5 Rules for Caring For Your Vinyl

Caring for your vinyl.  You can only play one album at a time, so even if you’re listening for hours every day, your albums will spend most of their time in storage. So, let’s start there.

1 – Cool and Dry.
Seems obvious, but it always has to be said. Never store your vinyl in direct sunlight or near any heat source like hot air vents or radiators. I’ve seen some storage systems that have beautiful lighting built in. Be cautious with such lighting as older incandescent lights can produce a significant amount of heat that can really build up in enclosed areas. Newer LED lights are much lower wattage and generate less heat.

Be aware that most audio equipment produces some heat, so avoid having your vinyl stored above audio equipment.

Moisture damage has destroyed many a great vinyl collection. This has been especially true of collections that are stored in basements. If you must store your albums in a damp basement, consider the following:

  • keep your storage crates elevated off the floor. Even a few inches can allow for some air flow around albums.
  • don’t store in cardboard boxes. Cardboard tends to retain moisture and creates an excellent breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  • consider a dehumidifier in the space where you store your vinyl.
  • don’t jam your albums together. Give them a bit of room to breath.

2 – Store Upright
Never stack your albums. The added weight on the albums on the bottom of the pile can damage them. In addition, it makes it difficult to retrieve your next play if its part way down the stack.  When storing in the upright position, don’t lean your albums as this may cause warping.  If you need to, buy a book end to keep your albums upright.

3 – Solid Storage
Again, this may seem obvious, but I’d be remiss in not stating it. Flimsy plastic crates just don’t give your albums the support they need for optimal longevity. I’ve seen domino collapses when the weakest link of a pyramid of cheap plastic boxes finally gives way.

Of course, all of the above can easily be fulfilled by Vinyl Cubes.

4 – Sleeves
Protective sleeves, both inner and outer, are a must. Most vinyl comes in a paper inner sleeve. If your buying used, the inner paper sleeves may have been long ago discarded. Invest in new HDPE (High-density polyethylene ) lined paper sleeves are preferred. You can order 100 of these nice Japanese manufactured sleeves for about thirty cents each.

Outer plastic sleeves are important too to protect the art work on your album covers. Many good used record stores automatically slip every album into one of these. These will also run around thirty cents per album.

5 – Handling
Always handle your vinyl by the edges. NEVER touch the grooves with your fingers. Oils from your skin eventually build up and cause deterioration of your vinyl. For the truly obsessive, you could purchase cotton gloves designed for those who handle fine jewelry or optics.

If your turntable has a lid, close it when an album is on the platter to limit the amount of air born dust that may land on the album.

Check these articles on inexpensive record cleaning methods and record cleaning machines.