-Handle your records by the outer rims only as much as possible. Even if your hands are freshly washed, you will still leave a greasy fingerprint on the record from the natural oils in your skin.
-Use cotton or natural fiber cloths to clean your records. When a cloth needs washing, let it air dry naturally or put in the dryer without a dryer sheet. A dryer sheet can leave a residue on your records, requiring them to need a repeat cleaning.
-Store your records away from extreme temperature fluctuations. Common and well-used areas in the home are best, as they will be climate controlled and the most evenly tempered. Think of your records as little living, breathing beings. They want to be comfortable too!
-Keep track of the approximate use of your needle. Needles vary greatly in quality and sound production, and they all have a life span. To keep your records sounding their best, replace needles according to each manufacturer's specifications.
-Keep records within its inner sleeve when not in use. It's just good practice and will help to keep them clean.
-EVER clean your records with a paper product of any kind. Paper is made from wood, and wood will put fine scratches on your vinyl. If done repeatedly, it will damage the grooves and lower sound quality.
-Over-clean your records. Using a velvet or micro fiber brush each time you play a record is fine provided it needs it. But save cleaning with solvents to a minimum and only when the record really needs it to remove fingerprints and other foreign materials.
-Keep store price tags and stickers on the album covers--particularly older, used records if you care about preserving them. The glues used on the stickers will become more difficult to remove as time goes on, and will most always take the top layer of the cover off with it. Remove stickers slowly and carefully, using Q-Tips and alcohol if necessary.
DON'T: -Assume your friends and/or family know how to handle your records with care. If you're reading this blog, it is my educated guess that you want to learn how to care for your records properly. So if preserving your vinyl's condition is important to you, don't let your drunken friends get their meat-hooks on your little babies.
-Be a vinyl snob. It makes the rest of us look bad. We are all on this planet to learn, share and love. Give of your knowledge freely and you will be richly rewarded. Don't discriminate by overshadowing some one's personal vinyl journey by pretending you know more than everyone else. You just might be surprised....
And there you have it. A few little tips to keep in mind while amassing an impressive record collection. As always, there will be much more to follow, so I hope you'll join me in upholding the vinyl standards.