The In The Groove Record Cleaning Roller

Got pets that shed? You probably have at least one of those pet hair removing rollers with the split replaceable sticky roller. Roll it over your clothing and it picks up the hair. When its covered with hair and/or lost its stickiness, you peel off a layer and throw it way, using the fresh layer underneath to continue hair-removal.

The In the Groove roller is similar except the roller, manufactured from a patented sticky material is said to be good forever. The description claims it was developed by a surgeon to keep "surgical instruments close at hand" but I'm not sure how that exactly works.

The soft, sticky substance is said to be useful for cleaning flat screen TVs, computer screens, iPads, smart phones, you name it. Plus it slices, dices, chops, grinds and peels, give your children great haircuts and is a fishing rod that fits in your pocket and it really, really works!

Most importantly for our purposed, it's said to be really effective for cleaning records. Its soft, sticky surface is claimed to be able to sink down into the grooves and remove not just dust and dirt, but pops and clicks too.

When it gets dirty you just rinse it off under running water and blot dry with a paper towel.

Sounds good! The wet-looking, dark blue roller surface beckons you to touch with your fingers. You just want to if just to see exactly how sticky it is. How can it be sufficiently sticky to pull up dirt and dust yet not deposit a sticky residue on the record surface?

Rather than soil the surface with an oily finger, I chose to use as directed, but not on really dirty records. I don't suggest that for anyone with a good cleaning machine, though if you don't have one, this might be a $19.95 dirty record fix that could suffice until you can afford one. It certainly must be more effective than a brush.

Using the In the Groove as a dirty record cleaner wasn't why I asked for one. Rather, I wanted to see if it would be useful to clean the dirt and dust from new records. Compact Discs are pressed in "clean rooms". Records are pressed in "dirty rooms". New records out of the jacket are almost always dusty and dirty.

Yes, you should first clean new records on your cleaning machine before playing but who can wait? Carbon fiber and other such brushes are great for after a machine cleaning but less effective on dustier records.

So I opened some new records, all of which were dusty, and rolled the In The Groove roller over their surfaces and guess what? As Ron Popeil likes to say "It really, really works!"

You just don't want to press down too hard, or you risk pressing dirt into the grooves instead of rolling it out of the grooves. And you have to be very careful using a large, bulky roller in close proximity to your cantilever. Don't roll with "irrational exuberance" and whatever you do, don't roll with the platter spinning. The roller could get away from you.

After rolling about a dozen records with what I consider to be efficacious results, the roller needed cleaning so I took a chance and touched the surface. It wasn't sticky, just slightly tacky. I never saw any residue on record surfaces, not that you'd see it even if it was deposited so to some degree you have to operate on faith.

I also put the USB microscope on the stylus after cleaning and playing those half-dozen records and saw no evidence that a sticky residue had been deposited.

i decided that the $19.95 In the Groove roller is a really useful, inexpensive product. Not to clean dirty records, but to clean new, out of the jacket records. I suppose were I a kid just getting into vinyl and i couldn't afford a cleaning machine I'd use the In the Groove as a record cleaning machine, but I'm not so I didn't. If you do be prepared to clean the roller often!

JC1957's picture

And I wouldn't wanna be without one.

I also own a VPI 16.5 machine that I wouldn't wanna be without either. But the fact of life is that you're still gonna get dust on your records even after a trip through the cleaning machine.

I usually take my carbon fiber brush and spin the record around on the platter then take the In The Groove roller and zap up the pile of dust.

It cleans up easily with warm water and paper towel and it works like new. A bit of advice with the paper towel is to have it slightly damp or the dry paper is gonna stick.

$20 well spent in my humble opinion.

HiFiMark's picture


Perhaps a worthwhile first pass on the grimy ones before enzyme step and main clean?

Stu Morgenstern's picture

Oh yeah.

Clean your home in a quicky with the shticky!

avrcguy's picture
Rick Tomaszewicz's picture

Somewhere, in the attic or buried deep in a closet, is my yellow Nagaoka record cleaner I got back in the 80's.  If I recall, the sticky compound was developed in order to clean NASA's Space Shuttle tiles and windows.  

Ah, the 80's...Naim pre and amp, Rega table, Mission tonearm (with that liquid silicon reservoir), Denon 103, Mission 770 speakers, Dark Side of the Moon...sorry, having a flashback.

Bigrasshopper's picture

I've been using this for over a year and have found it very handy for a lite dust removal of new records that just have to be played now.  Also, previously cleaned records that have been cleaned on the VPI 16.5 collect new dust that needs spot cleaning only.  I have found that this product does produce static pretty easily so I try to limit its use.  I use mine while holding the record so don't have to bend over.  I use a brush while rotating the record on the platter, then push the dust over the edge, but collecting it as JC1957 does seems like a good way to keep the turntable cleaner.  Static continues to be my biggest frustration in spinning.  I've been tempted to try the Furutech static "wand" that Micheal says is effective and although the price is steep at $350.00 it probably would be the wize choice in the long run.  I did see an another brand version of what looked to be an identical device for a hundred less, would appreciate suggestions  from anyone who's conquered static.  I also saw this anti-static copper sulfide infused brush, video here, Thunderone  

torturegarden's picture

I use a Milty Zerostst gun for static and it works wonders. I think they are around $100 these days.

Steve Edwards's picture

I'm considering a Milty, and wondered if you demag your cartridge with it as well?

thanks, Steve

torturegarden's picture

Not sure if the cartridge gets demagnetized with it, but I do zap it and it gets rid of static so dust doesn't stick to it. 

Paul Boudreau's picture

"Yes, you should first clean new records on your cleaning machine before playing but who can wait?"

No kidding!

I wonder if this doodad would be good for cleaning the inner groove ("dead wax") and outer groove areas (outer edge before the music begins), which usually don't get cleaned by my Nitty Gritty RCM?

rkapl's picture

Check out the reviews of this product on Amazon.  Several people report problems including static and residue being deposited on vinyl that is difficult to remove.  Stanley Taub, the inventor,  has a response/excuse comment posted on every negative review.  He also sells other cleaning stuff on QVC like the "iRoller".  Looks like a hustler to me and I will not try this.

Bigrasshopper's picture

I think it has it's place, I've had no problems with it except for static.  This is simply a variant of the Zerodust gel for stili, wonderful stuff.  My zerostat simply never really gets rid of all the static for me, especially after a VPI cleaning.  I have to zap the record several times and it only reduces the static, taking too much time, again in my experience.  I would love to hear from someone who has tried or is using the Furuteck device or variant.  ( the fan than emits neutral ions )

Micheal, I can't recall, but have you published much of anything on coping with static?  Or of the various cures for this vinyl ailment ?  The season of static is fast upon us.

Once in a used book / record store I pulled a record out its sleeve and picked a large, I mean thick, heavy, blonde hair, probably from a Labrador, off the surface and proceeded to see how far away I could let it go to watch this hair fly back to the surface of Pure Prarie League.  It got more than three feet.  Was I bored ? I'd say I respond to music as much as some dogs do.  So we wouldn't want to totally eliminate that sort of attraction,  I mean it feels amazing when my hairs stand on end.

Paul Boudreau's picture

in winter months, you might want to up your humidity.  I have two Honeywell cool-mist tower humidifiers running 24/7 in my apartment from November - March and have no static problems.  That's using anti-static inner sleeves, too.

Michael Fremer's picture

I have used the roller on dozens of records without seeing any residue whatsoever. I do not blame him for responding to every negative review..

Rudy's picture

I have experienced noisier surfaces after using this roller. Now I just use it to get lint off of my clothes. 

I need to figure out how to get that residue off of my records...

rosser's picture

I am one of the negative reviewers of this product. I was given one as a gift several years ago, and used it on many, many records. At the time, I thought the only negative was the static issue. Then one day when the sun was coming through the window by my turntable, I noticed strange squiggly lines on my supposedly clean record. I soon discovered it was a sticky residue that had come from the In The Groove cleaner. Nothing would remove it, until in desperation I tried lighter fluid (naphtha). That removed it, but when I played the record, there was a hellacious amount of surface noise. After maybe a single minute of play, I looked at the stylus, and there was a huge glob of crap on it. I later figured out that the naphtha dissolves the residue, where it runs deep into the grooves of the records. Only playing the record several times and using my stylus like a trowel would remove the crud. After 2 or 3 plays, stopping to clean the stylus every minute or so, then the record would generally be okay, though some never recovered and were ruined. Unfortunately, they were rare, valuable records that could not be replaced, and I was a fool to use a cheap product like this on them. 


So, to summarize, if the sticky residue ends up on your record, you first must clean it with lighter fluid, then clean on record cleaning machine, then rinse twice. Next, you must play the record through at least once, maybe 2 or 3 times, stopping every minute to clean the crud off your stylus. I found that for every record so afflicted, it took at least 2 hours to restore it, if it could be restored. I still occasionally find a record in my collection with the telltale swirls on it (esp visible in the deadwax), and my heart sinks. 


To his credit, the inventor/seller did try to contact me to say they had redesigned the product to not leave a residue, and offered to send me one for free. I declined, and certainly don't recommend anyone risk their valuable records on a $19.95 "wonder" cleaner. I'm glad he's not my surgeon. 

drstanleytaub's picture






stretch35's picture


Glotz's picture

That would not demag your cart and not be a smart move next to your delicate, electrical phono cartridge. If you zap yourself (or a loved one's tushy), it really hurts!

There's some serious energy coming out of that device (unless you've used it a lot, and losing its efficacy). It works alright as an anti-static device in most circumstances though. 

You want to zap the record and/or the platter, and follow the correct procedure.

StaticGuard spray on the carpet before your stand is what I've heard MF using for some defense. We as humans are also very obvious conduits for static electricity, and I've seen the brass disc in use before on some racks to ground before touching equipment. Something I needed a decade ago! 

I've truthfully had some very harrowing experiences with my then-brand-new power amp that involved walking across carpeting during the winter, and literally blew out the left channel and the left speaker woofer, after a cable-sized bolt of electricity jumped from my forefinger and to the amp On switch.  Much rage and gnashing of teeth! 

The Acoustech brush, with or without the grounding cord, is pretty ineffectual in my experience, and was a big disappointment for me.  At the price it's at now, it's a rip off. The AQ carbon fiber or the Hunt EDA are more effective at reducing some static, but not great.  

We're all fighting some serious fight when we love our vinyl.  It ain't easy!  

David Andrews's picture

Michael, how do you feel about washing real problem records in mild dish soap and water?

I have had good luck getting ground-in grunge out using diluted Palmolive or Ivory liquid and a worn Last record cleaner brush.  (The pile on the used brushes is cleaned and somewhat renewed by a pre-wash with the diluted soap.)

This has made very playable, and enjoyable, several heavy-vinyl 1960s or 1970s pressings, such as an early copy of Derek & the Dominos' Layla.  No standard cleaning has been able to match it, though as said, I only reserve this for very bad (but unscratched) records that are worth the record and the gamble.

The washed records take some time to "cure," or thoroughly dry out.  I usually wash a few at a time once a year, then lean them on edge against a wall in a storage room in my house, leaving them for about 7-10 days until the labels and grooves dry.  Then I put them back in their packaging and let them sit about a month.  When I next do an ordinary record brush cleaning, a line of white or grey dirt and dried soap comes up to be brushed away.

The result is often spectacular, and more records are saved than junked.  Once I found an LP of George M. Cohan songs that I had as a boy, but never saw again, in a Salvation Army store.  It looked unscratched, but was as grey and caked with dirt as if it had been used for a floor mat.  I washed it and dried it out three times in the course of a year - and after two disappointments, I got the line of dirt up on the third go-round.  The record played, and still plays, as if it were released this year.

Am I damaging my records any by this method?

Michael Fremer's picture

I have been advised that dishwasher detergent leaches the plasticizer out of records, which is not a good thing. I strongly advise against using dishwasher detergent to clean records.

detroitvinylrob's picture

Guess I'm just old school... love my 16.5 VPI RCM, use an artist natural hair paint brush at my tables (implemented with the end of bristles toward the approaching grooves), don't even care much for the carbon-fiber (ridiculously priced) brushes, and I humbly recommend JUST SAY NO to putting anything sticky on a record that you care for.

spammers suck!

Happy (no stick) Listening! ;^)>

HiFiMark's picture

Yes, Pierre's hyperbole gets tiresome and some of his products are goofy, but Mapleshade's phonophile brush is a winner as is the no-longer-available Ionoclast.  The grounded phonophile is the best dust / static brush I've used in 40 years of spinning vinyl.

readargos's picture

I'm relatively new to vinyl, and started with a Rega P3-24 about two years ago.  Midwest winters with radiated heat are conducive dry conditions, which exacerbate static.  I tried the Milty Zerostat and the Maplesahde Phonophile brush, and didn't notice much difference with either.  (The Zerostat does work to an extent - I've used it with more success on grounds in the coffee grinder - it just didn't make a huge difference for me on vinyl, even with multiple treatments.)  I tried treating the system with Nordost Eco3x antistatic spray, and didn't notice much, if any, difference.  I also use a Spin Clean, which some users report reduces static, but it did not have much effect on static in my system.  At one point, using humidifiers, I introduced enough humidity into the listening room that it felt like a tropical environment in the middle of winter.  This also failed to help.

I'd read that an external ground cable could help lower noise and reduce static on the Rega, but I didn't want to do a tonearm rewire with the Incognito or other kits.  I'd also read a review of the acrylic platter at Groove Tracer, where a user reported elmination of static in his system when switching to the acrylic platter.

Ultimately, I bought VPI's limited edition Scout SE, which retrofitted the old HW-19 acrylic platter to the Scout platform.  I know Mr. Fremer is not a huge fan of acrylic platters, but as I listen to a lot of classical, I was eager to try something that might reduce or elminate static.  Of course, the VPI also has an external ground cable.  Whatever the reason, this seems largely to have resolved static issues.  

I claim no expertise - this is anecdotal evidence at best - but platter material and/or having an external ground cable may make a difference in reducing static.  The effectiveness of platter material at reducing static may also depend on environmental conditions.  Your mileage may vary.

Michael Fremer's picture

I'm surprised the Zerostat didn't work but more surprised a humidifier didn't help!

readargos's picture

In fairness, I may have given up too soon on the humidifier.  I ran it for about a day.  The room felt humid, but maybe it required more time to have an effect on records stored in sleeves stored in jackets.

bmwnutt's picture

I'll never forget the day I received the reissue of Weather Report's Heavy Weather at 45rpm and Monk And Coltrane at Carnegie Hall on a beautiful Mosaic pressing. In the same shipment was the "In The Groove" cleaning roller, which I promptly rolled over both records. After several cleanings I can still see the roller marks in the wax.

Michael Fremer's picture

When I return home I will look into this. I will try to replicate your experience. When i used it I didn't bear down at all....

Michael Fremer's picture

I have rolled this thing over numerous records and not once have I seen roller marks or any sort of residue. I don't know how heavily you pressed, nor do I know whether you are confusing lacquer defect type marks that end up appearing on every pressing of a given record, with residue left by this device because I can't see any. I don't mean to doubt your findings but I just want to be sure that what you see actually is "roller marks in the wax".

Steve Edwards's picture


Please comment on removing static from your cartridge.  The Zerostat appears to be an effective device for record and/or platter surfaces, but maybe not a good idea for cartridges.  What do you recommend?

Michael Fremer's picture

How does static end up "in your cartridge" in the first place? I have never heard of that nor have I experienced it. It is true that static electricity is caused by "rubbing" and that the stylus "rubs" a record, which is a surface known to hold a static charge, particularly is you rub it to clean it but I don't see how a stylus can transmit the static charge to the cartridge. In fact, one of the big issues with statically charged records are the pops and clicks caused by the discharge as you play the record. However, I would definitely not use a Zerostat close to a cantilever just "because".

readargos's picture

Stephen Mejias used the Zerostat on his cartridge (Entry Level #17 at Stereophile's website) reportedly to good effect, and it was recommended for cartridge use by Milty's importer in the same article.

buelligan's picture

I also use it to clean my platter (Sota Nova). It leaves the platter absolutely pristine.  I've noticed no residue left behind and no additional noise on my LPs.

Baggs the Man's picture

I got a yellow Nagaoka from a friend who was getting shed of vinyl.

Not sure how long he had it, but it only held the "sticky" for me for a half year or so.

So they deffo do NOT hold up over time. (Which is a bitch especially since they were not cheap in the first place.My friend said he paid $70 for the thing!)

Anyways, I read somewhere that when the sticky inevitably takes a flying f. you can still use the roller. There are stick-on sticky papers that you can buy.

Anyone done this and know where to purchase?

xtcfan80's picture

I would NOT use this device or any roller on my LPs