Contact Details
News  & Information
60 Nerina Street, Gardenia Park, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Phone: 051 5224319
Email address: johanlr@intekom.co.za
Proper Cleaning of Vinyl
Avoid Dust as much as possible, keep your records away from dust. Once dust settles into a record's grooves, the necessary dust removal can become expensive. Keep records in their sleeves and jackets when not in use, and store them properly (see Storing for helpful tips).Records will accumulate dust, though, as most things do! When that happens, you'll have to clean your records.
To clean vinyl (an LP): Use a solution up to 20% isopropyl alcohol (one part isopropyl alcohol to four parts water), and gently wipe the record in a spiral motion, using a soft cloth, from the center out to the edge. Pat it dry with a clean, anti-static cloth. A fine camel hair paint brush can remove visible dust particles.
To clean shellac (78s): Never use alcohol-based fluids-alcohol dissolves shellac. Water is a better choice, although water may cause some 78s to swell up due to their lamination. If you use a water-based cleaning solution (such as small amounts of diluted hand soap or dishwashing liquid dissolved in water) clean in the same manner as you would an LP. Rinse with clear water.
If you have the funds, clean your 78s with a vacuum cleaning machine (a professional record cleaning device). Good record cleaning machines can be purchased for as little as $200.
Cleaning a Record Cover
You may do more harm than good if you try to clean a record cover or its label, especially if it's a matte cover. If it's a glossy cover, one or several of the following cleaning tips may remove unsightly marks. (Warning: Attempt at your own risk.)
Remove dirt by wiping with a damp towel.
Erase markings with a rubber eraser.
Eliminate pen marks by spraying a small amount of hair spray on a cloth, then wiping on cover.
Remove tape, labels, or stickers by first heating them with a hair dryer.
Clean cover only after removing the record from inside.
Once again, try these only on a glossy cover-even then, you may damage your cover. Be careful.
Cleaning Your Equipment
To clean equipment:
Keep your turntable mat clean.
If you have a felt mat, don't try to wash it. Instead, use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
Consider playing records with the dust cover down, if you like the resulting sound. It can help prevent dust from settling on your turntable.
To clean the stylus, you can also buy stylus cleaning kits for about $25. While it was suggested to us that dipping a paint brush in isopropyl alcohol, gently moving the brush from the back of the stylus to the front, is a quick and easy method, this is actually quite hazardous. An astute reader pointed out that the alcohol can destroy the bond between the arm and the diamond.
Don't forget to clean your equipment as well as your record albums. A dusty turntable can ruin your meticulous record-cleaning efforts.
Playing your Records
Part of keeping your record collection in great shape is handling and playing each record with care.
Handling Records
Handle the vinyl by the edges or the label only-with clean hands, of course. Once you're through playing a record, put it back in its sleeve and cover. This will eliminate dust accumulation on the record, as well as unwanted fingerprints or scratches.
Remember, the less you touch a record, the cleaner it will be (and if it's a rare record, the higher its potential value). So hands off!
Dust Cover: Off or On?
This is mostly a matter of personal preference. Playing records with the dust cover down may prevent dust from settling on the turntable or the record, but some believe that leaving the cover down ruins the sound of the record. Our suggestion is to try it both ways to see which you prefer.
How do turntables work?
When a stylus moves through a record's grooves, an electric signal is created. Compared to signals emitted from CDs and cassettes, though, it's very weak. Older amplifiers compensated for this by having phono channels that boosted the signal, making it possible to listen to records.
Since it's not needed for CDs and cassette tapes, many modern amplifiers don't have this channel. As a result, the record's electric signal is too weak to be audible. By purchasing a pre-amp, though, you can give the signal the extra boost it needs before reaching the amp-and your records will sound great.
To avoid scratching records when playing, keep the dust cover down, walk softly near the turntable, and use the tone arm when lowering the stylus.
Storing your Collection
How you store your collection can make the difference between records in mint condition and dirty, dusty, warped albums that have only sentimental value. It doesn't take much time to set up a good storage area for your vinyl, and as time passes, you'll be glad you did.
Some general rules for record storage:
Always stand your records upright, on their edges. Records stored horizontally eventually bend and warp.
Never place records in direct sunlight or heat; this too will cause them to warp. (When transporting records, avoid leaving them in a hot vehicle!)
Keep records in a cool, dry place (not the basement or garage, which tend to be moist and damp).
Ensure that your storage area is clean.
Purchase paper or anti-static record sleeves to reduce dust accumulation.
Shelving Units
LPs weigh approximately 35 to 45 pounds per shelf foot, while 78s weigh even more. If your shelving isn't sturdy, vinyl recordings can easily cause shelves to collapse. When choosing shelving for your collection, pick a material that won't bend, like steel or oak.
Records should be stored at a temperature no warmer than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but are safe in temperatures down to 45 degrees.
Equally important, if not more so, is temperature stability. Don't let your storage area temperature fluctuate more than five or ten degrees, or you'll eventually ruin your records.
High humidity is bad for your collection, as moisture can cause records and jackets to grow mold. Avoid storing your albums where the relative humidity is higher than 50%.
As with temperature, don't allow the relative humidity to fluctuate more than five or ten percent. Your records will last longer if they are stored in an area with stable temperature and humidity.
Record Restoration
No matter how diligently you work to prevent damage to your records, some of them might already be warped.
What do you do if you have a warped record that you'd really like to play? You can try to salvage a piece of warped vinyl, but beware: attempt this only at your own risk. It's easy to warp vinyl, but very difficult to un-warp. Restoration attempts may warp your LPs further or even destroy them-but they have also been known to work.
Un-warping methods:
Put the warped record between two pieces of glass to form a "glass sandwich." Apply gentle heat by placing the sandwich in the oven under low heat (no more than 150 F). If it's a nice, warm day, you can also place it outside, in the sunlight.
If you can find two pieces of clean, non-stick, smooth metal, try placing the record between them and ironing at a low setting
Playing warped records
You can find devices that will allow you to play warped records, but bear in mind that nothing can fix a bell-shaped record! And even a slightly warped record will sound slurred.
Some suggestions:
Disc clamps push the record against the turntable platter, forcing the LP to flatten (and subsequently play). But, they can place stress on the turntable and may damage it.
Spindle clamps lock over the spindle and are far less damaging.
Air pumps, generally found on high-end turntables, create suction that pulls the record flat onto the turntable's platter, but they are costly.
Use caution when attempting to fix or play your warped records.