There are many enemies of vinyl records collectors and DJ’s should be aware. In this short video, we are going to cover a few pitfalls whilst trying to protect your treasured vinyl.
The Enemies of Vinyl
#1 Methylated Spirit
In the 70’s, Methylated Spirits were thought to be the ideal cleaning fluid for record surfaces. It was not until years down the line, that the irreversible effects of this fluid became apparent. Methylated spirits first create a bloom / fogging effect on the surface and then the vinyl grooves start the breakdown, deteriorating and affecting the sound quality.
DO NOT ever use Methylated spirits to clean vinyl. The effect is total devastation of the playing surface over the years as a slow-burn degrading takes place.
#2 Soft Drinks Like Coca-Cola & Beer
DJs especially should be aware of the nasty effects of sugary drinks on vinyl. Before trying to clean a spillage of these drinks off. A soapy water bath and a gentle soak for 3 or 4 days (depending on how long the solution has been on the vinyl and what drink it is) is required to loosen the substance to avoid any further damage occurring in the clean off.
Our Simple Solution
If you do end up with a stained vinyl, fill a container like the one pictured below with some soapy water and place the stained section of your vinyl record in it.
It’s crucial to use soapy water, not just plain. Otherwise, you’ll find it pretty impossible to remove the Coca-Cola or beer from your record.
Important: Don’t place the record label in the soapy water as this can cause it to peel off. Be very careful when doing so to protect the label as much as possible.
Leave your record in this position for approximately 3 to 4 days and over this period you should see the drink stains dissolve.
Good to Know: The time required to soak your vinyl depends on how long the solution has been on the record and the type of sugary drink that was spilt.
By following this method, you’re then able to place it on a cleaning machine after it’s been soaked to further help remove all of the product.
#3 Thick Polyester Sleeves
Avoid the thicker variety that has a noxious aroma when new. Listen to the hazards of storing your recording in these sleeves and how they are stored.
DO NOT store tightly or store in a box with a closed lid or an area with poor air circulation.
#4 Hidden Staples in Record Sleeves
Whilst buying old vinyl, especially 50’s and 60’s records, always give the sleeve a quick check over for staples used to seal the sleeve.
Pulling records out of the sleeves past the staples can leave a nasty gouge on the playing surface. Remove staples by clipping the top corners with scissors, the safest and easiest way.
Our Simple Solution
Using a pair of scissors, you can cut the corner of the paper sleeve where the staple has been added. This will easily remove it without the added risk of hurting yourself whilst trying to remove it with your hands.
#5 Repairing Hairline Cracks With Superglue
Follow the instructions on the video above carefully and do not rush. Superglue is immovable from record grooves and should never go anywhere near the playing surface. Otherwise, your record is ruined forever. The first coat of super-glue onto to paper is THIN otherwise there is a danger one you dip the edge of the record on it to make contact. Too thick and it could spill up the sides of the run in the groove.
Remember, the Super-glue paper combination transforms the paper into a ROCK HARD material, effectively meshing the weak area with a “bridge” stronger than the vinyl itself. We don’t want to remove the paper/glue brace with a scalpel, we are just cosmetically trimming the edges. Be extra careful that the scalpel does not touch the vinyl at any time. Do not rush this procedure.
It goes without saying but superglue is the number one enemy of vinyl. Unfortunately, if you get this substance on your vinyl (assuming you aren’t using it to repair a hairline crack), you’re inevitably going to have a devalued, damaged record. Simple.
#6 Pressure On The Record
Putting pressure on your record collection, such as your body weight, is highly likely to result in broken vinyl. Not only this but looking through them aggressively or packing them too tight can also have the same effect.
When they’re packed closely together in a DJ box, just the shock of dropping the box can cause your records to get hairline cracks. Packing them so they feel slightly loose and have some movement will mean if they’re dropped, the air in between them will cushion the blow.
Tip: Add a thin layer of cardboard at the front and back of the DJ box to help protect the vinyl collection both when it’s being stored and when it’s being transported to DJ gigs, etc.
#7 Storing Them At An Angle
When getting song requests, DJ’s often tend to stand their vinyl records at an angle so they know which records they’re reaching for next. It’s argued that this helps them keep their collection’s neatly organised in the correct alphabetical order. However, storing them like this means that they can easily be knocked and cracked by people asking for requests.
Our Simple Solution
Take them out of the DJ box and rest them on a clean side in the order you wish to play them. Sadly this might mean more time organising them at the end of the night, although it could potentially save thousands of pounds and keep your rare vinyl records in prime quality.
In summary, avoid these common pitfalls and you’ll protect your treasured, valuable vinyl.