Static sucks and so do dusty records but one of the most inexpensive additions to every collection is an anti-static record brush. Gently brushing each side to remove dust before and after every play helps preserve the surface from accumulating particulate that will interfere with playback that will settle into the grooves the longer it’s left uncleaned. $20 is all it costs.
There are a number of different brushes on the market and collectors all favor one over another but having one is more important than arguing the merits of one against another. Most brushes fit easily inside the palm of your hand and have a handle, bristles between a 1/4 and 1/2 inch in length and easily dislodge anything on the surface of a disc that shouldn’t be there. Some manufacturers prefer a velvet-like pad instead of the carbon fiber bristles and some even produce brushes that utilize a combination of static-dissipating fibers and animal hair bristles.
The Basic Brush
The AcousTech Anti-Static Record Brush sits within arm’s reach at all times. Thousands of carbon fiber bristles dissipate static and remove dust from the record surface with ease. Either brush the disc surface while holding the record or place it flat on the turntable platter and allow platter rotations to make it a less manual task. Do not apply pressure or try to scrub away dirt or grime that appears to be deep-set in the grooves. Cleanse the brush when needed by using a lightly dampened cloth or paper towel to remove any accumulated dust but never saturate or use this brush for wet cleaning.
Bigger and Maybe Better
The 5.5 inch record brush is virtually the same as the above except for it’s larger handle and longer bristles. Cleaning 12-inch discs is faster with the added bristles but the brush itself is twice as big. Another step up from the larger 5.5 inch brush adds a grounding wire to further dissipate static build-up which means cleaner playback with less noise.
The MoFi Brush
For the same price as the AcousTech basic record brush you can Mobile Fidelity Record Cleaning Brush grab the competing product from Mobile Fidelity. Their design is different, with a larger handle designed to easily grasp and a replaceable velvet-like pad affixed to the bottom. These brushes are just as effective and one benefit not offered by the previous products is the ability to be used for both wet and dry cleaning. Combine the MoFi brush and their cleaning products, and really dirty records have a fighting chance at getting clean.