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Monday, March 14, 2011

How to Keep a Record Collection Safe - wikiHow

Vinyl Record Handling and Maintaining (Simple Easy Ways to Care for your LP's)

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How to Keep a Record Collection Safe

edits by:Sophie von Teschen, Flickety, Eric, Chris Hadley (see all)

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Keep a Record Collection Safe

Still got your old records and just love that groove you can't get anywhere else? Or maybe your passion is collecting the old vinyl or maybe it's because you love the sound of the the latest ones for dance music or for mixing (after all, records are still quite popular for these purposes, with 2.5 million records sold in 2009).[1] Whatever the reason, if you want to keep your record collection in good condition, there are some important things to keep in mind.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Protective sleeves
    Protective sleeves
    Protect the records from dust. Store each record in its original lightweight cardboard cover or in plastic record sleeves. Look for acid-free plastic sleeves if you haven't already got some.
  2. 2
    Protect the records from heat. Heat is a record's enemy and will warp records.[2][3] Store records away from heating sources, such as baseboards, open fires, pot belly stoves, heaters, etc. Also store away from damp areas, as humidity will provide a fertile ground for mold growth, which can destroy your limited edition covers.[4]
    • Keep records away from direct sunlight. Sunlight will damage records both from heat and UV rays.[5]
    • If you do have a warped record from overheating, you can try this remedy: Put it between two thick pieces of plate glass and place heavy books on top of the glass. When doing this, take the cardboard cover off but leave the protective sleeve in place.[6] While this may not work, given that the warped record is no longer any use to you, it's worth a try. If it doesn't mend, try making a Salvador Dali clock out of it!
  3. 3
    Store records vertically.[7] This is the best position to minimize damage - keep them upright and do not cram them too closely together in the storage container. Some collectors also insist on storing records in a relatively airtight container or cabinet as additional protection, along with regularly vacuuming around them to keep the records dust-free.[8][9]
  4. 4
    Handle with care
    Handle with care
    Handle records with care. Obviously they are fragile and will break when dropped. However, even holding them with care can cause problems as the oils from your fingers are left behind and build up over time, so it's important to hold records by the sides or the center label only.[10]
  5. 5
    Clean your vinyl records regularly. Keeping your records clean will minimize the potential for damage from dust and other particles which could result in scratching. For cleaning:
    • Obtain a soft, lint-free cleaning cloth. Soft cotton or muslin are good choices.
    • Dampen the cloth with a cleaning mixture made from 1 part isopropyl alcohol and 4 parts distilled water (20 percent isopropyl to 80 percent water).[11] Note: Do not use this mixture on 78s because they're made from shellac - see next step.
    • Wipe in a gentle circular motion from the edge to the middle or vice versa.
    • Allow to air dry.
  6. 6
    Take extra special care of shellac records. Any records made from shellac must not be cleaned using alcohol. Very early versions should be cleaned either professionally, or using professional cleaning solutions specifically made for this purpose because the earliest shellac records are very porous.[12][13] For a shellac record that you think is older and a little more resilient, try a gentle dish washing liquid that has been heavily diluted, and apply with a fine bristle record brush to lift the dirt. Don't get the label wet, at all. Rinse and pat dry with a towel, then air dry on a dish rack (which takes some time, so be patient).[14]
  7. 7
    Place cleaned records in a clean sleeve. That way, you won't transfer back any of the old dirt.[15]
  8. 8
    Ensure that your record player is in good condition. A poorly maintained record player can harm your records. Keep the needle sharp and keep the turntable clean as well.

edit Tips

  • Transfer records to digital recordings if you want to make sure that the music is never lost. That way, should the unthinkable happen (scratches or dropping and breaking), you still have a copy of the music.
  • Keep a database of your record collection using a computer program such as Access or even just Word (use tables). This is helpful when you want to know if you have certain songs. Records are not as easy as iPods!
  • If the labels on your records are coming off, be careful about gluing them back on. Look for acid-free glue - a local craft or book repair store may be able to advise on a suitable glue.
  • If you have more than just a few records to clean, say hundreds, use a vacuum record cleaning machine.
  • Most of the LPs and singles released from the early 1950s were made from polyvinyl materials.[16]

edit Warnings

  • Always try to avoid touching the grooves to prevent scratches. Pick up records by the outer edge.
  • Try to replace older plastic sleeves with modern acid-free versions to prevent acidity from negatively affecting the vinyl.

edit Things You'll Need

  • Soft cleaning cloth (cotton, muslin etc.)
  • Cleaning mixture: 1 part isopropyl alcohol and 4 parts distilled water
  • Acid-free dust covers
  • Suitable storage space that is both safe from being knocked and dust-protected

edit Related wikiHows

edit Sources and Citations

  1. Vinyl Record Storage,
  2. Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts, p. 620, (2001), ISBN 0-304-35624-7
  3. Vinyl Record Storage,
  4. Vinyl Record Storage,
  5. Keep Vinyls Away from Sunlight,
  6. Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts, p. 620, (2001), ISBN 0-304-35624-7
  7. Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts, p. 620, (2001), ISBN 0-304-35624-7
  8. Keep Vinyls Away from Sunlight,
  9. Vinyl Record Storage,
  10. Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts, p. 620, (2001), ISBN 0-304-35624-7
  11. Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts, p. 620, (2001), ISBN 0-304-35624-7
  12. Vinylville, Cleaning and caring for 78s and Cylinders,
  13., Converting 78rpm shellac records to digital,
  14. Vinylville, Cleaning and caring for 78s and Cylinders,
  15. Vinylville, Cleaning and caring for 78s and Cylinders,
  16. Care of LPs, 45s and other vinyl records,

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March 13, 2011 by Chris H

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My Old Records are in the Garage in Boxes somewhere under other boxes... I hope they are still ok. I haven't seen them in over 10 years. I didn't know that storing them upright is suppose to be better for them. Mine are all stacked in the Boxes. I have noticed in the past that putting the warped records at the bottom of the stack can help straighten them out a bit. The weight of the records and in my case other boxes can act like a press.


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