The material of vinyl records is actually waterproof. The vinyl of a record can get wet for cleaning for example. Just make sure it dries properly before you store it to prevent mold. Also, make sure it dries properly before you start playing it to avoid junk digging deep into the vinyl and your cartridge. But, the label often isn’t waterproof so you should try to avoid getting that wet.
I was wondering whether or not vinyl records are waterproof. So I looked into it. What I found out is that they are, but there are dangers to be aware of.
Table of Contents
Introduction – Are Vinyl Records Waterproof
After having written the article about the biggest threat to vinyl records, which showed that moisture is in the top three biggest threats to vinyl, I was wondering if vinyl records were waterproof at all. I had always assumed they were since water is a common part of record cleaning strategies.
With this doubt and concern in mind, I decided to take a good look at how waterproof an LP actually is. Whether or not I’ve been unknowingly doing unnecessary damage to my records.
I’ll start by talking about whether or not it’s okay to clean records with water. Then I’ll get into wet playing vinyl, even though that’s not something I’ve been doing, but I thought it’d be important to cover since it’s so relevant. Then I’ll conclude to give a clear summarized answer to the question: Are Vinyl Records Waterproof?
Can I Clean Records With Water?
I’ve been doing this for a while now. Just spin cleaning with a damp cloth. And I can imagine many people do too since it’s such an obvious way to clean records. But is this actually a bad thing to do?
Well no, not really. It’s perfectly fine to clean with water since the material of your grooves is actually quite water-resistant. I should add that most of the time the label on your record isn’t waterproof, so if you avoid getting that wet you should be fine. Something like a vinyl record waterproof label protector could help, but it’s not necessary if you’re careful. Just be sure to let your vinyl dry properly after wet cleaning it.
The biggest concern with moisture and records is mold. If you store your records when they’re wet, they’ll have a hard time drying. This is perfect for the development of fungus. Mildew or mold development on your records can be detrimental to their lifetime and audio quality. It can also be very tedious to remove mold from your vinyl. So I’ll say it again, make sure to dry your records properly before storing them. But should you dry them before playing them?
Can I Wet Play A Record?
Wet playing is a technique where you play your records while they’re wet in an attempt to quiet the static pops and noise. But the only thing this will do is significant damage.
If there is even a bit of dirt left on your record and it gets wet, it’ll turn into a muddy sludge. Now you might think this is a way to reduce static and clean the record all in one play, but that’s not the case.
You see, this sludge will make things worse in two main ways. The first one is that this now fluid sludge will have a much easier time seeping deeper into your vinyl with the help of the stylus. Now when this dries and cakes in the deepest molecular cracks of your record it will be incredibly tedious to remove it.
The second issue with this sludge is that it will also ruin your cartridge. First of all, it will cake on your stylus tip, which decreases its precision. Secondly, it can get into the cartridge which will disturb the Moving Magnet or Moving Coil mechanism inside. Which will actually lead to more noise and inaccuracies in the audio. By the way, if you’re interested in the difference between Moving Magnet and Moving Coil cartridges, check out this article I’ve written about it.
Conclusion – Are Vinyl Records Waterproof
Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful. I’d also love it if you checked out my other Educational articles like this one. If you’re interested in buying a good and affordable record player that please check out my record player Reviews & Top Lists.
- Fenichell, Stephen(1996); Plastic: The Making of a Synthetic Century, from HarperCollins