How to Clean Old Records for a Gramophone

Written by bridget kelly
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How to Clean Old Records for a Gramophone
Playing your records often helps keep them clean. (old gramophone record image by Julia Chernikova from

The gramophone, invented in 1877 by Emile Berliner, was the first system that recorded audio onto records. Berliner used a variety of materials on which to record, from copper to celluloid, finally settling on rubber in 1889. The records were 7 inches, lasted 2 minutes and cost 60 cents. Although the price of the records has gone up over the past century, many still exist. Over time, old records get dirty, from needle fibre dust and from not being played. It is easy to clean old records for a gramophone.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White vinegar
  • Three-in-One Oil
  • Soft cloth
  • Fibre needle sharpener
  • Shaving brush
  • Soap, such as liquid dish soap

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  1. 1

    Mix together three parts vinegar with one part of Three-in-One Oil. Pour it into a bottle and shake well.

  2. 2

    Pour a small amount of the vinegar and oil solution onto the soft cloth and rub it on the record until it is completely rubbed in. Don't saturate the cloth with the solution; use just enough to moisten a corner of the cloth. Allow the record to sit for 15 minutes.

  3. 3

    Play the record on the gramophone, three or four times. Make sure the needle is well-pointed. In fact, experts at suggest re-pointing the needle, with the sharpener, two or three times during the process.

  4. 4

    Wash the disc in lukewarm water if any oily residue remains. Use a soft brush, such as a shaving brush and soap. Brush the disc well, then rinse two or three times in clean water. Dry carefully with a clean piece of soft fabric, such as silk or cotton.

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