Image of a vintage record player

How Often Should You Clean Your Vinyl Records?

With the rise in popularity of vintage record players, people are once again learning how to clean and care for their vinyl records. One of the questions that is asked quite often is how often should a person clean their vinyl records.

The short answer is this. Give a thorough cleaning right before using the record for the first time, and then lightly clean it before and after every use.

However there really is a lot more involved than this. Here are some helpful tips that will enable you to keep your vinyl records in great shape for years to come.​

How To Clean Vinyl Records

Quick Tips For Cleaning Vinyl Records

  • Clean your vinyl records with a carbon fiber brush before and after each use.
  • Don't use crazy homemade solutions or methods. Play it safe. 
  • Use distilled and de-ionized water.
  • Use a carbon fiber brush before any deep cleaning.
  • A vinyl record cleaning vacuum is the best method of cleaning records.
  • New records are not always clean. Give new records a deep cleaning prior to playing them.
  • Use a lint free cloth like an old t-shirt for cleaning your records.

Beginners Guide To Cleaning Vinyl Records

Image of a vinyl record on a record player

 

If you are an audiophile then cleaning your vinyl records approaches an art. You may even consider purchasing a vinyl record vacuum cleaner to get every speck of debris off of your vinyl.

However for the rest of us everyday Joe's, we just want to keep our vinyl records in good shape. Just like with any other fine product, there are those out there that will try to sell you a miracle cure with their proven scientific formula. You know, like the ones for hair care or wrinkle removal.

Instead of following after a miracle system, here are some basic guideline for keeping your records clean for many years to come.

​Light Cleaning

The most effective way to keep your records clean is to use a carbon fiber brush before and after each play of your vinyl record. Just place your record on the turntable, lightly place your brush on the record and turn the turntable a couple of rotations while letting the brush clean your record. 

Don't turn on the turntable. Do this manually.​

Medium Cleaning

When you first buy your vinyl record or if it has been left out in the open and has gotten dirty, then you need to do a medium cleaning. Most people recommend using a distilled de-ionized water solution for cleaning. However some recommend a alcohol based cleaning solution. 

I personally do not recommend an alcohol based solution. The alcohol can take the sheen off of your records and long term use can damage your records.

In order to do a deep cleaning, place your record on the turntable. Dampen your lint free cloth with your distilled water solution. Lightly place the cloth on your record and slowly turn your record a couple of rotations.

Give your record time to dry before playing.

Here is a great video about this method.​

Deep Cleaning

For the deepest cleaning available, experts recommend using a record vacuum cleaner. The library of congress has one of these machines to care for the millions of vinyl records they store. However this method is only for the vinyl record aficionado. Their cost is more than the average person would want to pay.

How Often Should You Clean Your Vinyl Records

 

Image of vinyl records stored above a record player

How often you clean your records depends on your habits. If you run a carbon fiber brush over your records before and after every use, then your need to clean your records more thoroughly diminishes. If you are less cautious with your records then the need will increase.

 

Make sure you keep your records in a clean sleeve. Make sure you store your records in a clean space. And don't leave your records out in the open for hours on end. You need to put them up after you use them.

I hope these tips on keeping your records clean will help you keep your records in great shape and they will provide you with years of enjoyment in the future.​

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Duke Taber is the owner of 3 successful Christian websites and is now taking his skill as a webmaster and using it to help bi-vocational pastors and missionaries do their jobs across the world.