I'm cleaning my styli every 2-3 records using the carbon brush of the records, and checking them up close with a X30 len, but from time to time, they're starting to "collect" more surface noise, and some closer look and attention is needed. Usually, I'm doing this every 6 months, or so. The Audio Technica Mono 3/lp - Quite unbelievable the it managed to "plow" through this - Now it's clean and showing how simple a stylus it actually is. Yet in the right context, it sounds great - Next is the Pfanstiehl 4822-DEE at the tip of my 881S. Actually looks quite clean - Look at the differance - it sounds it too. Much less surface noise. Also note the cleaning brush fiber, left behind. No way I would have noticed it without the scope - Now it's really clean. Looks a bit plebeian, but sounds surprisingly good. I'm doing most of my everyday listening with this one. And finally, the Grado 8MZ. I don't like to take a close look at it, since I'm always disappointed. didn't it use to be a nude diamond? Cleaning is done with the Denon supplied stylus brush, moist with some IPA, and a lot of patience Going to listen to some music now - Cheers!