Enjoying, preserving and Clean your vinyl records with Smart Home Sounds

In an age of music streaming where our favourite tracks are just a couple of taps away, digital convenience means that you can play, skip and stop a track at your peril without worrying about any effect on sound quality over time. After all, digital doesn't decay. 

But whilst streaming and mp3 files may not be as fun or involving as vinyl records, they do have the advantage that they don't wear out or sustain damage that affects their sound quality. So if you're new to records or rediscovering your vinyl collection, then it's essential to know how to care and clean your vinyl records properly to ensure they play at their best for many years to come. 

This blog covers hints and tips on handling and storing records, how to clean them correctly and how to maintain your turntable for optimum performance and safeguard your vinyl's longevity. If you're familiar with some aspects already, feel free to jump ahead to any section from the following:

Article Breakdown:

Handle Me With Care - Correct Ways to Handle and Store Vinyl Records 

audioengine-a1-lifestyle-feature-3-turntable Audio technica lifestyle image

As records are a physical medium made from plastic, irreparable damage often results with warping, scratches and scuffs if mishandled or stored incorrectly. 

Here are our best tips on safely handling, playing and storing your coveted vinyl:

Handle The Record By the Edges

Avoid touching the surface of the record, as this helps avoid any potential damage to the ridges and grooves that make up the musical information it contains. The safest way for holding a record is with both hands and by placing your fingertips on the outer edges of the disc. 

Record Collection Handling

Keep Your Records in Their Sleeves

When putting a record away, carefully slide it into the inner paper sleeve. Avoid dropping it into this sleeve as this risks damaging the seams of the album cover. 

Paper inner sleeves also protect from dust and grime, so consider replacing them if yours are damaged or missing. They help to minimise the natural static charge of a record, too. For protecting the artwork of your album covers, outer poly sleeves help to safeguard the artwork and prevent stress to the seams of the cover.

Store Records Upright and Away from Heat

Never store your records lying flat; always ensure they're stored upright. Piling vinyl records on top of each other tends to warp them out of shape over time, causing potential skipping and increases unwanted wow & flutter.

Record Collection Storage

Be sure to keep your vinyl records away from sources of heat or prolonged direct sunlight, as this also often warps and distorts the shape of your records.

Crates and record boxes help keep vinyl stored safe and upright, whereas vinyl storage furniture is also practical, with the Kallax range from a well-known Swedish home store proving a popular solution for vinyl lovers on a budget.  

Another One Bites The Dust - Easy Tips for Safe Cleaning of Your Vinyl Records 

Bumps and ridges in the grooves of a record vibrate the stylus on your turntable, which in turn is amplified and creates the sound we hear. Dirt, dust and debris can affect the sound quality by marring it with distortion and excessive pops and crackles. 

By using record cleaning products, here's how you can get into the groove and keep your vinyl records in tip-top condition for better sound quality and longer-lasting enjoyment.

Hama Record Brush Audio Technica Record Solution

Record Cleaning Brush

Antistatic brushes aren't just effective at removing dust, but their carbon fibres also help minimise the presence of static electricity on the record, which otherwise causes too many pops and crackles.

The Hama Anti-Static Carbon Fibre Brush is a staple for anyone who plays vinyl. It makes for an affordable yet highly effective cleaning solution that collects dust from the record's surface without risking damage. 

How to Use a Record Brush

  • Gently lower the brush onto the vinyl as it spins, but don't press down too hard!
  • Keep the brush against the vinyl, move towards the outer edge, and expel the dust from the record.
Record Brush Blog


Record Cleaning Fluid

For those vinyl records that are heavily soiled and can't be effectively cleaned with a brush alone, record cleaning fluid helps loosen the dust and grime suck in the grooves so that it simply wipes away. 

How to Use Record Cleaning Fluid

  • Spray 3-4 pumps of fluid around the surface of the record. Stay away from the label to avoid damage.
  • Using a clean lint-free cloth, gently wipe the fluid around the records and into the grooves to clean it, then lightly buff the surface with the cloth. Allow the record to dry before playing it.  
Record cleaning

You Spin Me Round - Basic Maintenance Steps to Keep Your Turntable Alive and Kicking

A clean record has the potential to sound great, but it can still sound poor if your turntable isn't kept in good order. Whether your turntable was made by Rega, Audio-Technica or any other manufacturer, it's best to keep them clean to keep it sounding mean.

Keeping your turntable clean in general helps to keep dust at bay and away from your records, but here are some further checks on keeping your turntable in tip-top condition:

How to Care For Your Turntable

  • Check your stylus periodically to ensure it's in good condition; a typical stylus should last for about 1,000 hours before replacement is advised to avoid damaging records. It can easily be cleaned with a stylus brush to prolong its life and retain performance for longer. 
  • Turntables like the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB, for example, have an adjustable tonearm weight and tracking force. When installing a new cartridge or stylus, adjust these settings to the figures recommended by your cartridge's manufacturer for optimum performance and care for your records during playback. 
Turntable care

In Summary

We hope this blog helps you make the most of enjoying your vinyl record collection. Following the above hints and tips will help ensure your records and turntable remain in pristine condition for years to come. 

If you're new to vinyl, however, and are considering what turntable is best for your requirements, feel free to check out our Beginner's Guide to Turntables or Find Your Perfect Turntable and Speaker Bundle for more information. For those looking to use their turntable with their Sonos system, further information can be sought in our How To Use a Turntable with Sonos guide. 

If you would like more information and further guidance, feel free to contact the friendly team at Smart Home Sounds, and we'll be happy to provide our expert advice. We can be reached at info@smarthomesounds.co.uk, via Live Chat on our website or 0800 677 1100