How to clean really dirty vinyl records

Description: I buy thousands of vinyl records a year with a lot being almost beyond salvaging but with the right cleaning methods most of the records can be saved either for resell or copying to another format.

Things you will need: large sink or flat container. Mild liquid soap, running water source with hot water available. Large soft towels. Vintage 45 record wire holder (optional), soft toothbrush vacuum cleaner with soft brush.

Step 1: You will need about two inches of warm water in one side of the sink with a small amount of a liquid dish detergent in it. Make sure you have two or more large towels available to dry the vinyl immediately after washing. Have a warm mixture of water running in the second bowl at all times.

Step 2: Always inspect the vinyl first to check for loose dust or things such as paint in the grooves. The dust can be removed using the vacuum cleaner with the soft brush attached. Vinyl with paint splatters in the grooves can be used for target practice or as a art base medium.

Step 3: This procedure is not recommended for expensive records or some records with labels that may come loose or become discolored. After 30 years I have found only a few that will do this but one that will and should be done carefully are the older Bluenote records. First immerse the record completely into the water and depending on the extend of the dirt either use the toothbrush once the vinyl is wet or a soft rag wet with the water solution. DO NOT LEAVE THE RECORD IN THE WATER AS THIS WILL ALLOW TO MUCH WATER TO SOAK INTO THE LABELS.

Step4: Once you have cleaned both sides of the record move it over to the flow of warm water and do a quick rinsing of both sides, removing all the soap suds and residue. Then quickly dry the labels on the record by wrapping a large cloth towel around the record and patting the labels dry. DO NOT RUB THE LABELS. Then you can start drying the vinyl part of the record. Once dried place in the 45 record holder if you have one, if not I have used a hair dryer to make sure the labels are dried before replacing the record back into the inner sleeve and cover.

Step 5: This process will work on records that normally would be destroyed due to excessive amounts of dirt in the grooves. Not used by everyone and shunned by the experts but it will save a junk record for transferring the music to another format such as the computer to clean up the sound and will really clean up the sound of the music on record dramatically.

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