What is the Best Way to Clean Vinyl Records?

best way to clean record players

How to clean vinyl records must be a hard question for each collector and user. Good preservation is the optimal way to maintain the great durability and good melodies. Besides, there are plenty of methods to keep your collection for a long time. This article will guide you through some ways that can be effectively used in reality. Keep on reading our article to find out your best way to clean vinyl records.

Best Ways to Clean Vinyl Records

Clean Vinyl Records by Hands

Sometimes, investing in a high-quality machine for cleaning vinyl records is out of your budget. Luckily, there are several ways that you can apply for cleaning vinyl records by hands. It should be a simple task if you know how to deal with dirt on vinyl records appropriately.

Apply liquid and cloth

This method is not only inexpensive but also simple to follow. The basic principal of using liquid to clean the record is that the liquid will spread into the grooves to remove dirt. Due to the high sensitivity of vinyl record, you must choose the appropriate materials for the cleaning process.

There is no difficulty in finding out the right liquid for cleaning the vinyl records. Go to the record store and pick the right materials. Here are some objects you need to prepare:

  • Dish soap
  • A basin
  • Warm distilled water
  • Towels to dry records
clean your vinyl record by hands
Source: Digital Classic

Step 1: Clean the surface

The cleaning process begins with the surface. What you need to do is remove dust and dirty spot. To do this, you pass the carbon fiber brushes slightly along the surface. One important thing should be taken into consideration is do not let the brush enter the record grooves to avoid any stretch.

The first step helps remove dirty particles. It is also more convenient to do the next step.

Step 2: Mix cleaning liquid

In this step, you mix soap and warm water to create the cleaning liquid.  Pay attention to the temperature of water; it is neither too hot nor too cold. Any soap is acceptable or even alcohol. Then pour warm water into the basin.

Heat is harmful to records. That is the reason why you should not use hot water. If you use boiling water, the vinyl component may be melt easily.

Also, water cannot be too cold because soap will dissolve fast.

Put a little dish soap into warm water then stir. A large amount of dish soap is not necessary.

Step 3: Make records clean

You should use soft brushes or cloths in this step. Do not use Jean or rigid fiber. Clothes are not only inexpensive but also time-saving.  You can find them easily at home.

Cover a cloth with one finger and put it into warm mixing liquid that was prepared in the former step. You should cyclone dry the cloth before cleaning. Make sure that there is no water so that the surface is not wet.

Let’s move your finger over the vinyl record in a circle along the groove. Follow the clockwise from the center of the records to the edges. After that, turn around according to the counter-clockwise. Remember not to use your nails while cleaning.

If any part of the record is wet, take a dry towel to wipe it.

Step 4: Repeat

Repeat the same if the cloth or water is no longer clean. Prepare a new basin of warm soapy liquid.

Step 5: Wash again

To ensure there is not soup on the surface any longer, you should use distilled water.

It is suggested that you clean the records regularly. Here is the best way to protect them from damage.

Use Carbon fiber brushes

Another efficient method to clean vinyl records is using carbon fiber brushes. It is regarded as the best way to clean vinyl records by household items. The carbon fiber brush can be replaced by soft clothes if it is not available in your house. Using a carbon fiber brush is the same as the cloth by passing it subtly along each record’s surface.

Carbon fiber brushes play an essential role in dealing with common dust without any pressure of scratching the record’s surface. With the special design for vinyl records, the carbon fiber brush could remove dirt in a safe way. All you need to do is letting the record spin on a turntable.

Remember to touch the record gently for protecting it from unexpected scratching. Moreover, it is advisable for you to be familiar with the habit of brushing the record before listening.

A small minus of this method is that the brush is difficult to clean the grooves deeply. Avoid using too powerful force when brushing the vinyl records because it may make the records damage. Replace your old carbon fiber brushes by the new ones to maximize their performance.

Furthermore, you should make sure that your brushes are compatible for vinyl and come with an anti-static feature to minimize static cling.

carbon fiber brush - best way to clean vinyl records
Via: Vinyl Haven Blog

Record Cleaning Machines

Another option to keep records in good conditions is by using records cleaning machine. It is considered as the best way to clean vinyl records. There are several machines available in the market. However, it is rather costly. Also, it is remarkable that you should carefully choose the machine which is suitable with records. Follow our steps below to purify your vinyl records.

Record Cleaning Machine

Step 1: Remove dirt and debris

Like cleaning vinyl records by hands, cleaning the record by machines shares the same beginning. The first requirement is removing debris and dirt on the vinyl records’ surface. You should try to remove dirt and debris particles as much as possible. It helps the process ready for a deep clean and protects the record from damaging.

You will need the support from a soft cloth or a Carbon fiber brush to do this task. Say no with strong rubbing, just be gentle.

Step 2: Turn on the record cleaning machine

It’s time for you to make use of a record cleaning machine. Although there is a plenty of record cleaning machines on the market, they tend to work in the same way. When you turn on the machine, it starts sucking inside and outside the grooves. There is a little friction created from the machine. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about the stickiness of cloth contaminations or small dirt particles.

Step 3: Wait until the cleaning process finishes

The machine not only sucks dirt but also brushes and spins for the best result. It equips a brush to remove dirt by applying a thin layer of cleaning liquid. The liquid contributes significantly in making the record surface shiny.

After the machine cleans the record completely, it moves to the next step of spinning. Spinning is a great way to bring the even clean look to your record without friction. Some machines also come with centrifugal force to make the record dry. As a result, it is obvious that record cleaning machines can make a deep clean in all corners of the vinyl record.

Clean Your Turntable and Cartridge

Turntable and Cartridge have put a strong impact on the performance of your turntable. Therefore, keeping them clean is a significant task. One important part of the cartridge is the stylus, which is responsible for creating sound by dragging across the vinyl record’s surface.

You must be extremely careful before playing the record. Remember to keep an eye on the stylus. If it has small dirt, blowing off dirt instead of using a strong power is another requirement. Avoid spitting because it will affect the vinyl record negatively. Besides, you should check the condition of the stylus regularly to get the best result.

It is evident that the more you invest in your cartridge, the higher durability it can reach. Keep in mind that respecting the stylus is an essential way to make the record last longer.


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Caring Tips for Your Vinyl Records

Keep these important things in your mind before using and caring the vinyl records.

  • First and foremost, users should be aware that dust can greatly impact your records. Therefore, you had better keep them clean. People say that the durability of goods depends on users. If you take care of records regularly, your collection is possible to stay unchanged.
  • You are advised to play the vinyl records safe. It is the best way to clean vinyl records and maximize their durability. Remember to check turntable and cartridge whenever you put records in use.
  • The place for storing your vinyl records must be cool and dry.
  • The records should be stacked towards the vertical direction.
  • Avoid laying your vinyl records flat. Besides, never stack one record on the top of each other to protect them from tear and wear over time.
  • You had better keep your vinyl records in plastic sleeves when they are not in use.
  • Remember that any inappropriate covering may have a bad impact on your vinyl record, even the paper sleeves.


It may be a challenge for you to decide the best way to clean vinyl records among a variety of methods. Some methods we described above are the safest and easiest ones you can apply for your records. No matter you use the record cleaning machines or household items to clean the vinyl records, remember to be always gentle to hold the record.

In addition to applying the right cleaning techniques, playing the vinyl records safe is another important requirement. Hope that our suggestions above can help you enjoy the great sound from your amazing albums.


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