Top tips for cleaning vinyls


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Cleaning vinyl records will keep them sounding great for a very long time. But you need to know how to clean your records properly or you could damage your albums.

First thing to know about cleaning vinyl records is that playing a dirty record will damage the vinyl and negatively affect the sound quality.

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You will need:

  • Washing up liquid
  • Bowl
  • Warm Water (Distilled Water)
  • Soft cloth (lint free)
  • Carbon fibre brush (dry) or cloth for cleaning spectacles

Step 1 – Removing dust

You should remove dust and loose particles from the surface before any deep cleaning. Use your carbon fibre brush and pass along lightly on the playing surface.

This is simply to brush off loose particles. For a deeper clean, we’ll use some good old fashion soap and water.

Step 2 – Prepare the cleaning solution

Firstly if you can try and clean the records with just warm Distilled Water as this will leave no residue from the soap. However for a deeper clean then use soap. To do this start of by placing the warm Distilled Water into the bowl. Please Note: the water shouldn’t be too hot as this can damage the vinyl records. Mix a small amount of washing up liquid and stir. Use as little soap as possible to nearly none at all.

Step 3 – Clean the Record

The cloth you use to clean the record should be soft and absorbent. Please Note: Do not use rags or old t-shirts as this can damage the records. Top Tip: Cloths used for polishing cars work really well and are not only cost-effective but also reusable. Wrap the cloth over your index finger and dip your finger tip into the bowl of warm lightly-soaped water. Please Note: The cloth shouldn’t be wet enough to leave any wetness on the record. Therefore, drying the record after cleaning shouldn’t be an issue.

Gently rub your cloth with soap over the vinyl record in a circular motion along the grooves. Go in circular motions from the centre around he record until you reach the outside edge. Then go in the opposite direction – counter clockwise around the record spiralling inwards towards the label (like the stylus does). Clean the record evenly making sure to keep your finger tips flat and do not use your nails. Please Note: Do not get the label wet. If there is some wetness on the record, just use a clean part of your cloth to gently absorb it then brush around the record with your carbon fibre brush.

Step 4 – Repeat

Once your water or cloth is dirty, it’s time to start again. Get a new bowl of warm soapy water and use a clean section of your cloth.

Step 6 – Rinse

Do one final pass using only the distilled water just to make sure there isn’t any soap residue left behind. Your records are now clean and ready to use! Top Tip: Regular maintenance is the best way to keep a vinyl record collection in good shape.

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