In a time when virtually all media is going digital, vinyl records offer a bit of comfort. A record is something you can hold in your own hand, and experience in a tangible way.
But physical media, unlike digital media, requires some upkeep. Records sometimes need to be cleaned as dust and grime begin to accumulate. Static electricity can also impact the sound of a record.
But if you’re starting to have some second guesses about your vinyl hobby, don’t worry – cleaning them isn’t all that difficult.
There are a couple of different ways you can go about this process. Let’s start by taking a look at the manual process.
How to Clean Your Records Manually
Though not difficult, cleaning your records by hand can be time-consuming. But if you make it a part of your regular routine, it can be relaxing and even meditative.
There are only two things you’ll need to clean your records – record cleaning fluid, and a clean cloth. Cleaning fluid is available at most record stores, though you can even make your own, assuming you have distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, and rinse agent.
But don’t go crazy with the cleaning just yet. Remember that vinyl records can be quite sensitive, and if you’re too harsh with the cleaning process, you could end up wrecking your favorite albums.
After applying the fluid to the record, use a microfiber towel to wipe down your record. Wipe counter-clockwise to get into the grooves, but again, be gentle.
When you’re done cleaning the record, set it down on a microfiber cloth to dry.
How to Clean Your Records with a Record Cleaning Machine
If you can’t imagine going through the process of cleaning all of your records one by one, or if you’re worried about damaging them in the process, there is a viable alternative.
Record cleaning machines can save you a lot of time, and they also tend to be more effective – they can clean records better than just about anybody can.
But record cleaners can be quite expensive. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you might end up paying way too much for a machine that isn’t half as good as its price might suggest.
VPI is one of the most respected names in record hardware, and is always a dependable choice. Their devices will cost you a pretty penny though.
Generally speaking, if you check online reviews and see what others have had to say about the device you’re interested in buying, you should be well-informed. Fortunately, there are also some cheaper devices that work pretty well – just remember to do your research.
Starting a vinyl collection isn’t all fun and games. But things are getting more convenient by the day, even with physical media. If you buy a record cleaner, you’ll never have to clean your records yourself, and it should last you for a long time to come.
Just remember to have fun with it. The vinyl listening experience is unique, and something you simply won’t be able to duplicate with MP3s or streaming.