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how to clean a record
Matthew Paul Argall

How to Clean a Record the Right Way

Here at Rocks Off, our vinyl record collection is constantly growing. Over the years, we’ve tested out numerous different ways of how to clean a record and have finally settled on what we think is the most simple and effective method.

Best Way to Clean Vinyl Records

If you plan on starting a vinyl record collection, learning how to clean a record safely and keeping your records clean is one of the most important things and habits to start doing to ensure the longevity of your collection. Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

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  • Anti-Static Record Brush: We recommend the Boundless Audio Record Cleaner Brush. It’s really good at removing dust and dirt without damaging the vinyl. Its anti-static property eliminates static charges which attract dust in the first place.
  • Velvet Record Brush and Record Cleaner Solution: We recommend this Record Cleaner Kit by Big Fudge. It includes a velvet brush and cleaning spray which is perfect for cleaning into those deep grooves. It also includes a stylus brush to remove debris from the record needle safely.

Step 1

The first thing you want to do is get your anti-static brush. With your brush, you want to hold your record and run the brush along the grooves. Make sure to run the brush around the record in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion, moving with the grooves.

Alternatively, you can place the record on your turntable. Then lightly place your vinyl brush on the record and spin the record with your hand. After a couple of rotations, slowly move the brush towards the outside of the record away from the center, taking the debris with it.

If you’re using the Boundless Audio record cleaner brush we recommend, move the handle side to side to clean the bristles.

If you’re buying records from thrift shops that are very dirty, make sure to give the record an initial clean with soap and water before using the record brush.

Tips on Using an Anti-Static Record Brush

  • Always keep the brush perpendicular to the record’s groove and held upright.
  • Never touch the bristles, always hold the brush by the body and handle.
  • Always store the brush in a dust-free case with the handle covering the bristles.
  • Do not apply a lot of pressure on the brush and record. The record brush is most efficient when it’s not being pushed down into the grooves. Minimal pressure is ideal.
  • Do not use the anti-static record brush on very dirty records. Clean with soap and water first.

Step 2

Once you’re finished removing the dust and debris with the anti-static record brush, it’s time to use your velvet record brush and record cleaning solution. Again, you can place your record on your turntable for this step.

With your record cleaner solution, apply several drops or sprays to the edge of the velvet vinyl brush. With the brush in one hand, apply it to the record and move it in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion around the record. Or rotate the record with your other hand keeping the brush in one place. You can apply a bit more pressure with this brush

If you’re doing this step with the record on your turntable, make sure not to get the turntable mat wet with any of the record cleaning solution.

The record cleaning solution will typically contain a little bit of alcohol in it which will help to clean deep down into the grooves.

Step 3

It’s best to let the record dry by itself after using the record cleaning solution. However, if you want to help speed up the process, you can repeat step 1 using the anti-static brush. Also, any kind of dust off cleaner will speed up the process.

Once dry, place the vinyl into a clean record sleeve and store away properly. We encourage using the anti-static record brush before each use to clean away any kind of debris that your record may have collected whilst in storage.

We hope you have found our method of how to clean a record useful. Happy spinning!

Further Reading: Best Sounding Albums on Vinyl: 10 Records You Need to Own