How to Restore Old Records

Restoring old record vinyl's

Perhaps you have some old records lying around that have seen better days. Or maybe you picked up some vintage classics at a garage sale on the cheap. But now you want to restore them to their former glory without accidentally destroying them or paying a fortune to fix them. Here’s what to do.

First, do NOT use alcohol or commercial cleaning products to clean your vinyl records. Over time, these will eat away at the protective coating that layers the groove walls. Instead, buy an anti-static record cleaning brush. Simply run the brush over the grooves. This can pick up dirt from the grooves and discharge static electricity, which is what attracts dirt to your record in the first place.

For an even easier solution, get a cleaning arm, which you attach to your record player. The small brush at the end cleans as you play the record.

Sanding Your Vinyl

If you’ve gotten out as much gunk as you can and the record is still more popping and clicking sounds than actual music, you may have to take desperate measures. That means sanding.

Get some 1500-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Wash off the record and wet the sandpaper. Put the record down on a hard, flat surface and gently sand each side. Use easy, curving strokes parallel to the grooves. Go around the record four or five times, then wash off the sanded material. Then, play your record.

The sound should improve dramatically. If it’s still not quite where it needs to be, sand a few more times. Wet the sandpaper liberally while you’re doing this.

While this seems like a scary proposition, it can actually work wonders for badly damaged records. Remember that some old records may not play well simply because a lot of gunk has collected in the grooves over the years, so try the cloth or cleaning arm first. If that doesn’t work, though, you may want to give sanding a try.

Vinyl Records at Record Head

Once you’ve fixed up your old records, you might want to sell them. Or maybe you’re inspired and want to add a few more to your collection. Either way, if you’re in the Milwaukee, area, stop by Record Head in West Allis. We buy and sell vinyl records at great prices, along with other kinds of music, musical instruments, electronics and more.

We’d love to see your old records and show you some of ours, so come by anytime during business hours.