Taking Care of Your Vinyl Record Collection
Are you a music lover or a producer / Beatmaker that listens to music from vinyl? Well I play my vinyl for both music listening purposes and audio sampling. These are my personal methods of taking care of my vinyl collection. I’m not super anal like some people are out there, but I also don’t spend hundreds of dollars per record. There are many other professional ways of cleaning and storing your vinyl collection, but I’m only going to share how I personally take care of my vinyl collection.
Holding and Handling Vinyl Records
It is very important to hold and handle vinyl with care. Make sure to pick up and hold the record from the outside edges.
Never place your fingers on any of the records grooves (where needle plays music). Oils from our hands and fingers will be left on the records grooves, which attract dust, which causes mold growth, which damages the needle and results in poor audio quality (pops and cracks).
If you have larger hands you can place the record between your pointer finger and thumb and stretch out the rest of your fingers to reach the center to place your fingers on the label. I will Place a photo below to better explain the correct holding technique.
Cleaning Vinyl Records
A lot of records can get dirty over the years or collect dust especially if in a paper sleeve. A great dry cleaning tool I always use before playing a record is a carbon fiber anti-static brush. It works great because it can get right into the grooves and clean out any dust and debris.
For wet cleaning, I personally use a broken turntable with a slip mat for placing dirty records onto. On LP’s or 78’s I use soapy water with blue shop towels or a microfiber anti-static rag. Now if the LP is really dirty I use my own mix of 1 part isopropyl 99% with 7 parts water (distilled water if possible). I take my mix and pour it into a clear hand held spray bottle (you can find this in the dollar store or travel section of most stores). Then I spray the LP with 3 squirts of misty spray and take my microfiber anti-static rag and apply a little bit pressure to the center of the record and start spinning the record counter clockwise until I reach the edge. I repeat the same process clockwise and keep repeating until the LP is clean.
Storing Vinyl Records
Never leave your records stacked on top of each other like pancakes or on a 30 degree angle. Over time this will lead to warping, cracking, and breaking. Always store your vinyl records standing up vertically not horizontally. If possible store records into ant-static sleeves so you won’t have to clean records as often as using paper sleeves (paper sleeves = dust and fine debris in grooves). Below I will place a photo of my vinyl collection and the shelf I’m using. I purchased my shelf at IKEA and it’s called the “Expedit”, they are perfect for storing your record collection.
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