5 Steps To Correctly Hold & Handle Vinyl Records

5 Steps To Correctly Handle Vinyl Records

Craig Walker |

Vinyl records have made a remarkable comeback in recent years, captivating audiophiles with their warm, rich sound.

However, to truly enjoy the full potential of your vinyl collection and ensure its longevity, proper handling is essential.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of handling vinyl records correctly to preserve their pristine quality and extend their lifespan.

Man Holding Vinyl Record Incorrectly

Why Proper Handling Matters

Before we dive into the 'how-to', let's first understand the 'why'.

Why does it matter how you handle your vinyl records?

Well, it's simple really. Vinyl records are delicate creatures. They're prone to scratches, dust, and damage which can affect the sound quality.

And nobody wants to listen to a scratchy rendition of their favourite tune, do they?

Furthermore, improper handling can lead to warping.

This is when the record bends out of shape, causing it to wobble when played.

This not only affects the sound quality but can also damage your record player.

Proper handling isn't just about preserving your records, it's about preserving your entire music setup.

How to Handle Vinyl Records

Now that we understand the importance of proper handling, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

How exactly should you handle your vinyl records? Luckily  it's not as complicated as you might think, just a few rules to follow.

1. Always Hold by the Edges

The golden rule of vinyl record handling is to always hold them by the edges.

This is because the oils on your fingers can damage the grooves on the record, affecting the sound quality.

When picking up a record, make sure to grip it at the edge, avoiding the grooves entirely.

Man Holding Vinyl Record By The Edges

And remember, no matter how tempting it may be, never touch the grooves. 

2. Use The Cueing Lever

Always use the cueing lever to raise and lower the tonearm of your record player.

This prevents you from dropping the stylus onto the record which will both protect your vinyl records and prolong the life of your delicate needle.

Turntable Queuing Lever

Don't be tempted to lift it manually, even when skipping tracks, it's not worth the risk!

Read More: Can You Skip Tracks On A Vinyl Record?


3. Always Clean Your Records

It's really important that you keep your vinyl records clean.

You should regularly use a record cleaning cloth and an anti-static brush to keep them in tip-top condition.

We recommend that you have a vinyl record cleaning kit on hand and an anti-static brush.

You should use the anti-static brush before and after every vinyl play and then frequently clean the record fully with the record cleaning solution and cloth.

How To Clean Vinyl Records

This will prolong the life of your vinyl records as well as your turntable.

Read More: How To Clean Vinyl Records


4. Put Records Away When Not In Use

Don't leave records laying around when not in use.

When you finish playing a record, put it back in it's sleeve and put it back into upright storage.

Vinyl Records Left Next To Record Player

Don't leave it laying on the side next to the turntable, even worse if it's left out of it's sleeve. This will make it a dust magnet as well as risking scratches, drops and warping.

Read More: Is It Bad To Leave A Vinyl Record On My Turntable?


5. Use a Record Clamp / Weight

A record clamp or weight is a handy little device that sits on your record.

This not only improves sound quality but also reduces the risk of the record slipping and getting damaged.

Personally I'm a big fan of record weights, I find that the record plays a tiny bit better and improves the overall sound quality. It's also a nice lump of aluminium!

Vinyl Record Weight On Turntable

If you're serious about your vinyl, a record weight or clamp is a must-have.

Just remember to handle the clamp with care, place it onto your records carefully before you start spinning the turntable.

And always make sure to remove it before taking the record off!

Storing Your Vinyl Records

Proper handling isn't just about how you hold and play your records.

It's also about how you store them.

And, just like with handling, there are a few golden rules to follow.

Vinyl Records Stored In A Storage Crate

Store Upright

When storing your vinyl records, always keep them upright.

Stacking records on top of each other can cause warping and other damage. So, invest in a good quality record rack or shelf and keep your records standing tall.

And remember, just like books, records like to be snug but not squashed. Be careful not to cram too many records into one space.

Keep in a Cool, Dry Place

Vinyl records are sensitive to heat and moisture. So, always store them in a cool, dry place.

Avoid areas with direct sunlight or high humidity. And, if possible, keep them in a room with a stable temperature.

Read More: How To Store Vinyl Records


Hopefully you now have a good understanding of how to properly handle and store vinyl records.  It's not rocket science, just a few basic rules to follow.

Now, go forth and spin those discs with confidence.

But remember, handle with care!