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How to Clean a Turntable – Quick Record Player Maintenance Tips

HiFi Record Player - Vinyl Turntable

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Here’s something that aspiring audiophiles should know: Dust and other dirt particles can affect your HiFi turntable’s sound quality.

So, if you hear stuttering and crackling noises when playing music, it’s a sign that your vinyl record player needs maintenance. If left unclean, it could damage your equipment and records, leading to painful repairs or repairs. 

Fortunately, keeping a turntable in excellent shape is quick, easy, and inexpensive as long as you do it properly. In case you don’t know how to clean a turntable, you’re at the right spot. 

In this post, I’ll talk about how record players get dirty and share a quick guide to turntable and vinyl record care for beginners. 

How Record Players Get Dirty

You’re probably wondering how or why turntables get dirty. I used to do the same until I got all “science-y” and dug deeper into the technology.

I discovered that vinyl records create static electricity. This electricity is produced by friction. So, when the needle or stylus reads the modulations on the grooves of your record, it causes crackling. 

Static electricity attracts dust, debris, and dirt to the record as well as your HiFi Turntable. In most cases, you may not see visible dust, depending on the air quality.

However, if you don’t operate it for a long time, you should hear hissing or popping sounds. 

Denon Record Player Turntable
Denon Turntable – Image: Make Life Click

This is a sign that your equipment needs maintenance.

A Quick Guide to HiFi Turntable and Vinyl Record Care

Listening to music on a HiFi turntable is an experience like no other. Unfortunately, record players and records are highly susceptible to dust, and therefore, they require a quick cleanup to remain in good condition. 

To make this simple, I’ve broken down the guide into two parts:

How to Clean Vinyl Records

Cleaning vinyl records is a relatively straightforward process, especially if you own a record washer. However, most owners don’t opt for washers and are reluctant to buy one. Even I don’t own one, to be fair. 

So, I learned how to clean my records by hand, and it’s pretty easy.

All you need is a vinyl brush, which you can find in any record store or a site like Amazon. You’ll also need a vinyl cleaning or washing solution. Soap and water work, too, but these solutions are designed specifically for vinyl records. 

If you’re looking to simply “clean” your records, all you need to do is brush them gently using the vinyl brush. To “wash” your records, add the cleaning solution to some water and wipe it thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.

Make sure your records are dry to avoid mold growth.

How to clean a vinyl records
Image: JumpStory

How to Clean a Turntable – A Step-by-Step Guide with Great Maintenance Tips

Now that you know how to clean vinyl records, it’s time to move on to the business end of this post – learning how to clean your HiFi turntable properly. Here’s my quick guide with a few extra tips:

  1. Get Your Cleaning Supplies

To maintain your HiFi turntable, you’ll need to procure the following supplies:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Stylus brush
  • Soft bristle brush

Tip

Instead of procuring these supplies separately, I recommend opting for an inexpensive vinyl cleaning kit to get everything you need in one purchase. You can head to Amazon or a record store nearby. 

  1. Start by Cleaning the Surfaces

Before you take your turntable apart to get to the plate and straps, make sure you clean the outer surfaces to minimize dust entering under the hood. You can save the microfiber cloth in this step and use any clean, lint-free cloth. 

Just like cleaning any other electronic, wipe the middle and move outwards in a circular motion. Next, gently apply some rubbing alcohol to remove stains or fingerprints. 

Tip

I recommend using an anti-static cloth to clean your turntable. This cloth will prevent the surface from getting charged again from wiping and keep your equipment dust-free for much longer. 

  1. Clean the Inside

Once your turntable’s exterior is clean, you can pop the hood and start cleaning the inner workings. However, modern record players have different operating mechanisms.

Some are belt-drive, while others have idler wheels or a direct-drive system. 

Therefore, the cleaning process would be slightly different for each. For instance, if your turntable has a belt-drive system, you’ll have to remove it and clean it with rubbing alcohol.

Audio Technica Turntable
Audio-Technica Turntable | Image: Make Life Click

In contrast, the other two turntable types have fixed moving mechanisms, so you can clean them directly without removing any parts. 

Tip

This is a delicate operation. The last thing you want to do is damage your turntable.

So, make sure you follow the instructions on the manual or look for a cleaning video guide. I also recommend opting for professional maintenance at least once or twice a year to have the cleaning done by experts.

Conclusion

Cleaning your vinyl records and HiFi turntable is a routine task for audiophiles who listen to their favorite music this way.

On the surface, it looks impractical considering the number of fragile individual parts. So, if you can’t handle it, you should either opt for more popular sources, such as a CD player or portable music device. 

On the bright side, you don’t have to clean the interior very often, especially if you use a dust cover. As for the surface, the process is quite straightforward, so I don’t see how anyone should have an issue cleaning their equipment regularly.

The way I see it, learning how to clean a turntable is a big part of being an audiophile.

Taking care of your precious equipment shows you love music and are leaving no stones unturned in wringing out the best playback possible. 

A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.


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