Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Clean Vinyl Records

You finally found some great deals on vinyl or you just bought that one LP you have wanted for so long. You get it home and alas, it is dirty. Just how should you clean it? Well there are as many ways and 'Formulas' as there are collectors. Here are the ones I feel are the best for the average collector.

First you need the following items:
  • 2 soft bristle brushes - one wet, one dry
  • Soft cleaning pad.
  • Several soft cloths (lint Free)
  • Cleaning Solution
  • Distilled Water
  • and lay out a clean cotton towel for work area

1. Brush off any loose debris, dust, etc. If you have a small vaccuum with soft brush attachment , this works great.
Check closely for any specks that are stuck on, and try getting them off.

2. If record is really dirty, you can soak it in cleaning solution for a little while, taking care not to wet label.
with wet brush or soft cleaning pad, gently scrub the vinyl.
Rinse with clean distilled water.

3. Let dry. You can Dry them By:
  • Using a soft cotton cloth
  • Putting in a clean dish rack and dry vertically
  • Remove liquid with a vacuum cleaning machine.
Repeat if needed.

Now the cleaning solution can be made at home:
  • 3 parts distilled water (de-ionized is best)
  • 1 part Isopropyl alcohol, 70% commonly available but 91% lab grade preferred.
  • A few drops Dish soap, Dawn, Ivory or Joy.
If The record is not all that dirty, but you still want to clean it, just use two spray bottles, one for soulution and one with distilled water and spritz the records instead of soaking them, still following the above steps.

Other very important tips:
  • ALWAYS follow the grooves. Clean in a circular motion, following the grooves of record, never across the grooves
  • Never use lighter fluid, baby oil, windex, or tap water to clean records
  • Wiping the light dust off on your shirt, pant leg, couch, etc, is a NO-NO.
  • After a deep clean, give your babies a new inner sleeve. is an excellent source.
  • Clean your stylus often, changing it out as needed or reommended by the manufactorer.
  • Handle and store your vinyl properly.
  • ONLY use clean distilled water, and a very small amount of soap to clean the older, 78 rpm and Shellac records. NEVER Use Alcohol.
Yes there are record cleaning machines sold by Nitty Gritty, VPI or Keith Monks that give your vinyl a far better cleaning, but they are pricey.
And yes, there are many premade solutions and kits available online. As for these types of kits, I would recommend the Knosti Disco Antistat kit.

The one Record cleaning kits and premixed solution I use and recommend to all of my customers, and that is manufactered and sold by ASLANstore. Check them out, and be sure to tell them you saw it here.

Music is a treasure we can pass on to every generaton, and vinyl gives a sound that is like no other medium. Take care and protect your collection and it will give decades of enjoyment.

How do YOU take care of your investments?  What other ways have you found works for you?

At Renagade's, all vinyl is cleaned before selling to you

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Thank you for putting this down in black and white, Susan! Having just rescued a couple of boxes of old LP's, I was wondering what the heck to do with them. Of course, now I have to do the darned dishes before I can get down to the business of cleaning the records. Ugh. It's always something. ;)