Homemade Solution to Clean Vinyl Records

Updated February 21, 2017

The heyday of vinyl records is over, but there are still many DJs, collectors and music enthusiasts who have a large inventory of these records. If you still listen to your collection, maintain the records by keeping them clean as an important part of sound preservation. Years of handling with oily fingers and time spent on dusty shelves can seriously affect the quality of the sound. You may opt for a record cleaning machine and a store-bought cleaning liquid, but you can do a good job at home without investing in those items.

Importance of Clean Records

Keep your vinyl records clean to make them sound clearer and help them to last longer in your collection, according to

Some people wish to transfer their vinyl recordings to CD, and they need a clean sound from clean vinyl to make the transition. Clean records will have less crackling, pop and hissing when played. In addition to sound quality, the records will simply last longer with occasional cleaning before they become damaged to the point that they will not play.

Use Items From Home To Clean

Use common items found in your home to clean your records instead of searching for hard-to-find record-cleaning solutions. The home remedies will work just as well.

Clean the playing surface of your records with isopropyl alcohol (90 per cent alcohol or higher) using a cotton ball to wipe it in slow circles, according to Do not use other types of rubbing alcohol as it may damage the surface of the record.

Moisturiser-free dishwashing liquid is useful in cleaning a record's playing surface as well. Combining the soap with distilled water (not tap water) will serve as an acceptable record cleaner. Always rinse the records carefully and thoroughly to remove any residue that may damage the record.

Cleaning Procedure

Lay your record on a soft, clean surface. Placing it on a soft towel on a table will work well. You may also place it on the turntable for cleaning as long as you do not apply excessive pressure or spill any cleaning solution onto the player.

Use a record cleaning applicator brush or a soft lint-free cloth to apply your chosen cleaner and rub dirt and oils away in circles to clear the grooves. Alcohol will evaporate quickly, but water and soap may have to be wiped off. Rinse the vinyl with distilled water, but do not get any cleaner or water on the centre label as this may damage the paper.

Once the record is clean and dried, flip it over and repeat the process on the other side. Do not play the record while it is still wet. This is known as "wet playing" and although some people use it as a cleaning and sound-improvement technique, it is not recommended, according to

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About the Author

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.