For those of you starting a nice little collection of records at home we’ve decided to bring you the ultimate vinyl care guide! You’ve probably got a few records you’ve picked up by now (maybe some from a Vinyl Wings box set hopefully?), right?
Well, how do you now make sure that those beauties keep delivering the great sound we’ve learned to love vinyl for? A well-maintained record can last a lifetime, whereas a neglected one’s sound can deteriorate quite substantially.
So, here are a couple of tips from us at Vinyl Wings on the best way to store and care for your records to make sure they keep delivering musical delight to you!
Vinyl Care Guide: Storage
First and foremost, always store records vertically. Putting weight on records horizontally is risky because it may cause warping, bends, or worst case may even break the record. Lining them up nicely in your bookshelf is a pretty safe bet.
When it comes to how to arrange your records, check out our article on how to organize your records here!
We would recommend that you use paper inner sleeves which are lined with polypropylene (or plastic, for the non-Breaking Bad types out there…).
There is of course authenticity in buying a second-hand record with the old paper sleeves but they’re unfortunately prone to collecting dust and may even scratch your record. Here’s a potentially safer option.
If you’re really cautious about the outer packaging of your records and want to avoid creases and cracks in the cardboard (like we do!), we would also recommend some plastic outer sleeves.
Vinyl Care Guide: Handling
No matter how many times to may wash your hands, there’s always some dirt and oil from the tips of your fingers that will be left on a record. So, do remember to only touch them around the edges and never on the actual grooves of the record!
Think of the edges and the middle (where the label is) as the safe spots to touch a record… and remember to be nice to them!
As a side note – most record players have a little cue lever (that small metal piece sticking out of the side) which you should always use when dropping the needle down to the record.
No matter how steady you think your hand is, you run a serious risk of scratching the record by doing this manually!
Vinyl Care Guide: Cleaning
Dry cleaning – It’s always a good idea to give your records a little clean with a carbon fibre brush before playing.
Best way to do this is to start spinning the record (keep the arm of the player locked in!) and place the brush down on the record to collect up all of the dust and then gently move it along to the edge of the record until it’s all come off.
Wet cleaning – this is one for the records you likely picked up at the flea market and realise they could be in dire need of a revival. For this, we would recommend that you use some record cleaning fluid and water (distilled water!) and apply with a soft microfibre cloth.
The Vinyl Revival Kit would be a pretty good place to start if you’re thinking of getting down and dirty with your records.
A few of the more advanced options that we would highly recommend to our readers and customers are to either look into the Spin-Clean record cleaning washer, or as an alternative the Squeaky Clean record care solution. Though on the more expensive side, these will last you far longer and are an essential tool to have in any senior record collector’s home!
Stylus cleaning– after a while even if you have been cleaning your records prior to playing them, the stylus on your record player will have little pieces of dust a grime accumulate on it which are important to clean off!
This is a delicate part of the record player so always take care and use a special brush (we like to use this one) for doing so and remember to switch your amplifier off to avoid loud unpleasant noise!
Remember that a little bit of daily care for your records will go a long way towards getting the most out of them!
If you’ve got any additional tips to the ones above we would be happy to hear them in the comments section below!