3 Easy Ways to Clean Vinyl Records
Vinyl records have been around for ages and are still considered as something of high value. People have been collecting vinyl records for years, but every now and then they require proper cleaning. A dirty vinyl will not only sound bad, but it is also not suitable for the turntable, since more stress on the stylus is going to affect its lifespan. Not to mention, this will further wear out the record.
There are several ways to clean vinyl records. This article will explain why it is important to clean the records, all the different methods you can use to clean them, and when to know that they need cleaning. Continue reading to find out more.
When Do You Clean Vinyl Records?
For starters, when you buy a new vinyl record, it is most of the time charged with static electricity. It is because of this static that airborne particles and dust get attracted to the record, which causes poor quality of sound; therefore, the records require cleaning. Just because the records are new, they are not necessarily clean as they usually consist of dirt, dust, and other sorts of debris. Plus, the static electricity will hold onto the older dust particles as it attracts new ones.
Brand new vinyl records consist of a release agent that can be found on their surface and it can harm the turntable’s stylus and reduce the sound quality. It is important that a vinyl record is cleaned the moment it is purchased and brought home.
Secondly, as time goes on and these vinyl records get scratches, new dust, fingerprints, static, oil from the fingertips, etc. on them, and will result in creating noises you don’t want your records to make. This is a sign that these vinyl records require cleaning.
The Importance of Cleaning Vinyl Records
Vinyl records that are cleaned regularly will sound great and last for a longer period of time. When dirty records are played they will end up damaging the vinyl itself. Someone who has a collection of records that are rare or common needs to clean their records on a regular basis in order to maintain the quality. Furthermore, the stylus puts pressure on the vinyl as it follows the grooves that are on the record’s surface. It is hard for vinyl to play on the turntable, especially if it is dirty.
Different Methods That can Clean Vinyl Records
Use The Basic Method
There is a basic method that requires manual cleaning of the records. This method can be used to either clean the entire record or just focus on the problem areas. The steps of this method are listed below:
- Firstly, a vinyl record brush should be used to remove any excess dust plus static from the records. Long and gentle strokes of the brush will get rid of the debris. However, this should be done carefully as to not damage the surface of the vinyl.
- Once the first step is completed, the next step is to examine the record and look for any visible spots or marks under a bright light. This includes looking for fingerprints, smudges, or any discolorations. Sometimes the whole record might need to be scrubbed rather than just the problem areas.
- The next step is to get a proper cleaning solution and spray it on the problem areas once they have been identified and are in need of intensive cleaning. This should be done very carefully so that the label does not come in contact with any kind of liquid, since this can loosen the epoxy and potentially discolor the label.
- The next step is to use a cotton or micro-fiber cloth in order to clean away all of the fingerprints and spots after the cleaning solution has been applied. Circular movements should be used when applying pressure on the record with the cloth which will rub away all of the spots. Throughout this step, the label should be left alone as the cleaning solution can damage it.
- Finally, a controlled spray bottle should be used to wash away the remainder of the cleaning solution, carefully. A new and clean cloth should be used to completely dry the vinyl record before storing it. This should be done carefully so no new fingerprints are left on the vinyl. The now cleaned vinyl should be held by its edges or by its label.
Use A Record Washer
In this method, a record washer is used to clean vinyl records. This washer consists of rollers and brushes that clean the vinyl records by using a cleaning solution. Firstly, the record should be placed inside this cleaner and then rotated by the hand a couple of times in order to clean it. This process also adds a bit of pressure on the records, so that should be taken into consideration before trying it out.
Use A Vinyl Vacuum Cleaner
This method has to be the best and safest way to clean vinyl records. An actual vacuum cleaner should NOT be used for this method. There are vacuum cleaners specifically made for cleaning the vinyl records. These cleaners suck all of the debris and dust-up, which has settled inside the vinyl’s grooves. At the same time, it does not add much pressure onto the record as compared to the other methods. Also, there is minimal physical contact while cleaning the record.
Once all of your records have been thoroughly cleaned, you need to store them properly in order to avoid attracting more dust and debris. In order to do that, these records should be stored within an inner and an outer sleeve. These sleeves will keep the records safe from all outer disturbances. Your records should also be handled properly when being used, meaning touching the surface should be avoided. When properly taken care of, vinyl records can last for a very long time.