5 Tips to Keep Vinyl Records Safe
Our vinyl records are special. Not only do they let us enjoy flawless music but they are also very memorable. There is a certain romance associated with listening to music on a turntable and that is how the vinyl experience differs from digital music.
As a vinyl enthusiast, we are sure you can understand how heartbreaking it can be to lose a lovely label to damage, be it superficial scratches, dust stains or warps. Vinyl records might be timeless but they are also sensitive.
So, if you want to make your vinyl records last long, you need to take care of them. Here are 5 tips on keeping your vinyl records safe.
- Handle Vinyl with Care
First and foremost, learn to handle your vinyl records properly. The shiny surface of your vinyl record, also called the ‘reflective’ surface, is very sensitive because it stores music in the form of minuscule grooves.
That is why you are not supposed to touch the reflective surface of a record, not even lightly. Even the gentlest touch could leave fingerprints on the record. If your hands are not clean, you might end up leaving dust and grease residues all over your record and that would ruin their audio quality. Besides, your nails might leave surface scratches.
In order to handle a record properly, either place your fingers on the edge of the label or the mid-hole.
- Follow Vinyl Storage Guidelines
Just like fingerprints, exposure to dust, damp and direct sunlight can wreak havoc on your records. That is why vinyl storage is extremely important, especially if you are stowing your records for a long period of time.
Avoid storing your records near a source of heat. While some might think storing vinyl records in the basement is a great idea, you should generally refrain from storing your records in damp and mildewed places to preserve their optimal output.
Similarly, you should not store your records in sunny corners of your house. The uppermost surface of your record is photosensitive so direct sunlight can damage your vinyl. Instead, find a dark or covered space to store your labels.
- Say No to Paper Sleeves
This might surprise you but if you want to keep your records in prime condition, do not use paper sleeves. This is even more important if you plan on storing your vinyl labels for a long time.
Paper sleeves, unlike pp sleeves, have a harsh surface that can leave scratches on your vinyl. Over time, paper sleeves begin crumbling into dust and that puts your vinyl at risk.
Instead, use poly or pp sleeves which are a safer option because they are made of anti-static plastic which neither leaves paper scratches nor crumbles.
- Do Not Store Records Horizontally
When it comes to vinyl storage, storing records horizontally is a common mistake but one that can be fatal for your records.
To understand this, we need to consider the make of your vinyl labels. You see, vinyl records are heavier than other music storage mediums such as discs. So, when you stack them atop each other, it builds up uneven pressure on the surface of your records and renders then unplayable.
To keep your vinyl labels from getting warped, try storing them in an upright position (similar to how you keep books on a shelf) instead of placing them horizontally. You can even consider getting a specialised vinyl storage box that will keep your records upright and safe – and this leads us nicely to our final tip for vinyl storage.
- Invest in a Vinyl Storage Box
If you have a larger collection that is constantly spilling off the shelves, consider storing them in a compactly shaped vinyl storage box. Vinyl storage boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they can store from 50 to 500 records. The interior is often lined with a softer material to prevent scratches.
Vinyl storage boxes are a cool way of organising your records and keeping them safe from sunlight, dust, and damp. Besides, they look cute, blend in well to your surroundings and might even fetch you compliments.