How To Clean Vinyl Records

Cleaning Vinyl Records Extends Stylus and Record Life

Vinyl LP Record Collection
Vinyl LP Record Collection

Many individuals who own a vinyl record collection have experienced situations buying records from the thrift shop they are extremely dirty. Or, you may be one who has lots of LP’s and 45 RPM records collecting dust in the basement or attic. When you want to play these albums or 45’s, they must be cleaned first for the best sound on your equipment. How to clean vinyl records will provide you with some simple steps to follow to clean those dirty, dusty vinyl records without costing lots of money. It cannot stressed enough that keeping your vinyl clean is extremely important and will extend the life of the record and stylus.

In order to clean your vinyl you must have the right accessories to do the job without damaging your record collection.

You might be asking just how I go about cleaning vinyl records. Well, all you need are the right cleaning accessories to do the job. To clean your vinyl records you will not have to spend lots of money. Another thing, cleaning the vinyl records will not remove any of the scratches. They will remain. However, you should experience less hissing, pops, and cracks when playing, listening or recording them.

Cleaning The Stylus

To clean the stylus (needle) all you need to use is the stylus brush. You just brush the needle in the direction that the record plays, back to front, using the brush. That’s it.

Cleaning Vinyl Records Video

Below is an excellent Do It Yourself video showing you how to clean vinyl records without having to spend lots of money to do it.

The Best Way to Clean Vinyl Records Video

Ways To Keep Vinyl Clean

There are basically two ways to keep vinyl records clean. By hand or by machine. If you opt for cleaning vinyl records by machine, you can expect to spend some big bucks for this option. The other method is by hand. This is the cheapest non budget buster method to use.

Cleaning Records by Hand

RCA Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit
RCA Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit

When using this method you will need the following accessories:

  • RCA Discwasher Cleaning Kit
  • Stylus Cleaning Brush
  • Flat bottom Brush
  • Anti-Static Brush

Step 1. Flat Bottom Brush. Take the flat bottom brush and clean the face of the vinyl going in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction on both sides. If you don’t have a felt brush, use the anti-static brush to remove surface dirt and dust.

Step 2. RCA Discwasher Brush and D4+ Record Cleaning Fluid. Take the fluid and place drops along the edge of the brush. Take the brush edge and move it across the record surface in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion with a little pressure to clean the vinyl surface. You can do this on a flat surface protecting the record or on the turntable. Be careful not to get any fluid on the turntable. Repeat for the other side. Let dry.

Step 3. Use the Anti-Static Brush. After cleaning both sides of the vinyl record, in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion, using the anti-static brush, brush the record surface on both sides. This step helps dry the solution faster. Use this brush before playing to remove any dust.

Step 4. Store Vinyl Record. After record surface is dry, use an inner acid free sleeve to place vinyl record into it and into the album cover. If album cover is not available, use an acid free outer sleeve to store record.

Step 5. You are finished. Just repeat steps 1-4 for additional albums or 45’s you want to clean.

Machine Cleaning

Spin Clean Wet Cleaning Kit
Spin Clean Wet Cleaning Kit

The second method of cleaning records is using a cleaning machine. Each machine will have its own instructions on cleaning vinyl. Just follow the directions. When using this option, you can expect to spend anywhere from $80 to $1000, depending upon the type of cleaning machine purchased.

Either method is good for cleaning your vinyl record collection and keeping them in excellent playing condition for years to come.

What Not To Use When Cleaning & Storing Your Vinyl Records

There are some misconceptions on what you should use and not use when cleaning your vinyl record collection whether 45’s or LP’s.

  • Avoid using tap water and harsh household chemicals (use distilled water)
  • Avoid using dishwasher soap on vinyl records.
  • Do not use wood glue for cleaning records.
  • Avoid using lighter fluid or WD-40
  • Avoid touching the playing surface
  • Always store your records vertically – Otherwise they might warp.

When storing your vinyl records after cleaning, be sure to store them in acid-free record sleeves. You can get inner and outer sleeves for LP’s and inner sleeves for 45’s. These sleeves helps prevent scratches. Another tip, always store your LP’s vertically, upright and not flat. Storing them horizontally can warp them over time.

Is It OK To Play Your Records Wet?

In a short answer, no. There are some who say this is great way to reduce the static and noise when the stylus is playing on the record. However, this method of playing records has varying results. Some say the sound is great while others say that the water gets contaminated and the stylus starts to dig this junk into the grooves and contaminates the disc. Using this method also can clog up the styli muddying the sound and may cause damage to the styli as water seeps into the cracks and erodes the glue that holds it together. When it dries it will make it more difficult to properly clean the record. Your best solution is to allow any wet record to dry first before playing it.

This may seem to be a great way to eliminate the dust, dirt and contaminating on the record when playing it, but it might bite you later. So, our recommendation is not to play wet records. Always allow them to dry first. You will be glad you did.

Shop Vinyl Cleaning Supplies

Below are some of the most popular vinyl cleaning accessories you need for proper cleaning and storing your vinyl.

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