Record Care and Cleaning

Believe it or not, even stored records will still accumulate dust, and when that happens, you’ll have to clean your records before playing them.

To clean vinyl (LP’s): Use a solution up to 20% isopropyl alcohol (one part isopropyl alcohol to four parts water), and gently wipe the record in a spiral motion, using a soft cloth, from the center out to the edge. Pat it dry with a clean, anti-static cloth. A fine camel hair paint brush can remove visible dust particles.

To clean shellac (78’s): Never use alcohol-based fluids—alcohol dissolves shellac. Water is a better choice, although water may cause some 78’s to swell up due to their lamination. If you use a water-based cleaning solution (such as small amounts of diluted hand soap or dishwashing liquid dissolved in water) clean in the same manner as you would an LP. Rinse with clear water.

If you have the funds, clean your 78’s with a vacuum cleaning machine (a professional record cleaning device). Good used record cleaning machines can be purchased for as little as $100.00 but be careful! These units may have been used to death and may damage your records more than clean them! If possible, depending on your collection, it maybe necessary to ‘bite the bullet’ and buy a proper record cleaning machine. These will run you from $300.00 to as high as $4000.00. Ouch!

Some general rules for record storage:

  • Always stand your records upright, on their edges. Records stored horizontally eventually bend and warp
  • Never place records in direct sunlight or heat; this too will cause them to warp
  • Keep records in a cool, dry place (not the basement or garage, which tend to be moist and damp)
  • Ensure that your storage area is clean
  • Purchase paper or anti-static record sleeves to reduce dust accumulation