Homemade Vinyl Record Cleaners
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10 Practical Homemade Vinyl Record Cleaners 2024

A well-loved record needs a careful custodian and a great homemade vinyl record cleaner to keep it in perfect health for decades to come. Commercial cleaners are great, but are they really necessary to keep your records clean? I guess not.

Whether you are a vinyl fanatic, a frequent collector, or simply someone who just explored the world of vinyl records, just keep reading as I run you through step-by-step how to make and use each of these ingredients and tools to your advantage when cleaning vinyl CDs.

Cleaning In The Record Library
Just like your soul needs music, your vinyl records needs cleaning too.

10 Practical Cleaning Methods For Vinyl Records (And Stylus)

Feel annoyed when your vinyl records don’t produce a beautiful sound like usual? This could be a sign that it needs some cleaning, you know. But don’t freak out if you haven’t prepared specialized cleaners for them.

You can totally make some cleaners yourself with some available ingredients in your house!

1. 2-Minute DIY Vinyl Record Cleaner (Using Dishwashing Liquid)

Dishwashing Liquid
A drop of liquid dish soap can transform the sound of music.

This is probably the most popular method of general cleaning for any vinyl records fanatics out there. It’s super affordable, completely fool-proof, highly safe, and extremely non-time-consuming as it takes only 2 minutes from start to finish.

How to make & use it:

  • Step 1 – Fill a spray bottle with some distilled water and 2-3 drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Gently swirl to mix the solution.
  • Step 2 – With a record player, place the album on it and spray the soapy water sparingly on the surface of the record.
  • Step 3 – Use a soft microfiber cloth and move it in the circular design of the record. Clean from the middle and slowly move to the outer part of the record. Turn to the other side and clean in the same manner.

Note: This method works best for vinyl that needs a quick clean-up due to oily smudges and fingerprints. You might need to use more powerful solutions for more severe stains as soapy water cannot deliver the desired results in these cases.

A simple cleaner like dishwashing soap is enough to clean vinyl records.

Watch this video: Washing a dirty LP record using soap and water

2. Homemade Vinyl Records Cleaner (Using Rubbing Alcohol & Dishwashing Soap)

Frequent use leads to grime, grease, and fingerprints stuck on vinyl records. The recipe below will guide you through just how you can remove all these stains at home, using household ingredients such as rubbing alcohol, dishwashing soap, and distilled water.

How to make & use it:

  • Step 1 – In a spray bottle, mix 1 part of rubbing alcohol, a drop or two of dishwashing soap, and 1 part of distilled cool water. Gently shake to combine.
  • Step 2 – Lay the vinyl records on a cleaning mat.
  • Step 3 – Lightly spray the vinyl records, then use a clean, soft microfiber cloth and clean in circular motions (like the shape of the records) starting from the middle and working your way towards the outs. (Repeat till satisfied).
  • Step 4 – Flip the records to their backside and clean them in the same way.

Note: If you want to lower the quantity of rubbing alcohol, you can use just ⅓ cup of it with 1 cup of distilled water and some dishwashing soap.

3. Fuss-Free Cleaning Vinyl Record At Home (Using Deionized Distilled Water)

Distilled Water Bottle
Using distilled water is an inexpensive way to clean records

Contrary to popular belief, you should not use tap water to clean vinyl since it’s packed with minerals and other purities that can impact the audio quality of the records and potentially damage the records.

But don’t get me wrong, you can definitely clean vinyl records with water. But just remember that it has to be distilled and deionized. With just a few quick steps, you can clean your favorite albums without spending tons of money on fancy equipment.

How to use it:

  • Step 1 – Use a bottle of warm distilled deionized water to spray lightly on the vinyl record (secured on a record player).
  • Step 2 – Dry the vinyl records using a clean, lint-free cloth by moving them in according to the shape of the album. Work your way from the inside to the outside.
  • Step 3 – Flip the record over and repeat the same steps to clean the other side.

4. Easy Vinyl Records Cleaner (Using Glass Cleaner)

Glass Cleaner Spray Bottle
A few spritzes of glass cleaner can put your vinyl records in pristine condition

This method leans towards the riskier side since using glass cleaners to clean vinyl can be a little harsher compared to using soapy water. However, if done in moderation, glass cleaners help keep your vinyl records in pristine condition. Let’s see below for more.

How to use it:

  • Step 1 – To prepare, grab the glass cleaner spray bottle and a lint-free cloth. Put the record on the player to secure it in the right place first.
  • Step 2 – Pump out a few spritzes of the glass cleaner onto the lint-free cloth to dampen it slightly.
  • Step 3 – Start cleaning by gently pressing the damp cloth onto the surface of the album. Work your way inside out (starting from the middle). Turn over to the other side and repeat the same steps.

Note: Swiftly choose a cleaner area of the cloth once the previous area is filled with dirt, debris, or grime. This way, it can prevent any unwanted residue from transferring to other parts of the records.

5. Simple Homemade Vinyl Record Cleaner (Using White Vinegar)

Bottle Of White Vinegar
A bottle of white vinegar can work wonders on vinyl records.

Yes, you read it right! It’s pretty mind-blowing that you can actually use vinegar to clean almost anything, even those vinyl. (1) The below instructions will run you through step-by-step so that you can curate your own at home, any time.

How to make & use it:

Step 1 – Gently remove dust off your vinyl records using a dry, clean microfiber cloth.

Step 2 – Create a 1:1 ratio mixture of white vinegar (5%) and lukewarm distilled water, in a spray bottle (a drop or two of dishwashing soap will enhance the result of the cleaning process too, but it’s not mandatory for this recipe).

Step 3 – Spray the surface of the record with this diluted solution. Clean per usual (circular direction, middle to outside). Wipe dry using a clean microfiber cloth.

Note: Only use white vinegar for this solution, and make sure it’s 5% acidic. You cannot substitute white vinegar by using apple cider vinegar.

Also, using vinegar to clean vinyl records may provide an ideal environment for bacteria to breed, so make sure you’ve wiped it completely dry before storing it in a dry place.

6. Heavy-Duty Vinyl Record Cleaner (Using Wood Glue)

The Wood Glue
Remove those stubborn stains from your vinyl using wood glue.

This may come off quite a bit unconventional, but many passionate collectors have sworn by the method of using wood glue to remove tough stains from their favorite vinyl CDs. Buckle up because this may not feel easy the first time around.

How to use it:

  • Step 1 – Pop the wood glue and squeeze it all over the vinyl records placed on a cleaning mat.
  • Step 2 – Use a piece of cardboard or a popsicle stick and spread the glue out, make sure it gets into the grooves. Place it in a safe, out-of-reach place to let the glue dry overnight.
  • Step 3 – In the morning, once the glue has become transparent, gently pull the glue layer away from the vinyl cd. All the stains, dirt, and smudges will be completely gone, and your beloved vinyl will be as good as brand new.

Still don’t believe me? Then, check how they clean vinyl records with wood glue now!

Watch this video: The best record cleaning method

7. Daily Upkeep For Vinyl Records (Using Compressed Air)

Spray Some Canned Air
Spray some canned air onto your vinyl to keep dust at bay.

Compressed air (otherwise known as canned air or gas duster) is a general dust remover/cleaner for electrical equipment and also for sensitive devices that typically can’t be cleaned using liquid (2).

This method is great for general dusting purposes, keeping your records shiny and dust-free for daily use.

How to use it:

  • Step 1 – Secure the album on a record player to provide a stable hold for cleaning.
  • Step 2Hold the canned air according to manufacturer instructions and gently press the button to distribute the air evenly to remove dust from the vinyl record.
  • Step 3 – With a soft microfiber cloth, gently move in a circular direction, starting from the middle till you reach the farthest part of the album to clean up residue dust and condensation.

8. No-Liquid Cleaning Method For Vinyl Records (Using A Carbon Fiber Brush)

An Antistatic Carbon Fiber Brush
An antistatic carbon fiber brush is every vinyl record fanatics must-have cleaning equipment.

If you are a frequent collector of vinyl records, you must have heard of a tool called carbon fiber brush. This type of brush is designed specifically for daily maintenance by removing static charge and dust from vinyl records.

How to use it:

  • Step 1 – Gently press the soft bristles of the brush on the surface of the vinyl.
  • Step 2 – Begin from the inner part, firmly push the brush in a slow manner around the album till you reach the outer corner of the album (repeat till satisfied).

9. Homemade Vinyl Stylus Deep Cleaner (Using Ethyl/ Denatured Alcohol)

Ethyl Alcohol In Brown Glass Bottle
Create a diluted mixture using ethyl alcohol to deep clean your vinyl CDs.

Most people don’t realize a clean stylus plays an important role in producing sound quality. So, they generally are negligent in giving it the proper care and maintenance like they do with vinyl CDs.

Hence, it’s always a good habit to clean the record player’s stylus from time to time, with just some 50% denatured alcohol, and music should be coming out smooth as silk.

How to make & use it:

  • Step 1 – Prepare a mixture of 1:1 ratio of ethyl alcohol (or denatured alcohol) to distilled water.
  • Step 2 – Use a soft camel brush to dip in the solution till dampened.
  • Step 3 – Move from the behind to the front of the stylus to give it a proper clean.

10. Day-To-Day Stylus Maintenance (Using Magic Eraser)

The Magic Eraser Foam
Keep your stylus clean by using the magic eraser foam

For everyday cleaning, opt for this method to remove dust and debris stuck on the stylus, using just a pad of Magic Eraser. Do it on a daily basis, and dust will be kept at bay.

How to use it:

  • Step 1 – To prepare, cut the Magic Eraser into a 2-inch square. Place the foam on a platter.
  • Step 2 – Position your hand to make sure the stylus is on the eraser, clean from behind to the front of the stylus. Repeat till no dust is left on the pad.

Note: You can also use the specialized tool for cleaning stylus, which is the stylus cleaning brush. Clean the stylus in the same manner as the Magic Eraser.

If you are still unsure how to use a Magic Eraser, here is full guidance for you.

Watch this video: How to Clean your Record Needle

FAQs

Maintaining vinyl records in perfect condition that lasts for decades can be a tricky business. Though you might have tried various solutions, even fancy cleaning equipment, there are certain things you need to be mindful of in order to preserve the quality of the album over the years.

How can I remove mildew from my vinyl records?

First, you need to loosen the mildew by using a lint-free cloth in the same direction as the vinyl (swap to a cleaner area so you don’t transfer molds and mildew across the CD).

Next, create a diluted mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 3 parts distilled water. Spray the solution on a clean lint-free cloth, and work into the grooves in its natural direction. Repeat till clean.

Can I use rubbing alcohol to clean vinyl?

Pure isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is absolutely not recommended for cleaning vinyl records as it is unsafe to do so and might damage your records. Always use it in diluted forms.

How often should I clean my vinyl CDs?

Ideally, you should clean your vinyl with a carbon fiber brush on a regular basis to keep dust and debris at bay. Only perform a deep cleaning routine when needed (heavy stains). The less liquid used, the less impact it will make on your vinyl.

How can I fix a scratch on my vinyl at home?

Use the wood glue method to fix this problem. Leave for 24 hours before peeling the glue. Your record should be restored to its original condition (for deeper scratches, this method may not work, and you may need to purchase a new replacement).

How can I prevent dust and debris from my vinyl?

The best way to keep your vinyl dust-free (besides daily cleaning) is to store them in record sleeves. Without sleeves, vinyl records can easily attract static and dust and are more prone to scratch, split and crack, ruining the whole album.

Are baby wipes enough to clean vinyl records?

Well, they are enough if you only use them for temporary cleaning. But if you want proper maintenance, you should go for other methods.

Is it possible to use lens cleaner on vinyl records?

Yes, it is. It works just as well as a regular glass cleaner. You can apply the same method.

Can WD-40 clean vinyl records?

Yes, it can. This product can remove dust and dirt on your vinyl records. It can even work as a lubricator, so the record can run smoother.

Great Music Goes Hand In Hand With Clean Vinyl Records

Owning a vinyl record is a prestige and a luxury. Give them love, proper care, and attention, and they will reward you with a lifetime of music that speaks to your heart and soul.

I hope these methods and tips will prove useful as you clean your records. Share your thoughts down in the comment section. Until next time! Cheers!

Homemade Vinyl Record Cleaners

References

  1. Healthline. 2021. What You Should Know About Cleaning with Vinegar.
  2. En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Gas duster – Wikipedia.

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics


Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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