How to Clean Vinyl Records

Posted by Elusive Disc on Aug 30th 2017

As a collector, you know cleaning vinyl records is a must!

Vinyl records pick up all kinds of unwanted guests:

  • Static Electricity
  • Fingerprints and Other Oils
  • Mold and Mildew
  • Dust, Dirt, and Lint

When Should You Clean Vinyl Records?

On the Day of Purchase

No matter how excited you are about your new score, clean it thoroughly after purchase (even brand-new vinyl records need immediate cleaning). Whatever you do, don’t play dirty records – you could damage your discs and turntables!

Every Time You Play Them

The best way to keep your records clean is to prevent them from ever getting dirty. Handle your records only by the labels and edges. Before and after playing a record, gently stroke it with a carbon-fiber brush (perpendicular to the grooves).

Again and Again?

If you brush your records before and after you play them, you probably won’t need to wet-clean them more than once. With proper storage methods and environments, your vinyl will last for years. However, records in long-term storage (archives, heirlooms, etc.) do need occasional cleaning.

Best Ways to Clean Vinyl Records

Before wet-cleaning your discs, remove any surface debris with a carbon-fiber brush. This quick, pre-cleaning technique keeps this “new dust” from ending up in your grooves.

Record Cleaning Machines

Our Music Hall WCS-2 Basic Record Cleaner Package features a durable and elegant interlocking alloy chassis. This vacuum unit pulls grease, mold, and dirt from your grooves in just one revolution. Unlike lesser units, the WCS-2 dramatically minimizes your records’ exposure to heat and static during the cleaning process.

The Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Record Cleaner combines a set of traditional rotating microfiber drums with a tech-forward ultrasonic cleaning system. This quick, quiet, and convenient vertical-insertion unit offers the gentlest and deepest clean on the market. Featuring a modern, no-nonsense design, this device provides remarkably simple operation – and makes an impressive addition to your record room!

Products for Cleaning Vinyl Records by Hand

  • When cleaning vinyl records, you need a cleaner fluid with low surface tension and high specific gravity that will flow into the grooves. Nitty Gritty’s First RV Record Cleaner formula dissolves mold compounds and fingerprints to increase tracking and reduce stylus friction.
  • Custom-made 100% cotton Spin-Clean MKIII Drying Cloths provide fast, non-abrasive absorbency for your freshly-washed vinyl records. Reuse these cloths (which come in a convenient 5-pack) by simply tossing them in your clothes washer with a little bleach.
  • The Acoustech Big Brush blends the softest natural hairs with synthetic fibers that conduct and dissipate static electricity. This large brush covers the entire radius of a 12-inch record in just one stroke and reduces the scratching risk associated with small carbon-fiber brushes.

What NOT to Do When Cleaning Vinyl Records

  • Only use carbon-fiber brushes across the surface of a record – not in the grooves.
  • Rubbing alcohol will damage 78s and dull the finish on vinyl records (Yes, the Library of Congress uses purified alcohols to clean records, but these are very different compounds.)
  • Any cloth that touches your records must be non-abrasive and lint-free.
  • Never use dish soap and tap water – especially in areas with hard water. You’ll end up with mineral deposits and soap residue.

Instead, protect your record collection today with our Elusive Disc Basic and Super Vinyl Record Cleaning Kits!