A quick guide – how to look after your vinyl collection
4th December 2019
So, you’ve scoured every record shop going and built yourself up a pretty stellar vinyl collection and want to know the best ways to keep them in good shape. Or maybe you’re new to the game and wondering how to look after your vinyl collection properly, so each track keeps playing quality sound for longer.
The best thing you could ever do for your vinyl is to look after them properly. As vinyl cover and cleaning kit specialists, we’ve come up with some quick and easy tips to make sure that your vinyl records stay as pristine as possible:
Stack your records properly
Think about your vinyl like a pet, if you give them a proper home they will thrive and live a long life. Stuffing your vinyl in a drawer, balancing them on a garage shelf or stacking them in a recycled shoebox is fine in the short term but won’t protect your vinyl from damage in the long run.
Invest in a good vinyl storage unit that helps keep your records dry and clean. Avoid warping your records by keeping them away from extreme temperatures, humidity or, vinyl’s ultimate arch-nemesis, damp. If you do end up warping your records you can reverse engineer it, but the best, hassle-free method is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
And the best way to look after your vinyl is to stack them vertically. Never store them horizontally, just like you wouldn’t with a bottle of good wine. In fact, the more vertical you store your vinyl the better.
Use an inner sleeve and cover
As soon as you’re done with your vinyl put it back in its sleeve as soon as possible. Making sure that your vinyl is out of its sleeve only while it is being played will limit the amount of dust and dirt your record attracts in the open air. Dropping your vinyl back into its sleeve is also a sure-fire way to split it open, and as soon as it is damaged or torn, it won’t be able to do its job properly.
There are different types of inner sleeves you can buy, including –
- Paper – the most basic and cheapest option is to use paper. The problem in the long term is that it can scratch records as you slide them in and out. Another issue is also the paper dust created from the friction.
- Paper with poly lining – The outside paper makes the sleeve much more rigid whilst the poly lining inside lets the vinyl slip in much smoother with a lower risk of scratching and collecting dust, good for ensuring there’s no static build-up at the same time.
If you want to fully protect your vinyl you will also need an outer cover to protect the inner. An external cover will protect your vinyl card sleeve while also preventing a build-up of dust, acting like a vinyl army tank against damage. And if you want your 7” singles to look the part, you could also try one of our company reproduction sleeves.
Clean your records with approved products
Let’s put the record straight – your T-shirt or kitchen towel is not a record cleaner, and home-remedies are not vinyl cleaning products. Both should be avoided at all costs if you want to protect your collection properly.
There are some great cleaning kits out there for vinyl. If you are starting off, we recommend a record cleaning cloth and a record cleaning spray. When you use a wet cleaning spray, light mist one vinyl side and wipe it off straight away with a lint cloth. Play that side of the record so that any debris left in the grooves will fall onto the stylus. Easy.
And if you want to get yourself fully kitted out, it’s also a good idea to invest in a stick label remover, which safely removes any price tags and labels from all types of vinyl collectables.
Be kind to your vinyl
And finally, treat your vinyl how you’d want to be treated – with care and consideration. Doing so will make a big difference to the longevity of your most prized records. There are lots of easy ways you can avoid manhandling your vinyl and keep the quality of the sound at an optimum. For example, avoid spritzing water on your record to reduce crackle and pops, try not to touch the record’s surface with your hands and fingers and don’t pick up a record while the turntable is still spinning.
Want to know more about vinyl and how to look after them? Keep an eye out for new articles on our blog page or sign up to our newsletter below to receive a monthly update about all things vinyl.