remove glue from vinyl records

In this article, I will be going into detail on how to ensure complete removal of glue from your collection of vinyl records. Those sticky remains tend to stubbornly stick to any and all surfaces, but with these easy-to-follow steps, the peanut butter and frustration will be history! Get ready for a shiny new collection of stain-free records.

To remove glue from vinyl records you will first need to leave distilled water over the affected area for a few minutes to loosen the adhesive. After cleaning this with a terry cloth, you can cautiously apply lighter fluid to the vinyl. Finally, use a clean cloth pad to wipe down the area in a bidirectional manner.

A word of caution: I wrote a separate article on how to remove adhesive labels from vinyl records as well, linked here. Although they do share a few similarities, these are two separate and specific processes, so please be sure to identify which one is best suited for your needs.

Stage 1

The first step will be most effective with the milder, less stubborn stains. You definitely have the materials at home, and the process can be achieved in less than 5 minutes. Soak a clean rag or cloth in distilled water and apply it to the affected area.

After a few minutes, remove the towel and gently wipe down the area with another clean, dry cloth. This should at the least loosen the leftover adhesive, and could even finish up the process for those lucky enough to have smaller glue spots!

Stage 2

Following the distilled water bath, the next step is to apply lighter fluid to the area affected by the glue. The chemicals in this fluid will interact healthily with both the adhesive and the vinyl, preventing any further damage that could be caused by other more aggressive or less compatible solvents.

Soak a corner of a clean paint pad or similar textured material with the lighter fluid (be very careful to avoid any open flames surrounding your work area at this point!) and swipe in a bidirectional manner.

Paint pads help to remove rather than smear, so it is important to use a material similar to this one. They provide better coverage and a smoother, more even finish. Finish by cleansing with distilled water to remove traces of the lighter fluid.

Stage 3

If the first two steps still haven’t quite done it for your vinyl, the last stage is sure to eliminate the remains of the glue. It does (most likely) require the purchase of a product: De Solv It. This goes for about $15.00 on Amazon and is even cheaper in most grocery stores.

It was created by neonatal nurses for infant-centered use, so it is very non-toxic. It has been dubbed a miracle worker, and is sure to remove any leftover stubborn glue gunk leftover on your vinyl in a manner that avoids causing further damage.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

DO NOT use lighter fluid on old shellac records. If you’re not sure if you have vinyl or shellac records you can quickly check out this other article(opens in a new tab).

Avoid using WD-40 and Goo Gone/naptha, as they can leave behind solvents and oil that can be further damaging to the vinyl and consequently create more work for you! Goo Gone is listed as being safe for vinyl, but there are opposing viewpoints on this.

I would recommend trying this out on a less favorable record before employing on your favorites, and to make sure to clean the vinyl thoroughly after using these types of products.


Remember to begin by soaking in distilled water, and gently drying with terry cloth. If the need to continue cleaning should arise, you could move on to cleansing your record with lighter fluid, as it contains solvents effective in breaking down and removing adhesive. Finally, try out De Solv It, a solution that gently breaks down any unwanted glue.

An alternate method I didn’t go into would be utilizing wood glue, which is also an option, but one that requires much more time and skill. I would stick with the stages above before attempting to move on to this, as these tend to work 95% of the time!

Always be thorough and exercise great caution with your records – preserving this manner of music consumption is vital! This is the best way to ensure a long life for your music in the quality form it deserves. Keep on groovin’!

Thanks so much for referring to Record Player Expert for all your vinyl needs! Hopefully, some of these methods worked for you and were easy to follow. Insert links here (for more information, check out these other related articles…)



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