How to Keep Your Vinyl in Mint Condition

How to Keep Your Vinyl in Mint Condition

Vinyl records are making a big comeback, and for good reason. Tunes playing from a record player have a unique sound quality that you can’t find from digital formats. Many believe vinyl records sound the closest to what the artist originally produced in the studio, giving them a superior effect. 

If you’re a seasoned collector, then you probably know the importance of keeping your vinyl in mint condition. However, it is still possible that you’re storing your records incorrectly, which could be causing them irreversible damage. How you store your vinyl is crucial, but it’s not the only way to keep things immaculate. We’ll discuss the best ways to keep your vinyl in mint condition, including how to store them and how to prevent warping or scratches. 

1. Inner Sleeves

The first step you can take to ensure your vinyl condition remains undamaged is by making sure each of your records has an inner sleeve. Inner sleeves protect the vinyl from any dust or scratching that can occur on the inside, so it’s important that you choose quality record sleeves. That extra layer of protection may seem like overkill, but trust us: it can make a big difference over time.

2. Outer Sleeves

Just as you're checking all of your vinyl records for their inner sleeves, you should also be making sure they have an outer sleeve designed to help preserve your collection. One of either is not enough. Each record needs both sleeves to be protected inside and out. Keeping your vinyl album covers and rare gatefolds in mint or near-mint condition requires outer sleeves that can help prolong your records’ original pristine condition for the long-term.

3. Clean Your Records Before Each Play

If you truly want to keep your vinyl in mint condition, then you should be cleaning your records before each play. You don’t need to do a super thorough job every single time — this can also just mean quickly running your record cleaning brush over them for a few seconds to make sure all the particles are gone. We do need to clarify that you should never, under any circumstances, use a t-shirt or cloth from around the house to clean your records off. 

No matter how “soft” you may think these items are, they are not made for cleaning records and their fibers can lead to vinyl damage. Always invest in the proper record cleaning tools, particularly if you are trying to keep your LPs in the best condition possible.

4. Don’t Forget the Deep Clean

You should be dusting your vinyl off frequently, especially before usage. But don’t forget about giving each record a deep clean every six months or so. This is crucial for maintaining mint vinyl condition and ensuring every record plays clear and smoothly. Consider our Record Friend™ vinyl cleaning kit that includes everything you need, as well as a drying rack. The drying rack comes in handy if you have a large collection and are washing a lot of vinyl at one time. Your vinyl condition will remain pristine with these helpful cleaning tools.  

There are tons of products out there that make record cleaning efficient and fun, like our 4-in-1 vinyl cleaning kit that includes the proper cleaning solution, as well as dust removing brushes. 

As we mentioned earlier, it’s crucial that you only use products that are specially made for cleaning vinyl records

5. Store in an Upright Position

Vinyl records need to be stored in an upright position at all times to prevent warping from happening. Overtime, if your collection is stacked on top of one another, the weight from the other records can cause cracks, scratches and even irreversible damage in some cases. This is why many people invest in milk crates or cube boxes when storing their records — they are perfect options for keeping things neatly organized and upright. 

When you’ve taken a record out, you should also consider investing in a record stand to hold the jacket while the music is playing. Not only is this a nice way to display the tunes of the hour, but using a stand can protect the jacket from any potential damage and keep things organized.

6. Keep Things Cool

Keep your vinyl’s condition happy by maintaining them at a moderate temperature. Follow our little guide below for quick pointers on do’s and don’ts for temperature moderation and your record care.  

  • Your vinyl record collection is happiest when it stays between 65-75 Fahrenheit (18-23 degrees Celsius).
  • Records will be safe at any temperature above freezing. If you store your records in a cold room or live somewhere with colder winters, note that if your collection is stored or exposed to below-freezing temperatures, the albums may become brittle and crack.
  • To protect your LPs from extreme heat, note that albums will start to warp around 140 Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). This is why it is important to avoid exposing your vinyl to direct sunlight or leaving them in a car for too long if moving or transporting your records long distance.

We generally recommend keeping your vinyl records somewhere dry, away from humidity, and in a room that will stay at a moderate temperature, like an office or living area, hopefully close to your record player! You should absolutely need to keep temperature in mind if you want to maintain a mint condition vinyl collection. 

7. Only Touch the Edges

How you hold your vinyl records can make a huge difference in their overall condition. Physically handle them as carefully as possible just around the edges. Never touch the surface, because you can easily spread oils onto the vinyl, which can negatively affect the sound quality. 

Woman holding a yellow vinyl record

8. Keep Your Record Player Stylus Clean

Protect your records’ sound quality even further when you extend the same level of care you give to your vinyl to your record player and its parts. Regularly clean your record player’s tonearm with a stylus gel designed to help you safely prolong the enjoyment of both your LPs and your record player. 

Enjoy the Sweet Sounds!

Following these seven rules will ensure that you maintain a mint condition vinyl collection. Always store your records in both sleeves, clean them properly after every usage, make sure they remain in an upright position, and don’t store them in super hot or cold places. With these things in mind, you will be able to enjoy the great sounds of your collection for years to come.