When you play a record, it’s not uncommon to hear a few pops and hisses every now and again. I mean, a little surface noise probably just means it’s time to give your vinyl a good old cleaning sesh, right? Well, not always! Sometimes, stylus debris may be the culprit.
There are several methods and tools for cleaning a stylus. Some use a stylus brush, while others use a soft paintbrush. What if we told you that you could clean your needle using the famous Mr. Clean Magic Eraser?
This handy sponge may be one of the best ways to clean your stylus. If you want to know how to clean stylus with magic eraser, here’s a step-by-step guide for you!
How to Clean Stylus With Magic Eraser: The Short Version
To start, dry brush your stylus with a stylus brush to remove excess debris. Next, cut a 2″ square from the Magic Eraser and glue it to a heavy object. Finally, use the cueing lever to dip the needle into the dry Magic Eraser.
Why You Should Clean Your Stylus
You’d be surprised at how much of an impact a tiny little needle can have on sound quality. In fact, stylus debris is one of the most common causes of the cartridge’s inability to travel through complex grooves without distortion.
This is due to dust interfering with the stylus and record grooves, resulting in a muted or scratchy sound with little to no clarity.
A dirty stylus can also cause damage to your records. This is because dust, grime, and other particles serve as abrasives, scratching your record each time it’s played.
As we all know, records are extremely fragile and must be handled with utmost care. Add a dirty needle scraping against them into the equation, and you’ve got yourself some serious long-term damage.
What Exactly is a Magic Eraser? And is it Safe?
Essentially, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a sponge made with melamine foam. This handy cleaning tool is designed to banish everything from dried paint and adhesive residue, to silver tarnish and mold from plastic!
The hand-waving magic actually lies in the nitrogen-rich organic compound, melamine. It’s commonly utilized in a variety of products, including dry-erase boards, laminate floors, and maybe even the dinnerware you have at home.
What makes melamine such a popular cleaning agent is its strong-yet-delicate abrasiveness, which makes it safe to use on your record stylus.
Another factor that contributes to the Magic Eraser’s safety is the absence of chemicals. All you have to do is dampen the sponge and get to work.
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Unlike other stylus cleaning techniques, the Magic Eraser doesn’t involve any risks. If anything should go wrong, it would most likely be an operator error.
How to Clean Stylus With Magic Eraser in 3 Easy Steps
Using the Magic Eraser is an inexpensive DIY method that’s been discovered a while back. The handy sponge is also very easy to find in any hardware store.
Not only is this helpful tool chemical-free and leaves no residue, but it’s also gentle on your needle. Here’s how to clean a record stylus with a Magic Eraser in three easy steps!
Step 1: Brush the Stylus
Before you begin, remove any loose dirt or dust particles as well as any other debris from your needle. After all, there’s no point in contaminating your sponge with extra dirt before you get started.
With that being said, grab a stylus brush and gently dry-brush your needle back and forth until all of the dirt is removed.
Step 2: Cut the Magic Eraser
It’s important to note that you’ll be using the Magic Eraser dry. We know it’s usually dampened first, but not in this case. This is because damping it will cause it to stiffen.
Now, although a dense sponge would be great for removing the kids’ marker scribbles from your wall, it’ll only prevent the needle from penetrating it.
In addition, some Magic Erasers feature a blue side that has been treated with cleaning substances. If you do get one of these, make sure you only use the white side.
Related: DIY ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner guide
With that said, take your Magic Eraser and cut a 2″ square. To keep the sponge piece from lifting off with the needle, use an adhesive to glue it to any heavy item.
Step 3: Clean the Stylus
Once the sponge is glued in place, begin dipping the stylus in it using the cueing lever. When the needle has gone through the Magical Eraser, gently bring it back up.
Don’t move the sponge or the needle sideways or in any other direction. Doing so may result in the needle breaking or separating from the cantilever.
So, only move the needle upside down using the cueing lever and the Magic Eraser will do the rest of the work for you. Finally, gently brush the needle with a stylus brush in between dips to remove any excess debris.
How Often Should You Clean Your Stylus?
When it comes to cleaning frequency, there are many different points of view. Some people recommend cleaning your stylus once a week, while others suggest cleaning it every day.
The rate of dust buildup on your stylus is influenced by two factors:
- How often you play your records
- How clean your records are
Let’s put it like this: it’s always best to clean both your records and your stylus every time you use them. In an ideal world, your records and stylus would always be squeaky clean and you’ll never have to suffer any dirt accumulation issues.
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However, we’re only human, and we don’t always have the time to clean each and every record along with the stylus before using them. As long-time record collectors, we’re bound to hear a few clicks and crackles here and then before we get it right.
That said, if you listen to records regularly, it’s preferable to clean your stylus once a week. It’s also critical to clean your records as frequently as you can since unclean records can affect the performance and durability of your stylus.