So you’ve got yourself a nice collection of vinyl records, but what are the best ways to keep them in good shape?
As we all know, the vinyl record has made one hell of a comeback in recent years. Sales are continuing to increase and we’re seeing research suggesting that streaming is influencing those sales! So whether you’re new to the record collecting game or a seasoned vinyl veteran, here are our tips for ensuring your vinyl live a long and fulfilling life.
Storing Your Records
So when you’re not playing them, where is your vinyl going to live? And what are the best ways to store them? Ideally you’ll want to keep them in a clean dry place, avoiding extreme temperatures and humidity (so not in the bathroom or sauna if that’s what you were thinking…) What you’re doing is trying to avoid warping the record. Warping is when the record bends out of shape which often leads to unplayable vinyl. There are methods of unwarping but prevention is the best cure, so keep them away from direct sunlight and high heat.
Another way your records can warp is by stacking them, so NEVER store them horizontally. Compared to other formats vinyl are pretty heavy, so the weight and pressure will eventually warp them over time. The more vertical the record stands the better. While on the subject of weight, you’ll want to make sure whatever they’re standing on is sturdy. An average 12” can weigh between 140 and 220 grams so bear that in mind as your collection grows. There’s plenty of specialist units and storage racks you can get for vinyl too.
So we’re stating the obvious here, but seriously, be nice to your vinyl. Always handle them at the edges or by the inner label at the centre. Much like how it’s sacrilege to touch the data side of the CD the same applies to vinyl. When you touch the playing surface you’ll transfer oils from your skin into the grooves, which dust will stick to and affect the sound quality. You’re also running the risk of scratching the grooves with your fingernails.
Which Inner Sleeves Should I Use?
You don’t want your vinyl rattling around inside the jacket. There are a few different types of inner sleeves made from different materials available:
There’s LOADS of research you can do on vinyl sleeves alone and you’ll discover that usually it’s entirely down to personal preference. Test a few out and see which you prefer.
Cleaning Your Records
Again, hours of Googling can be had here and you might find some weird and wonderful suggestions too (if you’re brave enough to try the dishwasher or toothpaste suggestions we found, we salute you). But to begin with here’s a few simple tips:
What’s the best way to arrange my vinyl?
Now that is something down to personal preference. Perhaps you could ask Rob about that one…
As you continue to do more of your own research, you’ll find a range of opinions on vinyl care. Test out a few different methods and see which work best for you.
In the meantime, if you have any tips for keeping your records in tip-top shape make sure you let us know in the comments.