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How to Store Vinyl Records

 How to Store Vinyl Records the Proper Way

Not sure if you've heard the news, but vinyl is back in a big way. While millennials are into digital music on their iPhones and Alexas, vinyl records are still the preferred medium for analog audiophiles and music aficionados. Vinyl has been steadily growing for over a decade with an audience that wants a more immersive listening experience.

Records are more collectible now than ever before. Whether you're thinking about getting into vinyl or you've been collecting for years, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that proper storage makes a big difference for your collection’s longevity.

As your favorite one-stop-shop for all things vinyl-related, Binaural Records decided to put together this guide to help keep your collection sounding as good as new. Read on to learn some simple ways to store vinyl records that will keep your vinyl in great condition for years to come.

How To Preserve Vinyl Records

When we talk about preserving vinyl, what are we protecting it from and preventing, anyway?

Unlike CDs, which you might as well throw out the window, vinyl records are more fragile and need to be stored safely to maintain their quality. There are a few particular ways that vinyl can become damaged.

Warping is when a flat record becomes, well, not flat. If weight is held unevenly on the record, it can warp and become a little curved. Then, when you go to spin it, it will sound weird at best, and incomprehensible at worst. Warping is a major problem when it comes to vinyl storage and needs to be avoided at all costs.

Dust & debris are also important to keep in mind. You don’t want your vinyl to accumulate grime (unless, of course, it’s a grime rap record), as it will get locked into the record’s grooves and lead to snapping, crackling, and popping sounds. While I’m sure we can all agree that Rice Krispees are a fantastic breakfast cereal, they’re not what I want to listen to when I’m spinning my favorite LP.

Scratches are another common one if you don’t handle and store your vinyl with care. If you scratch the vinyl, it can lead to large popping sounds or skips when you spin it. That’s no good, sarge.

So, how do you store vinyl records to avoid them degrading over time? Follow the tips in this simple guide, and they’ll be sounding great for as long as you own them.

Keep Them Vertical

One of the simplest yet most important storage tips is to ensure that your vinyl records are stored vertically, especially if you plan to store them for months or years on end. Storing them on top of each other for a long period of time is a bad idea.

If records are left lying flat and horizontal for too long, chances are that they’ll become warped. The differences in weight between the center and the outside of the record will cause an imbalance that causes it to bend slightly over time, eventually ruining it.

To keep enjoying your records for years to come, they have to be stored vertically; for example, on a shelf next to one another.

Find The Right Storage Container

So how do you store your records vertically, you ask? With a storage container, of course! Record cases and crates are usually ideal to store vinyl collections, and wine crates can work in a pinch, if you’re that kind of listener. (Hey, no judgement here...)

Particularly during the past decade’s vinyl resurgence, the record aesthetic is important to many collectors. Your storage space is an opportunity to express that aesthetic and make a statement. Will you use a shelf, a shoebox, or an improvised rack? The choice is yours, so have fun with it and show off your records for all to see!

You can buy record holders online that are good for vinyl of varying sizes, and I’d suggest having a setup for each individual size. For 12” records, something like a book box may be an option, while 7” singles may be better suited in a smaller space. There are plenty of specialty vinyl storage ideas online, or you can roll your sleeves up and make your own.

Handle Them Carefully

Hopefully this goes without saying, since we’re talking about preserving your children - er...collection - but vinyl records need to be handled with care. I’m a bit of a neat-freak when it comes to this stuff, but nonetheless, I’d recommend that you wash and dry your hands before unpacking your collection.

Whenever you’re handling vinyl records, only touch the edges and label areas. This helps to avoid warping, smudging, and will minimize long-term wear and tear.

Similarly, vinyl records shouldn’t be removed from their sleeves (the little paper cover inside) unless they’re going directly onto the turntable. These sleeves are specifically designed to provide extra protection for the record and minimize dust and dirt buildup. 

One thing to note is that record sleeves will get damaged over time and should be replaced if there is any dirt or mildew, or if there is substantial damage exposing the vinyl to the outside cover. 

As for your album covers, you can keep them safe with our polyethylene covers. These will help prevent any fraying, scratching, or other damage and preserve that beautiful, classic album art.

Ensure They Remain Cool, Dark, And Dry

Vinyl is always cool, of course, especially when you shop here at Binaural Records. 

But you know what’s cooler than being cool? Storing your vinyl records between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the perfect temperature to keep them cool while they’re busy being all cool ‘n stuff. You dig?

They should also be kept away from vents and direct/intense lights, including the sun. Over long periods of time, direct light can lead to warping and other degradation. 

Humidity can be quite harmful to vinyl, so a humidity level between 35-45% is generally optimal. Many owners opt to put their vinyl records in self-storage - if you go that route, make sure you get a climate controlled unit.

Cleaning Your Vinyl

While there’s not much that can be done about warped or scratched vinyl, you can preserve your records by routinely cleaning them. Anytime you hear popping or hissing sounds, you’ll want to clean your record.

There are a number of different ways to clean vinyl records, which we’ll be discussing in another article. For now, I’ll direct your attention to our highly-effective vinyl cleaning tools including vacuums and solutions. These help keep all the dirt and dust off your records.

One more note here, because I don’t want you to mess this one up. Never (and I mean NEVER!) use solutions containing alcohol on your vinyl. They’ll mess up your records permanently, and you won’t like them when they’re drunk.

In Closing

Now you know what's important about storing vinyl records: keep them vertical, cool, dark, and dry, in a place where you love showing them off, and clean them occasionally. 

Have questions or feedback? Want to tell us about your preferred vinyl storage method? Leave a comment below!


Binaural Staff

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