Cleaning your Vinyl Records


Vinyl records tend to wear after some time, but you shouldn’t be alarmed – there’s a way to prevent the damages. Cleaning your vinyl records on daily basis will keep them safe from potential damages, and it can easily be done – whether it’s by hand or by some sort of tools.
Since cleaning vinyl records isn’t rocket science, it’s hard to say which way of cleaning them is the best. Some people think that using water can be good while others state that it’s “lethal” for your vinyl records.

There are also some people that state that vinyl records should be scrubbed for dust and debris before you actually use them, but others disagree, stating that scrubbing your vinyl records may actually damage them significantly. Anyhow, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to clean your vinyl records, so let’s get down to it.

Cleaning the vinyl record by hand

The easiest (and most affordable) way of cleaning your vinyl records is by hand. You’ll have to use some other items, but, basically, all you need is some distilled water, a scrubbing tool, and some towels.

To clean the record by hand, you’ll need to follow these instructions:

  • Gather the necessary tools and items

As I’ve mentioned before, you’ll need water (warm or distilled, even though distilled water is best), a basin, dish soap, record cleaning pad (or brush), and some towels. Most of these items are already a part of a common household (with the exception of the record cleaning pad – this you’ll have to purchase before you begin).
Each of these items are necessary – there are items that are not on the list which can significantly speed up the process but are not on the list, such as rubber gloves, washcloths, liquid soap, and such.

  • Prepare and distill the water (or buy distilled water)

Even though records are waterproof, cold water may tighten them up (figuratively speaking). Always make sure that the water is hot (or distilled) before you start the cleaning process.

  • Wash the records

Apply soap to your records after drenching them in hot/distilled water. You should use the record cleaning pad for this, as it’s specifically designed to graze the records in such a way that it doesn’t harm them. After you’ve washed the record you wanted (or records), you can proceed to the next step.

  • Rinse your vinyl records

Rinsing the records can be done with cold or tap water. If you’re wondering why you can use cold water during the rinsing process and not during the washing process, the answer is simple – you’ll immediately dry them after you rinse them.

  • Dry your vinyl records

Drying your records can be performed with a towel or with two washcloths. Whatever you chose, it’s important that you do it as soon as you’re finished rinsing.

  • Storage

Storage is definitely the most important part when it comes to the preservation of your records. If you want to avoid unnecessary damages to your vinyl records, you should always tuck them safely inside sleeves (paper coverings). Some records come with these once you buy them, but if they don’t, you need to make these sleeves (basically, just wrap them in paper when they’re dry).

Cleaning your vinyl records with a record cleaning machine

If you’re uncertain whether you can perform the cleaning of your records by hand (or if you don’t want to bother with the entire process), you can always simply buy a record cleaning machine. This is definitely a more expensive solution, but it’s more efficient.

Record cleaning machines are automated machines that will perform the entire cleaning process on their own when the “on” button is pressed. All you have to do is simply insert the record in the slot and push the button. Record cleaning machines are somewhat new, and most people are accustomed to cleaning their own vinyl records by hand.


It’s up to you to decide whether you’ll clean your records with a record cleaning machine or by hand. Some people don’t want to waste their money on these contraptions (as they’re definitely more expensive when compared to the other solution), others enjoy washing their records, but the choice is yours.

The fact still remains – cleaning records is easy, and it can be done by literally anyone. It’s up to you to decide how the cleaning process will go, how much money you want to spend, and how much time you will waste in the process.