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How to Store Vinyl Records to Prevent Damage

by Dusty Rhodes | Nov 11, 2020

 

There is something uniquely special about vinyl records. Whether they are treasures that have been passed down from generation to generation in your family or you just enjoy collecting these nostalgic items, vinyl records give you the experience of going back in time and interacting with music in a different way. Even in this age of digital music subscriptions, there are still plenty of collectors and fans out there who appreciate the nostalgia of vinyl records.

 

These true collectors also understand the importance of preserving these records. These fragile records can be easily scratched, bent, scuffed, and damaged and they require special attention to ensure they maintain their condition while in storage. Here are some tips on how to properly store your vinyl records in order to preserve and protect them for years to come.

1. Clean Your Records Before Placing Them in Jackets

It is very important to keep your records clean, as dirt and dust can scratch the surface of the record. Record collectors probably own a record cleaning brush, but if not, it’s worth the investment. This little brush is an easy and effective tool for removing dirt and dust. Never clean records with your shirt, as the fibers from your shirt can definitely scratch the vinyl.

2. ALWAYS Store Records in an Album Jacket

Most experts would agree that the only time your record should be out of the jacket is when you are playing it. This means you should put it right back in its sleeve as soon as you are done listening to it.

 

When you leave it on the turntable, it is susceptible to gathering dust and this can impact the sound quality when accumulated on the record. There are also special steps that should be taken to ensure your record is properly stored in its album jacket.

 

Inner Sleeves are Essential- It is imperative that your records be stored in an inner sleeve prior to placing it in a cardboard jacket. Your inner sleeve should be smooth and silky and NEVER be made of cardboard, as this could scratch the surface. Once you have placed your record in an inner sleeve, you can then place the inner sleeve in the cardboard album jacket.

Pair Your Inner Sleeve with an Outer Sleeve-In order to maintain superior protection, you want to cover the album jacket with an outer sleeve. Avoid thick plastic sleeves, as these can stick to the album and remove the artwork. Rather, choose a sleeve that is soft and silky.

Use a Vinyl Bag- Although the inner and outer sleeves will protect most debris from getting onto your record, an airtight vinyl bag can give you that extra protection to ensure your records will not be damaged. This is highly recommended for collectors.

3. Store Your Collection Upright

Vinyl records should always be stored in an upright position to ensure they maintain their condition. Records that slant for long periods of time or are stacked on top of one another can warp from the pressure. You might even consider using crates to help to position your records upright.

 

Furthermore, you want to be sure they are stored on a sturdy shelf that won’t fall from the weight of your collection. You never want to store your records on top of each other in boxes.

4. Store Records in the Right Conditions

There are four elements that can affect the condition of your vinyl records: heat, light, humidity, pressure. The ideal temperature for records is below 50 degrees for long-term storage.

 

Vinyl tolerates colder temperatures well but it is very intolerant of heat. You should never store records in temperatures above 70. You also want to make sure your records have minimal exposure to light and no exposure to bright light. Cool dark places are best. Furthermore, they should also be stored in a dry environment because humidity can cause the records to warp. Finally, you should never stack anything on top of your records. Pressure can cause the records to crack and break.

 

They may be considered a thing of the past, but vinyl records are a popular collector’s item and a growing number of people are starting their own collections. Follow these important tips to ensure your vinyl records are well protected while in storage.

 

Don’t have enough space in your home to properly store your record collection? SMARTBOX Moving and Storage has the solution you need. We provide climate controlled storage that is the perfect environment for your vinyl record collection. With plenty of space to organize your collection, our storage units are designed to provide the space and protection you need.