Vinyl Record Cleaning
Vinyl Record Cleaning – Manual or Record Cleaning Machine (RCM)?
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Despite being widely considered the Audiophile’s format of choice, vinyl records are highly vulnerable to contamination and other damage which adversely affects sound quality.
Purchases of second-hand vinyl records or vinyl records online, such as eBay or if you buy cheap vinyl records at the car-boot sale, such records can be heavily contaminated. Often with everything nature can throw at it!
Fingerprints, cigarette smoke & ash, human dust, animal dander, coffee spills, you name it! These contaminants can cause cracks, pops and drastic reduction in clarity rendering the vinyl record useless.
The choice of whether to use a manual vinyl record cleaner kit or a vinyl record cleaner machine (we strongly recommend the Moth Record Cleaning Machine) is a purely personal one but before choosing one should perhaps consider:
- The volume of records requiring restoration
- The overall condition of the record playing surfaces
- Time involved (RCM can take longer than manual)
- Costs – RCMs are not cheap!
- Expectations – RCM will in many cases produce a better result
With Vinyl, Prevention is always better than Cure!
The best way to preserve vinyl records is regular attention. Wipe the record before playing every time using a quality carbon, velvet or Goat’s hair antistatic brush. Replace your disc in the inner sleeve immediately after playing.
If manually cleaning use a high-quality cleaner that employs laboratory grade ingredients. We have a large range of vinyl cleaning products in our shop and recommend our excellent Shimmer Professional Vinyl Record Cleaner which can be used for both manual wet cleaning and all modern vacuum type RCMs. (not suitable for Ultra-sonic baths).
Regularly inspect the vinyl record playing surfaces for signs of wear and blemishes. We recommend using a decent hand-held magnifying glass of the correct magnifying range to make life much easier.
Pre-work your vinyl spray into the area with a suitable lint free cloth such as our groove-seeking micro-cloth. Use back and forth motion with the groove but never across grooves.
Spray the record surfaces 3 or 4 times and work the cloth from the inner playing surface outwards to the outer edges. Purists may wish to apply distilled water to remove any cleaning residues. We recommend that you use a mobile fidelity velvet pad for this task. Allow the record to fully dry and replace in the inner sleeve. The Nagoaka type anti-static sleeves are a worthwhile investment and far superior to the original paper inners if you want to take care of your vinyl records long term.
Finally, if you have a lot of vinyl records and want professional results, we recommend considering an RCM. We also sell our Professional Cleaner in Bulk Jerries. Both Vacuum and Ultra-Sonic RCMs will deliver superior results. However, they are expensive so one must weigh up the pro’s & cons! A rare record sound graded as a VG can easily upgrade to an EX+ using a machine. This means perhaps doubling its value and hence an RCM might actually make you money over time!
Let us Take Care of it!
We offer a vinyl record cleaning service and employ a Moth Record Cleaning Machine (Vacuum) in addition to an ultra-sonic cleaner but one or the other will give excellent results if used carefully.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your vinyl! Any questions or ideas we are always happy to hear from you!