How to Clean Vinyl Records: Six Steps to Follow
Posted on July 11 2019
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 six easy ways to clean vinyl records.
Record Cleaning Supplies & Storage Solutions
Before you get started, make sure you invest in these supplies:
- Outer Sleeves
- Inner Sleeves
- Alcohol-Free Record Cleaning Solution
- Antistatic Velvet Brush (for keeping your records dust and static-free)
- Microfiber Cloths (to use with your cleaning solution)
- Record shelving and storage
If you’re looking for some all-in-one solutions, check out our 4-in-1 record cleaning kit which features a velvet brush and cleaning solution.
How to Clean Your Vinyl Records in Six Easy Steps
- Use a vinyl record brush to remove all of the dust and static.
- Check your records every once in a while for marks and other visible blemishes and signs of warping.
- Spray cleaning solution (only on problem areas.)
- Wipe your records clean, using circular motions only.
- Rinse and dry your vinyl records.
- Store your records in sleeves, and in upright positions.
Step 1: Remove Dust and Static
Before you spray records with cleaning solution, you’ll need to make sure they’re free of dust and static. 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 doing this.
Step 2: Inspect Your Records
It’s best to do this next step in a bright, well-lit room. Inspect your records. Take note of any discolorations, warping, smudges, or fingerprints. This is especially important if you love collecting records from second hand record stores. These slight imperfections will be inevitable and in some way, gives vinyl that indelible human touch that digital can’t really match. That said, if you do see smudges or fingerprints, move on to the next step.
Step 3: How to Clean Records with Your Cleaning Solution Spray
Use an alcohol-free cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth. This cloth should be something fine enough for you to use on a computer screen.
After you’ve gotten your cleaning supplies together, identify those problem areas from the previous step. Directly apply your cleaning spray on those smudges and marks. Be careful and avoid touching the record’s label with any kind of liquid. This can loosen the epoxy and might cause discoloration.
Step 4: Wipe Your Records Clean
After spraying your records, apply light pressure in a circular motion using your microfiber cloth to gently clean your records. This should wipe away any blemishes.
Step 5: Rinse and Dry
Carefully wash off any of your cleaning spray. Dry your records completely using a different microfiber cloth than the one you just used to clean. Now, you’ll want to be extra careful to not touch the record’s grooves. Handle the record by its outer edges or the inner labelled portion.
Step 6: Store Your Records
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. Keep your records in an upright position when not in use.
Long-Term Maintenance Will Keep Your Records Sounding Great
Follow these steps regularly and you’ll be surprised how well your records hold up over the years.
Big Fudge is the best place to get vinyl accessories, sleeves, cleaning kits, and storage. For more info on record cleaning and maintenance, read our blog.