How to Clean a Record Needle
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How to Clean a Record Needle: Top 3 Questions Answered

Learn how to deal with irritating problems like hisses and pops when listening to records with this quick guide! How to Clean a Record Needle.


Why Clean A Record Needle?

Vinyl sometimes gets a bad rap because of irritating hisses and pops during the music. However, turntable newbies might not know that these phenomena are almost entirely preventable. Common causes include:

  • Dirt on the stylus
  • Dust on the surface of the record
  • Damaged record
  • Static

The first thing to do to prevent these issues is to wipe off your records every third or fourth use. Then you need to learn how to clean a record needle. In this post, we will teach you how to clean the stylus.

Performing regular maintenance of this nature will enhance your player’s sound and also lengthen the useful lifespan of the needle, meaning that you might be able to go longer before you need to replace the needle.

How to Clean a Record Needle

What are turntable needles made of?

There are a few different materials, though a diamond is most common today. The stylus needs to be strong and stand up to repeated wear. As a result, manufacturers also use sapphire, hardened steel, and osmium to create these needles.

Is a stylus a needle?

The terms are used interchangeably, but the answer is actually “no.” The stylus is no more than the tip of a diamond. It bears little resemblance to a needle aside from the fact that it has a pointed end.

How long do needles last?

They’re durable, so they’ll last well. You’re looking at about 300 miles of vinyl, or around 500-800 hours of playing time, before you need to think about a replacement.

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How to Clean a Record Needle

There are a few different ways to clean the stylus, but they fall into two broad categories – using a cleaning product or using a brush.

Useful products for cleaning a stylus:

Using a Cleaning Product

This involves simply dipping the stylus lightly into the cleaning solution and holding it there for a few seconds. It might take more than one dip to clean it completely.

Ideally, look for a gel-based solution rather than a completely liquid one. Those in the know express concern that a liquid solution can interfere with the bonds holding the stylus in place.

A simple DIY hack here is to use a Magic Eraser. You work it in much the same the way as you would a gel. You simply dip the stylus until it touches the Magic Eraser. It’s important to use only the white Magic Eraser and to make sure that it is dry when you use it.

Using a Brush

This is likely how your dad cleaned his needle back in the day. This entails buying a specialized brush and running it over the surface of the stylus. Run it in one direction only, not back and forth. Choose the same direction that your record plays in.

Final Thoughts

If you listen to a lot of music, whichever method you use, consider making this part of your weekly routine to keep both your turntable and records sounding great.

You’ll be amazed at how this simple habit can pay big dividends when it comes to sound quality.

A little regular maintenance can go a long way.

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Steve Bee is a musician, audiophile, author and publisher. Drawing on his extensive experience with audio equipment and music, Steve and his team share insight into the world of vinyl and audio.

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