You love your vinyl. You love your vinyl even more when it plays clear, beautiful notes. To keep your love affair with your vinyl going you need to employ a little bit of tender love and care. This brief guide will show you the best ways to store and care for your collection affordably. Of course, there are machines that cost a few hundred dollars that will keep your records pristine. If you’re looking for methods that won’t cost you as much, you’ll find them here.
The Dust and Fungus Among Us
An awesome find at a garage sale or a record store may land you with a cleaning job. Before you enjoy the music, you'll obviously want to clean the record to get the best sound. To get rid of dirt, dust, and believe it or not-- fungus, you should use wood glue. Putting glue on a record might sound crazy, but it’s been proven to be quite effective. First, you want to gently wash the record with a soft dishwashing sponge, microfiber towel, or velvet lint brush and bit of dishwashing soap. This will remove loose dust and dirt. Be careful not to get the label wet. It's a careful job. It’s also really important to make sure there is no soap residue left behind, so take your time rinsing with purified water.
Next, dry the record with a lint free towel. Once the vinyl is dry, spread a layer of wood glue across the top of the record. Allow this to fully dry and settle deep in the grooves to pull off the mold and get the record really clean. Once it’s dry, which could take up to 24 hours, pull off the glue. Any remaining damage won’t be due to mold and dirt, it will be because of the damage caused by the “roots” of the mold digging into the record. This might cause a slight swishing sound.
Things That Should Never Ever Touch Your Records
There are a list of things that you should never allow to touch your vinyl. First on the list is isopropyl alcohol. Many commercially available vinyl cleaning products actually have this ingredient in the formula. But there is a protective layer in the grooves of your records that gets stripped away with the usage of isopropyl alcohol.
Tap water is not the best water to use when cleaning your records. The problem with tap water is the host of impurities that get left behind on the record, in the grooves, possibly re-infecting the record if there was mold. Opt for using distilled water in your cleaning process instead.
The Way You Store Your Record Is Life or Death
It’s a huge no-no to stack your records to store them. This causes warping. They could crack under the pressure of other records, and over time other albums can leave damaging marks on the album art. It’s much better to store your records upright and invest a little in a record storage rack. Hold your records by the outer edge to keep your body oils and fingerprints off.
If you do accidentally touch one, go ahead and clean it before you put it back in the sleeve. If your album sleeve becomes ripped or begins to tear, avoid using cellophane tape. As the tape ages, it will become yellow and less than beautiful, plus it strips off the remaining art, making the damage worse than before. You may want to consider discontinuing the use of the original album sleeve and using a generic one instead, to protect the artwork.
There are the obvious bits of advice when it comes to vinyl as well. Like, don’t use steel wool, don’t store your records in the heat, and don’t iron your records flat. Believe it or not, some people will actually sacrifice one side of a warped record to make the other side flat by ironing it.
Caring for vinyl ultimately is not difficult and does not have to cost you a lot of money. What will cost you more or less money is how you treat the records you currently have.
Please-- share in the comments some of the methods that have worked for you when it comes to caring for your vinyl.