How to Take Care of Vinyl Records

Collectors care. That’s why we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of how exactly you can take care of your vinyl record collection

Handling Your Vinyl Records

Always only touch a record on its sides. Sometimes it can be tempting to pick up a record with one hand, but it’s best to use two; that way, you can avoid putting your fingers directly on the grooves. Steering clear of the grooves will help keep dirt, oils, and debris from building up inside the tracks and will keep the record sounding clear and, well, groovy.

If you do happen to notice your records looking a bit dirty, then keep reading, we’ve got advice for that, too.

Keeping Records Clean

You might have heard that it’s necessary to wipe down your vinyl every time you take it out of its sleeve or off the turntable. You can do this, but if it starts to feel like a chore, it’s okay just to do a quick wipe down whenever you notice dust or dirt gathering. We recommend using a lint-free, anti-static record cloth, but if you don’t happen to have one lying around, then a lens cleaning cloth will work well, too. It’s essential that the cloth used is anti-static because static attracts dust, so using another kind of cloth will only worsen any dust issues. Go ahead and give the turntable a good once over while you’ve got your anti-static cloth out (don’t forget the stylus!).

If you’ve gone over your vinyl with an anti-static cloth but are still having trouble with its sound quality (clicks, pops, skips) then it might be time to try out a record brush. When buying a record brush make sure it is carbon fiber and anti-static. Make sure not to touch the bristles as your fingers will transfer oil to the brush that will then get pushed deep in the record’s grooves. Hold the brush lightly atop the vinyl and let the record spin on the turn platter beneath. The carbon fiber bristles should lift any dust or debris from between the grooves, which should get rid of any popping sounds.

If dry cleaning doesn’t seem to be cutting it, then consider investing in a wet cleaning system to keep your records in tip-top shape. Learn about cleaning kits in our guide to how to clean vinyl records. Wet cleaning is an effective way to get your records to look and sound new, just be sure to use a record brush to lift any surface dust before wetting and never wet play a record. 


Properly Storing Your Record Collection 

These aren’t the old mix CDs from your glove box; vinyl records need a home and a safe one. Make sure to store vinyl vertically and in a cool, dry place to avoid warping. If you’re lucky enough to have an abundance of natural light at your spot, it would be best to store your collection in a part of the room that won’t be in direct sunlight as that can also cause unwanted warping.

Be sure the records remain in their inner sleeves. It doesn’t matter if sleeves are paper or polypropylene; it’s just essential to have something to keep the vinyl from bouncing around in their jackets. It’s also crucial to give your records their own space. Try to avoid letting the records lean against one another, as this can cause unwanted friction that may damage the vinyl. You can check out some of our favorite vinyl record holders.  

(Turn)Table Manners

Resist the urge to leave your vinyl on the turntable! Sometimes it’s hard to pull yourself away from whatever you were doing just before the record ended, but leaving vinyl on the turntable is the cardinal sin of collecting. That might be a little dramatic, but forgetting about a record on the turntable leaves it free to become a home for dust, dirt, and whatever else might be in the vicinity. We recommend keeping your turntable in a climate-controlled space atop a sturdy piece of furniture. Having the turntable on a heavy, flat object helps to absorb any excess vibrations or tilting that may cause the needle to bounce and scratch the vinyl. 

Another way to avoid scratching vinyl is to make sure the record platter comes to a complete stop before removing the needle. It’s also important to ensure the stylus is properly aligned and changed regularly. Every record player is different, but we recommend replacing the needle after 1000-1500 hours of playing time. Finally, if you’re new to record collecting, keep in mind that it’s essential to choose a turntable thoughtfully; a few of our favorites are Audio Technica, Fluance, and U-Turn Audio.


Remember to check out our how-to guide for how to clean vinyl records, along with some product recommendations!

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