Best way to clean vinyl record albums

Updated April 17, 2017

For some, vinyl records are the only way to listen to music properly. Others prefer to transfer their vinyl collection to digital by using audio and editing software. Whichever your preference, cleaning your record collection can be a painstaking and expensive process. However, two primary methods to cleaning vinyl records should be employed: hand cleaning and using record-cleaning machines.

Hand Cleaning

The article "How to Clean Analog Vinyl Records" on suggests either first purchasing a record-cleaning solution or creating your own solution of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. Next, you want to get a record-cleaning brush from a music store that is specially designed to carefully remove dirt from between the grooves of the record. You should follow the instructions that come with the record-cleaning solution and make sure that you let the record air dry before placing it into a new sleeve. The article "How to Clean Vinyl Records" on also suggests using a microfiber cloth in addition to record cleaning solution and a carbon fibre or velvet brush. When cleaning, you want to set the record onto the turntable and add a few drops of cleaner onto the surface of the record. Then take the carbon fibre brush and run it slowly from the innermost point of the record (not the label) to the outermost point. These materials will not only help you clean your records when you need to, but occasionally giving them a thorough wipe will keep grime and dust from accumulating during usage.

Record Cleaning Machines

A more thorough, but also more expensive way to clean your records is by purchasing a record-cleaning machine. "How to Clean Analog Vinyl Records" says a record-cleaning machine is the most effective way to clean a record, but they range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. If you can't afford a top-of-the-line, brand-new record-cleaning machine, you can check out online retailers such as or to purchase used record cleaners in good condition.

Keeping Vinyl Records Clean

Preventive cleaning of your records not only reduces the number of times you have to clean them, but also helps maintain their sound quality. Similar to self-cleaning a record, make sure you keep the album free of dust and grime. Make sure that after cleaning, you place the album in a clean sleeve so that dust and dirt from the previous sleeve doesn't get on the freshly cleaned surface. You should also clean your record player from time to time to prevent any transfer of pollutants.

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About the Author

Ashley 'Ash' Brooks is a writer living in the Midwest. She has worked in the writing industry for over five years as a writer, editor and teacher. Brooks enjoys writing about animals (preferably cats), mental health, spirituality and computers. She has been published on Brooks has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a Master' of Arts in composition and rhetoric,