23 Jul Caring for Vinyl Records
The vinyl record has made a comeback. The uniquely “warm” sound has been rebirthed a new generation of audiophiles, and it continues to entertain plenty of old school music lovers hungry for what digital devices can’t deliver. But caring for vinyl records can be a challenge.
Whether you just recently picked up this vintage hobby or are dusting off your collection, we offer the following tips and tricks on how to clean and care for your vinyl treasures. And with a little TLC, your records — you know, platters, LPs, discs, albums — should last until sweatbands and shutter shades make a comeback of their own.
Storing Vinyl Albums
When not being played, it’s important to store your records properly. Keep them in a clean, dry space to help slow the aging effects of humidity and dust. Avoid storing your records in attics or basements. And keeping them outside in this Alabama weather is pretty much off the table.
Always store your records vertically, as the weight of them stacked on top of each other can lead to warping. Plus, you’ll look cooler flipping through your library this way.
Most vinyl records come in paper sleeves, which are the inner boundary between the record and the jacket. Over time, however, paper is not the best way to protect your records. Instead, we recommend sheaths with a poly-lining, an inexpensive means to help prevent scratching as the record slides in and out of the sleeve. But hang on to that paper lining. Many of them have liner notes and song lyrics that you will want to keep.
Handling Your Vinyl
Your records can be damaged just by being touched. So, how you hold your records is an essential part of vinyl care. (If you’ve ever found fingerprints on your favorite CD, you know what we mean.)
Handle a record by holding the album on the very edge or by balancing its center label on your fingertips. Oils and scratches left by careless handling can negatively affect sound quality.
Tips For Cleaning Vinyl Records
There are several effective, vinyl-friendly, cleaning methods to keep your tunes sounding as good as the day you first heard the Bee Gees live.
One is to clean your records with a carbon fiber brush before and after play. These brushes are available on Amazon for under $20!. This is a quick and routine way to keep your jams ready to, well, jam.
When moderate cleaning is required, you can make a DIY album cleaning solution with items found in your pantry.
DIY Vinyl Album Cleaner Recipe
- 1 part distilled water
- 1 part isopropyl alcohol
- 1-2 drops of dishwashing soap
Use a spray bottle to apply the cleaning solution, being careful to avoid the center label. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the record down and dry it.
If you have an old album that needs more dramatic cleaning, we have an interesting alternative. Spread a thin layer of wood glue over the record, wait for it to dry, then slowly peel it off. Because they are similar in composition, wood glue can pull off dirt without damaging the vinyl. This is a time-consuming process, but we all know that some albums are worth the effort!
If you have a larger collection, it may be worth investing in a record cleaning machine. Some models apply cleaning fluid, then gently clean both sides at once—other machines vacuum contaminants right out of the grooves. You can find these machines online at various retailers – check out these options at Project Audio!
In addition to checking your records, the stylus on your turntable can also collect dust. Make sure to keep your stylus clean. We also recommend replacing the stylus every 1,000 hours of playing time.
Keep on Playing
Most importantly, make sure you have a good turntable. With the resurgence of vinyl records, there are numerous turntable options on the market. Not all of these options will be kind to your vinyl collection. Vinyl records are an investment, and a low-quality player can damage those discs no matter how you care for them. Stop by the Harmony Lounge in Hoover to check out our Yamaha TT-N503 turntable playing through a Primaluna Stereo Tube Amplifier and Klipsch Heresy IV speakers. If you aren’t a vinyl fan yet, you will be after experiencing this incredible setup!
By properly caring for your vinyl records, you can look forward to afternoons listening to the classics, all-night dance parties, or maybe just a little musical motivation while cleaning your house. If you have questions about whole-home audio or the ultimate home theater and media room, call a Chorus audio professional or schedule an appointment to visit the Harmony Lounge.
No matter when you listen, those tunes will sound all the better on a whole-house audio system or in a home theatre and media room. If you want that concert-like sound quality in the comfort of your home, call Chorus to create the ultimate audio experience in one room or every room of your house.