In recent times, the vinyl record has made a comeback. Sales continue to grow, and reports are indicating that streaming on the Internet has affected these sales. So if you are new to the record collection hobby or an experienced vinyl veteran, here are some tips to ensure that your vinyl collection is well-protected.
Ideally, you would like to keep your vinyl clean and dry, avoiding moisture and high temperatures. It means trying to stop distorting the vinyl record. Warping is when the vinyl record goes out of shape, which may result in an unplayable vinyl. There are unwarping approaches, but the only way is avoidance. Therefore, you need to keep them away from high heat and direct sunlight.
One way to distort the records is by piling them, so avoid placing them horizontally. As opposed to other vinyl types, they are relatively heavy, and with time, the pressure and weight will gradually distort them. Replacement needles also need to be appropriately stored for it to function correctly through time.
Frequently hold your vinyl records at the corners or in the middle through the inner label. You must apply oils from your skin towards the grooves when you come in contact with the playing surface. This is where dust can stick to and diminish the quality of the sound. You also risk damaging the grooves with your fingernails.
Here are some types of inner sleeves made from various materials:
- Paper: Using paper interior sleeves is the most inexpensive and simple choice. It is commonly incorporated with the vinyl when you purchase it first. These papers, though, will damage records as you move them in and out, and produce paper dust. Avid collectors should also note that there are paper sleeves that have pressing dates, record label logos, and other odd features. Thus, check them twice before you bin them.
- Polypropylene: Poly sleeves (or polypropylene) are more durable than the paper sleeves previously mentioned but are also more expensive. But if you are serious about collecting vinyl, you might want to invest in these. It eliminates the issues of dust and scratchy paper damages when you take it in and out of the sleeve. Removing and putting it into the album jacket is also simpler. Some have rounded edges, which make life easier.
- Paper with polypropylene lining: The outside paper allows the sleeve to be stiffer. The inside polypropylene lining allows the vinyl to slide smoother with a lower probability of scratching and dust accumulation.
- Dry cleaning: Dry cleaning involves using a carbon fiber brush in between plays to clean your vinyl. Clean gently around the grooves, and this will aid in the prevention of dust and other debris from accumulating. The carbon strands lower the static electricity on the vinyl. The inner component, which is a cloth material, absorbs the dust on the next wipe once the static is lower. Make it a habit to clean the brush as well. In your listening sessions, this should be a routine.
- Wet cleaning: Wet cleaning is strongly recommended when you want a thorough cleaning of your vinyl records. A combination of record cleaning fluid and water purification works well. Clean using a microfiber fabric and dry with a different microfiber fabric.
- Cleaning machines: If you have an extensive collection, it may be a considerable effort in cleaning records manually. Vacuum cleaning machines that automatically apply a cleaning product are available. Proceed with vacuuming the liquid off again. Spin cleaners are also available to clean the record with a solution since it spins with the brushes, thus removing dirt. They can be costly though proven effective.
- Wood glue: An age-old trick for flawless vinyl is wood glue. Since it is chemically similar to the material of the record, it won’t stick to it. Yet, it will stick to anything else that clogs it up. Spread the glue, wait for it to dry before peeling it away. Try this first on an old vinyl before adding to your whole set.
Taking good care of your vinyl collection allows you to preserve not just the material itself, but also, decades of age-old music. Having a vinyl collection is a privilege since you get to preserve something that can still be handed down from one generation to the next.