Maybe you’ve found some Fleetwood Mac records at a garage sale or thrift store. Or, maybe you’ve had the same vinyl records in your family for multiple generations. In any case, they have likely experienced some wear and tear over the years. No matter how careful a music enthusiast is, they will be bound to have a few scratched or warped records on his hands at one point or another.
Damaged vinyls can emit subpar sound quality and even cause the tracks to skip. To improve your listening experience and restore the condition of your beloved records, read our guide below.
Repairing a Warped Record
Improper storage or excessive heat can cause your vinyl to warp and become unusable. Here’s how to repair this kind of damage:
- Purchase two sheets of flat overproof glass. They should be big enough to cover a 12” record but small enough to fit into your oven.
- Turn your oven on to the lowest heat possible (no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Carefully sandwich your vinyl in between the two sheets of glass.
- Place your creation into the oven for no more than ten minutes.
- Take it out and remove your vinyl from in between the pieces of glass.
- Place the record on a flat surface and set a book or another heavy object on top of it.
- Leave it to cool in this position for at least an hour. Remove the object and inspect it.
Be aware that this process may cause further damage if you don’t follow these instructions carefully.
Repairing a Scratched Record
If scratches are your main concern, here’s how you can repair them using sandpaper:
- Gently wash your vinyl with water to remove any obvious debris.
- Grab a piece of 1500 grit sandpaper and wet it. Optionally, you can use a small amount of liquid soap as a lubricant.
- Wet your vinyl as well and place it on a hard, flat surface.
- Lightly sand each side of the vinyl where there are scratches. Some people prefer to sand the entire record so it’s left with a uniform look. As you sand, use curving strokes that run parallel with your vinyl’s groves.
How to Care for Your Vinyls Once They’ve Been Restored
Once you’ve put in the work to restore your vinyl records, you should follow certain practices to keep them in good shape.
Static electricity and grease from your hands are the two main causes of record damage. To offset the effects of these damages, make sure to regularly clean your records. You'll need a record cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth.
If money is not an object, you can invest in a record cleaner. However, these items often start at around $500, so it may be more realistic to clean your vinyls by hand whenever you:
- Add a new record to your collection
- See visible contamination
- Notice an abnormal amount of hissing or crackling during use
Also, be sure to store your vinyls properly to prevent future damage. Ideally, you should store records at or below room temperature in a relatively dry environment.
Whether you’re looking to resell them eventually or enjoy them yourself for the next twenty years, these practices will keep your vinyls in pristine condition.