How to Treat Your Vinyl with Respect

Elana Marcus, Staff Writer

Vinyl records are not just for audiophiles anymore.  In recent years, vinyl has made a significant comeback among music lovers.  Many high school students have caught on the trend of listening to music the “old fashioned way”, and with it comes responsibility.

Unlike CDs, vinyl records require a certain degree of care, as well as passion.  Vinyl requires a good cleaning every now and then, and must be stored a certain way to avoid damage.  If you’re a music lover on a budget, there are many alternatives to purchasing records for $20 a piece.  Here is some advice for purchasing and maintaining your vinyl.

Cleaning Your Vinyl:

It is important to keep your vinyl clean to avoid buildup of dust, mold, and fingerprints.  How often you clean your vinyl depends on how often you use it.  If you don’t play your records that often, swiping them off with a soft cloth every so often should do the trick.  If your vinyl accumulates dust or mold, it is recommended that you buy a record cleaning brush.  These sell for around $15 on Amazon.

“If you’re just a casual collector, you just have to generally be gentle with it and you’re fine,” Andrew Siegel, senior, said.

If you play your records more often and require more cleaning, it is worth purchasing a record cleaning kit.  These usually come with a brush or a cloth and a cleaning solution, depending on which one you decide to buy.  These sell for around $15 on Amazon, so it is more worth it to buy a kit than just the cleaning brush.

If this sounds like a lot of work and you have a lot of money to spend, you can buy a record cleaning machine, but be warned, they’re not cheap.  A cheaper one will cost around $80 on Amazon, and the more expensive ones can cost thousands of dollars.

Storing Your Vinyl:

The way you store your vinyl plays a crucial role in preserving the lifespan of your records.  It is important to store your vinyl standing up, and not stacked on top of each other.  This can cause your records to become warped, which, in the record playing world, means bent.

“Make sure to stack vinyl vertically, I like a bookshelf, and not flat, so the plastic doesn’t bend or warp,” Andrew said.

A mildly warped record can have a strange sound, and a severely warped record can’t be played at all.  Vinyl should also be stored away from sunlight and in a cool, dry climate, as this can also cause records to become warped or melted.

Where to Buy Vinyl:

Here in Wellington, there aren’t any official record stores, but you can still purchase new records at stores like Barnes and Noble and Best Buy.

I’ll sometimes buy from a traditional music store, such as F.Y.E., but they often have a limited selection and it’s really expensive,” Andrew said.

While there aren’t any record stores in Wellington, there are some in Palm Beach County outside of Wellington.  If you want to get the real record store experience without traveling far from home, go to Top Five Records in Lake Worth or Confusion Records in West Palm Beach.  If you are searching for vinyl on a budget, or just enjoy the hunt, thrift stores, craigslist, and flea markets are a haven for used records, however, you may have to do a lot of searching to find names you actually recognize.

“I always buy used when I can, it’s much cheaper, as well as more fun to search for,” Andrew said.

When all else fails, Amazon and Ebay conveniently sell both new and used vinyl of all price ranges, right from your computer!