you, it’s decent and it will last. (I don’t imagine too many other people counted their records they way I do, so I guess that’s why that information isn’t out there. Hence my desire to share). I buy a lot of records that are in really poor shape, and cleaning them in a Spin Clean has made a lot of difference. For a long time. So there, now you know.
I could probably just replace the wheels, I imagine that’s an option, but one, it’s probably expensive, and after six years, the plastic’s starting to look a little tired. And there is some dirt that just doesn’t want to go away that easily. I’ll often try getting at it with toothbrushes and the like, but it’s not that easy to get in the nooks and crannies. But mostly it all rinses away. Not as easily as it did at first though, so maybe after six years it just needs a break. It certainly doesn’t owe me any more than it’s already given. I occasionally hit it with a pulse shower head to get in the corners, but for the most part there’s no real tricks other than rinsing it out well when you’re done.
My only other tips I can offer, first, check out record shops on Boxing Day and Record Store Day when they have across the store sales if you’re looking to buy a new SpinClean or replacement cleaning fluid. And second, my personal setup is shown above, where I line up the used distilled water bottles and have a fan blowing (top of the photo) across the tops, so when I clean records, I balance them on the lids of the distilled water bottles, where the blowing air dries them out significantly faster (after you towel off most of the water). Just my little tip for speeding up the process a bit. I dream of buying one of those men’s room hand driers and modifying it to speed it up further, but I can only imagine how many records I’d break trying to get it right. With this set up, I find that if I put a record on the bottle furthest from the fan, by the time I get to the one closest the fan, the first one is dry already, so it can speed up the whole process. So there you go. I don’t care how you do it, but if my little insight helps at all, you’re welcome to it. Little tricks to speed up the whole process.
So yes, SpinClean is great, works well, and last a long time. In my case, 6,000 records over six years. Hope that helps with your research. Buy with confidence.