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Record Player Care: Top Tips For Looking After Record Players

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Record players are great, but unfortunately, dust mites think so too. While you’ve probably learnt the hard way that dust gathers on turntables and records, you might not realise that it actually affects the quality of your music.

To keep your record player in top condition for years to come, you must look after it properly. Within this guide, we will take you through some record player care tips, including:

  • The importance of record player care
  • What areas to focus on
  • How to clean your record player
  • How to clean your vinyl records

What’s The Big Deal?

When too much dust accumulates on your record player, you may notice that the music starts to sound distorted. A buildup of dust is responsible for the crackling sound you hear, which can scratch the playing surface if left uncared for.

It’s pretty much game over if you scratch your vinyl record or wear down the needle on the player. You’ll no longer be able to listen to your favourite music, or any music, for that matter! This will soon result in a costly repair job, which could have been avoided if you looked after your player.

Most owners of record players don’t realise just how important it is to clean them regularly. Read on to discover more about the perfect record player care routine, and have your record player on proud display!

What Areas Need The Most Attention?

Realistically, every inch of your record player should be kept clean. Just like other ornaments and shelves in your home, dust will fester wherever it can. With that being said, however, there are a few areas of your record player that require extra attention to detail.

The Needle

When it comes to understanding how record players work, the needle has a hell of a lot of responsibility. Without the needle, the record player cannot read music from the vinyl record. You’d be left sitting in silence.

Annoyingly, the needle is one part of the record player that collects the most dirt. Due to being so fine, dust collects in the most intricate of places (which are often overlooked when cleaning!). This dust then causes a crackling noise when playing music, affecting the overall listening quality. If left over time, the dirty needle will wear down, damaging both your records and player.

The Turntable

The turntable is the rotating area of your record player; the surface that you place the vinyl record on. This is another area that you need to keep spick and span.

When out of use, the turntable remains still, becoming a hot spot for dust. Leaving it to accumulate over time may result in discolouration or even rusting. This is why so many record player manufacturers sell turntable covers (which we highly recommend using!).

How To Clean Your Record Player

Although they may look sturdy, record players are incredibly fragile. Just like most electronics, you must handle them with care!

Cleaning your record player doesn’t have to be a complicated process, but you still need to be thorough. This is why we recommend breaking up the cleaning into two parts: the outside and the inside.

Tools Needed:

  • Lint-free cloth
  • Stylus cleaning brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dry antistatic cloth
  • Turntable cover

Cleaning The Outside

The outside surface of your record player is the area that will collect the most dust. We recommend keeping an eye on it every few weeks or so, especially if it doesn’t get used much.

With a gentle hand, here’s what you should do when cleaning the outside:

  1. Clean The Stylus. To start with, it’s worth focusing on the most delicate part of the record player – the stylus. As mentioned previously, this is the most important part to keep clean, so wipe it with a stylus cleaning brush after every use. Do this by gently wiping the needle from back to front.
  2. Wipe It Down. Now it’s time to deal with the rest of the turntable. Start in the middle and wipe outwards with a lint-free cloth.
  3. Remove Fingerprints. Once the whole surface has been wiped with a lint-free cloth, remove any stubborn stains with rubbing alcohol. Remember not to go overboard here; a tiny drop will be more than enough.
  4. Dry The Surface. When you are satisfied that all dirt and fingerprints are gone, finish by rubbing the surface with an antistatic cloth.
  5. Protect It. As soon as your record player is clean, cover it with a proper turntable cover. This will keep it protected when out of use.

Why Do I Need An Antistatic Cloth?

An antistatic cloth removes any charges caused when cleaning the surface. This prevents dust particles from magnetically attracting back to the surface. In short, wiping your record player down with an antistatic cloth will keep it cleaner for longer!

Cleaning The Inside

Although a fiddly procedure, you’ll only need to clean the inside of your record player twice a year. Cleaning the inside of the player will ensure that the overall sound of your music is of the highest quality possible. Cleaning the inside will also increase your record player’s lifespan, allowing for non-stop music for years to come!

  1. Turn It Off. Before you grab your cleaning utensils, make sure that the record player is turned off.
  2. Remove The Turntable Platter. As per your record player instructions, carefully remove the turntable. This will differ depending on the type of record player you have, so only follow the instructions belonging to your model.
  3. Remove and Clean The Belt. Once the turntable platter has been removed, you should be able to see the belt. Remove this with caution and wipe it down with a cloth. If there are fingerprints or stubborn marks, treat it with a small bit of alcohol rub.
  4. Clean The Platter. While the belt is drying, get to work on cleaning the turntable platter. Remember to wipe the underside of the platter with a cloth too, as this is where most dust is attracted to.
  5. Reassemble. As soon as you are 100% certain that the belt and platter are dry, reassemble your record player. Once again, follow the exact instructions for your model when doing this.

How Will I Know When To Clean The Inside?

It’s perfectly normal to have a few questions regarding when to clean your record player’s interior. We get that – saying two times a year is pretty vague.

If you frequently use the record player all year round, dedicate certain months to do annual checks. If you are a bit sporadic with use, however, look out for the following:

  • Delays in playing music
  • Fluctuating speeds that used to be consistent

The above two pointers are tell-tale signs that somethings not right with your record player. As these two problems are linked to the mechanics of the player, cleaning the interior will likely help.

How To Clean Your Records

Your record player isn’t the only thing that needs looking after. Your vinyl records require some TLC, too.

Just like the record player, vinyl records attract a lot of dust. While keeping them in their sleeves will keep dust to a minimum, you still need to keep an eye on them. Luckily, this is easy enough to do.

Tools Needed:

  • Carbon fibre brush
  • Antistatic cloth
    1. Brush The Record. Gently brush the record with your carbon fibre brush. To avoid damaging the record, hold the brush lightly, ensuring that it’s just tickling the surface.
  • Wipe The Record. If necessary, wipe the record down with cleaning fluid. This will help to remove any stubborn marks. Alternatively, use an antistatic cloth to remove any remaining particles.

How Often Should I Clean My Records?

Ideally, wipe your records down every time you use them. Keeping on top of this will reduce the amount of dust that your record player comes into contact with. This will help to ensure that you get the best quality of sound possible. It’s important when you buying second-hand vinyl you also wipe your records down.

Extra Cleaning Tips and Tricks

With help from the cleaning tips in this guide, both your record player and vinyl records will be sure to last for a long time.

To increase longevity even further, keep these extra record player care tips in mind:

  • Never clean with your fingers! This will result in mucky fingerprints.
  • Use a gentle hand – if you don’t, you risk damaging the player.
  • Always put the dust cover on when out of use.
  • If you do not have a dust cover, use a cloth to cover the player.
  • Avoid blowing on the record player to remove dust.
  • Keep large amounts of water away from the player.

A Clean Record Player Is A Happy Record Player

When looked after properly, you can expect high-quality music from your record player, without any interruption. Treat your record player like a prized possession, and it will reward you with years of amazing tunes and good vibes!

Ryan Toomey
Ryan Toomey
Hip-hop loving and keen vinyl collector Ryan works in Digital Marketing, UX and Design. When he's not jamming to music and designing, he reviews record players and looks for his next vinyl for his collection. With years of visiting record player shops, copping limited edition vinyl and rocking up at all sorts of concerts, he's our go-to guy for vinyl and record players guides. Ryan's favourite artists are Frank Ocean, Outkast, Khalid, Rejjie Snow and A Tribe Called Quest - in that exact order (apparently).

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