How To Take Care Of Your Vinyl Records

Who’d have ever guessed that collecting vinyl records would remain cool after all these years? But then again, records are pretty timeless. Since the mid-1900s to present day, vinyl still remains the best way to listen to any track. You can’t say the same about CDs. So of course, that leads to an age-old question. How do you care for your vinyl records?

This is the step where many newbies to the hobby mess up. It would seem that collecting records is as simple as buying and stacking. But in truth, vinyl records are pretty delicate. And when you don’t give them the right amount of TLC, they tend to break and damage pretty easily. So, you want to prevent that from happening, right? Then read along with us today as we explore the best ways to care for any vinyl record collection.


First things first here. After buying some sweet vinyl albums, you’ll need to store them correctly. Otherwise, you’ll get some unfixable damage like deep scratches. And then you’re out whatever you paid for that collectible record. So pay close attention here to avoid that.

Starting off, always store your records vertically. When set flat, records tend to warp. That’s an annoying fix in and of itself.

Next, you’ll want to keep your vinyl records away from any extremely hot or humid places. This might seem like a no-brainer, but note that records will warp with moisture or excessive heat. And let’s not get started on all the gunky garbage that attracts to your record sleeves in humid conditions. Let’s just say that mold will be the least of your worries here. So avoid this disgusting mistake and keep your records in a room-temperature area with low humidity.

And lastly, USE THE SLEEVES. You won’t want dust and dirt-attracting to your records, right? Then place them back in their sleeves when you’re finished listening to them. And if they don’t have a sleeve, make one. It’s really as simple as cutting and gluing paper.

Here’s one final note about the sleeves. Remember to slide your records inside. In other words, don’t drop that vinyl disc in the sleeve. Otherwise, you’ll accumulate scratches pretty quickly. And we all know why this is bad.

Keep Them Clean

After you’ve stored your vinyl records, you still have some work ahead of you. And that work involves cleaning your favorite LPs.

But before we even get started on the cleaning process, remember to never touch the actual grooves of the disc with your bare hands. Instead, grip the record from its outer edges. You can touch the label as well if you want. But touching the grooves attracts oil from your fingerprints. And a slippery slope only starts from here, as these oils attract dust, dirt, and some nasty particles.

However, even with proper care, you’ll still need to clean your records from time to time. The best way to get started is with a carbon fiber brush. These do a great job of removing dust and particles without scratching the LP’s surface. So remember to always use a delicate material when dusting out your records.

Also, have you ever noticed that new records come with a lot of static out of their sleeves? It’s not anything rare. In fact, it’s quite common. And what’s worse than those little shocks is that static attracts quite a bit of dirt and dust itself. So you can prevent this particle build-up altogether with the use of a static gun. Just point this little revolver-like gadget toward your records, pull the trigger, and watch as all the static leaves. But these antistatic guns do much more than remove any static electricity from your fresh vinyl. They also happen to be quite fun to use as well.

After brushing the dirt and static away, it’s time to fully begin the cleaning process. Keep in mind that a lot of solid methods exist here. So we’ll keep it simple with some of the more popular options.

First off, you have vacuum based cleaning systems. As the name implies, these cleaners use a vacuum system to suck out any particles and liquids trapped deep in your vinyl’s grooves. It’s one of the most thorough processes out there. But there is a downside: They’re pretty expensive. And by expensive, they can reach upwards of $1000. So they can be rough on your wallet if you’re on a budget.

Further expanding on the above point, ultrasonic vinyl cleaners are an option as well. However, they tend to cost quite a bit less. As a whole, these systems automatically clean your records through cavitation. In simple terms, you simply place your record in a holder, add the cleaning solution, and this nifty little cleaner does the rest of the work for you. So if you’re looking for the easiest and most efficient means of cleaning your vinyl records, then give these a closer look.

For more affordable options, you can purchase record cleaning solutions. You can easily find bottles of these for less than $50. And when mixed with some distilled water and elbow grease, you’re records will look and play good as new in no time!

Another option is spin clean vinyl record washers. Starting off, these are great because they’re super affordable at less than $100. They also happen to be super easy to set-up, which is always a nice bonus. As a whole, the process is quite simple as well. You just need to add some distilled water, some cleaning solution, and your record. Then you spin the record on the included wheels. In no time at all, the brushes on the sides of the stand will deep clean your grooves. To finish off, just use some microfiber towels to dry and your records are good to go!

These cleaning products aren’t even hard to find either. Isopropyl alcohol does a fantastic job of cleaning vinyl. In fact, it works as well as any store-bought record-cleaning products. And best of all, you can find it your local drug store for less than $2.

For some other cheap essentials, be on the lookout for microfiber cloths to remove any stray fibers. These do a great job of removing particles without scratching your records. The ones for washing your car will do a mighty fine job. Best of all, these shouldn’t cost you any more than $5. So added together, you can make a DIY vinyl record cleaning kit for around $10. That’s something any budget can fit.

So, why should you buy the isopropyl and towels together? Simply put, they make for one mighty-fine cleaning solution. Seriously, your vinyl records will be free of dirt and dust in no time. All you need to do is begin by mixing your alcohol with some distilled water in a spray bottle. Then, set your records atop your microfiber towels. From here, you’ll spray your water+alcohol on your records (be sure to avoid the label). Next, you use a microfiber towel to wash your vinyl records grooves in a circular motion. And finally, repeat on both sides until the record looks good as new. You can finish off by letting the record air dry. It’s really as simple as that.

Turntables and Needles: You Need to Play Your Records Right

We’ve reached the final step to maintaining the ultimate record collection. And it all involves parts of the turntable. But don’t worry, it’s all pretty simple and easy from here.

First of all, make sure you always use a lever to raise and lower your turntable’s needle, not your hands. The lever keeps the needle in line with the grooves of your record. On the other hand, your fingers aren’t as precise. So any slight movements will set the needle on the wrong track.

Also, make sure you replace your stylus after 1000-1500 hours of playing. These pieces will wear over time. So make sure you stay on top of your replacements to avoid record damage. Also, check that the stylus is aligned with the grooves of your records correctly. Otherwise, expect some scratches.

Wrapping Up

All in all, collecting vinyl records is an epic hobby. Whether you love the classics or modern top 40, there’s something to love about hearing your favorite tunes from a turntable. But to keep it this way, you’ll need to ensure you care for your records properly. However, with time and practice, everything here will become second nature in no time. So get out there and grow your LP collection to the fullest!

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