The Best Way to Store Your Vinyl Record Albums

12-inch LP vinyl record disk with plastic cleaning or washing clamp

Tips on How to Keep Them in Pristine Condition

Vinyl records are precious to every collector and the way you store them can make all the difference. Not only can they be costly, but records aren’t as readily available as they used to be, making them more of a precious commodity. The more thought you put into storing them, the better and the longer you will be able to enjoy all they have to offer. Use these tips to store and take care of your record collection.

Odds are if you are a long-time record collector, you have no intention of ever parting with your precious collection. Many of your albums were purchased when they were first released, and many others were acquired later but are also considered to be vintage. The better you treat your albums, the better the sound quality will be and the longer they will last.

Vinyl records are treasured by many and collected by loads. They are thought of widely as something that is passed down from generation to generation and should be treated like any other family heirloom.

If you have been collecting vinyl records for a long time now, you should already know how truly fragile they can be. Any scuffs, scratches, or damages to the record can completely change how it plays. Instead of playing how the album was intended, the music will be warped and sometimes won’t even play.

Here are some tips on how to properly care for the albums you collect so they will last as long as they can!

1. Always clean your vinyl records before putting them back into their jackets.

Although it might seem like a good idea to wipe off your records with whatever you have around – including your own t-shirt. This is not a good idea! You can purchase an actual tool for keeping your records clean that will not damage your vinyl records.

They make record cleaning brushes that will ensure no scratches are inflicted in the cleaning process. These brushes can be found online or in a local music store and are normally under $20. They make a quick effort to remove all the unwanted dust and dirt from your album by simply brushing it off while the record is turning at a slow pace.

You can also find a cleaning product for vinyl records if they are in the need of a deeper clean. This is used by spraying the albums and using a microfiber cloth to clean it off. It is recommended that this is done at least twice a year to avoid any damage over time. 

2. Always store vinyl records in their designated album jackets.

The only time the album should be out of its album jacket is when it is spinning on your turntable. This will ensure that the least amount of dust is collected on it and there won’t be any accidents with it out. Along with being inside of its outer sleeve, it should also be inside of its paper sleeve. This paper sleeve is important to avoid scratches when removing the vinyl record from its outer sleeve.

However, if your paper sleeve has been around for some time, it may need replacing. Paper sleeves are often made of acidic paper that can be dusty, dirty, and harmful to the record. It is worth it to replace them every now and then with acid-free paper to keep them in their pristine condition.

3. Always store your vinyl records in an upright position.

Storing them upright will ensure that they don’t get damaged while on your shelf. Never store them on top of each other, as this will lead to permanent damage. Storing them on top of each other is frowned upon because the weight can lead to warping of the vinyl and scuffing of the records. There is also a risk of damaging the unique album jacket that encases your beloved albums. Along with this, you should also avoid storing them at a slant as this can cause the same problem due to the weight they are exhibiting on one another. If you do not have the space for shelves to divide your records, it is recommended that you purchase dividers to make sure they are not leaning on each other.

4. Always have a designated storage area for your vinyl records.

Having a controlled storage unit is the best way to preserve your treasured vinyl collection. That way the room temperature will not fluctuate, and you will know that they are in a good place. Vinyl record storage cabinets can also help to maintain their upright position and easily organize them alphabetically or by genre. An organized collection is one that will last you the longest and encourage lots of use!

The more climate controlled the environment is in which you choose to store your records – the longer they will last and the better they will play. There are many factors to think about when choosing a place to store your collection. The main one is temperature. Not only will harsh temperatures damage the vinyl record itself, but will also harm the sleeve. High humidity and warm temperatures encourage mold and quicken the rate at which the album and the sleeve deteriorate. Sunlight causes the sleeves to fade and hot temperatures can warp the vinyl. This is why having a controlled storage unit for your vinyl collection is so encouraged.

Another recommended long-term storage option is to use storage boxes. Storage boxes and crates are good for people with less space to display their collection and can be just as nice. You can organize them easily and keep them clean and upright in a controlled environment when they aren’t on your record player.

5. Always handle your vinyl records with care.

Oily hands are a record’s worst nightmare. Do not touch anything but the edges when handling your vinyl records. Touching the surface can change the sound of your record and you wouldn’t want that! It is also a good idea to let the record play out until it is finished instead of moving the needle to where you want it to go, as this can damage the record as well.

By following this list your vinyl record collection should last through generations. Keeping your albums in pristine condition will guarantee that they never lose the epic sound quality that they came with.

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