Cleaning LPs is a problem that every audiophile runs into once in a while. We’re here today to share some helpful tips and, hopefully, make this task somewhat less time-consuming. So let’s dive in together and see why vinyl care is so important and what exactly makes it so difficult, with us sharing some vinyl record care tips along the way.
Crash course on vinyl care: why and how to clean LPs
For many of us (“us” meaning audiophiles) vinyl records symbolize the absolute perfection of sound – a mix of technical brilliance and sweet soulful tones that are impossible to get from anything else. Debating whether or not that is true is a whole another subject; regardless, if you have any number of vinyl records and a turntable, you’re sure to have listened or tried to listen to some of them. What you end up hearing is often determined by how these records had been treated in the past. That’s why vinyl is seen by some as almost a living being: it reciprocates kindness.
So what aspects and factors of vinyl care make the record sound exactly the way it does? Well, to be honest, the number of these factors ranges anywhere from ten to infinity, as there are some that we can’t physically influence in any way. That is the unfortunate side effect of dealing with vinyl: it has a lot of inherent imperfections that have to do with the specifics of the material used and various occurences in the process of pressing (for example, this is where the signature vinyl crackle comes from). Of course, in practice many of those factors can be dealt with in order to get the best sound possible, and this, indeed, is why we want to talk about vinyl record care today.
See, most problems with LPs simply come from the fact they don’t get the much-needed treatment. These days, especially with most of our consumed media being digital, it’s easy to forget that vinyl discs exist in the physical realm, and thus are subject to everything that can happen to a physical object: it can get dirty and dusty fairly quickly, it can get scratches or even break. But don’t worry: after reading our vinyl record care tips you’ll be well-informed on everything you need to know about LP record treatment and maintenance.
Vinyl Record Care Tip №1: Regular cleaning
Okay, this one should be fairly obvious, but vinyl care can get very daunting and simply dull depending on the volume of your record collection. Unfortunately, vinyl records are pretty much designed to accumulate tons of dust on the surface and dirt in the grooves, which is precisely why regular cleaning is so important. See, that dirt will inevitably get in the way of the turntable’s needle upon playing the record, and the resulting sound will be “muddy” (no pun intended). Therefore, each LP should be cleaned thoroughly and carefully (vinyl is pretty sensitive, so exerting too much effort might result in scratches or even cracks).
Vinyl Record Care Tip №2: Don’t rely on DIY methods or home-made solutions
The worst disservice you can do to your record is trying to clean it the same way you clean dishes. We have to reiterate: these discs are sensitive and using chemicals that aren’t designed for this task will have horrific consequences for your LPs. As an audiophile, you’ll have to be ready to spend money on real solutions.
Vinyl Record Care Tip №3: Buy smart
Speaking of spending money, being an audiophile comes with a cost – in the most literal sense, as neither new records nor hi-end gear is cheap. That being said, you don’t exactly have to empty out your wallet to get all you need for LP record treatment. Here’s a basic list:
- Several specialized cleaning liquids;
- An LP cleaning cloth;
- A record duster;
- and, if you’re really willing to go all-out, a cleaning machine (that being said, effective ultrasonic cleaners are usually very expensive, so you have been warned).
If you’re looking to get all of these vinyl record care essentials in one place – guess what: Chisto has the Easy Groove Superset, which is pretty much all you need minus the bulky cleaning machine (with luck, you might not even need it). Cleaning liquids for all purposes, cleaning cloth, duster – everything is included for your convenience.
Vinyl Record Care Tip №4: Don’t give up on old records
Yeah, old LP record treatment is especially hard, as with the passage of time older records tend to break down far easier than their newer counterparts. However, as we’ve mentioned before, LPs are living beings in that sense: show those geezers some compassion – and they shall reward you with soundscapes you may have never experienced before.
That should cover the basics of vinyl care; if you need a literal breakdown of the cleaning process, you can find an article on our website which is an essential guide on how to clean your LP collection. Plus, all of the items you’ll see on the website have written instructions on how to apply them, so you’ll never be confused or lost. So go show your records some love, and they’ll pay you back tenfold!