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How to Properly Clean Your Vinyl Records

How to Properly Clean Your Vinyl Records

Vinyl records hold a special place in the hearts of music enthusiasts. Not only do they provide a richer, more authentic sound, but they also serve as tangible pieces of musical history. However, to preserve their quality and ensure the best listening experience, it's crucial to keep them clean. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of properly cleaning your vinyl records and address some frequently asked questions.

Why Should You Clean Your Vinyl Records?

Dust, fingerprints, and other contaminants can significantly degrade your records' sound quality, causing pops, crackles, and skips. Regular cleaning can prevent damage to both your records and stylus, extending their lifespan and ensuring a pristine sound.

How to Clean Vinyl Records: Step-by-Step

Cleaning Materials You'll Need:

  • Soft, anti-static record brush
  • Record cleaning solution (or a homemade mix of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol, with a few drops of dish soap)
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Distilled water for rinsing (optional, for deep cleans)
  • Record cleaning machine or vacuum (optional, for enthusiasts)

Cleaning Process:

  1. Dry Brushing: Gently remove surface dust using a soft, anti-static record brush. Hold the brush on the record's surface as it spins on the turntable, moving it towards the centre.

  2. Applying Cleaning Solution: Apply a few drops of record cleaning solution to a clean microfiber cloth (never directly onto the record). Gently wipe the record in a circular motion, following the grooves. Avoid the label.

  3. Rinsing (Optional): For a deeper clean, especially for very dirty records, rinse the record with distilled water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. Ensure no water touches the label.

  4. Drying: Allow the record to air dry completely on a clean, soft surface. Never use a towel or cloth to dry the record, as this can introduce more dust.

  5. Storing: Once dry, store your records vertically in their sleeves, away from direct sunlight, heat, and humidity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Vinyls

Can I use regular tap water to clean my vinyl records?

It's best to use distilled water, as tap water can contain minerals and chemicals that may leave residue or cause damage to your records.

How often should I clean my vinyl records?

Clean your records every few uses or whenever you notice visible dust or fingerprints. A quick dry brush before each play can help maintain cleanliness.

Are there any household items I should avoid using to clean my records?

Avoid using paper towels, regular household cleaners, and if you can - tap water, as they can scratch your records or leave harmful residues.

Can cleaning improve the sound quality of old, used records?

Absolutely. Proper cleaning can often restore the sound quality of used records by removing years of accumulated dust and grime.

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Regularly cleaning your vinyl records is key to preserving their quality and ensuring the best listening experience. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can protect your valuable collection and enjoy the pure, rich sound of vinyl for years to come.

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