How To Preserve and Protect Your Vinyl Record Collection

Over the years, people have asked me all kinds of questions regarding records. Again, I must reiterate that I am by no means an expert. However, that being said, you know I've got my opinions and love to share them with you. Today I'd like to share some basic tips on how to keep your slabs-o-wax in great shape now and forever. If there is a particular topic you would like to read about regarding records, please feel free to let me know!
Collecting records has become one of my very favorite hobbies, as well as a lucrative side business. When I first began to sell records, I didn't realize it could be so satisfying and educational at the same time. My only hope is that someday I'll devise a way to reach a wider audience and continue to recruit new vinyl collectors. No disrespect to 'old' vinyl collectors of course, as I could be classified as an 'old' vinyl collector myself. What I mean to say by that is I took a 25 year 'break' in collecting records by getting caught up in the CD generation (although it took me until 1992 to purchase my first CD). Before downloads and mp3's took over, I sold rare and out-of-print CD soundtracks (mostly) and did very well until the change. Which is when I decided to try my hand at selling vinyl, with much trepidation, because I assumed record collectors were infinitely more discerning than CD buyers. But in fact, it seems that I am the pickier one for the most part.
Anywho, fast forward a few years and literally 1000's of records later, I find myself wanting to share my knowledge with others who may be reluctant to spend their hard earned money on yet another musical format. Newbie collectors, I salute you, and assure you that any money spent on records is a wise investment. Guys, chicks dig it and this gives you the golden opportunity to use that ancient pick-up line, "Wanna come over and check out my record collection?" And gals, trust me, guys think it's really hot when we can hold our own in this arena. Heavy up!

Many people just beginning to collect vinyl records may not realize how to care for their collection properly. Careful storage, proper care and cleaning can make a world of difference in prolonging the life of a record. Here are just a few, simple tips to remember to keep your collection in great shape for many years to come:


Records should always be stored in an upright position. This is why records are often kept in crates, so they will stay evenly upright with little or no slanting. Records that have been stored at a slant for an extended period of time can warp because of the uneven pressure which has been placed on them.Older records, particularly from the 1950‘s and 1960‘s, are less prone to warping because of their thickness and material content. Newer vinyl, especially 1980‘s records, were pressed much thinner and are more susceptible to damage.

The same can be said for covers as well; album covers from the 50‘s and 60‘s were made of hard, substantial cardboard often covered with glossy photo paper which stands up very well to the test of time. Newer records have much thinner covers, which are easily bent, marred and rippled from moisture damage.

Do not stack records on top of each other, the pressure can also cause them to warp and/or (God forbid) crack. Their weight can be deceptive until a few or more are stacked together, causing the record(s) on the bottom to withstand the combined weight. It’s just good practice to keep them upright and free from the weight of other records.

Store records in a temperature controlled room, away from extreme fluctuations of cold and hot. Records make great conversation pieces, as well as beautiful works of art so display them proudly where guests can peruse your collection in a comfortable environment. Dirty, moldy, wet basements are certain death to records, so unless you’re planning to build a vinyl graveyard, keep ‘em outta here. The same can be said for attic spaces; attics tend to be stifling, hot, dusty and confined, so your precious copy of John Denver's Rocky Mountain High won’t last long up there.

Poly outer sleeves are an excellent way to keep dust, dirt and damage off your records and covers. They provide a protective layer for the covers, keeping them free of surface rubbing or ‘ring wear’, corner bumps and scratches which are all normal occurrences with everyday use. A ‘collector’s favorite’ poly outer sleeve is made from 3mil Polyethylene and comes in LP (12“) and 45 (7“) sizes. These are a minor investment and will keep your collection looking top notch.


There are many methods for cleaning records properly, of which the specifics can vary greatly. Phan-Stat is one of several record cleaning fluids which can be purchased online or in some record shops. Used moderately and with a low nap chamois cloth, it will produce excellent results on a dirty record. A little research could be necessary to discover the many methods of record cleaning, but are ultimately a personal choice.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind when collecting records, or preserving a current collection. With the vinyl revival in full upswing, the proper care of vinyl records is more important than ever as their value continues to increase. If you ever decide to part with your collection, your resale value will also increase if you have properly cared for them. As with all collectibles, condition means everything and the better the condition, the higher the value.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your tips, Lisa! Vinyl records are soft and sensitive, that’s why they must be well taken care of. Plus, it wouldn't be healthy to listen to static sounds, which are usually produced by scratchy records. What a neat collection you have there by the way.

    Ruby Badcoe