How to Clean Your Dirty Records
Vinyl records have made a comeback and are more popular than ever. In fact, the vinyl industry has seen year-after-year growth for over a decade. This milestone is very impressive for a product that goes against the grain when it comes to our modern philosophy of digital disruption and convenience.
With more and more people diving into vinyl as a hobby, there is one thing that may shock new enthusiasts: unlike digital music files, records can get dirty. Dust, dirt, grime and fingerprints can easily accumulate in the grooves of a vinyl record and can impact the sound quality. To enjoy vinyl to the fullest, you must keep them clean.
Thankfully, it’s not all that difficult. There are a plenty of tried and tested ways to clean your vinyl, even on a tight budget, and doing so will keep your precious collection clean and clear for many years you come.
OPTION 1 – GET A MACHINE TO DO THE HEAVY LIFTING FOR YOU
Buying a machine is best for those of you who don’t want to risk damaging your records cleaning them by hand or have ample free time. In fact, many agree that a proper record cleaner is the easiest and most effective method, and can clean a record better than any manual process.
In fact, many agree that a proper record cleaner is the easiest and most effective method, and can clean a record better than any manual process.
There are many brands of cleaning machines out there, ranging in price from the approachable to the absurd.
Our Favorite Is: Sumiko’s Okki Nokki Record Cleaning Machine
Made in Germany, the Okki Nokki record cleaning machine is a well-designed device that looks good and runs quietly. It consists of a heavy duty motor/turntable that provides forward and reverse operation.
OPTION 2 – CLEAN YOUR RECORDS BY HAND
You may not want to drop money on or have space for a machine to clean your records. Thankfully, if you don’t mind a little work and mess, cleaning records by hand is a straightforward process.
First things first, you will need a clean surface to place your record on. The surface should be soft and lint-free to avoid further contaminating the record with dust, fibers, or dirt. Your safest bet is to purchase a record cleaning mat. You will also need a record cleaning kit. Preferably one that includes two cleaning solutions (cleaner and rinse) as well as two microfibre cloths – one for cleaning, and the other for drying.
Now that you have your tools in place, let’s drill deeper and take a closer look at the complete cleaning process:
Step 1: Spray the cleaner solution 2 – 4 times on your record’s surface avoiding the center label.
Step 2: Use your first microfiber cloth to gently wipe the surface in a circular, anti-clockwise motion (with the grooves). Make sure the fluid fully penetrates the grooves.
Step 3: Repeat step two, this time with your rinsing solution (if supplied).
Step 4: Dry the record surface with your second microfiber cloth using the same anti-clockwise method.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1 through 4 until your records are clean.