Vinyl Records: How To Look After Them
By Michael Greig Thomas
Whilst vinyl is one of the most durable physical music formats around, record enthusiasts are aware of the importance of properly caring for their records: neglect your vinyl collection and you risk introducing surface noise, scratches and even warping.
Here are our tips for properly caring for your vinyl records…
Vinyl records should always be stored in a dry, cool environment. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight as the light and heat can fade the jacket artwork and warp the record. Also avoid storing in areas where the record will be exposed to a lot of dust or airborne particles. Check out our article on various storage solutions.
Use An Inner Sleeve
The inner sleeve is the only storage item that should regularly come into contact with the record. The best sleeves are composed of either a plastic liner within a paper inner, or as a round-bottomed plastic-only sleeve. Storing your record in one of these sleeves is essential to protect it from scratches and debris.
Note: Most records come with paper sleeves. Avoid using these as the low quality paper will add scratches to your vinyl over time.
Avoid touching any part of the record that contains stored information such as the grooves of the album. Instead, handle carefully by touching only the edges and the inner label. Dirt and prints can affect the sound quality and playback of your record.
Cleaning Your Records
A fiber brush should be used to clean your records both before and after each use. As well as entering the grooves of the record to remove dirt, the fiber drains static electricity which is responsible for attracting dust. Don’t forget to clean the dust off of the brush between uses too.
Vacuum Cleaning Systems
The most effective way to clean your records is to use a vacuum based cleaning system such as the Spin Clean Record Washer. However, if you’re on a budget, you can still get great results by applying a mixture of record cleaning solution and distilled water.
Note: Tap water should be avoided as it can contain mineral deposits and lime scale that can damage your records.
If you have a manual turntable, you will have to manually lift the arm and place the needle on the record for playback. If you don’t have a steady hand, you can easily scratch the record. Avoid shaking hands and also use the cueing lever on your turntable to raise and lower the needle.
Learning how to properly care for your vinyl records will help protect your priceless collection and ensure you’re able to enjoy a clearer and crisper sound when you play your records.
If you’re prepared to put in a little effort, collecting vinyl can be one of the most rewarding ways to consume music.