It’s true, vinyl records are highly prone to static due to the build up of static charge over time. This is caused by many factors, including the vinyl material itself, the traction of spinning processes, and even removing records from sleeves.
When listening to music through a record player, you experience an amazing sound quality and a nostalgic feeling. However, static is a common problem among vinyl record collectors. When it comes to statically charged records, vinyl collectors understand that weakly bonded electrons will not only affect the sound and cleanliness of your record, but also the lifespan of your stylus. So if you notice buzzing, crackling or other unwanted noises coming from your turntable, there is a high likelihood that it is affected by static.
Here are a few tips on how to get rid of static on your vinyl records:
1. Brush your record with an anti static brush
At the most basic level it all comes down to brushing your record with a good old anti-static carbon fiber brush. In addition to being easy to use, antistatic brushes are extremely effective.
Gently brushing each side of your record regularly, ideally both before you drop the stylus on the turntable and after you finish playing it will remove the build up of surface dust over time.
An anti-static brush like the Vinyl Styl Anti-Static Cleaning Brush or the Boundless Record Cleaning Brush contains carbon fiber bristles that neutralize and discharge static electricity. The direct contact to the record helps clear loose particles and debris from it. You may find that making a habit of this to be a part of your day-to-day maintenance is incredibly effective at removing static charge on records and improving your vinyl listening experience.
2. Clean your record surface before playing
Despite your best efforts to get rid of dirt particles on your records, elements of static build-up are still inevitable. Dirt, debris and oily fingerprints are some of the factors that can potentially damage your platter. The best way to avoid this is to regularly clean your vinyl products.
It is recommended to use a cleaning spray, preferably anti-static record sprays such as the Kitosun Spray or the Collector Protector Anti Static Record Spray Cleaner. These are great for preventing static build-up on your records. Spraying it on a micro-fibre cloth or lint free cloth and gently wiping the needle, the player mat and the record player itself should keep your records in great shape for years to come.
It is easy for dust and dirt to collect on records since they contain non-conductive vinyl materials, these elements will clog and wear down your stylus over time, so the cleaner your records are, the longer your stylus will last.
3. Store your record correctly
When it comes to storing your vinyl records, the way you store them and the environment your records are stored in have a major influence on the longevity of the record and its sleeve. It is important to understand the fundamental external factors and how to resolve them in order to avoid potential damage to your vinyl records. Store records vertically in a cool, dry place to minimize static buildup.
High humidity, inconsistent temperature and extreme heat can speed up the deterioration of vinyl sleeves and could easily damage your collection. The best way to avoid this is to find a cool and dry area away from direct sunlight and water source to keep the temperature stable and protect your vinyl records from being warped.
Another effective alternative is to change their inner sleeves. Vinyl records usually come with a low-grade paper inner sleeve, which naturally is a source of dirt and can harm the record over time. For this reason, it is recommended to replace it with an anti-static sleeve such as the Hudson Hi-Fi Anti-Static Sleeves or the Facmogu Inner Sleeves. The plastic material can discharge static the minute you slip it back in its cover.
At the end of the day, any vinyl collector’s objective should be to keep their records in good condition for as long as possible, so making use of any of these methods to get rid of static on vinyl records is the bare minimum.
4. Humidify the room
Increase the room’s humidity to reduce static electricity. You may not think this is important but this definitely plays a significant role in reducing static on your vinyl record when playing it.
5. Use an anti-static gun
An anti-static gun neutralizes the static charge on the record surface and while this is an extra cost, it is very well a worthy investment that can go a long way to getting rid of static on your vinyl record.
6. Avoid playing records in dry conditions
If possible, try avoiding playing records in dry conditions, such as in the winter or with a heating system on. You probably seldom hear this but it does contribute to static on your vinyl records while playing. Give these tips a try and I’m sure you’ll be able to get rid of static on your vinyl record.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why is my vinyl record static?
Answer: Frustratingly, record players and records are somewhat inevitable to static for a few reasons. Firstly, they are made from non-conductive vinyl materials which are highly prone to static. Any direct contact such as pulling the record from its sleeve and putting it back in can trigger static charge. Upon becoming positively charged, the record will easily attract dust and dirt onto the playing surface, causing unusual sounds and interference.
Secondly, spinning the platter will create more friction and generate static while the music is playing. At this stage, clicks and pops are particularly susceptible. Records that are positively charged attract dust and debris in the air and will literally become dust magnets when static is present. This dust will build up on the play surface not only affecting the sound of your record, but also the lifespan of your stylus.
Question: Can static damage my vinyl records?
Answer: Simply put, everything from the vinyl material to the environment your records are stored in can potentially damage your vinyl records. Weakly bonded electrons are exchanged during the build up of static electricity we encounter on a daily basis such as friction, which can attract dust, debris and other external elements.
As you’ve probably already guessed, it is easy for dust and dirt to collect on records since they contain non-conductive vinyl materials and are electrically charged. The build up of these elements will clog and wear down your stylus over time, so the cleaner your records are, the longer your stylus will last.
So what can we do about it? The reduction of static build-up can be achieved by developing a regular habit of maintaining its cleanliness. We are not talking about hospital level of cleanliness, although that would be great, but at least dust and debris free kind of clean.
Question: How does static build up on vinyl records?
Answer: Static electricity builds up on vinyl records due to the triboelectric effect, which occurs when two different materials come into contact and then separate, resulting in a transfer of electrons. Vinyl records are made of a plastic material that easily accumulates a static charge, while the act of playing the record generates friction between the record and the stylus, causing the static charge to build up. Dry conditions, such as low humidity or dry air from heating systems, can exacerbate the buildup of static electricity on vinyl records.