Spring Cleaning Tips for Music Collectors - A Guide to Deep-Cleaning Vinyl Records

close-up illustration of vinyl turntable

Spring cleaning isn’t just for the home. If you want to keep your vinyl records in flawless working condition, you’ll want to give them the VIP cleaning treatment as well. If you can’t remember the last time you removed the dust and dirt from your favorite John Coltrane record (or your favorite Panic! at the Disco record, if that’s more your style), now is the time to break out the cleaning supplies. Luckily, deep-cleaning vinyl records is easy and takes very little time, and it can keep your favorite LPs spinning flawlessly for years to come.

1. Remove the Dust and Static

Before we get into the finer points of deep-cleaning vinyl records, we need to remove the surface dust and debris. Some people make the mistake of using washcloths or even paper towels, but if you’re not careful, these items can scratch the surface of the record, leaving you with a much bigger problem on your hands.

To safely complete this step, you can use an anti-static vinyl record brush that removes dust on contact. Just place the brush gently across the surface of the record and allow the turntable to spin a few times.

For even better results, we recommend using the Record Pal Vinyl Cleaning Roller. Unlike standard brushes, this roller contains no hard bristles and is equipped with a smooth non-adhesive gel that removes all dust and surface contaminants on contact. Just guide the roller across the surface of the record in one fluid circular motion. Then just rinse it with tap water and your roller is ready to use again at a moment’s notice.

2. Apply a Record-Cleaning Solution

Modern record player beside a bed covered in vinyl records

Maintaining vinyl records to perfection requires more than just a dusting. Over time, vinyl collects fingerprints, dirt, oils, and an assortment of mystery smudges. These blemishes can impact the performance of your vinyl, so it’s important to get rid of them on a regular basis. This will require a vinyl cleaning solution.

Some people spot-clean their records using their cleanser of choice. There are a few problems with this approach. First, it doesn’t provide a thorough cleaning, as some blemishes are hard to see. More importantly, it exposes the vinyl to excess moisture, which can cause long-term damage.

If you’re deep-cleaning vinyl records or you just want a simpler, safer solution, we recommend this complete 4-in-1 vinyl cleaning solution. Rather than spraying the record directly, just spray the antistatic velvet brush that’s provided. Then place your record on the turntable and let it spin. Place the velvet brush onto the record’s surface and gently wipe the vinyl clean as it spins. Flip over the record and complete this process for Side B.

3. Repeat Step 2 if Necessary

When deep-cleaning vinyl records that haven’t been maintained in a while, you may need to apply your cleaning solution more than once to get the job done. So after you apply your cleaning solution, examine both sides of the record closely. If you see additional stains or smudges, simply repeat the previous step. Avoid the temptation to scrub stubborn stains with a firm grip, as this may cause serious damage. If you run out of solution, you can always purchase a replacement bottle.

Maintaining Vinyl Records Long-Term

If you’re diligent about ongoing maintenance, you won’t have to worry about deep-cleaning your vinyl records very often. At the very least, you should apply your anti-dust roller or brush before every use. Always handle your vinyl from the edges, and don’t leave it sitting on the record player when you aren’t using it. Always return it to its case and store it at room temperature. With proper care, your vinyl should last for decades.

Whether you’re deep-cleaning your vinyl records or just looking to keep them in good working order, Big Fudge has everything you need. We have the kits, the rollers, and the solutions to help you clean and manage your vinyl to perfection. And if you need to clean a large number of vinyl records simultaneously, we also offer the Record Friend, a state-of-the-art system that allows you to clean up to 50 records at a time.

However you decide to clean your records, now is the perfect time. Restore your Fleetwood Mac 33s to like-new condition, and keep your Lady Gaga vinyl from skipping incessantly right in the middle of Poker Face. By setting aside just a few minutes, you can keep that warm vinyl sound echoing through your home for years to come.