8 Tips for caring for your newly purchased vinyl albums

Posted by on October 04, 2016 . .

Collectable vinyl albums can be worth a fortune and there’s nothing worse than finding your treasured album warped beyond use. At JJ’S Vinyl we specialise in the sale of new vinyl records, so we’ve come up with a few tips on how to take care of your newly purchased or old vinyl albums.

Collecting vinyl records is an expensive hobby, so it makes sense to look after your investment. With the correct care and attention your vinyl records can last a lifetime and beyond.
 
These tips are really quite simple and we consider them common sense, you’d assume that most vinyl owners would already be practicing them, but it’s surprising how often we see casual mistreatment of vinyl. As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure’, so if you truly love your vinyl records, be sure to follow these eight simple guidelines.
 

Handling

  • The first and probably the most important rule: ‘never touch any part of the record which contains the grooves’. Instead, handle your record carefully by the edges and the inner label. This is to prevent your body oil from transferring onto the record and attracting even more dust.
  • Never drop your vinyl records into their sleeves or jacket, this can cause the seams to split open. Instead hold the slightly bowed open cover horizontally and gently slide the record in.
  • Always return your vinyl albums immediately to their protective sleeve and jacket once you’ve finished playing, removing it from the turntable and resting it on any surface without its sleeve is an absolute no no. The only time a record should be outside its protective sleeve and jacket is when it is actually being played.

First Spin

Playing your newly purchased vinyl for the first time is an exciting time and sometimes, in our haste, we can forget to follow basic first spin guidelines. Forgetting these guidelines can drastically affect the longevity of your vinyl. ⦁

  • Completely remove the shrink wrap from the album jacket and place into a clear protective outer sleeve. At JJ’s Vinyl we prefer to use a heavy duty 5.0 mil version, manufactured from crystal 250 micron clear polypropylene. These outer sleeves are the best I have come across and are well worth the extra money. Although some people prefer to leave their vinyl in the original shrink-wrap I would advise against this practice, shrink-wrap is not designed for long term storage and won’t protect your album sleeves from general wear, also in some cases when the shrink-wrap is too tight warping of the vinyl can occur.

Most would assume that a newly opened vinyl record would be free of dust and particles but this is not the case. Record pressing factories are typically pretty grungy places, also, the pressing process can leave a release agent residue on the record surface, which can, in turn, contaminate your stylus and ultimately diminish the sound quality.

  • So tip five is: ‘always clean your new vinyl before spinning for the first time’. 

Cleaning your vinyl…

dust is the enemy If you properly care for your new vinyl records you should never have to use anything other than an Anti-Static Carbon Fibre Cleaning Brush to gently remove any superficial dust build up. The problem with dust is that if it is left to build up, it can become compacted in the grooves. This can cause a myriad of issues including skipping, distortion, and groove and stylus damage. There are many brushes available on the market, try to go with a reliable brand, so do your research.

  • A decent Anti-Static Carbon Fibre Cleaning Brush will cost between $30-40, we recommend purchasing two brushes, keeping one for first time played vinyl and one for standard use.
  • The residue removed from the first time played vinyl can be abrasive so you need to ensure you wipe the brush clean after use, you don’t want to transfer that to your other records.
  • You should dry brush your vinyl before and after every play, to prevent the build-up of dust and other impurities. Using an anti-static brush consistently will keep your records cleaner for longer periods of time. Most brushes have two rows of bristles, one is to sweep up the dust, and the other is to de-stat. Gently hold the brush on the record surface as it spins to sweep dust and reduce the static build-up. After two rotations, angle the brush to the edge of the record and slowly pull it off the record. Don't forget to wipe the brush clean after each use.  
In part two of caring for vinyl, we’ll continue where we just left off and cover vinyl storage, inner sleeves and stylus care.