It is without a doubt one of the most frequently asked questions. The quick and easy answer is: at least twice a month. But it depends on how often you use a turntable and how much dirt has accumulated on a stylus.
If you’re someone who spins vinyl every day or plays in a band, you should clean your stylus more often. But, on the other hand, if you hardly touch your turntable or live in a dust-free environment, it might only be necessary to give the stylus a good cleaning once every couple of months.
These are just guidelines since there is no exact minimum amount of time to wait before cleaning your stylus.
Is it difficult to clean the stylus, and what do I need for it?
No, it’s not difficult to clean the stylus. But unfortunately, many people think you can’t touch the needle tip because it might permanently damage your vinyl. The truth is that touching the needle tip will not cause any severe harm to your record or stylus.
So you want to keep your stylus clean. The first thing is to relax. It doesn’t take any special skills or tools.
There are different ways of cleaning. So, what tools you need depends on what option you have chosen. A few brushes or special detergents are all it takes to get rid of the most stubborn dirt.
In what ways can I clean a stylus on the turntable?
Since the stylus requires very careful and gentle treatment, mistakes can happen at any time. Therefore, it is essential to be careful while cleaning the stylus and take proper measures for this purpose. When you feel that your stylus needs some cleaning, there are different ways to clean it:
Cleaning with a brush
This way should be adopted when you doubt that your stylus needs very careful treatment. This way, the process is relatively superficial and doesn’t require much time. For this purpose, you can grasp a brush with soft bristles and clean the stylus in a circular motion all over its length from bottom to top.
Cleaning with isopropyl alcohol
This process requires a bit more care and attention. First, you should take an isopropyl alcohol swab and soak it in the fluid, then clean your stylus with this swab very carefully from bottom to top, in a circular motion.
Cleaning with a cartridge cleaner
If you have one of those cartridge cleaners at home, this is the best way to clean your stylus. First, you should take the cleaner and attach it to your turntable’s tonearm. After that, you should place it gently on top of your cartridge’s body and press a lever that helps release fluid on top of the needle. The fluid will contact the stylus and remove all the dirt particles.
Cleaning with a stylus cleaning fluid
Different fluids can help you clean the stylus carefully. You should take one of them and brush over the needle just like you do with other fluids, but gently to avoid any damage.
It is important to remember that if you use any of the methods mentioned above, you should hold your stylus vertically and brush it only from top to bottom.
You can also use a special brush to clean your stylus; you will find one at any record store for this purpose. Such brushes are very soft and gentle to your record player’s needle, so they are always preferable to the alternative methods.
How to avoid damage when cleaning a stylus on the turntable?
First of all, before cleaning your stylus on the turntable and avoiding damage or mistake, always unplug the cable connecting your tonearm and cartridge.
Alternatively, some models may come with a standard button that you can press to disconnect both parts from each other.
Cleaning a stylus on the turntable with the correct method is very important to ensure that you are not accidentally causing damage to your vinyl or tonearm.
One more step is to get a good quality stylus brush and ensure that you do not apply too much force when removing any dust or dirt.