How often should you clean your vinyl records, well that is what I am talking about today, but before that a little about me. I am a music lover and I love nothing more than my vinyl collection….. ok so maybe my wife and kids. Anyway, while there is more new vinyl available these days than there was a decade ago and that is awesome. For me going hunting at pawn shops, second-hand stores and looking online is all part of the thrill of being a vinyl collector.
The problem with this is that the condition that some of the records you find can be a little rough. I always inspect the records before I buy them, but if they are like a buck or less, I tend to pick them up regardless. Anyway, second-hand vinyl always has some kind of gunk on it. Anyway, let’s look at how often you should clean your vinyl records. Over at the Steve Hoffman Music Forums, there is some funny discussion about this, but I also wanted to give my thoughts on the matter.
Brand New Vinyl
There is nothing cooler than getting a brand new, still sealed vinyl record. In theory, this bad boy should be spotlessly clean the second you take it out of the jacket. So I would not bother giving it a clean. Of course, if there is some kind of dust, a bit of paper or whatever from the factory, be sure to get that off before you play it.
Brand spanking new vinyl though does not need to be cleaned much at all. As long as you are not chowing down on pizza and then handling your record it will stay in great shape. That is a good point to make actually. If you do not want to clean your vinyl, be sure to take good care of it.
I would say at this point in my vinyl collecting that most of my collection is made up of pre-owned vinyl records. I have noticed when I look at places like Taber’s Best Review “vintage” is the word that is used when people are asking how often should you clean your vinyl records?
No matter the condition of a pre-owned vinyl record you should clean it before you play it. Cleaning your new (well old, but you know what I mean) records is part of the fun in getting them. You can go all out and use something like the Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit which has a brush, cleaning solution and so on. Which is what I will do if the record is really dirty and I do not know who had it previously. Give it a really good clean and check the jacket for no mess in there as it will just get on your record after you have cleaned it.
Once you have given it a really good deep clean and you are happy with it, you do not really have to worry about it as long as you treat it right.
Do Some People Really Clean After Every Use?
Well, there are some people who do this and in all honesty, as long as you are using something like the Audio-Technica AT6011 Anti-Static Record Brush there is no harm in this at all and it will certainly keep them clean and sounding great. Some people will insist that you clean your records before each use and then after. If you have the time to do that and want to do it and are nice and gentle, more power to you. It is certainly not going to do any harm.
I will say that if you are looking after your records properly though and not handling them too rough or getting your lunch all in the grooves, daily cleaning is not necessary.
How To Clean Vinyl Records
This is, of course, the question that many of you want to know how to do. I would say that there is no real “right” answer and we all will have our own methods. I am a fan of what I said up above, but if you want another perspective. Check out this short YouTube video from Amobea. In all honesty, this is all you need to know about maintaining your vinyl collection.
Record Cleaning Solution?
There are many miracle items out there that claim they will make your records sound better than the day they left the factory. I though have found that some of these are grossly overpriced. Some that come in at around the 10 to 15 bucks range like this Vinyl Record Cleaning Brush Set here are worth having in your cupboard for vinyl that is really dirty. I will advise that it is not just the record cleaning solution that you have to think about. The microfiber cloth you use can be what makes or breaks your cleaning routine. If you are about to purchase some cleaning tools for your vinyl, here are some tools you should have in your shopping list.
Can I Clean Vinyl Records With WD-40?
There are YouTube videos claiming that WD-40 is this miracle stuff for cleaning gunk that is deep in the grooves. Please do not try this. I am so against this I am not even listing any videos or forums that try and push this. WD-40 has stuff in it that is designed to make steel smoother…. Do you really want that on that classic piece of vinyl you rescued from the thrift shop? Not only that but if you do not get it all cleaned out of the grooves, what will that WD-40 do to your stylus?
Can I Clean Vinyl Records With Soap And Water?
This is one of the most common search terms on Google when it comes to looking after vinyl records. I know some people who use a tiny bit of dish soap for cleaning their vinyl records, but I am not sure that is something I would do. However, there is a really fun discussion on the Discogs forums about what not to clean your records with. Here you can see some people do say that they use soap and water, but there are also some great stories of what some people think they should clean their vinyl records with. If you have to clean very dirty vinyl records, here are 4 recommended cleaning tools that you might like to check out.
Should I Deep Clean Records?
Hmm, this is a rather tricky one to discuss. Deep cleaning is not a phrase I like to use when it comes to vinyl records. The reason for this is I have visions of people scrubbing super hard and damaging the vinyl. It is ok to get in there a little rougher as long as you have the appropriate brush or are using a good microfiber cloth, but do not grab the scrubber from the kitchen sink and start going to town on a record.
How Often Do I Clean My Records?
Here I am talking to you as a fellow vinyl record enthusiast and I want to let you know the way that I clean my vinyl records. This will hopefully give you some ideas. I actually like to clean my records and sometimes when I am in the house on my own (so my family does not mock me!) I will take a few of my favorites down and give them a good clean. I do not have a dedicated cleaning schedule or anything like that.
When I take a record out to play, I always and I mean always give it a look over to see if I feel that it needs a quick brush before I play it. On the flip side of this when I have finished with it I will give it a look and see if any dust has gotten onto it while it has been playing and then I give it a clean before I put it away.
I hope this has given you a bit more insight into how often you should clean your vinyl records. I have been collecting vinyl for a number of years now and while I have had a few “accidents” in my early days when it came to cleaning vinyl records. I have never lost a record in years due to the way I have cleaned it. One last bit of advice that I want to give you is that rather than going all out and scrubbing it with the strength of Hulk Hogan. Clean it, then leave it and if it is still dirty, clean it again.
If your record player actually sounds fuzzy and this is one of the reasons you are cleaning it, here are some recommended improvements you can make without breaking the bank and at quick speed too.