Proper handling of records is a major task that many vinyl turntable owners pay little attention to. I will tell you why it is so important, how to hold vinyl records, and how to store them in this article. It’s not time-consuming or difficult, but you will have to learn simple rules to make your collection last.
Why is it so important to handle records properly?
Vinyl records are fragile and can easily break or get scratched if not stored and handled correctly. Understanding how to store records properly is important, and I’ll talk about it later. At the same time, as soon as you take the record out of the sleeve, it is instantly affected by external factors (dust and dirt settle on the surface unnoticeably to you), and the natural grease from your fingers will always leave invisible traces on the surface. You won’t know when or how your record went bad or why it started making hoarse sounds or missing parts of tunes. If you value your collection, want it to last a long time, and want all the tracks to sound as they did when you first bought them, you need to keep the surface clean.
How to hold a record properly?
You don’t have to wear gloves or use improvised means to hold vinyl records properly. It is sufficient to observe regular hygiene by washing your hands before using and adhering to the following rules:
- Take the record out of the protective sleeve. Insert your hand inside the sleeve, avoiding touching the surface of the record, place your fingers on the center label (you can put your finger through the center hole to make it more secure), and use your free finger to grip the edge of the label. Then, pull it out of the sleeve.
- Without touching the record’s surface and holding it by the edges with your finger pressed against it, move the record and place it on the turntable spindle.
- Purchase an antistatic brush. Before and after playing a record, use this brush to scrub the record’s surface of fine, inconspicuous dust.
- After completing playback in the same gentle manner as described in paragraphs 1 and 2, place the record back in the sleeve. Take your time, and don’t make any sudden movements so as not to drop, scratch, or break it.
How do I store my vinyl records?
As mentioned earlier, handling it in the correct manner will help you preserve your collection for a long time. And how you store your records is also an important factor in this.
- First, keep your records clean. Keep the surface clean with a special brush or cloth, removing all the smallest dust, fibers, and lint. Use a brush before placing it on the turntable or in a protective sleeve. For more serious soiling, special solutions should be used depending on how often you listen to the record. Once every six months, for example, spray the solution on the surface (not on the label) and wipe it down with a microfiber.
- For storage, you should use special cases (sleeves and jackets). Your record will not be exposed to dust if you put it in a sleeve and then in a cardboard case. Keep in mind that the openings of the sleeve and the case should not overlap. To keep the jacket for a long time, it is also better to put it in the outer sleeve.
- The records should be stored vertically; otherwise, they may deform over time. Not to mention horizontal storage, it is not even advisable to stack them at an incline.
- It is not recommended to put the needle in the grooves yourself to listen to it from a certain place. This can deform the tracks and, eventually, the entire record.