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Vinyl Diaries #2 - Why & How You Should Clean Your Vinyl Records

by Lucy Black

Welcome to another episode of Vinyl Diaries!

Today we'll be addressing the all too important topic of CLEANING.  Yeah!  

Okay, so it's not the most glamorous part of owning a vinyl collection, but a little leg work now will save you from doing serious damage to your records and your turn table.

Here's the deal.  I searched online and read numerous articles and watched various videos on this subject to make sure I followed proper procedure.  During my research, I encountered a few horror story type cleaning demos.  For example, one video had a girl washing her vinyl in the sink with a sponge and dish soap...


Instead, pony up the $20 - $30 or more (depending on your kit) and buy the professional vinyl cleaning kit.  I got mine at Orange Records in Downtown Fargo.

Before we begin, let's address why you should clean your vinyl before you play it (especially if it's old and previously used).  Your records collect grime and dirt in the grooves, most of which you can't see.  This dirt and dust can scratch your vinyl, wear on your needle, and affect the quality of sound.

To make this easy, we'll walk through the cleaning of an old vinyl record that hasn't been played in well over 15 years or more.  Let's use Clapton Slowhand.

Which has great pics on the inside btw.

First, grab the record cleaning pad (with the wooden back) and the D4+ cleaning solution.  Apply a thin line of cleaning solution to the record cleaning pad just along the front (the side the arrow points towards).

Now, with your vinyl on the turn table (do not turn it on) place the cleaning pad at an angle against the record on the same side you just put the cleaning solution.  Hold it in place while you spin the record with your other hand.  You'll want to do this for 2 or more revolutions depending on how dirty the vinyl is.

Finally, dry the vinyl by placing the other side of the cleaning pad on the vinyl at an angle just like you did before.  Spin the record with your hand once again until the vinyl looks mostly dry.  It is recommended that you do not let the vinyl air dry.  Be very careful not to touch the wood to your record or you might end up with a nasty scratch.

And you're done!  Now that we've got this beautiful, clean Eric Clapton Slowhand vinyl ... let's see if this sucker plays as nice as it looks.