This is the Vinyl Record Handling and Storage Preparation section.

Vinyl Record Handling & Storage Preparation

The first place to begin with storage preparation for your vinyl record collection is acquiring protective jackets and sleeves, if they haven’t been provided or purchased already. And of course, make sure you always have clean, dry skin when handling your vinyl records.

The terms ‘archival quality’ and ‘acid free’ are used to designate materials or products that are permanent, durable, and/or chemically stable and used for long-term preservation and conservation.

Sleeves and Jackets

It is best to keep your records in protective sleeves to help mitigate the accumulation of dirt and dust. Make sure to keep all of them in record sleeves as well as in record jackets. Paper sleeves work well, but the plastic sleeves have a naturally anti-static property that will help further dispel dust and dirt. For the most protection, keep the record (outer jacket and all) in a record jacket sleeve. Replace sleeves whenever the clarity begins to fade. Try to replace older plastic sleeves with modern acid-free versions to prevent acid migration. Below is a list of Sleeve/Jacket types and materials:

Record Sleeves

Fits directly over the vinyl record for further protection while being house in a Record Jacket.

12″

      • Paper
        • Basic – acid-free paper
        • Paper with Polylining – acid-free paper with a archival polypropylene lining.
        • Archival Folder Stock – acid-free, archival quality, made of folder stock envelope.
      • Plastic
        • Polyethylene – a soft, clear material thats able to breath and let moisture escape. It has some elasticity which allows for it to conform easier for a tighter fit. Has good contact clarity.
        • Polypropylene – a very clear, acid free, high sheen, crisp material. Often uses bi-oriented polypro, which stretches the material in both directions when being produced, so that it won’t wrinkle or warp over time. Less clarity.
        • Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride) – usually very soft so it conforms easily. Also inexpensive.

10″

7″

16″

Record Jackets

Where the vinyl record is housed.

12″

      • Standard Cardboard Jacket – the most common material used for making jackets. It is a heavy-duty paper of various strengths, ranging from a simple arrangement of a single thick sheet of paper to complex configurations.
      • Custom Print Standard Cardboard Jackets – standard cardboard jacket that allows custom designs to be printed on the cover. PDF templates here: Standard & With Hole.
      • Euro Jackets – unique due to their slim construction, functionality and consumer attractiveness. This style jacket holds one vinyl record and does not have a spine.
      • Gatefold Jackets – a gatefold jacket is like two jackets put together, that fold open like a book. Usually contains artwork or lyrics inside. Also used for double albums, since their are two slits for vinyls to go in.

10″

      • Standard Cardboard Jacket
      • Gatefold Jackets

7″

      • Standard Cardboard Jacket
      • Custom Print Standard Cardboard Jackets – PDF templates here: Standard & With Hole.
      • Gatefold Jackets
Record Jacket Sleeves

Protective sleeve that the Record Jacket is placed in to protect the Record Jackets art, quality, etc.

12″

      • Polyethylene – a soft, clear material thats able to breath and let moisture escape. It has some elasticity which allows for it to conform easier for a tighter fit. Has good contact clarity.
      • Polypropylene – a very clear, acid free, high sheen, crisp material. Often uses bi-oriented polypro, which stretches the material in both directions when being produced, so that it won’t wrinkle or warp over time. Less clarity.
      • Mylar (Archival Polyester) – will not discolor, damage or adhere to items placed inside it. It is a sturdy film that will give extra support to fragile documents. Mylar material is best to use in all situations, especially if you’re protecting a collector’s item. Sleeves made from mylar will retain their clarity much longer than polypropylene sleeves.

7″

      • Polyethylene
      • Polypropylene
      • Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Vinyl/Record Sizes

Below is a list of vinyl record sizes to help you find the right sleeve/jacket you may need:

Common Sizes
      • 12″ (30 cm) 33⅓ rpm long-playing (LP) format
      • 10″ (25 cm) 33⅓ rpm long-playing (LP) format
      • 7″ (17.5 cm) 45 rpm (single) format
Less common Sizes
      • 12″ (30 cm) 45 rpm extended-playing, Maxi Single and EP format
      • 10″ (25 cm) 78 rpm extended-playing EP format
      • 7″ (17.5 cm) 45 rpm extended-playing EP format
      • 16″ 33⅓ rpm long-playing LP format
      • 16⅔ rpm format for voice recording
      • 12″ 180 Gram 45 rpm or 33⅓ rpm
      • 12″ (30 cm), 10″ (25 cm) and 7″ (17.5 cm) picture discs and shaped discs
      • 5″ (12 cm), 6″ (15 cm), 8″ (20 cm), 9″ (23 cm), 11″ (28 cm), 13″ (33 cm) Specialty sizes
      • 7″ (17.5 cm) Flexidiscs, often square

Vinyl record standards for the United States follow the guidelines of the Record Industry Association of America or RIAA for short. The inch dimensions are actually just trade names, and are labeled as followed: a 12 inch record is 302 mm (11.89 in), a 10 inch it is 250 mm (9.84 in), and a 7 inch it is 175 mm (6.89 in).

Records made in other countries have diameters that are commonly 30 cm, 25 cm and 17.5 cm.

Cleaning and Repairing

    • Cleaning your vinyl regularly will help minimize potential scratches from occurring due to dirt and dust. Record cleaning kits are available for purchase, and consist of a directional brush, liquid cleaning solution, and a record cleaning cloth. Here are some tips on how to properly clean vinyl if you do not have a record cleaning kit:
      1. Obtain a soft, lint-free record cleaning cloth or sponge made of soft cotton or muslin.
      2. Use a cleaning solution made from 20 percent isopropyl and 80 percent water. (Do not use this mixture on 78s because they’re made from shellac. Also, avoid using tap water, rubbing alcohol, or lighter fluid to clean your records. The additives and impurities in these substances can damage the vinyl.)
      3. Lightly dampen a corner of the cloth or sponge. In a gentle circular motion, wipe from the middle to the edges, or vice versa.
      4. Allow to air dry.
      5. Ideally, every time you play a record, you should wipe its surface down with an anti-static record cleaning brush. Use the brush both before and after playing a record. Using this brush regularly will help keep your records cleaner for a longer period of time. Make sure to wipe the brush clean after each use.
    • You can clean your record as you play it by using a turntable carbon fiber brush.
    • If you have a large record collection, obtaining a record cleaning machine would be a very efficient way to clean lots of records quickly. They work by applying a liquid cleaning solution to the record, which loosens up dirt and dust, and then vacuums the liquid and dirt away from the record.
    • Keep your stylus clean by using a stylus cleaning kit. Includes cleaning fluid and a nylon brush.
    • If the labels on your records or record jackets are damaged, be careful about gluing them. Use a corner repair kit containing acid-free glue, a bone folder, and a metal spatula.
    • Records made from shellac must be taken special care of and cleaned either professionally, or using professional cleaning solutions specifically made for this purpose, since early shellac records are very porous. There are record cleaning kits available, made specifically for 78’s. If the 78 kit is unavailable to you, it is generally safe to wash using soapy water. Use a mild liquid dish-washing detergent, and rinse well before drying. Follow the steps below:
      1. Use a gentle dish washing liquid that has been heavily diluted with water.
      2. Apply with a fine bristled brush to lift the dirt.
      3. Make sure not to get the label wet.
      4. Rinse and pat dry with a towel, then air dry on a hard, flat surface.

Tips and ideas on how to store your favorite books, comic books, magazines, vinyl records, posters and more!