How To: Clean Your Vinyl Records

By Nobo McManus

So you know when you’re sitting cross-legged on your living room floor listening to your favorite old album and those pops and clicks are just ruining the whole experience? Well we here at Record Pressing want you to know how to de-dust, un-oil, and disband dirt from your collection so you can get your records sounding like they did the day they were first taken out of the sleeve. Whether its Iron and Wine’s new melodic masterpiece Kiss Each Other Clean or Kanye’s new vinyl release My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (seriously, a lot of people bought that thing) we want it sounding crisp just as much as you do.

There’s a plethora of different methods used to clean a record. Some of them are effective, but others you’re going to need to watch out for. A record cleaning machine is basically a sure fire success to get a pristine vinyl. Top-notch machines apply the correct amount of solution and scrub, and they vacuum-dry your record leaving it something close to brand new. However, this is a method geared more towards the high-volume collectors because they are pretty damn expensive. But, if you’re just an indie kid with a sick collection here’s a breakdown of some more “hands-on” techniques.

In any of these methods the first thing you must do is wash your hands and clean the stylus. You can use your cleaning solution on the stylus, or just some isopropyl alcohol. Gently hit it with a q-tip but make sure not to touch the point! Or else you’ll just pull out all the cotton and make a mess. Just slide it down the sides slowly and that’ll suffice. RCA Discwasher is a simple, cheap and effective surfactant (audiophile for cleaning solution) and you’ll also want to have a carbon fiber brush ready. Amoeba and Rasputin have pretty good selections, but if neither of these places are near you, check down at your local (real) record shop, see what products they have to offer and support your fellow crate diggers. Any record owner should have at least own one brush and use it often, even without solution, to not have to go through this entire process all the time. Trust, it’ll be a worthy investment.

For simple step-by-step instructions to cleaning your records, click here.

What methods do you use to get your records spinning smoothly?