How To Look After Your Vinyl: A Simple Guide

Vinyl has a special place in most music lover’s hearts. The format has carried some of the world’s best loved music and artists to legendary status and has remained the purist’s choice amidst the wealth of new digital music technology.

Vinyl is enjoying a much loved revival with sales increasing 30% in 2015 and with the globally recognised Record Store Day vinyl certainly looks like it’s here to stay.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s

Adele - 21

Adele – 21

U2 - Boy

U2 – Boy

Madonna - Erotica

Madonna – Erotica

The classic vinyl format is being re-discovered by a new generation of music fans and to enjoy the analogue gems for years to come vinyl needs to be lovingly cared for. This is especially paramount for vinyl collectors as some copies can increase rapidly in value over the years, so taking care of your vinyl can be as important as maintaining a classic car!

20 Of The Most Valuable Records Ever [NME]

Top 50 Most Collectable Vinyl [The Telegraph]

So to help you keep you vinyl in mint condition here is some easy, straight-forward advice on how to look after your vinyl.

Vinyl Storage

So how do you look after your vinyl? The first step is to make sure it is stored correctly. This is key as vinyl is more likely to spend more time stored away than it played. Keeping vinyl stored in a clean, dry and humidity-free environment will ensure the it doesn’t warp, bend or collect dirt which will damage the vinyl and in some cases make it unplayable.

Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

You need to make sure your vinyl is not leant on and is stored vertically. A well-built shelf or bookcase in which you can store blocks of around 15 with solid dividers will help keep the vinyl from leaning over. Again make sure it’s not by a window or heat source that can damage the vinyl over time.

Vinyl is best kept in its jacket and sleeve when not in use. This protects from unwanted scratches and dust which affects the quality of playback. Generally the inner sleeve should be the inexpensive white paper kind as this protects the vinyl better than the plastic ones which can over time permanently damage the vinyl.

You may choose to use additional plastic covers to help protect the jacket as this can wear and tear over time due to inserting/re-inserting the vinyl or removing/placing on the shelf.

Handling and Cleaning Vinyl

When handling vinyl care should be taken not to touch the playing surface but to handle the vinyl by the edges and inner label. This decreases the chance of scratching the surface and accumulating dirt and fingerprints.

When playing vinyl it’s advised that you use a lid on your record player (if it has one) to prevent dust and dirt collecting on the vinyl and the stylus.

Even with these simple vinyl care tips you are inevitably going to gain some dirt, dust or a fingerprint or two on your vinyl. You ideally want to avoid a build-up of grime as this will damage the stylus overt time.

This can be done with a vinyl brush to clear out the grooves of any stubborn dirt. You can also clean your vinyl with a mixture of distilled water and vinyl cleaning solution and then wipe the surface using a microfiber cloth to clear away any filth.

There are some other cleaning contraptions available that will deep clean your vinyl if you are more of a vinyl fanatic but they can be expensive and tend to need maintaining.

With the right care and attention vinyl can be a rewarding way to listen to music and with most favouring the physical format and nostalgia that is attached it should remain one of the most traditional ways of enjoying music.

You can view our range of top vinyl releases here – http://www.hive.co.uk/vinyl/bestsellers

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