Caring for your vinyl
Whether new or old, every record needs a bit of care to keep it free from crackles, pops, and scratches. Caring for your records will also prolong the life of your stylus.
Physical media — especially vinyl — will flourish with a little love and care. Here, we outline a few ways to keep your vinyl well maintained.
Preparing to play
There are a range of vacuum and
washer record cleaners available. For today we are assuming you are
cleaning your beloved vinyl by hand. That's right... this article is all about elbow grease! But never fear, it's actually pretty simple and enjoyable once you have become accustomed to it.
We recommend giving your vinyl a brush clean before each play. It's a fantastic habit to get into. Brushing lightly along the grooves will help prevent build-up of dust and dirt.
Using a carbon fibre brush can reduce the static charge on vinyl that attracts dust. Velvet brushes are fantastic for getting in a little deeper as they are designed to make more contact with the record.
Wet cleaning is for giving an even deeper clean and we recommend using a dedicated vinyl spray with a micro-fibre, anti static cloth. A few sprays onto the vinyl (avoiding the label) followed by wiping your cloth in a circular motion and finishing with a dry cloth will do the trick.
We have our own vinyl cleaning spray available that we have been proudly using with great results for over 20 years. 2 sprays on each side and then wiping with an anti-static cloth will sort you out. This spray is also perfect for CDs and DVDs when used with a eyeglass lens cleaning cloth.
Here is a brilliant video from Phil Shea with tips on cleaning your vinyl..
Vinyl records need to be stored in an upright position to ensure they stay in good condition. Records stored flat can warp over time. Records that have been stored at a slant for an extended period of time can warp because of the uneven pressure that has been placed on them. This is why records are often kept in crates that position them upright.
Ideally, LPs should stand up straight on the shelf instead of leaning to one side. You can accomplish this by placing a divider every 4-6 inches
We recommend using archival record sleeves to protect your covers. Some older style shiny plastic sleeves have proved to haze the records over time, reducing the sound quality and value of your precious vinyl. Check out our available archival sleeve options.
You can use paper or plastic (poly) inner sleeves. Paper sleeves in humid weather are not recommended as they can develop mould.
Circulation and temperature are other key factors. We do not recommend storing vinyl in sheds or basements. Room temperature and humidity should be considered. Excessive exposure to sunlight or bright light can, over time, also damage your records.
Dusting your turntable regularly with a microfibre cloth, and while playing records, can extend the life of your player. Keep the lid closed as much as possible to avoid dust build up.
Let records get too dirty and they will crackle, skip and maybe stop playing altogether, damaging your stylus in the process. As well as cleaning your records, we fully endorse caring for your stylus as it is the key for providing superb sound quality.
Your stylus touches your vinyl throughout the entire listening session, so keeping it clean is essential. If your stylus has dirt or dust on it, it can transfer those contaminants to every record you play. Do not touch your stylus with your hands...you have oils in your skin that can damage the vinyl over time.
Also..... never, ever, for any reason whatsoever, rub your needle sideways. Always brush from back to front, mimicking the movement of a record underneath. Brushing your needle side-to-side will damage the tip or break the damn thing clean off.
So, a small stylus brush will do the trick (looks like a nail polish brush). Alternatively, pick up some liquid stylus cleaner with brush and get into the habit of giving the stylus a LIGHT brush before each play. #worthit
Overall, caring for your vinyl should not feel like a chore... but the more you can keep it up, the longer your collection will last.
This hard format has been created to last through generations when shown a little love. Trust us, your kids will thank you for it.