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How to Take Care of Vinyl Records

Dec 14,2021 | Retrolife

Listening to music on vinyl is an experience that everyone should have. Even in the digital age, new audiences are treasuring the different ways songs sound on records. But vinyl is a physical medium, and the quality of vinyl changes over time. Well-cared-for records can last a lifetime, while records without proper care will start to show serious wear and tear sooner than expected. The condition of vinyl records has a direct impact on their sound quality. For the best listening experience, you should make sure that your vinyl records are in top condition. Thankfully, taking care of vinyl records is easier than you might think. Here are some tips that will help take care of your vinyl records and keep them scratch-free, clean, and vibrant for years to come.

Handle Your Vinyl Records Properly

Always handle your vinyl on the edges or by the inner label at the center. No matter how clean your hands are, the natural oils on your skin are not good for the vinyl surface. When you touch the playing surface you’ll transfer oils from your skin into the grooves, which dust will stick to and affect the sound quality. Plus, touching any part of the record with your hands runs the risk of scratching the grooves with your fingernails. All the musical information of a record is stored in its grooves. Therefore, if you want the best sound quality, you should only touch the outer edges of the record or the inner label.

Clean Your Vinyl Records

Have you ever heard pops and clicks when playing vinyl records? Unless your record is scratched or scuffed, the culprit is the dirt and dust that collects in the grooves of the record. Records tend to collect dirt, dust and various other debris. Thus, cleaning is a key part of maintaining your vinyl records. By taking measures to keep your records clean, you can avoid complications with your collection.

So how to clean your records? The most effective but also the most expensive way to clean vinyl records is to use a vacuum cleaner. But if you don't want to buy a vacuum record cleaning machine for a few records, you can consider the following two methods of cleaning records by hand.

Dry Cleaning

Use a carbon fiber brush to clean your vinyl before and after each use. This brush can safely get in the record’s grooves to get rid of dust and other particles that could impact sound quality. To properly clean, you should spin the record on the turntable and have the brush resting lightly on top. Then carefully drag the brush off the record after a few seconds.

Wet Cleaning

This is a recommended method if you want to get your records a deeper clean. Spray the solution on a record, wait a few seconds for it to seep into the grooves, and then use a microfiber cloth along the groves to dry the record.

Store Your Vinyl Records

How to store and place vinyl records is an issue that requires attention, as improper storage can lead to warped or scratched vinyl. How to store your records when they are not in use? Please continue reading below.

Never Stack Your Records

Records should be kept in a vertical position - just like books on a shelf. Stacking records on top of each other will put pressure on them, which can cause warping over time. Storing your records upright prevent warping and better protect your record jackets from damage and premature wear.

Keep Your Collection Cool and Dry

Records warp when exposed to high heat and high humidity can lead to mold growth on record sleeves. To preserve any time of records, you should store them in a cool, dry and out of direct sunlight environment.

Put Your Records into Inner Sleeves

Additionally, some proper anti-static plastic sleeves are worth your investment. While most records come with an inner sleeve, those paper ones can easily collect dust and potentially scratch the surface of your records. An anti-static inner sleeve will keep your vinyl cover crisp and pristine, which helps reduce static and keep your records clean.

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