The resurgence of vinyls within the burgeoning electronic music scene as well as the need for older collectors to preserve their collections is causing a huge uptick in the vinyl protection industry. There are plenty of expensive ways in which a record collector can protect a vinyl; however, it is much more difficult to perform on the budget of the average person with a large collection that needs attention.
Below are some of the least expensive yet most effective ways to protect vinyls so that they last as long as possible.
Remove any dust and grime
In order to achieve the best cleaning possible, you must first make sure that you have removed as many of the old debris from your record collection as you possibly can. If you do not take extra special care with this step, the other cleaning mechanisms will only drive in the debris that have collected on the surface of the record into the grooves, making it virtually impossible to clean after a while.
Take a linen cloth and swipe very gently along the surfaces of your records to remove surface dirt. Do not use anything more textured than linen as it has the potential to scratch the surface of the record.
You will want to check your older records for signs of mildew or mold. If they are too caked in, you may need a professional cleaning. Otherwise, you can get rid of this grime with an aerosol spray.
This step is especially important for cleaning a record that you haven’t listened to in a long time, or one that has been stored away for awhile.
Go a little deeper
The next step is to use some compressed air to get some of these harder to reach areas.
Hold your record at its edge and tilt it slightly. Spray your aerosol can with short blasts toward the record. Make sure to work both sides of the record.
After you have cleaned off as much of the surface dirt as you possibly can, you will want to perform a deep cleaning with a mild soap and water.
Make sure that the rag that you use is clean and soft. Mix the soap with your water. There is no need for a great deal of foam. Wipe gently and go with the grooves of the record, never against. Once you are done deep cleaning the record, dry it with a clean cloth that is not textured.
In extreme cases, you may want to employ some extra measures to ensure a thorough cleaning. Using an alcohol solution can help remove some of the toughest grime.
Making sure that you dilute the alcohol solution with water at least three parts to one, wipe the records that have grease on them gently with a new, clean cloth. Again, the cloth that you use to dry should not be heavily textured. It should also be dry and soft to the touch.
Replace dull needles.
Once you have cleaned your records, the worst thing that you can do is to play them with a dull needle. This will only scratch the surface. Make sure to replace your needles as needed.
If you are using a record player that has been in storage for awhile, be sure to check the needle before playing any records.
Jason Kane has an extensive collection of vinyls. He got his last rega turntable from SoundStage Direct.