Vinyl Record Maintenance In 5 Easy Steps

record playing

From the diamonds in the rough you discover at a yard sale to the hand-me-downs classics you found in the basement – and everything in between – your vinyl record collection has been around the block, and sometimes, it shows. Dust, dirt, fingerprints, static, and more can cause serious damage if not removed from time to time, but vinyl record maintenance may be easier than you think.

Here are 5 simple steps to keeping your vinyl records in tip-top shape.

1. Remove all dust and static using a vinyl record brush

The first step to properly maintaining your vinyl records is clearing the disc of dust that has settled into the grooves. To do this, you can use a soft cleaning microfiber brush and gently wipe down the record. You’ll want to be using a towel or cloth glove to hold the record with the other hand as you wipe down the vinyl with your other hand. You can also do this while the record is spinning on your player!

2. Inspect the record for visible marks

Next, hold the record under a bright light and tilt it to reveal marks, smudges, grime, and blemishes that could affect the ability of the record to play and the quality of its sound. If you’re collecting used vinyl, particularly older records, it’s always best to check for marks before playing.

3. Spray cleaning solution on blemishes and wipe down

Use a mild cleaning solution and spray down the brush. On the record, focus on spots you’ve identified in step two, including fingerprints. When practicing vinyl record maintenance, be mindful to not spray the cleaning solution on the label at the center of the disc, as your solution could damage the label. Using a circular motion, apply pressure with a microfiber brush or soft cotton cloth to gently wipe away the smudges.

4. Replace your records in their sleeves and album covers

Once your records are dry, they’re ready to either be played or returned to the album covers from whence they came. If you’ve taken the time to clean your record, you might as well place it into a fresh inner sleeve to keep it protected from dust and static. Slip your album cover into a clean plastic outer sleeve and replace to its proper place in your collection.

Try the Record Friend Cleaning System

vinyl record player

If you’re a serious record collector, it’s essential to have a proper vinyl cleaning system. The Big Fudge Record Friend vinyl cleaning kit makes vinyl record maintenance fun and easy. This kit is specifically designed to clean up to 50 records at a time, with an adjustable vinyl sink that fits all sizes of vinyl records.

Simply insert each record, one at a time, into the cleaning solution and rotate against the microfiber brushes, three times clockwise and three times counter-clockwise. Then, place the record on the drying rack – which holds up to ten records. It’s a satisfying way for any audiophile to spend an evening.