There is a reason purists cannot seem to get over vinyl. It might finally see the end of CDs or at least, reduce its popularity. There is certainly this allure and magic that comes with playing a vinyl record. It’s like you are having a physical connection with the artist. When cared for properly, your vinyl record can last you a lifetime. You get to enjoy music in the most romantic way ever.
Although vinyl records are made to last you for a very long time if you buy one of the top rated models, maintenance is the surest way to guarantee that you get to enjoy it that long. When your record is dirty, it causes the tracks to skip and this affects the sound quality.
Whether you are an old user or new to vinyl, the following are ways you can properly clean and care for your records:
Wipe with a cloth
The first thing to do to keep your records in good working condition is to wipe them down every time you want to use them and after use. This way, you get rid of dirt or dust that may have settled on the record. While wiping, you should make use of a cloth that is free of lint. You may just avoid damage to your records by this simple act.
Clean with distilled water
If even after wiping down your record it still skips, then you may have to go a little further in cleaning it. Here, you can make use of distilled water as tap water may contain some impurities which could get into your vinyl record grooves. You can go in with a carbon fiber brush and move in a concentric motion to clean your records. While at it, make sure you avoid the label part. And allow the record to dry completely before use.
Clean with a record cleaner
Usually, dusting your record from time to time helps in making sure it remains in top-notch condition. However, there are times that dusting or cleaning with distilled water fails to get rid of the dirt. In such a situation, you can use a record cleaner meant for vinyl records for a cleaner and deeper cleaning. The record cleaner is mainly water or enzyme bases but will do a lot in restoring your record. Use a soft cloth and clean gently in a concentric motion. Then allow it to dry before use.
Use a cleaning machine
A vinyl record cleaning machine is another route you can choose when considering ways to clean your record. It is very effective in getting rid of excess dirt, dust, and residue that settles on your record. But they are not always affordable. Also, the cleaning machine can help in reviving and improving the sound of your old as well as new records.
How to maintain your vinyl record
Replace your stylus when faulty
If your stylus is no longer working as it should, you are better off replacing it as it can damage your vinyl records permanently. It is advisable to replace it once a year if you are always making use of your vinyl player. While you can also clean the stylus to help it work better, the lifespan of a diamond stylus is about 800 to 1000 hours of playing.
Ensure proper setup of your turntable
If the tonearm is poorly aligned, this can damage your vinyl irreparably. A new turntable may not have this issue, but used or inherited one may have its cartridge not well aligned or fitted. Always ensure that the tonearm counterweight is in line with the cartridge requirements to avoid record wear or poor performance.
There is special equipment that can be used to align your cartridge that is available for purchase. But you can make use of paper alignment protractors and still get good results. You can download a free one at vinylengine website
Store your record the right way
Finally, you should ensure that your records are stored in a cool and clean space away from sunlight. And, keep them in a vertical position with enough space in between each record to avoid one rubbing on the other. Keeping your records in a plastic or wax sleeve prevents dirt, dust, and shedding. Always hold the records by the edges to avoid passing on oil or dirt from your hand to the records.
Putting everything we have listed in this article will help your records last as long as possible. Maintaining regular dusting helps in preventing complicated and costly cleaning processes. With a clean record, you get the very best sound from your record.