How to Get Rid of Static on Records
How to Get Rid of Static on Records
Static is a common problem among vinyl record collectors, but there are solutions at hand. Here are our tips on how to keep static at bay.
If you notice popping or crackling coming from your turntable while listening to your LP, there is a high likelihood that a build-up of static electricity has attracted dust and dirt to your record. This is somewhat inevitable, as records naturally attract static due to positive charge, but there are things you can do to minimise its effects. By developing a regular habit of reducing static build-up both before and after playing, it’s possible to lessen the build-up of dirt and dust on your record to ensure your listening experience remains sonically pleasing. Here is our guide on how to get rid of static on records:
1: USE AN ANTI-STATIC CARBON FIBRE BRUSH
The best recommendation is to purchase an anti-static carbon fibre brush. If you gently brush the surface of your record regularly - preferably both before you drop the needle and after you finish listening to it - this will reduce the level of static and keep dust at bay. You may find that doing this will generally help to reduce any adverse pops or crackles as you listen to it, as the level of static will be much lower than doing nothing at all.
Using an anti-static carbon fibre brush should be a part of your day-to-day maintenance as a vinyl collector. The best way to do this is to put the record on the platter, start the turntable, hold the brush straight and position it perpendicular to the record grooves. Don’t press too hard as the record spins, just simply let the brush pick up any static or dust. After that, you’ll be ready to listen to it. Do the same thing afterwards and when you put the record back in its sleeve you can be safe in the knowledge you’ve done your level best to get rid of as much static as you can.
2: CLEAN YOUR RECORD WITH ANTI-STATIC SPRAYS
As part of your vinyl cleaning ritual, we would also recommend using an anti-static record spray. Some products double up as an all-purpose record cleaner, so essentially this might allow you to kill two birds with one stone - reduce static and give your record a good clean. Like the previous method, you should aim to do this both before and after listening. Aim to use a microfibre cloth as you clean it, and as always, don’t press too hard as you lightly wipe your record in circular motions.
The key thing to remember is not to spray directly onto the surface of the record itself. Instead, spray the microfibre cloth, then apply it to the record’s surface, whilst being careful to avoid getting the circular label wet. Not only will this help to remove dust or dirt from the grooves, but a good anti-static record spray will help to eliminate the electrical charge your vinyl records will inevitably pick up. Invariably, doing this both before and after listening will help to reduce the build-up of dust and stop your records from popping or crackling.
3: USE A ZEROSTAT GUN
Some record collectors recommend purchasing a Zerostat gun. Claiming to reduce the static charge on the surface of a record instantly, it’s a handheld device that releases a stream of ions to remove static from LPs with immediate results. This isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. All you have to do is put your record on the turntable and let it rotate, hover the gun over it and slowly squeeze the trigger. Don’t let the gun make contact with the record itself - all you have to do is aim at all areas of your record until you’ve covered every possible groove.
Obviously, a Zerostat gun won’t do anything to remove any marks or dust from the surface of your record, but it will eliminate the static charge almost instantly. Like the above methods, using the gun will help to prevent the build-up of dust by ridding your record of any lingering static charge. Some vinyl collectors swear by using a Zerostat gun before and after listening in order to see the best results, with many immediately feeling (and hearing!) the difference after its use. Give it a try.
4: BUY A CORK VINYL MAT
Few people realise this, but the vinyl platter mat that often comes with your turntable - often made of felt or even rubber - is notorious for attracting static. As a result, vinyl records picking up static is an inevitable outcome, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Simply replacing your existing turntable mat with an alternative is the simplest way to reduce static charge. A lot of record collectors recommend a cork mat instead, as it is less prone to static due to the insulation it offers.
Buying a cork mat doesn’t completely get rid of the need to go through the above methods, but it does mean that replacing it with a material that is less conducive to electricity will help to get rid of static from your records. If you combine a lot of these approaches, a regular cleaning routine and a replacement cork mat should help to stop static in its tracks. The less static there is, the less dust your record will attract, so it’s a good idea to consider every option available to you.
5: REPLACE YOUR INNER SLEEVES WITH AN ANTI-STATIC ALTERNATIVE
Whenever you pop a vinyl record back into its inner sleeve, if there is still static charge on the record it can allow dust to spread. Since the inner sleeve tends to be made out of paper, it can allow the static (and subsequently dust) to linger, even while it sits on your shelf. As a result, the next time you listen to your record, you may find that the audio quality is impacted through no fault of your own. For this reason, it’s better to completely replace the paper inner sleeves with an anti-static sleeve instead.
Not only will this reduce paper residue getting in the grooves, but since an anti-static record sleeve is made out of plastic it can help get rid of static on records the moment you slip it back in its cover. Naturally, this gives you peace of mind - you won’t need to worry about static from a previous listen to allow dust to accumulate because the new plastic inner sleeve will be doing your job for you. As a result, the next time you decide to play it, you’ll find the whole vinyl experience will be improved because the threat of static will have been neutralised. In the end, any vinyl collector’s objective should be to keep their records in good condition for longer, so opting for any of these methods to get rid of static on records is well worth doing.
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