Cleaning your vinyl records regularly and correctly is what it takes to have best quality sound when you spin them. It just takes a few easy steps to keep your vinyl record good as new always.
Basic cleaning tools and solutions like anti-static guns and record cleaning machines which are optional, record cleaning pads, brushes and solutions, a turntable and your vinyl record are the things you will need. Or a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water is a choice for normal cleaning. A 70% alcohol solution may damage your vinyl records, but not in the recommended 50/50 solution. Small amounts of baby bath can also be utilized to clean the vinyl record.
Once you have all the necessary materials, you can start cleaning. Holding the record by edges and labeled areas, begin cleaning the stylus and place the record on the turntable. If you have an anti-static gun, use it to neutralize dust. If you're using the alcohol-water solution, to help cut down water spots and marks, put a couple of drops of Photo Flo with the solution. Wiping in a circular motion with the grooves, rub on the solution with a soft, clean washcloth. The turntable comes useful this moment. Don't get the labels wet when cleaning the vinyl record. Rinse the cloth often in the solution and replace with a fresh mixture when needed. Hold the ends of the brush or pad between your fingers and manually rotate the platter in a clockwise direction while pressing the brush lightly into the grooves if you have a record cleaning brush or pad. Sweep the brush up and away to remove the grime and use a brush holder or similar object to srub the grime off the brush, away from the turntable. Dry clean the vinyl record if it is not very dusty and has been cleaned regularly; or you can use a soft, clean towel to thoroughly dry the record.
Like most of us, you probably have heavily soiled records by now if you forget cleaning your vinyl records. This calls for a slightly different cleaning approach that requires pre-cleaning them. Put the heavily soiled records on a clean, soft, lint-free cloth and wet-clean the record in a spiral motion from center to rim. Air-dry or use 100% cottion, lint-free cloth and repeat the steps on the other side. You can proceed to the usual cleaning steps procedures after pre-cleaning your vinyl.
Use a moist cloth or a mild furniture polish to clean your vinyl record if their cover is laminated or shiny. You can get rid of the marks or writings on the cover with a rubber eraser or a lighter fluid. You can get rid of the stickers, labels, and tape by heating the area with a hair dryer and making use of a citrus-based cleaner or lighter fluid to remove sticker residue. There's nothing much you can do about cleaning the covers if they are matte finish covers. Since they are already set, you would end up removing part of the print or color thereby making your vinyl records look worse than dirt. Remember, it just takes a moment of your time to keep your vinyl record clean and new.
Seth Frank is passionate about Vinyl Albums music and has devoted much of his professional life to helping young artists gain the exposure they need. When not writing or attending shows, Watts can often be found cheering on his beloved Phillies or cooking up one of his signature culinary creations.