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5 Reasons Why You Should Clean Your Vinyl Records

Vinyl records offer a unique listening experience, but they also require care that other formats don’t. If you’ve ever wondered if cleaning your collection was necessary or worth the effort, here are five reasons why it’s a good idea to clean vinyl records.

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blue vinyl record on turntable resting on top of bllue album cover

Image credit: Jurian Kersten

1. Your New Records Are Dirty and They’ll Only Get Dirtier

If you aren’t buying many used records, you may think that these reasons don’t apply to you. Unfortunately, they do. The manufacturing process for records involves a lot of machines and humans, so it’s no surprise that factory-sealed records can have some dust or residue on them. If you want to prevent your brand new records from potentially skipping or having surface noise (now or down the line), you’re going to want to give them a quick clean. Otherwise, your records will never reach their full sonic potential.

white turntable and black headphones resting on top of a cabinet holding vinyl records

Image credit: The Retro Store

2. Enjoy a Better Listening Experience

Many claim to love the cracks and pops often associated with vinyl, but there is a line. Once you cross that line, surface noise can become distracting and downright disruptive. By using a record cleaning brush, record cleaner and cloth, or a record cleaning machine, you’ll be able to fully embrace the warmth and transparency that vinyl and a good set of speakers can provide. Otherwise, the record listening experience may become increasingly frustrating as dirt can work deep into the grooves.

closeup of a turntable cartridge and needle on a vinyl record

Image credit: James Sutton

3. Spare Your Stylus From Unnecessary Wear

A dirty record can impact other components of your stereo setup, most notably the stylus on your turntable. Your needle picks up dirt and dust and this dirt can spread to other records. The buildup that accumulates on your needle can also cause your records to sound muffled and muddy. If you encounter this issue, cleaning your records will help, but cleaning your stylus will also work wonders.

man cleaning a vinyl record with a spray bottle of cleaning solution

Image credit: Discogs

4. Extend the Life of Your Records

A dirty record can impact other components of your stereo setup, most If you care for your vinyl properly, you will enjoy a lifetime of listening. Records naturally have a longer life than tapes and CDs, but they aren’t impervious to scratches, humidity, direct sunlight, or dirt. Suitable storage and handling can address most of these issues, but cleaning your vinyl is the only way to cut through the grime. If a record is dirty enough, it may become unlistenable and that LP or 7-inch you love just had its life cut short.

massive square bookcase setup holding thousands of vinyl records

Image credit: Nathan Van Egmond

5. Preserve the Resale Value of Your Vinyl Collection

Taking your records to your grave may sound like a great idea in theory, but selling them in your old age and funding part of your retirement also sounds pretty great. Besides, will you still be blasting those Slayer records when you’re elderly? Probably not, so it may be a good idea to start taking care of those records now. That way, you can get top dollar if you decide to part with them. A dirty record that hasn’t been cleaned may create more back and forth during the selling process or decrease the overall value. Showcase the condition of your records by making sure they are nice and clean.

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