Vinyl records can withstand a lot of wear and tear. However, they also have a reputation for attracting grime and dust. If you recently dug up a rare gem from a flea market or just need to clean up a favorite record, there are steps you have to follow.
Keeping vinyl records clean is essential to avoid unwanted noise caused by scratches, static, dust, and fingerprints. It is hard to enjoy your favorite song if too many pops and cracks make it inaudible! Follow these steps on how to clean vinyl records, and you will keep your record collection in tip-top shape.
- Clean static and dust with a vinyl record brush
- Inspect for blemishes or visible marks/scratches
- Spray cleaning solution on any problem areas
- Wipe clean only using circular movements
- Rinse and dry
- Store properly to avoid future issues
The process seems straightforward, right? Well, time to dive into more detail!
Clean Static and Dust with a Vinyl Record Brush
Think of this step like sweeping and mopping. You have to sweep the floor before using the mop – the same principle applies here. A designated vinyl brush is easily found at any record store. It should be used with gentle, long strokes to remove dust without harming the record.
Inspect for Blemishes or Visible Marks/Scratches
With the help of soft, bright light, check for smudges, fingerprints, or discolorations. These problem areas will need a little bit of TLC. If you are cleaning used vinyl, the entire record might need a cleaning.
Spray Cleaning Solution on Problem Areas
Whether you found one smudge or need to clean the whole record, a cleaning solution can do the job. Avoid touching the label with the liquid since it can affect the epoxy.
There are several cleaning solutions designed specifically for vinyl cleaning. Some people report diluted dish soap also will get the job done.
Wipe Clean Only Using Circular Movements
With the cleaning surface in play, take a clean cotton or micro-fiber cloth and wipe in light, circular movements. This rubs away the blemishes without damaging the record. Again, avoid the label to prevent damage.
Rinse and Dry
This part has to be done with extreme care. Take a controlled spray bottle or a light stream of water from the sink to wash away any leftover solution. Dry completely with a new cloth and get ready to store it. Only touch the record at the edges or on the label, or you risk leaving new smudges and fingerprints.
Store Properly to Avoid Future Issues
You should always store your records in sleeves and handle them with care. You want to keep your records in a dry, clean space to avoid infiltration of dust and other debris. Ideally, there will be minimal exposure to extreme heat or direct/intense light. Vinyl records also do not thrive well with high humidity or under pressure.
Need help getting started? Many stores sell cleaning starter kits offering everything you need, from brush to microfiber cloth.