A Quick Guide To Cleaning Your Vinyl Records


Despite us living in an age where the average smartphone can easily store over 3000 songs, streaming sites such as Spotify and Apple Music are the norm for most music lovers, and the humble CD rarely gets a look in, collecting vinyl records is actually more popular than ever.

While physical music sales in general are in decline, vinyl records are bucking the trend, and 4.1 million vinyl albums were sold in the UK in 2017.

One likely cause for the draw of vinyl as a format is the tangible nature of a record, and the ritual of playing it. The beautiful artwork of the sleeves makes them something people are keen to put on display in their homes, and the nostalgia factor no doubt comes into play too.

But with such a physical format comes plenty of maintenance, as a dirty record simply doesn’t sound good and is no good for your turntable. This may come as a surprise to some people who are only just starting to build their collections, but cleaning your records is a big part of the process.

Luckily, it isn’t too tricky to keep your collection in good condition, and there are some tried and tested cleaning methods you can turn to. Read on for a quick guide to keeping your vinyl records clean and in great condition!

Everyday cleaning


Regardless of which cleaning method you decide upon for deep cleaning, you will want to make sure you wipe the dust off your records before and after each play using a carbon fibre brush. This will prevent a buildup of dust, helping to minimise damage to your stylus and contamination of your records.

You’ll also want to do this before you get started with any of the wet cleaning methods mentioned below, as any dust left on your records could end up pushed further into the grooves.

Record cleaning machines


By far the most effective and easiest method for cleaning records is with a record cleaning machine. These are definitely not cheap, so perhaps not the first choice for those just building a collection of records, but if you have a large collection they can really save you a lot of time when bulk cleaning.

Unlike manual cleaning methods, a record cleaning machine works by suction. You first apply a cleaning solution to the record, and then the machine sucks it back out of the grooves, along with any dust dirt and grime that may have become trapped in there.

Cleaning your records by hand


If you don’t have the budget for it, or simply don’t have space for a record cleaning machine then don’t worry as it’s perfectly simple to clean your records by hand, it just takes a little bit of extra effort.

First of all, you’ll want to prep the surface you’re going to be placing your record on. A soft, lint-free surface is ideal as this reduces the risk of further contamination with dust or fibres. You can even buy record cleaning mats just for the purpose.

Next you’ll need to spray the surface of your record with a record cleaning solution (avoiding the centre label). Then using a microfiber cloth, gently wipe the surface in a circular motion anti-clockwise (along the grooves).

Repeat this process with a rinsing solution if your cleaning kit comes with one, and then dry the record with a separate microfibre cloth. You may need to repeat the process several times until your record is completely clean.

Avoid using tap water and dish soap to clean your records, as tap water contains impurities which can damage records, and dish soap can leave residue on the record. 
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