How To Clean Your Vinyl Records At Home In Smart Ways

We are certain that when you think about music, it’s not just a karaoke microphone coming to mind! There’s a lot of debate among music fans about which playback technology provides the best sound quality, but vinyl has got to be the one. If you are somebody who enjoys listening to vinyl records, you’re probably familiar with the clicking, hissing, and other unusual noises that they may generate. Although these noises can be caused by actual damage to the vinyl, most of the time, it’s just a build-up of dirt

Record player playing a record at home

Dirt, dust, and other impurities can clog your vinyl records, particularly deep within the grooves, making it impossible for your record player‘s needle to trace them as smoothly as it should. However, if you learn how to clean vinyl records properly and work to keep them clear of dirt and dust, all of the obnoxious hissing and popping sounds will soon be a thing of the past. Therefore, we’ve put up a comprehensive guide to keeping your vinyl in good shape, and we have outlined for you some pain-free maintenance tips

Clean vinyl records with a vacuum cleaner

Cleaning dirty records can be done in various ways, some of which are more effective than others. The vacuum approach is something we believe in. Yes, some of these machines can be prohibitively pricey, but you bet it is worth every quid! A vacuum cleaner designed specifically for cleaning vinyl records has the advantage of sucking up dirt and dust that has settled into the grooves while minimising pressure and direct contact with the delicate piece.

Step 1

First, do an initial general cleaning of the records. Then, depending on the amount of dirt or debris you have, you’ll choose between two suction reducer mechanisms. Use your vinyl vacuum without the reducers for optimum suction. Suction quantities may vary depending on the power of your vacuum. Reducers are available to help you vacuum your vinyl records using your belt-driven turntable. If you don’t use a reducer, you’ll probably have to turn your turntable by hand. 

Step 2

Over the vacuum hose, place the O-ring that came with the vinyl vacuum. Attachments may differ depending on the model. Then, connect your vacuum hose to the vinyl vacuum, and you should ideally work it from the bottom to the top. Also, cover your record spindle with the felt washer. While vacuuming, the felt washer will protect your record label. The vinyl vacuum should then be secured to the spindle.

Step 3

Finally, turn on the vacuum and spin the record 2-3 times while using it to remove dust and debris.

Many vinyl records on the floor

Use a static gun

Did you think that you had to deal with static only in clothes? The friction formed between the record player‘s stylus and the vinyl grooves that the stylus runs along is the main cause of static electricity building up on your vinyl records. The removal of the vinyl from its storage sleeve is a second source.

The use of an anti-static gun is one solution to cover these problem areas. The way it works is that the cannon removes the static energy accumulated on the record. As a result, the accumulation of dust and dirt in the grooves of your record is reduced.

It operates on the piezoelectric principle, producing a large positive static charge in a crystal within the device. When you release the trigger, the charge will flow off the record before being neutralised

Clean your vinyl records with a record washer

A record washer is a device that aids in the preservation of vinyl records. It’s available as a stand-alone cleaning product or as part of a kit with a variety of extras. It reduces clicks and pops caused by surface dust accumulation and eliminates the static charge that builds up in regularly used recordings. 

There are numerous types of vinyl record cleaners available, each of which does from a gentle cleaning to a medium or a thorough cleaning to restore a damaged record. 

Your vinyl records will stay in excellent working condition with a combination of soft and medium cleaning, just as they did when you originally bought them. Such cleaners come in many forms, such as:

Cleaning vinyl record with an antistatic brush

1. Anti-static brush

It has two rows of bristles or more and is used for light dust on the surface of the record and low static electricity.

2. Liquid

It is used for light surface dust, mild dirt collection, or grime.

3. Gel

It is for light surface dust, embedded debris, or grime on the vinyl record’s surface and grooves. It can take care of static electricity, as well as some scratches that generate leaps or pops.

4. Cleaning machine

It is used for old vinyl collections that have been scratched and degenerated due to improper storage.

Clean your vinyl records by hand

You can simply clean your records by hand. However, a record cleaning brush is required.

Step 1

Begin by lightly scrubbing the record’s surface in a circular motion with the brush (always following the grooves). Don’t put too much strain on this. Your goal is to collect increasing amounts of dust and dirt on the record while avoiding damaging the grooves. We don’t recommend using a mixture of warm water and dish soap, but some people do use it. Instead, we recommend cleaning your vinyl records with a vinyl-specific cleaning solution. Not all record cleaning products, however, are made with the same ingredients. Any that includes isopropyl alcohol, in particular, should be avoided. While it will remove the dirt from your record, many people have reported that it will destroy the protective covering on your vinyl over time. If you’re going to use an isopropyl alcohol solution, use it sparingly

Step 2

Spray the disc lightly with the cleaning solution and set aside for 4-5 minutes. After that, lightly wipe it in the direction of the grooves with a record brush to remove the solution.

Step 3

To remove any lingering residue, repeat the cleaning process once more using only deionised water. 

Step 4

Gently pat the record dry with a soft cloth and allow the record to dry for up to thirty minutes before putting it back in its sleeve to ensure that it is entirely dry. Keep in mind that excess moisture might cause the sleeve to mould, causing the record to be damaged.

Man hands cleaning a vinyl record from dust

Record cleaning tips

  1. You can make a cleaning solution on your own by combining distilled water and a few drops of dish detergent or other cleaning fluid in a medium mixing bowl. To avoid some of the pollutants that can be present in tap water, stick with distilled water
  2. Alternatively, you can always use a pre-made solution. Cleaners designed for use on audio materials are frequently sold in record stores and music stores. 
  3. Check the ingredients of any vinyl cleaner you bought to make sure you’re happy with everything that’s in it. Make sure to stay away from household cleaning solutions. These cleaners are considerably too abrasive for records, and they can cause the vinyl to be destroyed.
  4. Placing the record on a cleaning mat is a good idea. These mats are usually made of cork or another soft substance and can be purchased in record stores. You can lay the record down flat on the mat and secure it with the accompanying spindle. Some mats aren’t meant to be used with liquids, so make sure your mat can tolerate cleaning with a solution before you start.
  5. Once you’ve got a solution, carefully trickle a few droplets over the record’s surface. Alternatively, soak a towel in the solution and dab it on the record’s surface. It’s best if the record is somewhat damp but not saturated. Make sure the liquid does not go on the record’s label, as this can cause harm.
  6. Then, grasp your microfibre towel and wipe across the record in a counter-clockwise motion, following the grooves. Apply mild pressure on the towel so that it touches the groove’s inner parts. When you’re finished, dry the entire record with a brand new lint-free cloth.

Vinyl record in front of an album collection

Taking care of your vinyl records

The best way to keep your vinyl clean is to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. A moist record should never be played or stored. It is a common misconception that playing a wet record reduces static build-upUsing a record with moisture on it, on the other hand, might damage the grooves and make a bigger mess to clean.

  • Ensure your records are completely dry by wiping them down with a microfibre cloth or letting them air dry on a cleaning mat. They should be handled with care. 
  • When possible, avoid touching the internal grooves of your records. Handle them instead by gripping the label or the disk’s perimeter with your fingertips. Place your records in new interior sleeves once they’ve been cleaned. 
  • Plastic sleeves with anti-static properties are typically a suitable choice, so look for a sleeve that says “archival quality” and “non-scratch.” As you take the disk in and out to play it, this will keep it safe. They should also be stored vertically, so make sure your records are adjacent to one another. 
  • You risk warping or bending them if you lay them flat. Bending can also be caused by your record leaning to one side only. That’s why you should always maintain the records close together with little space between them.

Bottom line, there’s no need to spend 500£ or more on ways to clean your valuable vinyl records. Fortunately, if you’re a vinyl lover on a budget, there’s now a cheaper alternative that’s just as good. Pick one of the cleaning methods above that works best for you and always remember to keep your new records dry afterwards!

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