You’ve just received your first vinyl purchase in the mail. With adrenaline pumping through your blood, you open the package carefully, making sure not to damage the jacket.
But like any good love affair, your care and compassion doesn’t end there. You soon discover the ins and outs of caring for vinyl go far beyond making sure not to crack the plastic.
If you want your vinyl to literally last a lifetime, then consider the following 7 expert tips.
- Whenever possible, use lint-free, white clean gloves when touching vinyl
Vinyl is extremely sensitive. If you aren’t careful you could easily scratch rare vinyl records or get unwanted dirt or grease in the grooves. If you’re serious about caring for your records and keeping them in good condition, then buy yourself a good quality pair of white cloth gloves. It makes it easier to keep your records in like-new condition for a long, long time.
- Never expose your records to air or light for long periods of time
When you expose vinyl to air or light, you’ll ruin the quality of the plastic material over extended periods of time. Its sensitivity is not to be taken lightly. Return your records to their sleeves as quickly as possible after you listen to them to avoid prolonged exposure.
- Touch your record on the edge and label areas only
The oils on your fingers transfer to the record when you directly touch them. The best option is to use your third and fourth fingers to balance the label and your thumb to support the outer rim. This protects the record from scratches, dirt and oil. Be especially careful with color vinyl records. It's harder to see where the oils have rubbed off onto the plastic.
- Prevent warping with vertical storing
Storing records on a shelf vertically is the way to go. Spacers are also a good idea. Place one every four to six inches in your vinyl collection. Even though 180 gram vinyl is strong, it will still lose its rigidity over time.
- Buy plastic sleeves
After purchasing your vinyl, it’s best to remove the shrink wrap if it was bought new. Sometimes it’s wrapped too tightly around the jacket and can warp the record. Buy some plastic LP sleeves to protect the integrity of the paper jacket and the record itself.
- Be careful with wood shelving
Wood can cause mildew, and expands and contracts. Certain types of laminate or manufactured wood are perfect. Metal shelves are also preferred.
- Buy a can of compressed air
This stuff is normally used for cleaning computer keyboards and the hard to reach areas of electronics. Get a can and carefully shoot some air for a few seconds about 12-14” above the vinyl as it spins on the turntable. This gets rid of dust in the grooves and guarantees the best sound quality each listen.
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