In this article we are going to discover the best way to clean vinyl records at home. Cleaning records by hand is the most cost-effective way to maintain your records and it can be done at home very easily
Why do you need to clean vinyl records?
Playing records that are dirty can cause permanent damage to the vinyl itself. The best way to manage maintaining your records is with regular cleaning. In order to make your records sound better and last longer you need to make sure that they are regularly cleaned whether the record is new or old.
Cleaning your records is important, but it won’t do much good if your turntable’s needle is dirty. Styluses get dirty by picking up dirt from your records, which can build up if you spin vinyl regularly. Your stylus may get damaged and need to be replaced. If you don’t clean it regularly.
Thankfully, cleaning your records is a simple process that doesn’t require much preparation. Getting rid of the dust, dirt, static and oils will help prevent any pops and clicks in your playback experience, improving sound quality.
Clean records generally have less distortion, which give you a more open and detailed sound with less ticks and pops. Clean records last longer since you are reducing friction and not digging dirt into the grooves. This also reduces or eliminates the chance of the stylus skipping due to build up of debris in the grooves.
When should you clean a record?
Ideally, you should give your records a quick clean with a carbon fibre brush (or a suitable alternative, like the cloths you use to clean glasses or cell phone screens) every time you play them, one time before playing and one time after. Finally, it is very important to keep the stylus clean.
How often should you clean vinyl records?
You should have a regime of cleaning your records regularly, in particular when there is visible dust or debris on the record. Get into the habit of having an anti-static cloth to wipe them before you start to play them. Also, the stylus will pick up particles and aggravate the sound quality so you should clean the stylus whenever you see dust on the record. It will make a much nicer sound and protect the stylus.
Do new records need cleaning?
It is always wise to clean your new record before you play them as there will be some residue on them from manufacturing. Second hand records will always need to be cleaned before you start to play them
You do still need a few materials, but there are also some common household products that work just fine as alternatives.
You need to make some contact with the record, and it may involve the use of soap, which will leave some residue (any soap or cleaning solution will leave some residue).
Here’s what you’ll need:
You should you distilled or de-ionised water to clean your records to avoid impurities remaining on the surface of the record, there is no need to use warm water
2. Record cleaning solution
Record cleaners are best solution but can be a little pricey. you can use just water, but you may need to do a deeper clean with a record cleaner. Washing up liquid is the cheapest option, but it will leave a bit of residue on your records
3. Carbon Fibre Brush
To prolong the life of records and styluses then a carbon fibre brush is ideal great for deep grove cleaning whilst the brush collects dust and contaminates
4. Soft, Lint-Free Cloth
Mcrofiber towels work really well they are cloth that is soft and absorbent and will not leave lint behind
Cleaning the Record
Step 1 — Prepare the Cleaning Liquid
First warm up the distilled, de-ionized water. If you are using water only, then that is fine. If you are using dish soap, just add a little bit. If you are using a cleaning solution, follow the instructions on the bottle. Set this aside until step 3.
Step 2 — Remove dust and other loose particles
Before you do anything else, you want to make sure there are no loose particles on the surface of the record. They can scratch the record during cleaning.
The following step need to be done gently, brush the carbon fibre brush over the surface of the record in a circular motion in the direction of the grooves To remove loose particles.
Step 3 — Clean the Record
You just want to get a little bit of the liquid on the cloth as possible. Follow the grooves until you get to the outside edge of the record. Then reverse direction and follow the grooves back to the centre in a counterclockwise direction, just like the stylus does when the record is playing.
As you are running your finger over the record, make sure to keep your fingertips flat. You will not want to use your nails and risk scratching the record. You also don’t want to get any wetness on the label.
If you see some wetness on the record after cleaning it, use a dry part of the cloth to dab it away. Then brush over it with the carbon fibre brush.
Step 4 — Repeat if Necessary
If the record is still dirty, repeat with a clean part of the cloth. In fact, whenever you notice the cloth getting dirty, you should switch to a clean part. The same goes for the water. Once it starts getting dirty, dump it and use fresh water.
Step 5 — Rinse the Record
Make sure that you rinse any residue off of the record if you have used washing up liquid. You do not want any soapy marks left on the record as this will be picked by the needle. Repeat until all the residue is gone
Watch the video for more information
Hopefully this has given you all the information you need to take care of your records by hand let me know what you think in the comments below.