How to eliminate static charge from LP records

Written by laurie brock
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How to eliminate static charge from LP records
Records are enjoying a resurgence. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Vinyl LP (long-playing) records were nudged out of the market during the 1980s with the rise in popularity of compact discs and, later on, electronic media. They are enjoying a resurgence today, however, due to their arguably superior quality of sound and the nostalgia triggered by album artwork and liner notes. Unfortunately, that quality can be compromised by the pop and crackle of dust accumulated from static-charge build-up. Proper care and handling techniques are the key to eliminating this problem and will ensure your that favourite oldies enjoy the long life they deserve.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Record-cleaning brush or lint-free cloth
  • Record-cleaning solution
  • Antistatic inner record sleeves
  • Antistatic gun

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  1. 1

    Place the record on the turntable.

  2. 2

    Touch your thumb and forefinger to the metal spindle in the centre of the turntable, holding for several seconds, to discharge any static build-up into your body instead of the record.

  3. 3

    Clean the record with a commercially available or homemade record-cleaning solution with an antistatic brush or lint-free cloth (such as an eyeglass cleaning cloth) before and after playing.

  4. 4

    Replace the inner sleeves that came in the original album with antistatic record sleeves. These are commonly made of rice paper or materials that closely imitate rice paper, such as high-density polythene (HDPE), and are available for purchase at record stores or online at a nominal cost.

  1. 1

    Purchase an antistatic tool, commonly called a gun or pistol. These devices are widely available for purchase at electronics or audio stores and online, generally costing about £65 new, and have a long life.

  2. 2

    Point the antistatic gun at the record before and after playing it and squeeze the trigger, holding for several seconds. This will neutralise the existing static charge through an ionisation process.

  3. 3

    Place the record in an antistatic inner sleeve before sliding it into the outer record cover, handling it at the edges only.

Tips and warnings

  • Carpets, dry climates and winter seasons all increase the likelihood of static charge build-up. Increase the humidity in your environment by using a humidifier to counteract the dryness. Always store records in both inner and outer sleeves in an upright, vertical position, never laying flat or stacking them.
  • Homemade cleaning solutions can be very cost-effective, but some substances and chemicals can permanently damage vinyl records. Make sure your recipe is from a reputable source before using it on a record. Consider testing homemade solutions on a record that holds little sentimental or monetary value first.

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