A Beginner's Guide: How To Clean Vinyl Records At Home (With Pictures)

record cleaning, record cleaning liquids, record cleaning tools, record handling, record storage -

A Beginner's Guide: How To Clean Vinyl Records At Home (With Pictures)

Got records that hiss, pop, and crackle? Looking to take better care of your record collection? Well, you're in the right place!

There are so many things that can harm your precious vinyl records…

  • Household dust
  • Oils from your fingers
  • Pollutants (like cigarette smoke)
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Incorrect storage techniques
  • Incorrect handling techniques
  • Even a dirty or uncalibrated stylus needle


But fear not… we’re about to break down the only 3 tips you need, in order to maintain those classic, warm, and timeless sounds for decades to come.

Let’s dive into how to clean records at home!


Clean vinyl records at home

1 - How to care for vinyl records (handling and storage)

Your first line of defence is taking simple steps to prevent the collection of dirt, dust, finger acid, and debris. And that means storing and handling your records in the correct way.

It’s basic stuff but essential none-the-less.


Here’s our top 3 tips for handling your vinyl records:

How to handle vinyl records

  1. It may go without saying — but make sure you have clean hands when handling your precious records. That means no Doritos dust or sticky pre-prohibition cocktail syrup on your fingers.
  2. Only handle your vinyl records by the edge and label areas. It’s a simple technique when you get the hang of it (and it let’s other record snobs in the room know that you’re one of the cool kids).
  3. Just like a baby — don’t leave your records laying around unattended. Your records belong in one of two places (either in their inner sleeve and jacket or laid on your turntable platter, ready to rock).

So you’ve finished playing your favourite record and it’s back in it’s jacket… surely it’s safe now right? Wrong...


Here’s our top 3 tips for storing your vinyl records safely:

  1. Always store your records vertically (not at a slant) to prevent damage and warping. This prevents any uneven pressure being applied to your jackets and discs.
  2. Wondering what temperature vinyl records should be stored at? It’s recommended to store your records at a temperature of 65 to 70 °F (18 to 21 °C). And don’t store your records in any room that has drastic temperature fluctuations (like a room that gets intense afternoon sun for example).
  3. Do not allow your records to hang over the edge of the shelf they are stored on. This is one of those areas of life where gravity is really not your friend (more of a bitter nemesis looking to inflict harm). The uneven pressure here is likely to damage your jacket.

Alright, now that we know how to handle and store our records, let’s dive into how to clean your beloved keepsakes and flea market hauls!

2 - Dry clean your records before and after each playback

Every time you play it?! Yep, but don’t worry it doesn’t have to take more than a few seconds.

We’re just talking about a quick dry clean removal of any dust and debris. We’ll be diving into how to deep clean vinyl records below but regular dry cleans are also required to prevent contaminant build up and dust getting buried in your disc grooves.


Here’s the 3 steps for a regular vinyl record dry clean:

  1. Place your record on the turntable platter.
  2. Get that baby spinning.
  3. Using a high-quality record brush gently apply pressure as the record spins, so as to collect any dust. You can either move the brush from the outside to the inside or vice versa (a topic of much online debate but either way will do the trick).
How to clean vinyl records

Pretty simple stuff, right?

3 - How to deep clean vinyl records at home

Alright, so now it’s time to give your record collection a proper clean? Wondering how to clean old records or vinyl that is dirty? This is our recommended method for:

  • Newly acquired secondhand records
  • Any record that hasn’t had a wet clean for 10 - 20 listens
  • Any record that is hissing, popping, cracking, or squealing

Well... if it’s squealing we may have other problems but you get the idea.

Step 1. Lay your record on a clean and flat surface. We recommend a soft clean cloth for added protection (pssst… that’s why our Spin Chemistry Record Cleaning Kit comes with a large microfibre wool cloth).

How to clean vinyl records at home

Step 2. Gently wipe your record with a clean microfiber cloth to remove any surface dust or debris. Wipe in a circular motion, following the grooves.

Step 3. Get hold of a cleaning solution designed for use on vinyl records. Is it ok to clean vinyl records with alcohol? It’s best to avoid solutions that contain significant amounts of isopropyl alcohol. This can be harmful to your records. You also want to avoid solutions that contain regular tap water as it will leave behind mineral deposits.

Step 4. Spray your record with 6 - 10 pumps of cleaning solution (being extra careful to avoid the label).

Step 5. Using a record brush (or clean microfiber cloth) rub your vinyl record in a circular motion, following the grooves. Apply the required pressure to get into the grooves and remove the nasties that are buried in there. Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 for side two of your record.

Step 6. Remove excess moisture from your record with a clean cloth and allow it to dry before playing or returning your record to storage.

And that’s it! A simple process that takes no more than 1 minute per record. 

Make Life Easy With The Spin Chemistry Record Cleaning Kit

Spin Chemistry Record Cleaning Kit

The Spin Chemistry Record Cleaning Kit is an all-in-one cleaning system that makes caring for your precious records an absolute breeze. It contains:

  • 1 x 50mL distilled record cleaning solution
  • 1 x pine wood soft velvet record brush
  • 1 x large microfibre wool cloth
  • 2 x small microfibre cloths
  • 1 x carbon fibre stylus brush

...All housed in a stylus magnetic storage box. This is the kit that every record collector should have in their home. Get yours today with free shipping across the USA, Australia, and New Zealand!