Those who grew up in the digital age may not know what a vinyl record even is. Vinyl records are what CD’s were to the parents of kids today. Meanwhile, CDs were what vinyl records were to the parents of the parents of kids today.
A vinyl record is an analog audio storage medium which consists of a flat disc which possesses an inscribed spiral modulated groove. Also known as gramophone record, vinyl records regained its popularity in 2008 – thanks to it being used mainly by DJs, young adults and certified audiophiles.
Take note that in 2010, vinyl records are still being utilized and distributed by both alternative musical and independent artists.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to clean and restore old vinyl records and make it sound like new.
Clean and dirt-free vinyl records sound a lot clearer and last longer. They also have less clicks and pop/crackle less.
1. You can start by placing the vinyl record on a flat and clean surface or on the turntable platter itself. If you decide to clean the record on the turntable, ensure that the tonearm is secure to avoid it swinging accidentally across the record while you are cleaning it. Also, try not to put too much pressure onto the platter as doing so may damage the bearings.)
2. Usually, commercially available cleaning solutions made specially for vinyl records – such as Discwasher D4 – come with a free applicator brush and instructions. However, you could also use household items such as 90% isopropyl alchohol – as alcohol is a main ingredient in such cleaning solutions.
(NOTE: Avoid using witch hazel or rubbing alcohol as these contain additives which are harmful to vinyl records.)
3. Then, apply a few drops of alcohol on an applicator brush – or a soft towel. Place the brush or soft towel on top of the vinyl record while turning the platter counter-clockwise until dirt from the record comes loose. Expect the brush to have some dirt or lint. Do make sure to remove these and repeat the process of cleaning the record until no more dust, dirt or crud is found on the brush or soft towel.
(NOTE: Make sure that the cleaning liquid is applied on the brush or towel and not on the record.)
It is important that you allow the records to dry prior to flipping it to clean the other side. Also, before you flip over the record, ensure that the platter’s surface is similarly clean.
*Tip: Joy or Dawn dish washing liquid (with no moisturizers) could also be used to clean vinyl records. Just make sure to avoid getting these on the label. It is also important that these are all rinsed off quickly from the vinyl.
(NOTE: Avoid using tap water to clean vinyl records. It is highly recommended to use distilled water instead)