Got your vinyl record wet? Don’t worry!
Vinyl records are waterproof so spilling a glass of water on it won’t cause damage.
However, there are circumstances where water will cause irreparable damage to your vinyl records that you should know.
In this blog, you’ll learn;
- Can vinyl records get wet?
- What to do if your vinyl records get wet
- How to clean your vinyl records with water safely
Can Vinyl Records Get Wet?
Yes, vinyl records can get wet because they are waterproof.
In fact, you should get your vinyl records wet to clean them by using an anti-static fluid or water.
However, if you decide to clean your records with water, DON’T use tap water as this can damage your vinyl records.
It’s also important to know that the inner paper circle on some vinyl records is not waterproof.
What Happens If Vinyl Records Get Wet?
When records get wet, liquid simply slides off the vinyl and it’s grooves.
Your vinyl record will not be damaged if it gets wet, but it’s inner paper circle might be. If this happens, you should pat dry the paper circle immediately and then lay a microfibre towel on top of it to dry.
It is very important you wait at least one hour for your record to dry before playing it, or putting it away.
However, freezing cold water or hot water can damage your vinyl records by making them brittle or warped respectively.
If you accidentally get your records wet, you should just let them dry or pat-dry.
Can You Play A Vinyl Record That Is Wet?
Always make sure your vinyl record is completely dry before playing it.
A wet, or moist, vinyl record should never be played until it is completely dry.
Water conducts electricity and your record player needle uses electrical signals to pickup audio from the grooves within your vinyl record.
This can be dangerous to you, and could damage your record player.
To dry a wet vinyl record, simply pat-dry with a microfibre cloth or leave it to dry naturally.
Does Water Ruin Vinyl Records?
Tap water can ruin records because it contains crystals which are abrasive to vinyl. This means that when you rub tap water in with a cloth, you can scratch microscopic sections of your vinyl and cause damage.
Water can also ruin vinyl records at 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) or 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit). At hot temperatures, vinyl records will start to warp and at freezing temperatures, they will become brittle and more likely to break.
Make sure you read our blog on how temperature changes records so you store them in your house safely all year!
Can Water Damage Vinyl Sleeves?
Yes, most vinyl sleeves are made from paper which is easily damaged by water.
Spilling water on a vinyl sleeve might not ruin it if you act quickly though.
If you spill water on your vinyl sleeves, lift it up and use a peg to hang it from a line. Peg the inside pocket to prevent the sides sticking together.
You can use a hairdryer to dry it quicker, just be careful how close you hold it to it to prevent burning.
What Happens If Vinyl Sleeves Are Stuck Together From Water Damage?
If your sleeves are stuck together, you should dry them carefully before pulling them apart.
Try using a hairdryer on a colder setting as this dries the sleeves without the risk of heating the paint, which can make them stick even more.
You can also use an air spray can to blow water away from between the sleeves.
How Do You Dry A Vinyl Sleeve That Got Wet?
If your vinyl record sleeve is soaking wet, try covering it with rice and salt. They both absorb water and will help to dry your sleeve naturally.
You can also use a hairdryer to quickly remove the moisture but be careful not to use it on too high a temperature. You could make things worse by heating the paint which will make it easier for your wet sleeve to stick.
Aside from this, the best thing to do with a wet vinyl record sleeve is hang it up immediately to avoid it sticking. Once a record has been stuck to a surface, it is very likely to tear and cause permanent damage.
Hanging it up on a washing line with a peg will work.
Make sure to clip the peg to the inside pocket rather than the sealed bottom though. This will prevent both sides sticking to each other.
How Long Does It Take To Dry A Vinyl Record?
It is best to lay your vinyl record on a microfibre towel to dry but it will dry quicker if you lay it between two.
Vinyl records take one hour to dry after they get wet.
What Is The Best Way To Clean Vinyl Records?
1. Cleaning Vinyl Records With Anti-Static Fluid
Anti-static fluid is the best way to clean vinyl records as it helps them last longer without the need for cleaning. It can also improve the sound quality of your record by providing a cleaner path for the signals to travel.
Cleaning fluid for vinyl records is generally more viscious than water so it can reach areas of your records’ grooves than water can’t.
If you decide to buy cleaning fluid for your records, I recommend getting a brush to help it reach every part of the grooves within your record.
2. Cleaning Vinyl Records With Distilled Water
Using distilled water is also a great way to clean your vinyl records, especially if they are dusty.
It will cause no damage and especially when combined with a brush or microfibre cloth, will thoroughly clean every part of your record.
Cleaning with water isn’t as good as fluid, but the difference is generally not noticeable for the average record player owner.
Can You Use Tap Water To Clean Vinyl Records?
You shouldn’t use tap water to clean vinyl records because it contains crystals that can scratch your records surface.
If you accidentally spill tap water on your vinyl record, it shouldn’t cause noticeable damage though. It is the act of rubbing crystals in with a cloth that causes scratches, not the water itself.
This isn’t a problem for vinyl flooring for example, because the damage is microscopic and unnoticeable.
This means that even slight damage cause by tap water crystals during cleaning will reduce it’s quality.
Should You Use Distilled Water To Clean Vinyl Records?
Always use distilled water to clean your vinyl records.
Tap water contains crystals that damage vinyl, causing scratches that reduce it’s quality over time. Distilled water filters out these crystals, ensuring you won’t damage your vinyl records when cleaning them.
The good news is, distilled water is extremely cheap to buy and you only need to buy one bottle to clean dozens of vinyl records.
What Is A Homemade Solution To Clean Vinyl Records?
An easy, homemade solution to clean vinyl records is by using regular dish soap (washing up liquid).
Mix a tiny amount on a microfibre cloth damp with distilled water and rub your vinyl softly, in a circular motion.
You can also make your own distilled water at home to clean your vinyl records with. You can see a wikiHow guide here on how to distill water but you may find it easier and cheaper just to buy a bottle of distilled water!
Vinyl records can get wet but their sleeves shouldn’t. If a record sleeve gets wet, dry it and hang it up immediately to prevent it from sticking.
You should get your vinyl records wet to clean them but only with non-tap water. This is because tap water contains ingredients that can be abrasive to vinyl, causing tiny scratches when you clean it.
If you’re worried about how temperature in your home affects your vinyl records, be sure to check out our complete blog on how temperature affects records here.
I also recommend knowing how to clean your record player dust cover.