Keeping your records as clean as possible is the key to hearing the music at its best. There is nothing better than playing a record that’s clean and listening to it for the first time. However, over time your record can become dusty and it just doesn’t sound the same. Vinyl records attract dust like a magnet, especially if you have pets in your home. Have you ever seen the morning sunshine through your windows and seen all the little particles floating through the air? All of these little particles can land on your record and get embedded into the grooves while playing them. The stylus shoves little particles into the grooves like a plow and although very hard to see happening, you can hear it in the sound quality over time.
Have you ever put a record on and seen nothing on the record thinking it was clean, then halfway through a song it starts to skip? You run to lift up the tonearm and see no scratches on the record but then on a closer examination you can see a small dust bunny on the stylus. Where did that come from? The grooves may have had too much to plow and the stylus picked up too many particles from the record grooves and it could no longer track or it just could have been a particle that floated down onto the record when you were not looking. Let’s have a look at a dirty record.
Here you can see that there is nothing that should affect the sound while playing the record.
So how do you deal with this dreaded issue and just get back to enjoying your music? You’re going to have to invest some money into keeping your records clean.
There are machines on the market that you can buy but are very costly. They can range from $500 used and upwards to $700 new. If you’re a huge collector and don’t mind paying that kind of price, I have been told that they work really well.
I have tried many methods to cut my cost down, just to name a few:
Now let’s cover what you can use for cleaning products. There are lots of cleaning products on the market that will do an amazing job and I have tried lots of them but over time I found I was using too much and it was starting to cost me too much money. With I quick scan over the internet and looking at different homemade solutions I came up with one that really works for me:
¼ isopropyl alcohol
¾ distilled water
2 drops Sunlight dish detergent
You must use distilled water because tap water has small particles that can harm your records.
The alcohol will evaporate very fast and leave little residue.
It is a good practice to rinse after using the cleaner with distilled water to remove any other residue that may have been left behind. Once the record is dried I always put it into a brand new jacket. If you use the same jacket, you are risking putting dirt back on the record that is in the old jacket. By doing this you should not have to do a deep cleaning again for a long time. The jacket liner that you use is up to you.
***Magnified record photos provided by www.squickycleanvinyl.com ***