There is nothing in the world like vinyl. However, once you get your new albums home from the record store, you’ll need to keep them clean so they last for years to come. Wondering How? ‘Or’ What to clean a vinyl record? Read on, we have all the information.
Whether you’re looking for the best way to clean an old vinyl record or an easy way to keep your current collection clean and ready to go, these methods make the process quick and easy. When properly cleaned, the vinyl collection you’ve spent years building and investing in will last a lifetime. But you have to make sure that you clean them properly and that you don’t cause potential damage. Let’s go and learn how to clean your vinyl without further ado.
You might not think that cleaning up your files is a big deal, or you may decide not to care because cleaning can be a problem, but it is necessary. They tend to attract dust, stains, hair, static electricity, squeezing and packaging contaminants, and all kinds of other dirt from daily use. Not cleaning them can lead to loud or dull readings, increased wear, damage to grooves, and even potential damage to your turntable stylus.
Simply put, if you want to enjoy your cherished record collection for years to come, you need to clean them up. And if you’re not excited about this news, just remember how much better your favorite albums sound on vinyl than on a digital streaming music service.
It’s a Small complicated and depends mainly on how often you play your records and the steps you take to manage and store them properly. You should use an anti-static carbon fiber brush before and after each use to remove dust and so on. But beyond that? Deep cleanings don’t need to be frequent.
Really, the only times you need to clean your records are when you add a new one to your library, when you can spot gunk, or when you hear a noticeable amount of hissing or pops that disrupt your listening experience. . There is no set schedule or time frame – it’s up to you and it’s only necessary when you can see or hear what you need.
You will need a cleaning brush
Part of keeping your records clean is knowing how to manage them properly. Compared to cassettes or CDs, vinyl is much less sturdy and a thousand times more susceptible to damage from a wider variety of sources. So if you are going to invest in them, you should learn how to manage them.
The main thing to remember when interacting with vinyl is to only touch them at the edges or the center label. You should never touch the playing surface of the record, as this can push any dirt already on the vinyl further into deep grooves. And to make matters worse, the oils in our skin attract contaminants (like dust) to stick to the surface.
To properly store your vinyl, we recommend two things. First, keep them in anti-static pockets inside the lid; you should also spend some basic paper sleeves. Second, you should always store them upright and never stack them vertically, as this can compress and ruin the grooves. We also recommend that you add protective exterior sleeves to each new vinyl you purchase to keep the artwork looking great for years to come.
Protect your vinyl
If you’re wondering how to clean vinyl records at home or on a budget, don’t worry, it’s easy. With that said, it should be noted that you should avoid using tap water (especially if it’s hard water), vinegar, household cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. These can potentially deposit impurities or cause plasticizers to wash off, dramatically shortening the life of your vinyl.
So what should you Actually clean your files with it, so what if you do it by hand? Beyond your daily anti-static record brush, you should use a few simple microfiber cloths, a container of distilled water, and a cleaning solution specifically designed for the care of vinyl records. If you want, you can also buy several of these items together in a reputable vinyl cleaning kit.
Once you have your supplies in hand, you are ready to begin cleaning:
First, gently wipe down the disc you wish to clean with your microfiber cloth. Your goal here is to clean out the larger particles using minimal pressure so that you don’t drive dirt deeper into the grooves. Use a circular motion here, following the grooves around the disc. You can also choose to use your vinyl cleaning brush here instead.
Second, lightly moisten the cloth with distilled water and wipe down the playing surface (not the central label), following the grooves. If you are performing routine maintenance cleaning, this should be enough and you can move on to step four.
If not, you might want to include this optional step three, in which you do another pass with a good record cleaning solution (don’t forget to mix it with water, though. necessary). To do this, apply a little bit on your cloth, following the grooves; then repeat step two with just distilled water to “rinse out” any remaining solution.
Fourth, take a new, dry microfiber cloth (or use the dry edge of your existing cloth, if available) and dry the disc completely. Before returning the vinyl to its packaging, perform a final inspection to make sure there are no stains or lingering particles. Easy peasy. The process of cleaning discs by hand is simple and relatively quick, and you can repeat it until the disc is clean.
A basic disk cleaning kit
Looking for a cleaning method that is a little more extensive or comparable to what a professional vinyl cleaning service could offer? We got you. These record cleaning machines automate much (if not all) of the process and are capable of removing ultra-stubborn particles deeply embedded in the grooves of a vinyl.
Vinyl record washers
Record cleaners are by far the most efficient and economical way to clean vinyl (or even a whole bunch of them), and cost only around $ 40 to $ 150. Although you still have to do a bit of work here, the machine will take care of the nastier part. You will need to refill the bath every few taps to minimize cross-contamination, but the process is still fairly short overall.
Wring out your clean vinyl
Vacuum cleaning machines
A vacuum cleaning machine is a worthwhile expense. These are ideal cleaning options for serious collectors, but represent a larger initial investment than a record washer or the simple vinyl cleaning kits you can find on Amazon. They range between around $ 350 and $ 1,000.
These single-use machines are specially designed to perfectly clean your vinyl by sucking up deposited dirt and removing greasy fingerprints taken up by the cleaning solution applied. At the same time, record cleaners minimize physical contact and the pressure applied to each record during the cleaning process.
High performance motor vacuum
Ultrasonic cleaning machines
Many vinyl collectors agree that ultrasonic cleaning machines are the best method for deep cleaning a vinyl record. With these, the machine vibrates the liquid in its cleaning bath incredibly quickly, creating a ton of bubbles, called cavitation. These, in turn, collapse and release pressure and heat, which can loosen deeply rooted dirt on a dirty old record while making minimal contact (if any) with it. They are powerful, safe and effective.
Considering that and the fact that the best ultrasonic cleaning machines cost anywhere from $ 450 to $ 2,500, you can be sure they’ll do the job. If you can rock it, the Degritter is one of the best options out there.
If you don’t want to spend that much (which is understandable), there are cheaper machines out there that are still of decent quality. Just be aware that these won’t have the same impact frequency range and might not do such a good job of cleaning overall.
Pulse of resistant particles out of the grooves
A few tips before you go
When cleaning your vinyl, remember that the name of the game is to keep it simple. In most cases, you can make do with basic cleaning components; Likewise, sophisticated equipment and artillery of cleaning chemicals and tricks are, in most cases, completely excessive. Invest in quality basics, like a good brush and microfiber cloth, and be sure to replace them as needed.
Simple, regular cleanings are the best way to ensure that all of your vinyls stay in good condition. However, there are a few other things to keep in mind that can help maintain good vinyl health as well. Keeping the needle (stylus) of your turntable clean, storing your vinyl properly (upright and in protective antistatic sleeves) are important steps to follow.
But you should also be careful when handling them (only touch the outer edge and the label, never the grooves). Improper storage and handling of recordings is the main cause of damage.
Basically it all comes down to being attentive to your equipment and records and taking your time handling and cleaning them. We also recommend that you teach your friends and family interested in your vinyl how to handle and clean them properly for peace of mind.