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How to Keep Your Music Collection Clean

Always start your cleaning where it counts most by cleaning your playing equipment. Cassettes in particular get damaged through being played on a dirty machine, and tape decks, CD players, and turntables can’t help but attract dust.

Run a head-cleaning tape through cassette and video players regularly, including the car’s tape player. It’s in a dustier and dirtier environment than the players in your home and probably gets a lot more use. If you play vinyl records, check the needle and turntable for dust. The laser lens on CD players can also become dirty with time. Special CD lens cleaners that you play in your machine will help keep them clean.

When you have the equipment dust-free and in good working order, look to the tapes and discs that go in them.

How to clean CDs and DVDs

Blow off dust with a compressed-air spray and use a lint-free cloth to remove fingerprints. Use a straight sweeping motion from the centre out to the rim. The data is actually stored between a transparent layer of plastic and a reflective coating, so a surface scratch shouldn’t affect the playing quality. The most susceptible surface is the non-shiny side. If this gets a deep scratch it will damage the reflective coating, and this is irreparable. It makes sense to handle these discs with the greatest care. Pick up discs using the edge and the centre hole only. Store CDs and DVDs in their boxes and set them on their edges, not on top of each other.

How to care for audio cassettes

You can’t clean audio tapes so keep the dirt out by keeping them in their boxes. Also, keep cassettes away from extreme heat, direct sunlight, and strong magnets such as those inside speakers. In a parked car, temperatures can top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), when it’s a moderate 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) outside. So pare down your collection during summer and store any tapes you can’t bear to be without in the boot (trunk), where it’s shady.

How to dust off vinyl records

Clean using a soft, clean cloth following the grooves as you work from the edge to the centre. If the record is totally dirty, dip a cloth in soapy water, wring it out, then follow the grooves with the damp cloth.

Be sure to avoid the paper label of course, and afterwards, simply stand the records vertically to air dry. Do one side at a time, and you can lean the records against the wall.

How to wipe up video tapes

A head-cleaning cassette can clean the video player, but for the tapes themselves you just concentrate on avoiding dust. Before you take a tape out from the machine, rewind or fast forward so that the tape is on one reel only. This stops dust hitting a section of tape that contains information. Store tapes in their boxes with their spines upright, like books.

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