Dec 17, 2018

How do you clean your vinyl records?

I’ve actually found that soap and a microfiber cloth with warm water works pretty well.

Blue Dawn, or any detergent is the way to go. If it is good for your hands or is called a soap it will leave a film behind. Dawn is just a detergent without anything else. My approach is to put a few drops of detergent in a bowl that is wide enough to dip a record into, but not so wide that the label gets wet. I use my fingers to suds up the record and then rinse it in cool to warm water. Drying is on microfiber or paper towels. I have found cotton to leave behind some fibers.
Paper towels contain a considerable amount of abrasives, as does any cheap paper, better to simply stay away, unless it is specified for optics etc.
I went way down the rabbit hole on this topic, since thrift stores are my primary source for vinyl. I ultimately came to the conclusion that you really just need four things: water, surfactant, fine bristled brush, and a very soft and absorbant towel to dry with. After much experimentation, I ended up with a Vinyl-styl kit, but I just use blue dawn & warm water, instead of the chemical solution it comes with. Although it's still manual, having the kit helps me industrialize the process, since I tend to find stashes of records, rather than individual ones. I also feel better having the protection for the labels. Works wonderfully. Once clean, I just maintain with a carbon brush each play.
I use a micro-fiber pad with some cleaning solution. It works quite well, far better than what I used in the past (a sticky roller).
I have a crazy amount of old European classical vinyls from my bf's family. Haven't been dusted off in 30+ years! Luckily, I ALSO have a good relationship with my local record store guy and he's been running them through his machine in batches for a nominal fee & first pick of what we're not keeping.