Whether you’re new to record collecting or a seasoned record collector, you will want to ensure that you protect and take care of your collection.  After investing in your collection and building it up over a number of years it is important that you preserve and look after your beloved records.  With this in mind, you can make sure that the album covers are protected from damage in the future.  You can also take care of the vinyl so that it stays clean, remains in optimal condition and maintains its sound quality for years to come.

Firstly, it is very important that you store the records correctly.  Leaving them in a pile on the floor is not considered a good idea.  Never stack records horizontally flat on top of each other.  You should stack them vertically upright on one side with a PVC or polythene sleeve on each on to protect it.  It’s best to buy a good quality vinyl storage unit to house them in.

Avoid storing your precious vinyl records in high temperatures or damp rooms such as lofts, basements or garages.  Records can get easily damaged by water in damp areas or become warped by locations of high or extreme heat.  Always keep your records clean and store them in a place that has a regular room temperature.  It is not possible to repair a record that is warped or a sleeve that has water damage.

As I eluded to earlier in the article, it is a very good practice to store your records in PVC or polythene sleeves.  This helps to protect the outer covers from damage, surface or shelf wear.  Always take care when removing the record from and replacing it back into the external sleeve.  Pushing the vinyl back into the sleeve too forcefully can cause the sleeve to split or tear.  Make sure to keep the vinyl record in a clean inner sleeve before putting in back into its outer sleeve.  Replacement inner sleeves can be purchased if necessary.  You can purchase a basic paper sleeve which will do an effective job of protecting the records.  It is preferable to obtain a polylined inner sleeve.  The polylined inner sleeve will protect the record better from dust, scratching and a build-up of static.  A polylined inner sleeve provides less friction when sliding the record in and out of the external sleeve.

There are many ways to clean vinyl records.  You should try to use a professional cleaning solution and lint free anti-static cleaning cloth.  This will help to clean your record properly.  Dust and dirt will be removed from the playing surface using this method.  This can also be done using a carbon fibre brush.  You cannot remove scratches despite what other people may tell you.  Only clean records when absolutely necessary.  It is best not to interfere with the playing surface if they look, sound and play well.  Cleaning dirty records can help improve or restore sound.  It will not remove scratches that produce clicks and pops.  When handling a record, try to avoid touching the playing surface so that you don’t get fingerprints on it.  It’s best to gently handle it by the outer edges. Also remember to keep your stylus up-to-date and not worn before playing records.  It's worthwhile to change your stylus on a regular basis to minimise the level of wear to the playing surface and stylus itself.

Overall, the main thing to take away from this analysis is that that you enjoy your records.  You can safely play and love them for many years to come, whilst maintaining the life and longevity of your collection.

Planet Earth Records have a large range of vinyl records for sale, from the 50's right up to the modern day.

Visit Planetearthrecords.co.uk - The UK's well known mail order vinyl record shop with thousands of new and rare original vinyl records available to buy online.