How to Take Care of Your Vinyl Records (1/3) Cleaning

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There’s no doubt that vinyl records are one of the formats that withstand the test of time the most, both in terms of consumption levels (they have experienced a strong resurgence for the past decade) and in terms of their lifespan. According to experts, vinyl records can outlive their owners in perfect condition, lasting more than 100 years on their shelves, while their grandchildren’s CDs barely last 10 years, no matter how well they are treated.

But, what should we do to ensure that our records will last an eternity? We’ll explain it to you in this series of three articles. Today, we analyze the best vinyl cleaning techniques.

The “DIY” Methods for Cleaning Your Vinyl Records

Many vinyl enthusiasts have heard all sorts of advice about liquids, potions, and ancient ceremonies dedicated to the plastic god, promising maximum cleanliness for their vinyl records with not always satisfying results.

One of the most commonly used and recommended methods is using ethyl alcohol. According to this “cleaning shamans” trend, a little bit of alcohol gets rid of the dirt and malevolent spirits accumulated over time and use. While it’s true that the record appears spotless at first glance, alcohol also brings with it an almost imperceptible abrasive chemical reaction that damages the grooves and causes an annoying background noise, as well as the loss of the record’s original shine.

Another classic “DIY” method for cleaning vinyl records is as simple as water and soap. This straightforward method involves mixing distilled water (tap water is not suitable, as it leaves behind lime and other minerals when it evaporates) with neutral soap (most household soaps contain aggressive chemicals that deteriorate the plastic of the record). Although this method is less harmful to your records, it is still not the safest or most effective option for cleaning them.

The Expert’s Solution for Cleaning Your Vinyl Records

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However, there is a somewhat complex but much more respectful alternative for the safe cleaning of your vinyl records. It involves mixing three parts of distilled water with one part of isopropyl alcohol. Although not widely known, you can obtain this miraculous liquid at some pharmacies and drugstores.

You can also add a couple of drops of detergent or neutral liquid soap for every liter of the mixture. To prevent particles from adhering to the record’s surface, always use anti-static wipes or cloths. If your records are very dirty, first run the cloth over the surface in circular motions following the direction of the grooves before cleaning the entire record with the liquid.

Be careful not to wet the label of the record, as it is made of paper and could get damaged.


Cleaning is essential for vinyl record care. If you make sure to use the right product and perform regular maintenance on your records, your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be able to enjoy your records with the same optimal quality as the first day

In the next article in the series “How to Take Care of Your Vinyl Records,” we will provide you with the best tips for storing your records correctly.

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