How to Clean Vinyl Records: Six Steps to Follow

Pulling a vinyl record off the shelf to clean it

Vinyl records are definitely making a comeback, and with that comes new audiophiles of all ages just getting into records for the first time. But how can you keep your records looking (and sounding) perfect? Let’s go over some of our tips for how to clean vinyl records so you can learn how to properly go about DIY cleaning vinyl records.

Record Cleaning Supplies & Storage Solutions

Before learning how to clean a record, here’s what you’ll need to clean vinyl records at home:

If you’re looking for some all-in-one solutions on what to use to clean vinyl records, then check out our 4-in-1 record cleaning kit, which features a velvet brush and cleaning solution.

Image of Big Fudge’s vinyl record cleaning kit for how to clean a record effectively

DIY Cleaning Vinyl Records: A Step-By-Step Overview

Step 1: Inspect

The first step in knowing how to clean a record is to inspect it. It’s best to do this in a bright, well-lit room. Inspect your records and take note of any discolorations, warping, smudges, or fingerprints. This is especially important if you love collecting records from second-hand record stores. You’ll need to make sure they’re free of dust and static. Inspect them for any specks, crumbs, pet hair, and any other stray items that may cause damage. Always use an antistatic velvet brush to clean vinyl records and employ light, gentle strokes to remove dust. Try not to get any fingerprints on your records while you’re DIY cleaning your vinyl records.

These slight imperfections will be inevitable and, in some way, give vinyl that indelible human touch that digital can’t really match. Be sure to check your record stylus as well to ensure it’s clean, in addition to assessing the state of your Record Friend rollers. If they do need replacing, be sure to check out the options from Big Fudge!

If after you’ve assessed your album and you do see smudges or fingerprints, move on to the next step(s) as you clean your vinyl records at home.

Step 2: Spray Solution on Brush

Knowing how to clean a record is crucial in maintaining the sound of your records. For DIY cleaning vinyl records, a high-quality spray solution and a good brush will work wonders. After you’ve gathered your cleaning supplies together, identify those problem areas from the previous step.

Apply your cleaning spray directly to your record brush. If there is excessive dirt and residue, then you can directly apply your cleaning spray on the record itself.

Be careful and avoid touching the record’s label with any kind of liquid. This can loosen the epoxy and might cause discoloration. Make sure you have the proper liquid on hand when you’re looking for what to use to clean vinyl records.

Step 3: Wipe Clean

After spraying your records, apply light pressure in a circular motion using your velvet record brush to gently clean your records. This should wipe away any blemishes. Next, carefully wash off any of your cleaning spray and dry your records. Now, you’ll want to be extra careful not to touch the record’s grooves. Handle the record by its outer edges or the inner labeled portion while DIY cleaning vinyl records to avoid doing any damage.

Step 4: Store

Once you’ve finished cleaning vinyl records at home, you need to know how to store them too. Store your records in their outer and inner sleeves. If they’re vintage records and you either don’t have the original sleeves or the sleeves have deteriorated, consider investing in some acid-free paper inner sleeves and durable polypropylene outer sleeves. Finally, always remember to keep your records in an upright position when not in use.

Long-Term Maintenance Will Keep Your Records Sounding Great

Follow these steps for DIY cleaning vinyl records, and you’ll be surprised how well your records hold up over the years.

Make Sure You Store Them Properly

Be sure to use high-quality storage sleeves, like the ones we provide at Big Fudge, to store your records. You’ll need an outer and inner sleeve to keep your records in pristine condition. Plus, you can add some extra flair to your collection with album jackets to clearly label your albums. Knowing how to clean and maintain vinyl records also includes knowing how to store them, and that might mean updating some of your home’s decor.

And if you’re sick of storing your prized albums in a small crate, opt for a record stand to keep them in good condition and prevent any breakage. After all, records can be very fragile, and DIY cleaning vinyl records isn’t the only element of record care to focus on. It’s important to think about long-term care, not only how to clean a record.

Big Fudge is the best place to get vinyl accessories, sleeves, cleaning kits, and storage to help you clean vinyl records at home. For more info on record cleaning and maintenance, read our blog.