How to Clean Vinyl Records (The Ultimate Guide)
Keeping your vinyl records clean and shiny is the best way to preserve their condition for a lifetime. You can clean your vinyl records with a homemade cleaning solution, a cloth, and some water. It’s as simple as that!
In this guide, I’ll show you how to clean your vinyl records at home without damaging them, as well as explore some alternative cleaning procedures.
Method One: The DIY Guide to Cleaning Your Vinyl Records
You can easily clean your vinyl records with some household items. This is probably the best way for those on a budget.
Things You Need
Here’s everything you need to safely clean your vinyl records:
- Clean water
- Cleaning solution
- Record brush
- Dry microfibre cloth
Alternatively, you can just buy a cleaning kit that contains all of these things.
Now, to clean your vinyl records, follow these steps:
1. Clean the Vinyl Record With a Record Brush
Before doing anything, you need to make sure that there aren’t any dust or debris particles on your vinyl record. Use a record brush to gently remove dust particles from the record.
2. Prepare a Cleaning Solution
To make a cleaning solution for your vinyl records, you can simply use dish soap and water. However, if you need something a bit more sophisticated, you can use a cleaning solution that’s made specifically for cleaning vinyl records. A general cleaning solution should also get the job done.
However, if there are no terrible smudges or fingerprints on the records, using just water would actually be better.
3. Inspect the Record for Visible Blemishes
Thoroughly inspect your vinyl record for signs of blemishes, fingerprints, or smudges. Keep an eye on their locations – you’ll need them later.
4. Apply the Cleaning Solution
Now, you need to spray some cleaning solution on the areas with the most visible blemishes. Don’t outright pour the cleaning solution over the record, just spray 2 or 3 times.
5. Wipe Clean
Use a microfibre cloth to gently distribute the cleaning solution over the entire surface area of the record.
6. Rinse the Record With Water
Rinse the vinyl record with clean water. You must use soft water with no impurities.
7. Wipe Dry
Finally, use a dry microfibre cloth to get rid of any remaining water on the record. Don’t press too hard when wiping it.
8. Store the Records
Now that your vinyl record is clean, you must store it properly to prevent it from getting dirty again. The best way to store vinyl records is to put them in a plastic sleeve. If you have an album cover, you should also store it in a plastic sleeve.
Method Two: Use a Vaccum Cleaning Vinyl Record Washer
If you’re not into DIY cleaning methods, you can buy a vacuum cleaning vinyl record washer. You should be able to find one of these in your local music store or even generic stores. You can also order one online.
Method Three: Create a DIY Record Vaccum
One out-the-box method to clean vinyl records is to build your own DIY record vacuum. Here’s how to make it:
Create a solution of isopropyl alcohol with bottled water. A ratio of 1:15 or 1:20 alcohol to water should do the trick.
If you have an old vinyl LP, you can use it as a platter. You can rotate it over a motor and bearing from an old computer hard drive. This adds a good level of flexibility to the vacuum tube.
To create a winder, use a plastic drain end cap, as long as it’s a bit bigger than a record label. Use a rubber seal to prevent the cleaning solution from getting on the record.
The best way to add a brush to your record vacuum cleaner is to get a paint pad and cut it in half. Ideally, you’d want the brush to have straight bristles that can be curved.
Now to the hard part: The vacuum tube. To create a tube for your DIY vacuum cleaner, get a piece of plastic tube and cut a slot into one side. From the open end, add some electrician tape. Use double-sided tape to attach a velvet piece to the tube to provide protection for the record.
Then, you need a tube to connect the vacuum tube to the cleaner. A tube from a plastic petrol siphon should get the job done. You also need to add a connection to reduce suction pressure.
If the vacuum cleaner has high suction power, make sure that the cut slot is narrow.
That was a quick overview of the vinyl record cleaning methods and steps. You can either clean the records with household items, buy a ready-made record vacuum cleaner, or build your own DIY vacuum cleaner. Additionally, check out the guide on How To Fix A Warped Vinyl Record if needed.