Vinyl Record Crate

Dimitris Kolyris | Dreamstime.com

Ten Reasons Why Your Vinyl Records Are In Bad Shape

Thankfully, you can take these easy steps to make sure your vinyl is in good shape.

February 20, 2018

Are you having trouble getting that favorite record of yours to play and you don’t know why? Vinyl records can be a lot of fun to collect and play, but they can also be very sensitive. If you don’t treat them carefully and use them the right way, your favorite gem by the Rolling Stones could stop playing completely.

Should that be the case with records in your collection, this list is here to help with ten reasons your vinyl records are in bad shape.

Stacking Your Vinyl Records 

Stacking is a major no-no. Records on top of each other could lead to warping. This occurs when the vinyl is exposed to excessive heat or ultraviolet radiation. Consider the weight a bunch of records would cause on the albums at the bottom of the pile. This lazy method can give the records cracks and scuff marks. Not to mention you can ruin your favorite album cover when tons of other records are on top of it. Seriously, stick to the traditional bookshelf way of placing records upright.

Incorrectly Cueing Up A Song On The Record 

Even if you have the hands of a surgeon, it’s not a good idea to try cuing up a song with your hands. In order to not harm the record or your needle, it’s best to just use the cuing lever on the turntable. The needle should patiently fall in the grooves of the Vinyl. You can achieve this by cuing up a song just before the music begins to play. If you are hearing a popping sound on the record, it could be from drastically lifting or placing the needle on or off the record. You might as well play through the entire side of an album to be safe.

Touching Records With Fingers 

It doesn’t matter if your hands are clean, the playing surface of the record can’t be touched by hands or especially fingers. This effects the sound quality and causes dust to gather when the oil of your body transfers onto the record. Hold it by the outer edges and you will be fine. If a friend touches the surface with his fingers, clean it right way using an approved record cleaning product.

Using Cloths Or Material That Cause Scratches 

No matter how much you want to, don’t ever try to clean a record with your T-shirt. Even a dry cloth is a bad idea, because this can provide scuffs and scratches. What you can use is a record cleaning brush made of carbon fiber to do a light polish.

Using Non-Approved Liquids 

In part two of what not to clean your records with, it’s important to make sure you are using approved cleaning fluids. It doesn’t matter if a blog recommends using baby oil, you should only use a liquid product to clean vinyl records if the bottle says you can. This is because a chemical reaction could occur and your favorite record will be out of commission forever.

Wet Playing A Record

Some people believe that putting a certain type of liquid on a record as it plays will limit the amount of pops and crackles when listening to it. This is known as wet playing a record. However, the liquid is forced deeper into the grooves of the vinyl and can absorb dirt in the record causing it to sound worse than before. This can also be harmful to the cantilever, needle and turntable.

Picking Up A Record Before The Platter Stops

As record aficionados know, the revolving platform the record sits on is called the platter. Unfortunately, you can cause serious damage to a side of the record if you attempt to pick it up while the turntable platter is still spinning. That is why it is important to make sure the platter has come to a definite stop before picking up the record.

Tape On The Cover

This reason is dedicated to the album cover of the record. One of the most attractive things about a vinyl record can be the cover. If the cover starts to rip or tear, some people will try using scotch or packaging tape to keep it together. This will make the cover look worse as time goes by under the applied tape with coloring and gooey substances. A better idea to preserve your favorite cover is to put it in a protective sleeve known as a poly outer sleeve.

Dropping Records In Sleeves

Speaking of covers and sleeves, one of the ways these get damaged is when people carelessly let the record fall in to the sleeve or jacket of the record. This is what causes sleeves and covers to split in the first place. The safest way is to softly slide the record in to the cover or sleeve horizontally.

Leaving Records Out Of Sleeves 

Do you have a friend who leaves his or her vinyl records just sitting there next to the turntable without a sleeve? Unless they want the record to attract dust and dirt, this is a bad idea. Make sure the record is put away after listening to it. If it is not being played at the time, it’s always best to keep the record in a sleeve.