If you have vinyl records at home, they will be old classics that are probably dear to you. Most of the music on vinyl records is now available of CDs but for a lot of people, there is nothing to beat the charm of listening to great old music in its original form. However, vinyl records are far more delicate that CDs and need to be carefully looked after and cleaned regularly to keep them in good condition. Playing a dirty record can both damage the record as well as the stylus of your record player.
* Dust off the records before and after each use. Make sure you use a soft cloth to gently wipe the surface. If you have a large collection to maintain its worthwhile buying a carbon fibre record cleaning brush available from music stores or shops that sell old records. Always wipe the record in a circular motion along the grooves. Do not rub too hard – you could damage or even break the record. Do not blow on the record – the moisture in your breath may get trapped in the grooves and collect dirt.
* To clean really dirty records, the best option is to use a special record domestic cleaning spray or solution. However, even these may affect the record if used to often so clean only when you must. Individual brands have their own usage instructions that should be followed meticulously.
* If record cleaning solutions and sprays are not available, you can make the solution yourself. Using a clean plastic or glass bowl make a solution of 80% distilled water and 20% isopropyl alcohol. Use only distilled water since tap water contains minerals that can affect the record surface. And use only isopropyl alcohol as any other form of alcohol will be too strong and could ruin the record.
* First wipe the dirt off the surface as mentioned above.
* Dip a piece of clean soft lint free cloth in the solution so that it becomes damp but not dripping wet. Use this cloth to wipe the record surface in a circular motion along the grooves. Rub any stained areas gently to loosen the dirt.
* Make sure no moisture comes into contact with the labels. This may loosen the glue and cause the label to fall off.
* Once both sides of the record are clean, wipe them dry with a clean soft cloth and then place it on a soft cloth to air dry completely.
Remember to always handle a record only by the edges and never to touch the record surface.
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