Vinyl records are made of PVC, which contains plasticizers that make the PVC soft and flexible. In principle, these plasticizers should never migrate out of the PVC matrix, but in reality they do. This migration is encouraged by sunlight, heat, and solvents. In addition to the migration of plasticizer from the vinyl, the surface absorbs many other types of contaminants from its environment including fingerprints with skin oils and acids, dust, smoke, and particulates in general.
Cleaning vinyl records can be a messy affair. One must take precautions to avoid getting cleaning solution on the label or in the label area. Labels are usually printed on coated paper which will separate if it gets wet or moist. I have found that it is essential to use a product that does not spray or foam when applied. Spritzing solutions can easily get under the label and ruin it. I have also found that record cleaning solutions that are designed to be used as concentrates with water added are not very good. The foaming agents used in these products do not rinse well and leave a residue on the record surface even after multiple rinses.
Cleaning solutions for vinyl records come in three basic forms: liquids, gels and pastes. My favorite is a thick gel
Vinyl cement is a type of glue that’s used to hold the vinyl record material together. It can also be used to fix a cracked record. There are different types of vinyl cement, so make sure you do a little bit of research before purchasing any supplies.
Vinyl records have been around since the 1800’s and continue to be popular today. They are manufactured using different materials such as paper, cotton, wood pulp and even cardboard! Vinyl records are made up of two layers: an outer layer called “vinyl” which contains the music information (the grooves) and an inner layer called “cardboard”.
The first step in how to clean vinyl records is to remove any dirt or dust from the surface using a soft cloth or brush. The next step involves applying vinyl cement onto both sides of the record and letting it dry for about 30 minutes before putting it back on your turntable. You’ll need a special tool called “Vinyl Cement Applicator” which comes with most vinyl cleaning kits available at hardware stores.*
If you don’t have a record cleaning machine, I recommend you get one. There are many good machines on the market. The best known is probably the Spin Clean. It’s an effective and inexpensive machine and I would definitely choose one over doing nothing at all.
However, there are some drawbacks to the Spin Clean.
1) You have to manually move the brush around on the record and change record cleaning fluid each time you clean a side.
2) The drying mechanism isn’t very effective.
3) You have to adjust it each time you go from a 7″ single to a 10″ album or 12″ album.
4) The vinyl cement that holds their washable brushes in place sometimes gets gunked up with grime (a common problem with all record cleaning machines). If this happens, you’re basically stuck having to buy new brushes for $20 every couple of years.
5) Vinyl cement also sometimes gets on your records if you’re not careful, which is a real pain in the ass to remove.
6) They only offer a 1 year warranty, whereas other companies offer lifetime warranties on most of their parts (except for the fluid reservoir, which can warp with time).
I got started in the vinyl record cleaning business when I was 16 years old. Back then, I used to hang out with a few friends at a local record store in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California. We had an obsession with collecting records and listening to various genres of music. At that time, I was just getting into high fidelity audio and the world of vinyl records.
My friends and I spent countless hours at the local record store with the hope that we would find a rare record or two to add to our collection. We frequented this particular record store because it had tons of used vinyl for sale and every so often, we were able to find some gems among the thousands of used LP’s on display.
One day, I came across an album called “The Best Of The Doors” which was released in 1985 by Elektra Records. This particular album contained 9 tracks from the band’s first four albums and was originally released as part of Elektra’s 2-record series called “Back To Back Hits”. The album featured great songs like “Riders On The Storm”, “Light My Fire”, “Touch Me”, “Hello I Love You”, “Break On Through” and more.
I grabbed this particular copy of the album because it was
To clean a vinyl record, you’ll need:
Vinyl record cleaner (available from most local hi-fi and audio stores)
Specialty brush for cleaning records (optional)
Vinyl record player
Note: You should never clean a vinyl record with water alone. The wetness will cause it to warp and collect dust and mold in the grooves. Never use an abrasive on a vinyl record such as steel wool because this will damage the grooves.
Disassembly or separation of a record’s parts is usually accomplished by first finding the center spots or “dots” on both sides and placing these at the top of a large flat surface like a table. The cardboard sleeve is then removed and set aside. The record is next held by its edges while its label side faces upward. Then, using one’s thumb as a fulcrum, the record is gently bent back on itself until the label side breaks away from the playing side. As this is done, care should be taken not to touch either side with one’s fingers or thumbs as fingerprints or oily marks may be left on the vinyl.
In order to clean the label side (the non-playing side) of the record, it can be placed in a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid for a period of time to allow any dirt or grease to soften. An old soft bristle toothbrush can be used to help loosen any stubborn residue before rinsing with cold water and drying with a soft cloth. Once dry, the label side should be free of fingerprints, smudges and other marks that might have been there before cleaning.
To clean the playing surface where the music groove is located, it must be done very carefully so as not to damage
Vinyl cement is a thick glue like substance that is used to join broken edges of shellac records together. Vinyl cement can also be used for repairing scratches, chips and cracks in records.
Vinyl cement should only be used in extreme cases where the damage to the record is so bad that it cannot be played without it being repaired first. It is not a quick fix solution to solving your problems, as it requires time to set correctly and requires special care when applying.
If you do decide to repair damaged records with vinyl cement, first attempt to clean the record as best you can before repairing. If any dirt or dust is on the record when applying the vinyl cement, it will be sealed inside and may cause further damage.
Before starting make sure you have all these items: Vinyl cement, small paint brush or tooth pick, cotton tips (or similar), a soft cloth and a safe place to leave the repaired record while drying.
To begin gently apply some of the vinyl cement over the damaged area with your paint brush or toothpick. Try not to get any on the playing surface of the record, but don’t worry if you do as we will clean this up later. After you have applied enough vinyl cement to cover the damaged area use a cotton tip or