Have you experienced your records loosing the sound quality with time? It happens because of the impurities stuck with the vinyl record surface. You need to clean your vinyl records from time to time, whether you’ve been listening to them or keeping them safe in the shelves.
If you keep your vinyl records clean, they will produce great sounds for a long time. You can clean your vinyl albums quite easily. But, you have to be very careful while cleaning your vinyl records as they can get damaged or have cracks with slight mishandling.
Why Is Vinyl Record Cleaning So Important?
Vinyl records need care and that’s why they come with proper casing. The reason why they require cleaning is, their grooves can easily attract dirt and debris. Moreover, if you leave them unattended, debris and dirt accumulate and strengthen with time, making cleaning more difficult and next to impossible.
The small particles can be stubborn, sticking to the base of the grooves. This can cause skips and slips. There will be awkward sounds in between the music (known as “conchoidal shock wave”).
Things to Remember Regarding Vinyl Record Cleaning
- Playing a dirty record not only damages the vinyl surface, but also affects the sound quality. A dirty record player also affects the quality of stylus or needle.
- People follow different methods for cleaning vinyl albums, but there’s no perfect way to clean them.
- You cannot purify the records, but you can remove dirt and dust to get the quality music.
- Vinyl records cannot be restored to their virgin state. So don’t take chances.
- Pros recommend playing records safe, preserving them on safe, dust-free shelf, and exercising caution while cleaning are the best way to prolong their life.
- A bad stylus or the improper movement of the turntable can damage your vinyl record. So, before playing your favorite vinyl album, always make sure that your record player operates properly.
Given below are the most common tips to clean vinyl records.
Vinyl Record Cleaning Tips
If you’ve just begun to use vinyl records, you’ll learn slowly how to keep them clean in the best possible manner. For now, you can make use one or all of the following ways to quick-clean your vinyl albums:
- Quick-Clean New Records
For newer records, cleaning isn’t entirely necessary. Use a clean cloth to remove dust and debris from the record. The cloth should be lint-free. Clean the record before placing it on the turntable, and after playing.
- Use Carbon Fiber Brush
You can clean your vinyl albums with the help of carbon fiber brush. Use it before and after playing the record. This is the quickest and the best way to keep your records clean for a long time. However, carbon fiber brush should be used safely. It is only meant for gentle and smooth cleaning. Don’t push them into grooves. Unnecessary friction may cause damage to the grooves, and damage cannot be repaired.
- Avoid Alcohols
If you use alcohol (rubbing alcohol) on the vinyl record, it will take away the shine. Moreover, alcohol contains a little amount of grease on your record which may cause spots and patches that might affect the sound quality. Small stains may cause the stylus or needle to slip and miss a few grooves.
- Use Distilled Water
The better way to deep clean is, use de-ionized or distilled water for deep cleaning. The water will not leave the residue on the vinyl surface, because it will evaporate after some time.
- Remove Dirt
Before deep cleaning, don’t forget to remove dust and debris from the surface of your vinyl album.
- Record Cleaning Kit
You can opt for record cleaning system. You can get a cleaning kit from a nearby record store. A cleaning kit costs around $100. You can also use vinyl vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and dust off the grooves.
- Before deep cleaning with vacuum, you need to remove as much dirt and debris from the surface as possible.
- Use the vacuum safely with as limited friction as possible. The vacuum will suck the tiny particles hidden inside the grooves, leaving your vinyl record neat and clean.
- Don’t experiment like pros, if you don’t want scratches and cracks on your favorite vinyl records.
- Playing safe also means, you have to ensure your turntable and stylus work properly.
- Start with simple cleaning using flint-free cloth, followed by carbon fiber brush that attracts dirt and dust.
- Use distilled doesn’t leave stains on the record’s surface
- Finally, deep clean using vinyl cleaning kit