How to Clean Vinyl Records (2022): Vacuums, Solutions, Wipes

unless you buy They’re brand new – and often are – and your vinyl records are probably dirty. New records are static and attract dust; old records have been sitting in boxes in someone else’s basement. Take it from someone who buys, sells, finds, cleans, and restores some dusty oily gems: your records may need a good shower.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about getting (and keeping) wax fresh. Interested in other audio cues?Be sure to check out our list best turntable and our guide How to upgrade your home stereo for free or cheap.

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supplies

Pro-Ject VC-E Cleaner

Photo: Project

if you do Quick Amazon Search, you’ll find tons of products that claim to clean vinyl records. Usually, they use a spray and some form of wiping device (like a cloth or pad) to clean the surface.However, vinyl grooves so small The fibers of any cloth cannot reach the interior. While you may put cleaning fluid in the grooves, it is very difficult to get it out.

This is where vacuum suction comes in.fancy record cleaners like This one from Pro-Ject ($499) Use the platter and vacuum system to suck the dirty cleaning solution out of the grooves, and use the motor to rotate the record in both directions.

If you feel more frugal, you can simply buy one These awesome accessories ($30) Ideal for small shop vacuums.Then, all you need is Cleaning Fluid ($24)One Inexpensive Brushes ($5), One Vacuum ($50), and an old turntable or spindle to turn the record while sucking the solution out of the groove. Look for an old one at a thrift store, because all you need is a table that turns, not one that plays music.

Using this system to clean up my records, I’ve achieved amazing results, turning hard old records into shiny clean masterpieces in minutes.

let it roll

Once you’ve set up your vacuum system, it’s essentially a waxing, waxing situation. Apply the solution to the record as you spin, making sure to fill each groove. Let it sit for a few seconds, then use the vacuum nozzle to suck up the liquid while turning the record, making sure to suck up as much liquid as possible before letting any remaining liquid evaporate.

If the record is particularly dirty, I like to do it twice per side.must have A clean microfiber towel ($7) Or a drying station to allow the record to dry completely before putting it back in its packaging.

scratches or warping

You cannot clean up scratches or repair distorted records, so store your records in an upright, clean environment. (Different stacks of records may deform under their own weight.) Do not store records in extremely hot or cold places, or where temperatures vary widely, as it can affect the life of vinyl records.

When buying used records, it’s important to understand the difference between a dirty disc and a scratched or warped disc.I recommend using A bright handheld torch ($16) Check any used records you’re interested in buying for scratches and make sure they’re flat.

How often should I clean?

The correct answer here is whenever your records get dirty. For most people, a clean clean of all their recordings and then every 10 to 20 plays on each side is a good start. I spring clean mine. I made a bunch of records that I played a lot and new records that I never cleaned. (New records may have oil on the surface that separates them from the press, so it’s faster than previously cleaned records.) From there, it’s Netflix and a vacuum!

I’m not a clean freak and I wear white gloves when I handle my vinyl, but if you have extra oily hands that might be a good idea. Always handle your records as indirectly as possible – grab them by the edges or by the edges and labels rather than touching the playing surface.

Clean the needles before putting the record on (I like These sticky little cleaners ($16)), and make sure you’ve brushed the record so that the needle doesn’t grind dust into the surface (the source of many pops when listening). With proper maintenance, your records should last for decades of playtime. Remember: A clean record is a happy record!

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