The 10 Commandments: How (NOT) To Treat Your Vinyl
There’s no way around it: the vinyl resurgence is in full effect. And, for the most part, that is a great development. More and more people are now trying their hands on old school records as a means of playing music, understanding that nothing beats the touch and feel of laying down a slab of vinyl, or flicking through crates in dusty record shops
Those that are new to the dynamics of record players and the vulnerability of vinyl itself do good to know about the basics of how to handle your records, and specifically what not to do with them. Strictly following these ten commandments below will make sure that you will keep your vinyl collection as healthy as possible, enabling you to enjoy them for a much, much longer period.
Keep your fingers off the record’s surface
Always hold a record by its outer edges only. Some purists will even tell you that accidentally touching the surface actually demands immediate action, like cleaning it with liquid record cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. Let it dry before you place it back in its sleeve though.
Only use designated tools to clean your record – your t shirt won’t do
Using your t-shirt or a kitchen wipe (even a new one) will scratch the record, besides that it only moves the dirt around, it doesn’t remove it. A carbon fiber cleaning brush will do the trick, and leave your record intact.
Don’t use duct tape to fix a record sleeve
Just don’t. It looks horrible and a proper glue job will have your sleeve back in its original state in no time.
Always place a record back into its sleeve after you’re done playing
Vinyl collects dust faster than your grandparents’ attic. When you’re done playing, don’t leave the record lying around.
Don’t place or remove your record from a spinning record platter
Removing a record from a spinning record platter will quickly scratch the flipside of a record. So always wait until it has completely stopped turning before you remove your record.
Wax can melt, so keep it away from any source of (considerable) heat
Maybe easy to forget this one, but it’s called wax for a reason. Leaving it close to a source of heat for a period of time can deform and warp records. A burning radiator or an oven are all no go areas for your vinyl.
Never play a vinyl ‘wet’ in order to make it sound better
Never wet play a vinyl record in an attempt to quiet the crackle and pops. It can cause irreversible damage to your record and makes it sound even worse than before.
Do not stack records upon each other
One way to cause your beautiful records to warp is to stack them. Playing a warped record is bad for both the record itself as well as the needle, which has to make too much effort, causing quick wear and tear. It can also cause cracking of the vinyl record because of the weight and will produce ring wear on the record’s album cover, degrading the artwork. Records must always be stored upright like books on a shelf.
Use the cue lever to place the needle on your record.
Your hand, and everybody else’s hand, is too shaky to put the needly on a record manually. Doing it manually will cause damage to the record each time you do it. The best way to start your record is by using the cue lever.
Don’t ‘drop’ your record into its sleeve, always slide it in
Especially when playing a vinyl set it’s very tempting to quickly drop your played records back into the sleeve and move on. This is a bad idea, though, as it is the sole cause of sleeves and covers split open. Therefore just gently slide the record back into the sleeve.
If you have an indispensable lesson that any vinyl owner should know about then please let us know in the comments.