Cleaning vinyl records is one of the more unfortunate parts of the vinyl addiction. No matter how neat and tidy you are, your vinyl records will occasionally need maintenance. If your records are not kept clean, they will play poorly as the dust particles will build up on the stylus, causing a fuzzy sound. Worse still, if records are poorly maintained, they become prone to the dreaded “clicks and pops” of vinyl playback. In fact, many people maintain that the build up of gunk in the record grooves has more of an effect on sound than scratches on the record surface. People who have bought old, second hand vinyl will attest to the fact that there is a difference between a well maintained record and a poorly maintained record, and it is often difficult to tell by sight what will play well and what won’t.
The good news is that cleaning vinyl records is not a particularly arduous task. Much like brushing your teeth, one it becomes routine you won’t even notice it. People who have never thought to clean vinyl records may be in for a multiple hour long cleaning session, but once the records are clean it is a matter of seconds before each play.
The cleaning options presented are varied, and are summarised below.
Anti-static brushes are far and away the easiest way to keep your vinyl collection clean. The key word being keep. The anti-static brush is best used before each play of a record. It eliminates static electricity that builds up as a result of insertion and removal from record sleeves. It also removes dust from within the grooves of the record, but won’t deal with anything that isn’t superficial. If you are a new collector and your vinyl is new or near new, then the anti-static brush is probably all you need. A small tip to save you contorting your wrists at odd angles 黑膠唱片 is to set the record down on the platter, get the platter spinning and then hold the brush in one spot to clear off all the dust as it passes by. A simple device yet highly effective price, at under 30 dollars it is a no brainer for anyone who listens to vinyl.
Washing Your Vinyl Records Clean
People with old and dirty records with sound alteration or visible smudge marks need a solution to get their vinyl records clean, not just keep them clean. Across all methods, one ingredient is common: distilled water. Tap water contains minerals that might damage your vinyl. You can buy distilled water from just about anywhere, including supermarkets and hardware stores. Washing records with a microfibre cloth and distilled water will remove just about any surface blemish. While this method works great for cleaning superficially, it won’t get deep in the grooves to reduce the clicks and pops.
The Glue Trick
I have two records that I just could not listen to despite my efforts: Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and an original pressing of Dark Side of the Moon. The usual surface cleaning methods had done nothing for the surface noise and I found myself giving up on these two classics.
That was before I discovered the so called Glue Trick. The glue trick is extremely simple: cover your record lightly in wood glue such as, let it set, the peel it off. The right glue to use is Titebond II Wood Glue, as it has been tested to be effective by many users. Apply about 30ml evenly across the record using a laminated card such as an old credit card. It dries in around 3 hours, so it is certainly not a quick task. When applying, a small tab can be left at the edge of the record to make it easier to peel off. Using glue to clean vinyl records is a fantastic way of getting them really clean, especially when combined with a record vacuum before and after. Some users of this technique have reported a completely silent surface noise afterwards!