There are hundreds of different products and methods out there to clean vinyl records. Some of the most popular are dish soap, vinegar and specialized cleaning solutions designed specifically for vinyl records. While there are many benefits to using a specialized cleaning solution, it can be expensive to maintain a large inventory of them. For those on a tight budget, what household items can you use to clean your vinyl?
The first step in cleaning a record is to remove any loose dirt and dust particles. This can be done by using a soft cloth or record brush. It is important to be careful not to push any debris further into the grooves, as this could cause damage to the record. It is also a good idea to use an anti-static gun to eliminate static electricity, as this can be very damaging to vinyl records.
Once the record is free of loose dirt and dust, it is a good idea to rinse it off with water. This is best done with deionized or distilled water, as tap water can contain many impurities that can re-infect the record’s grooves. The solution should be sprayed onto the record, allowing it to soak in for about five minutes. After this, the record should be wiped dry with a lint-free cloth. It is important to remember that the lint-free cloth must be clean as well, so using a microfiber cloth that you would normally use to clean your eyeglasses is a good choice.
After a record has been cleaned, it is a good idea to let it air dry before putting it back in its sleeve. This will help to prevent mold and mildew, which can be very damaging to vinyl. It is also a good idea to store the record upright, in a low humidity environment.
One of the most common methods to clean a record is to use a mixture of white distilled vinegar and water. This can be applied to a lint-free cloth or record brush, and it should be used to wipe the surface of the record in a circular motion. The vinegar will help to remove any oily smudges and fingerprints from the vinyl, while the water will rinse away any residue.
As with all of the cleaning methods for vinyl records, it is important to avoid any cleaners that contain isopropyl alcohol, as this can damage the protective layer on the vinyl. It is also a good idea not to spray the solution near the center paper label, as this can cause the paper to discolor. Isopropyl alcohol can also be found in a number of commercial cleaning solutions, so it is best to avoid these if possible. It is a good idea to buy a special cleaning kit for vinyl records, as they will typically include everything you need in one convenient package. They will generally cost less than a bottle of specialty cleaning solution, and they will also come with a microfiber cloth that is suitable for record-cleaning.