Is It Worth Cleaning Vinyl Records with Vinegar?

Each vinyl lover inevitably meets the issue of the matching vinyl record cleaner for his or her LPs. While experts usually promote ready-to-go solutions, many turntable owners use home-made liquids to keep their disks clean. The vinegar is one of such essences, highly popular due to its low cost and quick effect. It breaks the grime and dust deposits immediately and dries up quickly letting you use your record shortly after the cleaning.

Still, some vinyl fans express concerns over cleaning vinyl records with vinegar. The latter contains acetic acid, which might damage the grooves of vinyls at incorrect usage. Besides, the acids can become the basis for fungi and mildew growth when constantly contacting water. It means that the vinegar shouldn’t be applied to vinyl records in a humid environment. To combat this property of acidic substances, some audiophiles mix it with isopropyl alcohol. Still, more chemicals is just not what the vinyls (both new and old records) benefit from. The chemical residue can build up in the grooves, too, affecting their structure and not letting the stylus go deeper to catch more sound data.

Rules for Applying Vinegar to Vinyls

We’ve compiled a list of rules that’ll let you use this substance on your LP records safely.

  • Use white vinegar only. It contains only acetic acid (about 5%) and water, with no additions that can be harmful to vinyl records. Dilute it with distilled water in the proportion of 50 / 50.
    Apply vinegar on the microfiber cloth, not on the disk surface. Wipe it with the cloth thoroughly.
  • Let the records dry up before putting them into the covers for record albums.

So, vinegar is a worthy option for cleaning your LPs. It deals with multiple stains, acts quickly, and dries up fast. It’s safe to use in diluted condition while the humidity factor should be taken into account. In a damp environment, using vinegar might lead to mildew growth on vinyls. Still, it would be advisable to use a special record cleaning solution.