Ever wondered how vinyl records get warped or cracked while others from ages ago are still in prime condition? The answer lies in the care you take of your record collection. Whether it is a modern color vinyl or a traditional black vinyl from years ago, vinyl record care is the pillar of keeping your collection in good shape. This article outlines the 7 No-No's of handling your record collection.
1) Stacking Records Horizontally
One Sure fire way to warp and mark up your records is to stack them horizontally. When you stack them horizontally you are exposing them to unwanted weight bearing and wear. Over a prolonged period of time you are likely to see ring wear, warping, sleeve wear and cracking of the vinyl.
When storing your record collection make sure you store them vertically, it is a good idea to invest in a vinyl record storage solution such as a crate or a shelf that fits your collection.
2) Using Your Hand to Cue Up Vinyl
Stop using your shaky hand to cue up the vinyl. Wondering where that loud speaker boom is coming from when you start the vinyl? It is probably you dropping your needle on the record like your slamming a door. Not only that this is a fool proof way to scratch your record. ALWAYS use the cue lever to cue up your record. This way you know that you are applying the right amount of weight to the needle causing a smooth glide, and seamless listening experience.
3) Not Allowing the Record to Stop Spinning Before Flipping or Removing
Touching or picking up your records from the turntable platter before it stops spinning is a another sure fire way to scratch the other side of your wax. You might be eager to flip your favorite album and continue enjoying the music, but a little patience goes a long way. Good things come to those who wait
4) Touching the Vinyl with Your Fingers
Our hands contain natural oils, grease, and dirt – none of which we want anywhere near our records. This grime builds up over time, compounding dust and dirt while also contributing to stylus wear. Only hold the vinyl record at its outer edges, thereby avoiding the possibility of your body oils transferring onto the vinyl’s surface.
The Library of Congress has one of the largest vinyl record collections in the world. It recommends that you not only wash and thoroughly dry your hands before packing and storing your collection, but make sure when handling vinyl records that you touch only the edges and the label areas.
5) Violently Returning the Record to It's Sleeve
It is common for people to want to plop their record into its sleeve abruptly once they are done listening. The euphoria from the record has set in and they are eager to put on their next record. In the hurried rush to put the next record on, they violently drop their record into its sleeve and toss it aside. This is one of the worst habits you can get into.
Vinyl records are delicate products made from polyvinyl chloride (essentially posh plastic). Any change to the material’s surface (either chemically or through physical abuse) will have a huge impact on those tiny microscopic grooves.
6) Your T-Shirt or Towel is NOT a Record Cleaner
Resist the temptation to wipe your vinyl record with your shirt or dry cloth no matter how soft it may feel. This will scratch and scuff the record and only move the dirt around. For dry cleaning or light touch up.
Similarly, avoid using “ordinary” cleaning techniques, such as cleaning the record with a soft towel. Vinyl deserve special care given their fragile and delicate nature, so invest in a good carbon fiber record brush. Use this brush after every use, to ensure the record’s sound quality remains pristine. Leaving records out of their sleeves increases the risk of dirt, dust and sun-rays from compromising the vinyl’s sound quality.
7) Using Tap Water to Clean Vinyl Records
This method should be avoided at all cost – particularly if you live in a hard water area. The reason is, regular tap water contains impurities, such as mineral deposits, which can contaminate and damage records. If you must make your own cleaning solution it is IMPERATIVE that you use distilled water as the primary base of your cleaning solution.
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