How to Properly Clean and Store Vinyl Records

Many music lovers prefer the rich, high-quality sound of vinyl over compact discs and digital files. However, vinyl records are prone to developing pops and clicks over time. While you might think these unwanted sounds are the result of damage, they are often due to dirt and grime that can be washed away. Whether your vinyl records are brand new releases or vintage classics, try these four tips to give your collection a good scrub and keep it clean with proper storage.

Make Your Own Cleaning Solution

Are you on a budget? Making your own DIY cleaner from common household ingredients is a great way to save money and avoid harsh chemicals. Start by mixing equal amounts of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle. Add two small drops of dishwashing liquid, and shake the bottle until the solution is well blended. Spray your homemade cleaner onto the record’s surface, then wipe it away gently with a soft microfiber cloth.

Use a Record Vacuum or Washer

Did you know that you can vacuum your records? However, you can’t just grab your household Hoover. You need a special vacuum made for cleaning vinyl records to improve their sound quality and make them shine like new. Another option is a record washer, which is less expensive and more gentle than a vacuum.

Keep Records in Their Jackets

After cleaning your records, what is the best way to store them? Vinyl records are best kept in their original album jackets. The cardboard jackets protect records from dust and dirt without scratching them. Jackets also make it easy to see which record you’re choosing at a glance. After all, you don’t want to mix up your favorite horror vinyl collections with your romantic albums for date night.

Always Store Records Upright

Storing vinyl records flat or in stacks can cause them to warp over time, so always store your collections upright on a sturdy shelf or inside a large drawer. Upright storage also helps protect album jacket art and prevents heavy objects from getting thrown on top of your records accidentally.

Cleaning and proper storage can make your records sound better and last longer, but taking care when playing them is also important. Pick records up by the edges only, and avoid touching the surface. Always play records from the beginning instead of skipping through to find a particular track. Taking good care of your vinyl records can make them last a lifetime.