Your extensive, eclectic record collection may be the envy of your friends and the pride of your life, but are you giving it enough TLC?
Take care of your records and you’ll not only enjoy optimal sound quality now but will protect treasured disks for years to come.
If you’re thinking of selling on any of your disks, it also pays to keep in mind that scratches, scrapes and warped disks are all off-putting to collections. Damaged records sell for substantially less than pristine vinyl – if there’s any demand for them at all.
Here’s the Divine Audio list of top tips to clean and protect your vinyl collection.
Here at Divine Audio, we’re often asked the best way to store a large record collection.
Investing in dedicated shelving is a good idea, as a large collection of disks can be too much to bear for flimsy Ikea units (an average 12” weighs between 140 and 220 grams.)
Records should be stacked vertically, rather than horizontally, as pressure from weight will warp your disks over time.
Avoid keeping your record collection in any area of your home where they could be exposed to extremes of heat, such as close to a radiator or fireplace, or in an outbuilding that becomes very cold or even frosty in winter. Keep them away from direct sunlight to prevent fading of the artwork on cardboard sleeves and avoid contact with water or humidity – these spell disaster for disks!
Investing in a set of good quality protective record sleeves will keep them safe and snug, no matter how long they remain in storage.
Handle with care
Careful handling can prolong the life of your much-loved record collection, so treat your vinyl with respect!
Place your fingers in the centre or along the rims of disks when holding them as sharp fingernails can scratch fragile surfaces while oil from fingertips can transfer onto the surface of the record, acting like a magnet for dirt, dust and static.
Keep it clean
Over time, dust, dirt, debris and static electricity build up in the tiny grooves of a record’s surface, hampering your record player’s ability to get the best sound out of the disk (and potentially damaging the needle or stylus head.)
A quick Google search will throw up 1001 weird and wonderful tips for cleaning records. Many people use product and equipment commonly found in the home, not realising that standard household cleaning sprays can damage disks while drying with towels or tissue can leave tiny fibres trapped in grooves.
There are three safe and simple way to clean your records using equipment designed for the job. Record cleaning products and equipment doesn’t have to cost the earth and will ensure that you don’t have to replace damaged disks, so it’s worth investing in some basic kit.
Using a specialist carbon fibre or animal hair record cleaning brush before and after playing a disk will help dislodge dust and dirt along with preventing static build-up. It’s common to use a toothbrush or soft shoe cleaning brush, but these can scratch the surface of disks, causing more harm than good.
Cleaning your records with a mixture of specialist record cleaning fluid and distilled water or a pre-mixed record cleaning gel will remove ingrained dirt and debris. For application, use a micro-fibre cloth or specialist wet-cleaning brush to get deep into the grooves and dry each disk with separate micro-fibre cloth too, as towels and tissue can shed tiny fibres that get stuck in the grooves of your disks.
Record cleaning machines
If you have a large record collection, it may be worth investing in a record cleaning machine that automatically applies cleaning solution to disks before vacuuming this off again. Spin cleaners are also available that use brushes to clean the record as it spins (like a car wash for vinyl.)
Cleaning machines are expensive in comparison to rolling up your sleeves but are often used by DJs and vinyl superfans as they’re arguably the most effective way to deep clean disks.
Protect your collection
Along with cleaning your records, handling them with caring and storing them sensibly, protection your disks is key to their longevity.
Divine Audio stock a range of protective sleeves for disks themselves along with paper inner sleeves and cardboard outer sleeves. This handy range of products come in a variety of sizes and are either made from or lined with anti-static plastic.
Invest in a full set for your collection today and sleep easy at night!
Follow our expert advice when caring for your vinyl collection and you’ll be spinning the same disks for decades.
Now what’s the best way to organise and catalogue a collection? That’s a whole other can of worms my friends!