Perhaps the best way to clean your vinyl records is with a vacuum-powered vinyl record cleaner. The benefits of a vacuum cleaner made specifically for cleaning vinyl records is that it sucks up the dirt and dust that has settled into the grooves of the vinyl while simultaneously minimizing pressure and physical contact with the delicate record itself.
We like the starter kit from Spin Clean. No problem! You easily clean your records by hand with just a brush, some cleaning solution, and a microfiber cloth. There are three easy steps to clean your record by hand:.
How to Clean Vinyl Records The Easy Way
Begin by gently brushing the surface of the record in a circular motion always follow the grooves with the brush. Honestly, I recommend doing this step every time you play a record. Instead, we recommend using a cleaning solution designed for use on vinyl records. However, not all record cleaning solutions are created equal. If you are going to use a solution with isopropyl alcohol — use is sparingly.
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You can take one of these and dry-wipe a vinyl record about as easily as you would with a record brush. If you choose to apply a solution to wet clean your records, these cloths gently push and soak up the liquid as it scrubs through the grooves. Equal parts extreme and thorough, wood glue has proven its vinyl record cleaning prowess over the decades. It may sound bizarre at first, but the squeaky-clean results are hard to dispute. Think of it like a facial mask, but for your vinyl music.
The trick to using wood glue is that it needs to be spread evenly as one continuous, bubble-free piece a silicone spatula helps. Otherwise, you might have a harder time peeling it off if you're working with several sections. Make sure that the record is on a flat surface the entire time, and take care to not get any glue on the label.
But the upside is that a bottle of glue will set you back only several dollars. Share Pin Email. Stanley Goodner is a former freelance contributor for Lifewire, who specializes in audio equipment, music management, and computer hardware. What We Like Provides deep cleaning for dirt, fingerprints, oil, etc.
Clean Vinyl Records With A Vacuum Cleaner
Both sides of the vinyl get washed simultaneously More affordable than record cleaner machines. What We Don't Like Requires manual operation Record labels can get wet if not careful Less affordable than a dry brush. What We Like More effective than a basic brush About as affordable as a basic brush Can also be used with solutions for wet cleaning. What We Don't Like Requires far more of a hands-on approach Not all microfiber cloths are truly lint-free Wet cleaning can be a little messy.
Clean your vinyl records even the brand new ones before and after playing. Safely store vinyl records in their sleeves when not in use.
Handling Your Records
Leaving them on the turntable platter can result in a thin layer of impurities assembling together in the grooves. Only use clean sleeves. If the sleeve is dirty, it will transfer to the vinyl record. Stir these together gently. It is best to use distilled water in order to avoid some of the impurities that can be found in tap water. The alcohol may strip the record of its surface properties. So, be sure to use with caution and sparingly. Use a prepackaged solution. Record stores and music stores often sell cleaners specifically designed for use on audio materials.
Check the ingredients of any cleaner that you buy to make sure that you are comfortable with everything included. Make sure to follow the directions closely as well.
These cleaners are far too abrasive for records and can destroy the vinyl. Place the record on a cleaning mat. You can buy these mats at record stores and they are generally made out of cork or another soft material. If you are worried about using liquids on top of your turntable, then a mat is a good idea.
You can place the record flat on the mat and use the attached spindle to hold the record secure. Before you clean with a solution make sure that your mat can handle it.
How NOT to clean vinyl records
Drizzle the liquid over the record. Once you have a solution on hand, gently drizzle a few drops over the surface of the record. Or, moisten a towel with the solution and apply this moisture to the surface of the record. You want the record to be slightly damp, definitely not drenched. Wipe with a microfiber towel. Grasp your towel and wipe in a counter-clockwise motion across the record, following the grooves.
Be gentle, but apply enough pressure so that the towel makes contact with the interior parts of the groove. Use a totally fresh microfiber cloth to dry the entire record when finished.
How to Properly Maintain Your Vinyl – Soundfly
Use a manual cleaning machine. If you are not interested in cleaning your records by hand, then you can invest in a machine to do some of the work for you. There are machines that require special fluids, ones that brush both sides of a disk at once, and ones that combine vacuuming and brushing. Do some research online to find a machine that suits your particular needs. To save money, look for a machine that uses brushes to clean, instead of vacuums.
Keep your records dry. Never play or store a wet record. It is a myth that playing a wet record will reduce static build-up. Instead, using a record with moisture on it can damage the grooves and create an even bigger mess to clean. Make sure that you fully wipe down your records with a microfiber cloth or let them air dry on a cleaning mat.
Touch them carefully. Try to avoid touching the interior grooves of your records whenever possible.
Instead, handle them by grabbing the label or perimeter of the disk with your fingertips. The oil on your fingertips can attract dust to the grooves and make it more difficult to clean the record. Place them in archival sleeves. When your records are cleaned, place them into fresh interior sleeves. Anti-static plastic sleeves are usually a good option. Look for a sleeve that is labeled as archival quality and non-scratching.