Vinyl Record

Handling & Care

Time was when most records from Decca, EMI, Polydor and other U.K. record labels came packed in a nice ‘frosted’ polylined inner sleeve. Printed on the inner sleeve were a number of tips on how to preserve your vinyl LP from damage and degradation from inappropriate handling.

This now seems so long ago and the polylined inner has been replaced by card type printed inner sleeves on many releases. Card Inner Sleeves are harmful to vinyl and can cause all sorts of surface damage in the removal from and replacement of the record in the inner sleeve, if not done carefully. Here are a few tips to ensure that your LPs remain in pristine condition: –

Handling & Care

See below some handy tips to take care of your precious Vinyl LP Records

Make sure that the delicate music surface area never touches any part of the inner sleeve. Careless removal causes minute hairline scratches and scuff marks from rubbing that over time degrades the quality of replay causing surface noises such as ticks, pops and crackles. This damage is readily visible on many discs.
There are oils on your hand and fingers which will leech into the vinyl and degrade replay. In addition to that, finger prints can only be removed safely from vinyl LPs through professional cleaning as described elsewhere on this site. A good idea and one which we have utilized over 40 years is to cut a small square of clean, soft and non-abrasive white paper. Use this square of paper between your fingers on both edges of the disc when removing and replacing the disc in its inner sleeve or bag. In our experience this has caused no issues whatsoever in over 45 years of collecting, playing and caring for vinyl records.
We have used LAST RECORD PRESERVATIVE and would endorse the use of this enduring vinyl product. It is expensive and tends to evaporate as soon as you put it on the application brush. Correctly used however we have found that it improves and preserves vinyl records. It is said to change the composition of the vinyl surface rendering it harder and less prone to degradation from regular play. Some people are earnestly against the use of LAST Record Preservative however, although vinyl expert Michael Fremer, Senior Contributing Editor at Stereophile magazine and proprietor of endorses its use and it remains a recommended accessory in Stereophile’s bi-annual recommended components listing. Suffice is to say, that if you ever happen across a LAST treated LP in a Used Record Store, grab it because they are always in top condition!
It troubles us to see people who should know better carelessly and roughly removing LP records from their inner sleeves. This is sacrilegious (in our view) and results in serious damage to the vinyl. Anybody who collects Vinyl Records knows that it is a serious monetary investment. You deserve to keep your Records in top condition so that they can be enjoyed throughout your life and by future generations. Vinyl Records are amazingly durable provided they are treated with utmost care and played on properly set up turntable/arm/cartridge combinations. Records attract dust and become dirty. Mold often forms on record surfaces and needs to be removed. Only a proper and safe system of vinyl record cleaning and handling can keep your records in top condition. Even sought after rare collectible items are not worth their market value unless they are in top condition M, NM/M-, EX+ or EX depending on whether you use the U.S. Goldmine Standard of Record Grading or the U.K. Record Collector Magazine Standard. We use both but prefer to use EX+, EX rather that VG+, VG.
Never store the LP record outside of its inner sleeve and replace it in the LP jacket, stored vertically in your storage rack or shelving.
Always replace Card Printed Inner Sleeves with Polylined Inner Sleeves of the frosted variety, available from us. Many enthusiasts favour the U Shaped Nagaoka or generic Japanese inner sleeves but we have found these to be difficult to handle in practice as they are inclined to ‘twist’ when you try to put the LP record back in. Others prefer the Mobile Fidelity type which is an antistatic type sleeve in conventional shape (square) that is based on an early Japanese LP type inner sleeve from the late 60s and early 70s from companies like CBS/Sony etc. The Card Printed Inner should be retained of course as part of the overall package and collectors will insist that you have this if the LP record in question is collectible or rare!
We would urge caution to anybody applying record cleaning fluids or antistatic agents to vinyl surfaces as they can build up on the surface and cause noisy replay and general degradation. There are many excellent record cleaning fluids available such as L’Art du Son, Mobile Fidelity, VPI, Audio Intelligent Enzyme Cleaner, Disc Doctor, Vinyl-Zyme etc. You need a vacuum type Record Cleaning Machine to use these cleaning fluids so as to effectively remove all traces of the cleaning fluid from vinyl surfaces and to prevent the build-up of residues on the disc surface. We have found Vinyl-Zyme to be exceptionally effective at removing all kinds of organic contamination on older LPs and used/secondhand LPs. Vinyl-Zyme works perfectly well also on new Vinyl LPs.