Record Cleaning


To get the best out of your records you need to keep them clean. A clean record will not only sound better, but last longer. In fact, the playing of soiled records not only risks causing permanent damage to the vinyl, but will also wear out those expensive stylus much more quickly too. This is why we always clean our records prior to any transfer as there is absolutely no sense in risking damage and getting an awful sounding transfer to boot!

As noted above, the dirt and debris that accumulates within the grooves of a record over time can cause irreparable damage to the vinyl when the stylus makes contact with it in the confines of the record grooves. It’s a bit like a snow plow clearing a narrow lane full of rocks, whenever the rocks (dirt) get jammed in between the plow (stylus) and the road (groove), you are going to get some nasty gouging to the road (groove).

Type of Cleaning

Having explained the importance of cleaning, let’s look at the type of cleaning required. Basically there are two methods – dry and wet cleaning. Dry cleaning employs some type of brush that is designed to sweep the record surface, thus removing surface dust. The wet method uses a cleansing fluid and suction to remove and enhance the process. Dry brushes are best used as part of a maintenance program to keep records clean, while the wet method should be used on an occasional basis to deep-clean the grooves of the record. Both methods are important if you wish to preserve your collection and get the best performance.

recordbrush

A simple antistatic brush such as that produced by Audioquest is all you need for regular dry cleaning of your records. This carbon fiber brush has become our favorite with record lovers around the globe as the bristles are firm enough to sweep the bottom of the grooves, but soft enough to prevent any micro-scratches  It’s easy to use and has a built in foam cleaning pad in the handle that removes dust from the bristles when the brush is closed.

Use your dry brush before and after playing your records!

As well as dry brushing your records as a kind of ongoing maintenance procedure, wet cleaning is also essential. With this method a specially designed record cleaning solution is applied and lightly worked into the grooves. The fluid lifts trapped or stubborn residue and debris from the bottom of the grooves while solvents dissolve contaminants.  Wet cleaning is by far the most effective way to clean records, but there is are two critical caveats:  fluid quality and complete removal.

recordcleanerThe real key to any wet cleaning system is the ability to completely remove the dirty cleaning fluid once it’s done it’s job. It does little good to dredge debris from deep within the grooves, to simply deposit it higher on the groove wall by not completely removing the cleansing fluid from the record surface. That’s the magic of the vacuum record cleaning system.

For some years now, the most effective method of deep-cleaning records has been the  vacuum record cleaning machine. This process is a combined approach utilizing a liquid cleaning solution together with a vacuum removal system. These machines range in price from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, so they are really aimed at the serious record collector or archivist.

But even if you do not have an extensive collection of records large enough to justify investing in a vacuum record cleaning machine, you can still enjoy the benefits of wet cleaning simply by using a company like ours to clean all your records at reasonable rates.

Once you have cleaned your collection, you just need to keep them clean and stored properly.

General advice

  • Handle records carefully and by their edges and center to avoid getting fingerprints on the playing surface
  • Don’t place them on dusty surfaces
  • Store them vertically to avoid warping and keep them out of very hot areas
  • Keep your turntable mat clean and dust free.
  • If you have a felt mat – vacuum it regularly.
  • Keep the record inner sleeves clean. and use antistatic sleeves if possible
  • Don’t use old worn out inner sleeves. Buy new ones!
  • Use a dust cover on the turntable to keep the dust off at all times.

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