How to Store Vinyl Records

Vinyl records are the most stable media format (so far), but there are still a few things you can do to make sure your records are in peak condition for years to come.

The main culprits of vinyl deterioration are heat, sun and humidity. Dust and debris can also cause problems in playback but generally these can be fixed with a simple cleaning.

Vinyl softens and flows when exposed to excessive heat, which deforms the grooves. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) releases hydrogen
chloride as it thermodegrades. Stabilizers added to the compound during production arrest this process,
but excessive heat, ultraviolet radiation, and humidity accelerate the degradation and deplete the available
stabilizers.

Council on Library & Information Resources

So what’s the best way to store vinyl?

The record catalog site discogs provides a few suggestions:

  • Heat: Keep records at room temperature – about 59 to 77 °F (15 to 25 °C ) – or below if possible.
  • Light: Don’t store records where they are exposed to direct light, especially sunlight. In addition to the heat, UV rays themselves are particularly harmful to vinyl records.
  • Humidity: That dank basement you keep your records in may not be the best place for them. Vinyl should be stored in a relatively dry environment: from about 35% to 40% relative humidity.
  • Pressure: Don’t stack things on your records, not even other records. The pressure can lead to warping.

And there are some tips from the Library of Congress. Maybe not the first source you’d think of but they are admittedly pretty good at preserving physical media.

Things like washing your hands, keeping food and drinks away, and avoiding touching the playback surface are all generally good ideas for vinyl (and most other physical media as well).

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