Taking care of vinyl records does not necessarily come naturally to the people of my generation, but that’s pretty inevitable, considering we were born long after vinyl records went out of print. However, most recently stores like Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville have taken on a hipster-like style to promote to their customers. What that has included lately is selling vinyl records and consequently all things vinyl related. I’ve seen everything from portable record players in trendy satchels to albums from bands like Radiohead and Cat Power being sold in these major department stores. So it looks like tips for taking care of vinyl records will come in handier than most people initially thought after all.
Unfortunately a big part of taking care of vinyl records is cleaning them regularly. Definitely make sure to continuously dust off your record collection, especially before you plan on playing them. Be very careful when using cleaning sprays with bleach, ammonia, and peroxide. Overall, I wouldn’t risk ruining a record by spraying the harmful chemicals that are found in many cleaning products. You’re not really trying to disinfect anything when you’re taking care of vinyl records, so some gentle soap and water will do just fine.
Storing your collection is probably one of the most important factors to consider when taking care of vinyl records. The vinyl can become warped and damaged if you store your records out in the open without proper protection like the usual cardboard and light plastic cases. Also, there are many things found around the house that can damage your collection, so leaving your records out around children or pets, especially cats, is a big no no! Thankfully vinyl records have made somewhat of a big comeback among the music lovers of my generation, so it would really be a shame to invest in a collection and not spend time taking care of it properly.
Humidity is a very important aspect to consider when taking care of vinyl records. When I was younger I was lazy and careless with my collection at times. I left my records out in heat, and not only did the humidity melt the ridges of my records, they warped them so they were irreparable- and in this day and age, the sad part was that they were essentially irreplaceable! Please beware of the heat and humidity when taking care of vinyl records; I’ve heard horror stories of classic and valuable memorabilia getting molded together. It’s really sad, since records are becoming such a unique and prized commodity.
4. Direct Sunlight
Do not be naive about the sun. It is clearly what stirs up all this heat in the climate, so leaving records in direct sunlight is something you definitely need to avoid when taking care of vinyl records. It’s the best way to warp them and completely ruin these treasures. Keep this in mind if you leave records playing by a window sill or near a skylight.
How else are you thinking about taking care of vinyl records? Do not leave them without covers; you can even make them yourself if you don’t want to buy them or you are having trouble finding them in your local stores. The best way to make them is by pasting together simple white printer paper. Your main objective is to just keep the vinyl covered and free of dust and other household agents that can harm it. If you have several albums as opposed to 33s or 45s, you may want to consider using soft, flexible cardboard or construction paper instead of computer paper, because it is more durable.
6. Turntable Care
If you are reading an article about taking care of vinyl records, you must know something about turntables. Unfortunately they are harder to come by than the records themselves, but as previously mentioned, there are some smashing neon turntables all around Urban Outfitters and most are even portable. The best way to take care of a turntable is similar to how you would imagine taking care of vinyl records: do not use harmful cleaning agents and some light Dove soap and water will do just fine.
If you are concerned about taking care of vinyl records, you need to remember they are very fragile and easily damaged. Although most records are not of the same durability as glass, it is important not to throw them around like baseballs- at least if you want to still be able to play your collection. Vinyl is very susceptible to outside agents, so at all costs avoid fingerprints. The best way to do this is to hold the record by the label in the center and the outer edge and gently place it on your turntable.
Usually all things valuable and important require delicate care and maintenance. After hearing the clear, crisp sound of my records, I wouldn’t trade my collection for anything in the world. Do you or someone you know have a vinyl record collection? Have any of your records been warped and ruined because you were careless? Please share your thoughts and experiences!