Vinyl materials can be delicate, and subject to damage and wear if not cared for properly. We suggest the following tips when it comes to handling, cleaning and storage of your valued recordings.
Avoid touching the playing or grooved surface of any disc. You should handle the disc by the outer edge and the labeled surface only. When available, thin, clean cotton gloves are recommended. Avoid stacking records or placing on any other surface without a protective sleeve.
Proper cleaning should be performed before and after playing. This ensures the best quality playback and then prepares the disc for "dust free" and proper storage. There are several methods, machines and formulas, for cleaning records.
Use a soft, clean cloth and water is generally acceptable. Distilled water is preferred over tap water.
"Water based" cleaning solution with up to 20% isopropyl alcohol by volume. Effective in removing dirt and dissolving oily contaminants from the contact with hands and skin. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD ON 78'S.
When cleaning 78' (shellac material) use tap water or distilled water. The use of alcohol or an "alcohol based" cleaning solution can dissolve shellac recordings.
When cleaning the disc, place it on a soft clean flat cloth, apply the cleaning solution or water, and with a soft clean cloth, work in a circular motion and in the direction of the grooves.
When at all possible, avoid a static build up on your discs. This will not only create crackles during playback, but also attract dust particles during playing and handling.
For long life and playability, proper storage of your recordings is extremely important in preserving your collection. Some of the elements to consider in properly storing discs are temperature and humidity, dirt and dust, improper stacking, excessive pressure and weight and mechanical or chemical damage.
Controlled temperature environment with a constant temperature of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius should be maintained. Relative humidity of 45-50% is highly recommended. Avoid rapid changes in temperature and humidity; it could have a adverse effect on the life expectancy of your recordings.
Special attention should be placed on sunlight and on sources of heat such as heaters, vents, and artificial lighting. Also beware of high humidity and water. This will cause mould to grow on the album jackets, and within the inner sleeves causing irreparable damage.
Try and avoid dusty environments. Whenever possible, enclose your recordings in a relatively airtight container such as a cabinet with doors, or sealable boxes.
Replace dirty and moldy record jackets and inner sleeves to avoid further damage to the discs. Do not store, in or around smoky or cooking areas. Smoke and cooking greases easily adhere to records and their jackets.
Always store in a vertical position. Never store flat and on top of each other!
Some experts suggest to remove the original manufacturers inner sleeve from the records and replace with "acid free" sleeves, Mylar or Polyethylene. Rice paper is another option but can be quite expensive.
REELS AND TAPES
The boxes that are normally supplied with audio reel tapes, although convenient, are usually made of acidic chipboard, covered with acidic paper and unstable adhesives. In order to maintain the integrity of the sound on your tapes, you should store them in an acid-free, dust-free environment that provides physical protection as well. Use the same guidelines as mentioned for vinyl for storing your reels.
Tapes, CDs, DVDs, Videos
Dust, grime and environmental pollution are often the greatest threat to your audio/visual collections. Protect your CDs, videos, and audio cassettes by storing them in long-lasting polypropylene cases. Polypropylene is an inert, non-reactive plastic suitable for long-term, dust-free storage of media of all types. Original polystyrene "jewel boxes" often crack or break at the hinge after only one or two openings, but the hinges on these cases are flexible and will withstand hundreds of openings. Translucent cases allow a visual check of the contents without having to open them.