How to Clean Old 78 & LP Records

Updated February 21, 2017

Old 78 records and LPs are collectable items. The value of such items, though, works on a sliding scale, based on the current condition. Albums that are clean and well-maintained are more collectable. It is important to keep your old records free of dust and grime. Dust can cause scratches to the surface of the vinyl when entering or removing the record from its sleeve and can cause physical damage when trying to play it in a record player. This makes the proper technique important as you clean your old 78s and LP records.

Gather your materials together. The bristles of your brush should be fine so that it will not scratch the records. Distilled bottle water does not contain the chemicals commonly found in tap water. Obtain dish washing soap that does not have fragrance chemicals, such as Joy. Purchase a finely soft terry cloth to clean the old 78 and LP records.

Lay the record on top of the towel on a hard surface. Sweep the dust off lightly with the paintbrush. Turn the record over, holding by the sides. Brush the other side as well. Use a gentle sweeping motion, straight across the record.

Pour a drop of the water onto the terry cloth. Add a dab of dish washing soap to the cloth and rub together. Use your finger to rub the soap solution over the old 78 and LP records in a straight motion. For example, wipe the record left to right in rows. Avoid getting the label wet.

Dry the record completely before cleaning the other side. Use the second cloth and wipe in the same manner as Step 3. Turn the record over and repeat Step 3.


If you accidentally get the label moist, blot dry immediately. It could bubble or tear off if it gets too wet. Only use non-abrasive, soft material to clean the old 78 and LP records. Vinyl can scratch and damage easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Small soft paintbrush
  • Distilled bottle water
  • Dish washing soap
  • Two terry cloths
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Randall Shatto is a professional writer with 10 years of experience. Shatto maintains a focus in internet freelance ghost writing. His expertise includes medical writing, college paper composition and SEO-rich content writing. With only a high school education, Shatto's opportunities continue to grow. Shatto resides in the beautiful state of Oregon.