Vinyl records allow you to enjoy music in the most traditional way possible and are collector’s item as well. If you want to keep them functional, you need to clean them from time to time.
When you try to discover ways to clean them, you will often come across vinegar. However, there is a lot of confusion regarding using vinegar to clean vinyl based music records.
Can you clean vinyl records with vinegar?
Yes, you can clean vinyl music records with vinegar. However, you can do so only with white vinegar.
If you look at the composition of vinegar, you will realize that it consists of 5% acetic acid and 95% water.
When cleaning records with vinegar, you need to follow a proper procedure. Only then you can avoid damaging the vinyl records.
How to clean vinyl music records with vinegar?
You cannot use white vinegar as it is. You have to take distilled water and vinegar in 50% proportion each.
- Step 1: The solution which you have prepared should be applied on a lint-free microfiber cloth.
- Step 2: Dab the vinyl record with the microfiber cloth gently. Instead of vigorously rubbing the vinyl record, it is a good idea to gently touch it with the microfiber cloth and move it in one direction.
- Step 3: You shouldn’t necessarily move the microfiber cloth over the same area again and again.
There is no need to go with a carbon fiber brush or any other brushes. These are required for rigorous cleaning, and therefore using them can cause scratches on the vinyl record.
Why should you use vinegar solution to clean vinyl records?
If you have used a vinegar solution to clean vinyl records before now, you will realize that it can work wonders. It works pretty well as compared to most other solutions which you get from the shelf.
There are quite a few reasons why vinegar works so well.
1. Natural cleanser
The first reason to use white vinegar is that it has natural cleansing properties. It is environment friendly and extremely efficient, also more acidic than most other cleaning solutions.
When you look at the pH level of white vinegar, it is around 2.5. That is why the cleansing properties of such vinegar are excellent. Not only that, it is non-toxic, which makes it easy to clean the vinyl records.
2. Antibacterial properties
The pH level of vinegar is such that it will kill 99.9% of the harmful bacteria. That is why it can get rid of dirt and contaminants easily.
Further more, if the vinyl record has oil stains or grease, it can eliminate them as well.
It means that irrespective of the contaminants on record, it can help you with that and more.
3. Easy to dilute
White vinegar is extremely easy to be diluted. For dilution, you just need distilled or sterilized water. You can buy distilled water from outside or boil the water yourself and use it to dilute vinegar.
Since you can do all of that, there is no need to buy expensive solutions.
Disadvantages of using vinegar to clean vinyl based records
There are, however, a few disadvantages of using vinegar to clean vinyl records as well. You need to be aware of these disadvantages to mitigate them successfully.
1. Promotes mildew
If you experience a humid climate, using vinegar can promote mildew growth. It means that over time, this can damage your record as well.
The solution of avoiding this problem is pretty simple. Before you store the vinyl records back into the casing, it is an excellent idea to let them dry. Once you let them dry, there will be no risk of mildew growth.
2. Threat to aluminum parts
When you observe the turntable on which you place the records, you will realize that it consists of aluminum parts. It is especially true for the cartridge.
The problem is that when vinegar comes in contact with the aluminum part of the cartridge, it can corrode the cartridge. It means that sooner than later, you will have to replace the cartridge.
However, you can avoid this problem to a large extent as well. The solution is similar to what we have discussed above.
Before you think about storing the vinyl records or playing them, it is good to let them dry completely. Once they dry, the vinegar will not come in contact with the aluminum parts of the cartridge. That way, you will not have to worry about corrosion at all.
One of the main advantages of vinegar is also its disadvantage. The advantage is that it has acidic nature. While it might eliminate most contaminants, the acidic substances can also lead to corrosion or damage to the vinyl record.
That is why you should dilute it in equal parts with water. After it diluted, you will be able to reduce the acidity even more. With such acidic nature, you will not have to worry about damage to the vinyl records.
Thus, there might be a few disadvantages of using white vinegar to clean records, but it is easy to avoid them.
The answer to the question, can you clean vinyl records with vinegar? is yes, you can use vinegar to clean records, but only white vinegar. You have to follow the procedure which we have highlighted above to do so successfully. Nevertheless, when you properly use vinegar, it is pretty effective in cleaning vinyl records.