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Vinyl records are generally considered as the most durable way to store music. Vinyl records are made from PVC and lead that is compressed with the boiler steam. It is by far the most durable way to store music. You can delete MP3 files by accident but you can’t just delete music from vinyl records.
However, with more traditional media comes a need to store that media. In this case records take up a decent amount of room and need to be stored in specific ways to ensure that they don’t get damaged or destroyed.
So, what are the best ways to store vinyl records? To store records properly you should make sure that where they are stored has the following things:
- No large temperature swings
- No direct sunlight
- Records can be stored vertically
- Records can be checked and cleaned as needed
We will discuss each of these things in more detail in the rest of the article.
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No large temperature swings
There is a general consensus among the vinyl record collectors to not leave your records in a room that is unbearable for you to be comfortably in. Vinyl records are made with durable material and they are meant to last a long time, but they are not made to withstand temperatures that are over 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You should always follow the rule of thumb; if it is too hot for you, then it is too hot for your vinyl records.
The outer surface of vinyl records is made from PVC material, and due to its color composition, it will absorb more heat due to the electromagnetic spectrum. Similarly, you should not leave your vinyl records in the car for long periods of time.
The temperature inside the car could rise rapidly, and before you know it, your vinyl records have begun to warp from the heat.
It is also essential to keep track of the temperature if you are moving to a different location. When my family and I recently moved from one house to another in Arizona we damaged a lot of our belongings because they began to warp while they sat in the moving truck for most of the day.
Don’t let this happen to your records!
You also want to make sure that whatever building or room that the records are stored in is climate controlled. Don’t allow your records to get too hot or cold. If hot they can warp (as mentioned above) and if they get too cold they can become brittle and break.
Storing your records in a basement or spare room is often the best option as long as the place is also dry and not too humid. You want your records to stay a good temp as well as stay dry to prevent water damage to the sleeves or mold to grow on the records themselves.
If you store records in a place where it is too hot, they will warp and possibly become unusable.
No Direct Sunlight
It is also important to make sure that your records are not stored in direct sunlight. If you have ever stood or sat in front of a closed window or glass door you probably noticed the heat from the sun. This heat might feel nice to you but it will have disastrous effects on your record collection.
Your records will absorb the heat from the sun and will begin to warp quickly. Fixing warped records is time consuming and can also be impossible if not fixed quickly.
If the room you are storing them in has a window it is a good idea to store them on the opposite wall and keep the blinds closed to prevent your records from getting damaged by the sun.
If you aren’t able to do that they storing the records in a different location is your best bet.
Don’t underestimate the power of the sun! It can quickly fade the artwork on your sleeves, warp your records, and make them worthless.
Records can be stored vertically
Let’s face it, we are all guilty of storing our records on top of each other from time to time. You are not going to use your vinyl records all the time and you can often end up stacking them on a table next to your player instead of putting them away.
While this might be okay for a few days, this is not a good idea when you are stacking them up for a longer period of time.
Vinyl records are easily damaged and when you stack them on top of each other you are likely to warp many of them. You can even crack some of the ones in the bottom of the stack if you have too much weight on it.
If you keep on neglecting it, it could lead to permanent damage to all of your records. You need to get a storage container or bookshelf type unit and just like how you put books on a bookshelf, you need to stack your vinyl records in the vertical position.
When you store your records that way you are eliminating the weight of the records and they won’t warp. Develop a habit of stacking your vinyl records like books, even if you are only planning on storing them for a few days. Often when we intend to store them for a few days it will turn into weeks or even months before you get back around to them. By that time they could be permanently damaged.
Records can be checked and cleaned as needed
The last thing about your storage that you need to consider is how easy it is to access your records. You will want to have them where you can clean them on a regular basis. Maintaining your collection regularly is far easier than trying to clean them once every decade.
This goes without saying, but you should regularly clean your vinyl records. More often than not, vinyl records will have small particles of dust on them and playing them in that condition could lead to irreversible damage.
If there are small particles of dust on it, then they are going to spread deeper inside the grooves and will cause a crackling sound when you try to play them. This dust can also cause your records to jump or skip and your stylus could scratch your records.
You should never touch your vinyl records with dirty hands—or with your hands at all on the playing surface. You should develop the habit of holding your vinyl records from the edges.
Your hands could have small particles of dust on it that is not visible to the naked eye and the oil from your hands will cause dirt to build up on the record wherever you touch it.
You can clean your vinyl records with a carbon fiber brush. You should avoid cleaning your vinyl records with an old t-shirt or tissue as that can scratch the surface. The surface of tissue and fabric is not as smooth as you think. They are going to create scratches all over the surface, thus, leading to annoying distortion in the music quality.
The grooves on a vinyl record are very thin, and small dust particles can find a way to get inside them. If you leave them be, the needle is going to push the dirt even deeper inside the grooves and can do permanent damage.
If you think you are not going to use the records for a while, then you should invest in soft sleeves that are designed to hold your records without allowing any dust inside them. You should avoid using the paper sleeves, as they can create scratches. You should be able to find soft sleeves that will take good care of your records.
For more tips on the best ways to store your records and keep them in tip top condition check out the videos below.
There are a variety of ways to store your records to make sure that they stay in the best condition possible. I hope this article has helped you learn some of the best tips and tricks to make sure that when you take your records out of storage, that they are in as good of condition as when you put them into storage.
When records are well taken care of they can last for many decades but it is our job to make sure that our collections are taken care of properly!