How to Clean Vinyl Records

music in physical form

Vinyl records are music in physical form. That’s it. The songs and lyrics of our favorite musicians pressed onto a flat disc via grooves that can be brought up using a needle and a speaker… it’s almost crazy to think about, but it’s really just that simple. Yet, the act of listening to our beloved jams on a record player is a timeless way to wile away your evenings and has become a ritual that music lovers of all ages are still enjoying.

As digital music took over, and we witnessed the compact disc become an obsolete medium, fans and artists found their way back to this timeless format of playing and enjoying the melodies and lyrics that impact the way we think and feel.

Vinyl records are tangible expressions of the music we love. It’s important that we not only appreciate this unique medium, but that we understand the best ways to care for and maintain the albums we have by learning how to clean vinyl records correctly.

At Big Fudge, we’ve streamlined how to best protect your record collection, in order to extend the life of albums you’ve searched, haggled, and traded for to create your personal library.

How to clean your vinyl records can be broken down into these easy steps:

  • Use the bristle brush to wipe collected dust off the velvet pad – There may be residue from your last cleaning on the velvet pad, so this bristle brush makes it easy to remove that lint and dust prior to moving forward with your new cleaning session.
  • Remove dust, static and other residue using your soft brush – Think of this step like sweeping a floor to pick up dry dirt and such before you clean it with a mop. We recommend using the brush that is included with the Big Fudge 4-in-1 Cleaning Kit to give your records a soft wipe-down. Remember to use circular strokes that move with the record’s grooves. (This step is also something you could consider doing after every session on your record player to make sure that the dust and flakes don’t stay in the grooves for too long.)
  • Inspect for missed dirt and locate smudges or fingerprints – Check your records after the first pass to see if you missed anything. This second inspection will also help you determine how many “tough” spots (grime, fingerprints, etc) are on the record and if you might have left a smudge or print on the album. Don’t be frustrated if you leave lots of smudges or fingerprints the first few times you are learning how to clean your vinyl records – it takes a few tries before you get efficient at it.
  • Spray with your cleaning fluid and brush again – With the easy stuff brushed away and only the tough spots remaining, it’s time to break out the cleaning fluid. Included with every 4-in-1 cleaning kit from Big Fudge is a bottle of our cleaning spray that is alcohol-free and safe to use on all types and sizes of vinyl records. Spray once (or twice for larger, tougher spots) on the area that needs it, and use your soft brushes or a microfiber cloth to wipe away the smudges. NOTE: This step needs to be done carefully, as using liquids on your record could result in the label getting damaged. Be mindful to keep the label clear of liquids as best as you can.
  • Rinse and dry your record – We recommend our Record Friend™ for this step, as it provides the best heavy-duty clean you can find.
  • Store properly to avoid dust, dirt or accidental damage – With the dust, grime, and fingerprints removed and the records completely dried, you need to put them into a protective sleeve right away. Remember – the longer a record is out, the more dust, dirt, and chances that something might happen to it. Big Fudge offers both inner paper jackets and outer protection sleeves for exactly this need. All of our products are designed and made with high-quality materials that surpass industry standards. Plus, we also offer sturdy storage boxes that will help you keep your collection organized and safe.

After understanding how to clean vinyl records, you’ll be able to clean your records and keep them looking and sounding great. Show some love to your collection, and it will keep you and your music connected for a long time.