The Important Difference Between Vinyl Record Brushes
In the interests of guiding you to the record brush that fully meets your specific grime-removal needs, we’ve made you a concise guide to three types of brushes: velvet brushes, carbon fiber brushes and goat hair brushes.
Generally speaking, the different brushes work in different ways:
Velvet / Velour brushes
To the uninitiated, a velvet brush can seem a rather plush, and perhaps slightly sleazy addition to your record care routine. A mainstay in the upholsteries of yore as well as the 1970s when the fabric became massively popular with popstars and soft-porn tychoons alike, velvet comes with its fair share of vintagey boudoir connotations.
When it comes to cleaning your records, however, there’s nothing dainty or coquettish about the time-honored material. It’s actually really great for really dirty records as the fabric is ideally suited to picking up dirt and gunk.
In other words, if you haven't cleaned your records for years or if you had friends over for a night of boisterous abandon leaving your vinyl in a compromised state, velvet is to your records what The Wolf is to Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction: a no-nonsense, dependable acquaintance you can wheel in when times get tough and you need a rugged clean up job.
The cons to velvet brushes are that they’re static and can form a charge when you rub them against vinyl. You’ll also need to clean them often if your records are very dirty.
Pros: Great for the tough cleaning job
Cons: Static and somewhat high-maintenance
Carbon fiber brushes
The carbon fiber brush might be the most prevalent among record brushes. The reasons for this are many, but chief among them are their applicability and usefulness. The majority of the record-buying public have mild-to-moderately dusty records, making the carbon fiber the most sensible option for the intermediate level of cleaning.
The carbon fiber brush also comes with the finest hairs, enabling them to go into the deepest grooves, and they can be used every time you play your record due to their delicate design, which won’t scratch or damage your records in any way.
These useful characteristics make the carbon fiber brush the go-to option for the diligent high-frequency cleaner, dead set on maintaining the collection in a permanent state of cleanliness— and never getting to a place where heavier methods are needed. One of the cons of the carbon fiber brush is that it can only be used for dry cleaning.
Not that we want to toot our own horn, but AM invented the very first anti-static vinyl brush way back in the 1970s. Endorsed by the world’s leading music outlets, like Turntable Lab, and used by some of the globe’s most critically acclaimed labels and music institutions like, Ninja Tune, Warp and Rough Trade, our anti-static vinyl brush covers your dust-removing needs. As you can probably imagine, the AM anti-static brush has been copied quite a few times over the years. A good deal of these brushes lack the conductive brass needle connecting the carbon fiber bristles with the aluminium cape, which gives the brush its anti-static properties. A friendly heads up: it’s a good idea to make sure the anti-static brush you’re buying is actually anti-static.
Pros: Great for removing typical levels of dust in a non-damaging way
Cons: Not so great for the heavier clean-up job and you can’t use them with liquid
Goat hair brushes
Likely the most aesthetically pleasing of the bunch, goat hair brushes are arguably the connoisseur’s choice; they come equipped with very fine hairs, letting them go deep into the grooves; they’re statically neutral, which means that they neither form nor remove static charges; and you can use them for both dry and wet cleaning.
One of the small cons when it comes to goat hair brushes is that it will need time to dry after consecutive cleaning jobs involving liquid.
Pros: Look great, great for in-depth cleaning, can be used for both wet and dry cleaning
Cons: Needs time to dry after a wet clean
Read more about the AM goat hair record brush