How do You Clean a Vinyl Record? Your Vinyl Cleaning Questions, Answered

Big Fudge’s Record Friend cleaning system in action

Many record-collectors started a lifelong hobby by dusting off somebody’s old collection in the basement. Beyond dusting though, there’s way more to proper cleaning and care of vinyl records. If you want to really learn the ropes, take a look at some of our most-asked questions about the best way to clean vinyl records. How do you clean a vinyl record, anyway?

Read on for expert answers to these common questions about DIY vinyl record care products and methods, then learn why we at Big Fudge have created safer, more efficient solutions for your vinyl record care needs. We have definitely seen questionable ways of cleaning vinyl, and we’re here to help clear up what’s what.

The Question: “What Household Items Can You Use to Clean Vinyl Records?”

The tried and true method of keeping it simple definitely works when records were plentiful and in vogue. But how do you clean a vinyl record now? You’ve come into something that isn’t readily made for the market anymore and you want to take care of it.

Here are some household items you can use to take care of your vinyl records but each of these vinyl record care products comes with a warning from experts. Proceed on using these household items with caution:

Microfiber cloth: A nonabrasive microfiber cloth that hasn’t been used on other surfaces seems like the best way to clean vinyl records.

The problem: All microfiber is not created equal! For peace of mind, instead try an antistatic velvet brush for an ultra-shiny clean result.

Water: Water can be essential to the cleaning process. You may however opt to use distilled water to rinse your records instead of tap.

The problem: Getting it right. Records are finicky, and something as simple as maintaining the correct temperature could completely ruin your sound. Try a professional cleaning solution, just in case.

dishwasher drying rack

Dish-drying rack: You can dry your records on a never-used drying rack if you have nothing else.

The problem: Keeping it clean and avoiding scratches. Many dish-drying racks have dishes sitting on an angle. This is exactly what you don’t want for records. So, how do you clean a vinyl record the safe way? Try our Record Friend cleaning set instead. It often comes with all the bells and whistles to make your music-loving life a whole lot easier, including rubber interior tips that prevent scratching when your record is placed.

The Question: So, Is It OK to Clean Vinyl Records With Rubbing Alcohol?

Rubbing alcohol will be successful in removing dirt and grime. But the question for most collectors is, “at what cost?”

The problem: Cleaning your records with rubbing alcohol can damage them severely over time. Isopropyl alcohol has been touted as the best way to clean vinyl records... Until it damages the label, or you get the ratio of alcohol-to-water wrong. Don’t take the risk. Opt for an alcohol-free cleaner instead.

The Question: What About Windex?

Windex effectively removes fingerprints from windows, leaving them spotless and clear. Why not use it on vinyl, right? After all, fingerprints can greatly influence the sound of your favorite tune.

The problem: Windex contains harsh chemicals that leave a residue on records. It’s among the vinyl record care products you should avoid, regardless of what the internet tells you. It damages your record’s surface and its label, and may impact its long term playability.

The Question: How Do I Clean Vinyl Records With Soap and Water?

Soap and water at work

How do you clean a vinyl record without using harsh chemicals? You can use plain old soap and water to clean your records, right?

The problem: Although soap and water may work fine in the short-term, removing dust and static, it’s not the best way to clean vinyl records and maintain long-term preservation. For true longstanding quality, you need a professional solution.

The Question: What About Vinegar?

Vinegar is a go-to for alcohol-free cleaning. You can clean anything with vinegar—your sink, your bathtub, your vegetables. But a record? Think again.

The problem: Vinegar is very acidic. It’s especially treacherous to use vinegar on records in a warmer climate. The acidity can promote the growth of mold and mildew and cause other problems. It may work on some records, but seriously damage others. It’s inconsistent at best, and that’s why we recommend taking a pass. Best not to risk it if you have another choice available.

The Question: What is the Best Cleaner for Vinyl Records, then?

How do you clean a vinyl record the right way, given all of the above issues with other methods? The best vinyl record care products are the ones you don’t have to concoct yourself as an experiment. Most of us are not scientists and with so many DIY methods out there, there is always a margin for error.

A simple kit doesn’t have to break the bank and in fact protects your investment in music for the long term. For the best results, rely on something used by the pros. Our Record Friend™ cleans up to 50 records at once and has a professional drying rack that won’t cause needless damage and scratches to your collection.

Protect Your Records

Find solutions used by collectors with decades in the industry that music-lovers approve of. Protect and organize your entire vinyl collection with Big Fudge online.