How To Handle Your Vinyl Records

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Now that you have begun your new record collecting hobby you should be sure to handle your records the right way. Improper handling and storage will greatly affect how well your records remain in optimum condition. The condition of your records will affect life span or the record as well as your equipment.

So, before you start to develop any bad habits let’s start you off in the right direction as to handling and storage of your treasures.



Don’t tell me no lies and keep your hands to yourself.How to handle your vinyl records

Keep your hands off the vinyl surface is rule number one and most important. You want to keep your skin oil and dirt off the surface of the record. Skin oil will let dust and other airborne stuff stick to the record. Then your needle will track over it and grind it into the grooves and gunk up your needle. This will not only work to degrade the record and needle but will also make your music sound less than desirable. You’ve paid good money for your records so give them the white glove treatment and not let your skin contact the grooves.

Handle them with a couple fingers on the label and your thumb on the edge

So, in the words of the Georgia Satellites “keep your grubby hands to yourself”.

When not being played, your record should always be in it’s protective sleeve and jacket. A record left out will only accumulate more dirt, dust and pet hairs.

Always clean your record with a carbon fiber brush before and after playing. I have a suggested brush and review HERE (affiliate link) if you want to check it out.





Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Just Don’t Lay Me FlatHow to handle your vinyl records


When you call it a day and put yourself away for the night you lie down flat. At least most of us do. That’s fine for us but not for your records. Your records need to sleep like a horse, upright.

Records should be stored in an upright vertical position with as little lean as possible. Letting them lie flat in a pile will eventually cause them to warp. It will also cause what is called ring wear on the jackets. Ring wear is where you can see the circular worn outline on the jacket or the impression of the vinyl showing through.

Invest in a decent shelving system. Records are heavy and need a sturdy place to hold them securely. A linear foot of records will weigh about thirty pounds. There are modular systems you can buy and add to when you need more space.

If you have a somewhat large shelf system you should reinforce it with some metal L brackets and even attach it to the wall to avoid a collapse or any chance of the shelf tipping over. Do not store records in a cardboard box as it will get to heavy and burst when you try to carry it. The back of the box will also not stay rigid causing your records to warp over long term storage.  You can buy wooden crates that are made for records. Click here to see a nice record storage cube. You can buy more as your collection grows.

Most records come in a stiff paper sleeve. These sleeves can lead to minor scuffing and scratching so I suggest getting some plastic liner sleeves to keep the vinyl in. Just keep the original sleeve in the jacket to retain the original liner notes/lyrics or whatever is on the original sleeve. It will preserve value if you ever do re-sell your records. Click here to view or purchase the Mobile Fidelity plastic sleeves.



Good Day SunshineHow to handle your vinyl records

The Beatles felt good and laughed when the sun was out, but when it comes to your records they will be singing “Goodbye Sunshine”.  Records and sunshine do not mix well.

The sun will cause your cover artwork to fade and the heat will accelerate warping so do not store them in direct sunlight. Avoid damp musty basements as well. If you must store in a basement perhaps consider a portable dehumidifier. Once mold and mildew get started on a record it is difficult to get rid of without major deep cleaning. Mold is not healthy for us or records. Be extra cautious if you live in the USA deep South.

Although vinyl records provide a really nice sound experience unfortunately they are rather high maintenance, so they won’t last long without maintaining them properly Just follow the handling steps I have outlined here and you should be fine. Good common sense will go a long way towards keeping your records in excellent condition.





Collecting vinyl records is not an inexpensive hobby so, it is imperative that you learn how to handle vinyl records properly. Proper care, handling and cleaning will go a log way towards preserving your collection in the best condition possible. A vinyl record will give you many, many years or musical enjoyment if you just exercise proper procedures and care. It will also go along way towards making your needle/stylus last it’s maximum life as well.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.



  1. Craig,
    Both my husband and I have a large collection of Vinyl Records. I appreciate the tips to keep them in great condition. I know my biggest problem is touching them and leaving finger prints. I did not know you are supposed to store records upright. Thanks for a valuable tip.


    • Yeah storing flat is a good way for them to warp. I bought a box of records at an estate sale a few years ago and did not look through them. When I got them home and actually examined them I discovered all were severely warped from being stored flat. Almost all of them were unplayable. Glad I didn’t pay much for them. If your’s are stored flat I’d get the upright before the same thing happens to them. Thanks for your comment Lisa.

  2. Hello there, Craig,
    Interesting information and I loved the writing style. I felt like I was talking to a friend about vinyl records. I smiled a couple of times. Thanks for all the tips. I wish I had saved my parents collections. Oh well, technology came too fast before I had a chance to catch my breath!
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comments Michelle. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I wish you had your parents collection too as I bet they had some good music in there. Time and technology wait for no one. 😉

  3. Hi Craig, My wife is a fun of Vinyl Records. After reading your article, I understand why she was so angry at me once I touched her Vinyl Records using my naked fingers. Your tips to keep the Records in good condition are helpful to me since I may help her to maintain her records. I bookmarked your website and also forwarded your site link to her for future references.
    Thanks for shareing

    • Oh don’t touch her records in order to stay on her good side 😉 So glad you enjoyed the post Anthony and thank you for your comment.

  4. I am glad to know that i have always been handling my records correctly! I always stored them upright and was always careful about how I held them.

    I remember on my parent’s record player, there was a small “brush” that clipped onto the arm of the player, so that it was cleaning the record as it played.

    Then of course, there was the famous Ronco record vacuum, which we never had, but I always thought looked cool. Looking back on it though, I wonder if it did more harm than good….

    Interesting post. It’s given me some flashbacks and made me want to dig out my old albums.

    • I remember those little brush attachments too. About a year ago I ran across one of those famous Ronco record cleaners in a thrift store. It was still in it’s original box but had been used. Upon closer examination the battery compartment had been completely destroyed by battery acid so I ended up just leaving it on the shelf. It wold have been nice as a display item in my music area. oh well. Oh you should go dig out your old records just for the heck of it, you might find some really cool forgotten memories hiding among the records. Thanks for stopping my and leaving a comment Craig.

  5. One of the things I miss about living in an RV with limited storage space is being able to have a collection of records. I did not know that you shouldn’t store them laying down, luckily, I always stored them standing up. No one touched my albums but me though, so I knew they were handled properly. Great tips in this post. Thank you for the information.

    • I imagine it would be difficult to have a record collection living in an RV as records are a bit of a space hog. Thanks for stopping by Sue.

  6. Hello Craig, Thanks so much for sharing this useful information on how to handle my vinyl records. I can see very well that most of these problem that my record do have are my personal problem.

    Now you have taught me to keep my hands off the record. since Improper handling and storage will greatly affect how well your records remain in optimum condition and even the condition of your records will affect life span or the record as well as your equipment.

    Thanks so much for opening my eyes to this useful way of keeping my record well. My question is, is there any tool that can be used to clean vinyl records when there are dirt on it?

    I will be happy to hear from you

    • Hello Stephen and thanks for the comments and question. For a way to clean your records easily follow THIS LINK to a post I made on how to clean your records quite easily. thanks, Craig

  7. Wow! I didn’t know that vinyl records needed so much care. It is crazy to think that just one foot of these records on a shelf will weigh thirty pounds. My grandpa never wore gloves when he played his records, but that might also be why he had to buy a new player when we lived with him. I will remember these tips if I ever happen to own my grandfathers few vinyl records!

    • Thanks for stopping by Brittaney. Actually you don’t need to wear gloves when handling records, just be sure to keep fingers off the playing surface and handle by the label and edge.

  8. Dear Craig,

    Thanks for the information on “Vinyl Records” learnt some new insights.

    Records should be stored in an upright vertical position with as little lean as possible. Letting them lie flat in a pile will eventually cause them to warp I learnt this from your article thanks for that.

    Your Friend,

  9. Hello Craig, I was also so worried about handling an album. So many thanks for teaching us exactly how to do it. And I did not think about that there were so many needs to albums. Thank you for teaching me the right and wrongs. Great article. ariel

    • Yes Ariel, vinyl does take a little more effort and care but I think it is worth it. After awhile it is all second nature. Thanks for your comment

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