How to Remove Smell From Vinyl Records

If you’re a vinyl record enthusiast, you know how important it is to keep your collection in pristine condition. However, over time, vinyl records can develop unpleasant odors, such as musty smells or moldy odors. Don’t worry, though! With the right techniques, you can easily eliminate these smells and restore your vinyl records to their former glory.

A pair of hands holding a vinyl record while a gentle breeze blows, symbolizing the removal of smell.

In this guide, we will walk you through effective methods and record cleaning tips to help you remove smell from vinyl records. From simple methods like replacing the sleeves and jackets to deep cleaning your records with a vinyl cleaning kit, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and get your vinyl records smelling fresh again!

Key Takeaways:

  • Properly cleaning and maintaining your vinyl records is essential to prevent and remove smells.
  • Methods to remove smells from vinyl records include replacing sleeves and jackets, using a vacuum cleaner, using sprays and wipes, airing out records, and deep cleaning with a vinyl cleaning kit.
  • Take precautions to maintain odor-free vinyl records, such as separating musty-smelling records, washing hands before handling, ensuring proper storage conditions, and avoiding direct sunlight.
  • Clean vinyl records offer better sound quality, a longer lifespan, and an improved listening experience.
  • Consider using proper cleaning tools and solutions, inspecting records regularly, and seeking professional help if needed.

Why Vinyl Records Develop Smells

Vinyl records can develop smells if they are not properly cleaned and stored. Factors such as damp environments and improper storage conditions can lead to mold growth and musty odors on the records. It’s important to clean and maintain your vinyl records to prevent these smells from developing.

When vinyl records are exposed to moisture or humidity, it creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow. This can happen if the records are stored in a basement or attic with high humidity levels or if they come into contact with liquid spills.

Additionally, if records are stored in sleeves or jackets that are dirty or have not been properly cleaned, the accumulated dirt and dust can contribute to the development of odors. Over time, these smells can transfer to the vinyl, affecting the overall listening experience.

By taking proper care of your vinyl records and implementing regular cleaning and maintenance routines, you can prevent the development of odors and ensure that your records remain fresh and enjoyable to listen to.

Why Should You Care About Vinyl Record Smells?

It’s essential to understand the importance of addressing vinyl record smells because they can significantly impact your listening experience. A musty or moldy odor can affect the sound quality of the record, leading to unwanted noise and distortions.

Moreover, these smells can be indicative of poor storage conditions that may be damaging to your records. Mold growth can cause irreversible damage to the vinyl, leading to warping or even complete deterioration of the record.

Cleaning and maintaining your vinyl records not only removes unpleasant odors but also helps preserve their overall quality and longevity. By ensuring that your records are odor-free, you can enjoy a superior listening experience and prolong the lifespan of your vinyl collection.

Method 1 – Replace The Sleeves and Jackets

One method to remove smell from vinyl records is to replace the sleeves and jackets. If the smell is limited to the sleeve, jacket, or cover of your record, you can buy a generic replacement and slip it onto your LP. This method requires minimal effort and can quickly freshen up the record. By replacing the sleeves and jackets, you can remove any odor-causing particles that may have accumulated over time.

Steps to Replace the Sleeves and Jackets:

  1. Remove the record from the old sleeve and set it aside.
  2. Slide the new sleeve onto the record, ensuring it fits properly.
  3. If the jacket or cover is also affected by the smell, you can replace it with a new one.
  4. Place the record back into the new sleeve and jacket.

Replacing the sleeves and jackets can help eliminate any musty or unpleasant odors, giving your vinyl records a fresh start. It’s a simple and effective solution for records with localized smells.

Create an image that shows the process of replacing old sleeves and jackets with new ones on a vinyl record. The sleeves and jackets should be shown separately from the record, with one hand holding the old sleeve and jacket while the other hand holds the new one. The focus should be on the sleeves and jackets, with bright and vibrant colors to make them stand out. The background can be a simple, neutral color to contrast with the colorful sleeves and jackets. The image should convey a sense of cleanliness and organization, as if the old, dusty sleeves and jackets have been replaced with fresh, clean ones.

Generic Paper SleevePaperLowProvides basic protection and odor control
Anti-Static SleeveAnti-static materialMediumReduces static and prevents dust buildup
Polylined SleevePaper with polyethylene liningHighOffers superior protection against scratches and moisture

Replacing the sleeves and jackets of your vinyl records is a simple yet effective way to remove smells. It not only freshens up the records but also provides better protection against future odor development. Consider the different options available to find the best replacement sleeves and jackets for your collection.

Method 2 – Vacuum Cleaner

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to remove smells from your vinyl records, using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush can be a great option. This method allows you to tackle both dust and odors that may be trapped on the jacket and sleeve of the record.

To start, make sure your vacuum cleaner has a low setting to prevent any damage to the delicate surface of the record. Begin by gently brushing the jacket and sleeve with the upholstery brush attachment. This will help loosen and remove any surface dust and dirt that may be contributing to the smell. The brush bristles are designed to be gentle enough to clean effectively without causing any harm to the record.

As you vacuum, be sure to pay special attention to the edges and corners of the sleeve, where dust and dirt tend to accumulate. Take your time and make sure to cover the entire surface of the jacket and sleeve to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush is a convenient and efficient way to eliminate odors from your vinyl records. By removing dust and dirt from the surface, you can enjoy your records without any unpleasant smells interfering with your listening experience.

Benefits of Using a Vacuum CleanerConsiderations
Removes surface dust and dirtEfficient and time-savingGentle on the record surfaceUse the lowest setting on the vacuumEnsure the vacuum has a filter to prevent mold spores from spreadingAvoid pressing too hard or using excessive force

Using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush is a convenient and efficient way to eliminate odors from your vinyl records. By removing dust and dirt from the surface, you can enjoy your records without any unpleasant smells interfering with your listening experience.

Method 3 – Spray, Dry or Wipe

If the smell persists on your vinyl records, you can try using various household items or specialized cleaners to eliminate the odor. Here are some methods you can consider:

Cleaning Method

One option is to spray the jacket and sleeve of the record with air fresheners. Choose a fragrance that you enjoy and lightly mist the surface, allowing it to dry naturally. This can help mask the smell and freshen up your records. However, be mindful not to overdo it, as excessive spraying may damage the record.

Dryer Sheets

Another effective method is to use dryer sheets. These sheets are designed to absorb moisture and odors. Simply place a dryer sheet between the jacket and sleeve of the record and leave it there for a few days. The dryer sheet will help absorb any lingering odors.

Diluted Disinfectant

If the smell persists, you can try wiping the jacket and sleeve with a diluted disinfectant. Mix a small amount of disinfectant in water according to the instructions on the product. Take a clean cloth or sponge, dip it in the solution, and gently wipe the surface of the record. Make sure to wring out any excess liquid to avoid damaging the record. After wiping, allow the record to air dry completely.

Before using any of these methods, it’s important to research the products you plan to use to ensure they are safe for vinyl records. Some household cleaners or disinfectants may contain chemicals that can damage the record’s surface. Always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure there are no adverse effects.

Method 4 – Air It Out

If you’re looking for a simple and effective method to remove smells from your vinyl records, consider airing them out. This method is particularly useful if there are no signs of mold on the records. By allowing fresh air to circulate around the jackets, sleeves, and records, you can help eliminate unwanted odors.

To air out your vinyl records, start by opening a window or finding a well-ventilated area. Remove the record from its sleeve and prop open the jacket to expose it to the fresh air. You can also leave the sleeve and inserts in the same area to let them air out. It’s important to ensure proper air circulation to speed up the odor removal process.

If necessary, you can also wash the record itself under running water with a small amount of dish soap. Be sure to handle the record gently and avoid scrubbing it. After washing, allow the record to air dry completely before placing it back in its sleeve.

Benefits of Airing Out Vinyl Records

Airing out your vinyl records not only helps remove unpleasant smells but also promotes overall freshness and cleanliness. By exposing the records to fresh air, you can improve the overall quality of your listening experience. Freshly aired records also contribute to the preservation of sound quality and reduce any potential noise or distortion during playback.

Additionally, proper airing out of vinyl records can showcase your collection. By maintaining records in their best condition, you can create a visually pleasing display that highlights your passion for music. Airing out your vinyl records is a simple yet effective method to ensure your collection remains odor-free and enjoyable for years to come.

Method 5 – Clean It Up

If none of the above methods work, a full clean up may be required to remove the stubborn smell from your vinyl records. This method involves using a vinyl cleaning kit or even wood glue to effectively eliminate mold and odors from the records.

A vinyl cleaning kit contains specialized cleaning solutions and tools designed specifically for cleaning vinyl records. These kits typically include a record cleaning fluid, a cleaning brush, and a microfiber cloth. To use the cleaning kit, you will need to apply the cleaning fluid to the brush and gently scrub the record’s surface in a circular motion. After cleaning, use the microfiber cloth to dry and polish the record. This method helps to remove deep-seated odors and restore the record’s sound quality.

Alternatively, some vinyl record collectors swear by the wood glue method. This method involves spreading a layer of wood glue over the record’s surface, allowing it to dry completely, and then peeling off the glue along with any surface impurities and odors. However, this method requires careful execution and should only be attempted by experienced collectors.

Create an image of a pair of white gloves gently holding a newly cleaned vinyl record. The vinyl record should look shiny, with no visible dust or grime, as if it has just been wiped clean. The background can be a simple solid color or a minimalist pattern, but should not distract from the focus on the record and gloves.

Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to carefully follow the instructions provided with the cleaning products and take precautions to protect the records from further damage. Remember to handle the records with clean hands, use gentle cleaning motions, and avoid excessive moisture or harsh chemicals that could harm the vinyl surface.

Precautions for Maintaining Odor-Free Vinyl Records

Now that you’ve successfully removed the smell from your vinyl records, it’s important to take precautions to ensure they stay odor-free in the future. By following these simple steps, you can maintain the quality of your records and enjoy a pristine listening experience.

Storing Records Separately

If you have a record with a musty smell, it’s best to store it separately from your other records. This will help prevent the odor from spreading to your entire collection. Consider placing it in a sealed bag or container to further contain the smell.

Washing Your Hands

Before handling your vinyl records, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Oils, dirt, and residues on your hands can transfer to the records and contribute to odors over time. By keeping your hands clean, you can minimize the risk of introducing unwanted smells to your collection.

Using Dividers

To prevent mold and odors from spreading, consider using dividers between your records. These dividers create a barrier and help maintain proper airflow, reducing the chances of mold growth. They also make it easier to organize your collection and locate specific records.

Ensuring Proper Air Circulation

Proper air circulation is crucial for preventing odors and maintaining the overall condition of your vinyl records. Avoid storing your records in airtight containers or in areas with high humidity. Instead, choose a well-ventilated space with moderate temperature and humidity levels.

Avoiding Direct Sunlight

Exposure to direct sunlight can cause damage to your records and lead to the development of odors. UV rays can bleach the record jackets and sleeves, causing them to deteriorate over time. Store your records away from direct sunlight to preserve their quality and prevent any unwanted smells.

Precautions for Maintaining Odor-Free Vinyl Records
Store records separately if they have a musty smell
Wash your hands before handling records
Use dividers to prevent mold spread
Ensure proper air circulation
Avoid direct sunlight

Benefits of Clean Vinyl Records

Maintaining clean vinyl records offers a multitude of benefits that enhance the overall listening experience and ensure the longevity of your collection. Let’s explore the advantages of keeping your records clean:

Improved Sound Quality

When your vinyl records are free from dirt, dust, and other particles, they produce a clearer and more vibrant sound. Clean records minimize surface noise, crackling, and skipping, allowing you to fully enjoy the richness and nuances of your favorite music.

Extended Lifespan

Cleaning your vinyl records regularly helps protect them from wear and tear. By removing dirt and contaminants that can cause scratches and damage the grooves, you can extend the lifespan of your records and ensure that they continue to provide exceptional sound quality for years to come.

Showcase Collection

Having clean vinyl records not only enhances their sonic performance but also presents your collection in the best possible light. Clean records look more attractive and professional, allowing you to proudly display and share your prized collection with friends, family, and fellow vinyl enthusiasts.

Enjoyment with No Distortion

By keeping your vinyl records clean, you can prevent any unwanted noise or distortion that may occur due to dust or debris. This ensures a seamless and immersive listening experience, where every note and lyric is faithfully reproduced without any interference.

Investing time and effort in maintaining clean and odor-free vinyl records is well worth it, as it not only preserves the integrity of your collection but also enhances its overall value and enjoyment. So take the necessary steps to clean your vinyl records regularly and reap the benefits of pristine sound and long-lasting records.

Other Tips and Considerations

When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your vinyl records, there are a few additional tips and considerations to keep in mind. These can help ensure that you are taking the best possible care of your records and preserving their quality for years to come.

  1. Handle with care: Always handle your vinyl records with clean hands to avoid transferring oils and dirt onto the surface. Hold the records by the edges or the label to minimize contact with the playing surface.
  2. Use proper cleaning tools: Invest in a good vinyl record cleaning brush or a carbon fiber brush to remove surface dust and debris. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that can damage the records.
  3. Inspect for signs of damage: Regularly inspect your records for any signs of damage, such as scratches, warping, or mold. Address any issues promptly to prevent further deterioration.
  4. Store records vertically: Store your records vertically in a sturdy record shelf or storage unit to prevent warping and ensure proper airflow. Avoid stacking records horizontally, as this can put unnecessary pressure on the records.
  5. Maintain the right temperature and humidity: Keep your vinyl records in an environment with stable temperature and humidity levels. Extremes in temperature or humidity can cause damage to the records and lead to the development of odors.
  6. Seek professional help if needed: If you have valuable or rare vinyl records that require specialized cleaning or repair, consider seeking the help of a professional record cleaning service. They have the expertise and equipment to properly care for delicate records.

By following these additional tips and considerations, you can ensure that your vinyl records remain in the best possible condition and continue to provide you with a great listening experience. Taking the time to properly clean and maintain your records is an investment in their longevity and your enjoyment of them.

A close-up view of a vinyl record with circular grooves and a dusty surface, being gently cleaned with a soft-bristled brush. The record is positioned on a clean surface next to a bottle of cleaning solution and a cloth. Rays of sunlight stream in from the window, highlighting the texture of the record’s surface.

“Vinyl records are a treasure that deserves our care and attention. By handling them with care, using proper cleaning tools, and inspecting them regularly, we can ensure that they last for generations to come.” – Vinyl Enthusiast

Read these comprehensive guides to know everything you need to know about Vinyl Record Cleaning and Maintenance.

How to Clean Vinyl Records: Discover the best techniques and tips for keeping your vinyl records in pristine condition with this comprehensive guide on vinyl record cleaning.

How to Remove Mold from Vinyl Records: Learn how to safely and effectively remove mold from your precious vinyl records, preserving their sound quality and longevity.

Can You Clean Vinyl Records with Alcohol: Find out if using alcohol is a suitable cleaning solution for your vinyl records and how to do it without causing any damage.

How to Remove Paint from Vinyl Records: Accidental paint splatters? No problem! Discover the steps to safely remove paint from your vinyl records and salvage your music collection.


Congratulations on successfully learning how to remove the smell from your vinyl records! By following the methods outlined in this guide and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure your records are clean, odor-free, and ready for an enjoyable listening experience.

Remember to replace the sleeves and jackets if the smell is limited to the covers. A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush can help remove dust, dirt, and odors from the jacket and sleeve. You can also try using household items or specialized cleaners to spray, dry, or wipe the record. Airing out your jackets, sleeves, and records can be an effective method, and if needed, a thorough clean with a vinyl cleaning kit can do the trick.

Once your records are odor-free, it’s important to take precautions to maintain their condition. Store records separately if they have a musty smell, wash your hands before handling them, use dividers to prevent mold spread, and ensure proper air circulation and humidity levels. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent damage.

With clean and well-maintained vinyl records, you can enjoy the best possible sound quality, extend the lifespan of your collection, and proudly showcase your records. So, put on your favorite album, sit back, and enjoy the music! Happy cleaning!


Can I remove the smell from vinyl records?

Yes, there are several methods you can try to remove the smell from vinyl records.

Why do vinyl records develop smells?

Vinyl records can develop smells due to factors like damp environments and improper storage conditions.

How can I replace the sleeves and jackets of my records?

You can buy generic replacements and slip them onto your records to freshen them up.

How can a vacuum cleaner help remove odors?

Using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush can help remove dust, dirt, and odors from the jacket and sleeve of the record.

What household items or cleaners can I use to remove smells?

You can use dryer sheets to absorb moisture and odors, or spray the sleeve and jacket with air fresheners. If needed, you can wipe them with a diluted disinfectant.

How can I air out my jackets, sleeves, and records?

You can open a window for air circulation, prop open the jacket, and leave the sleeve and inserts in a well-ventilated area.

What should I do if none of the methods work?

If none of the methods work, you may need to fully clean the records using a cleaning kit or wood glue. Follow the instructions provided and take precautions to protect the records.

How can I prevent future odors on my vinyl records?

Storing records separately, washing hands before handling them, using dividers, ensuring proper air circulation, and avoiding direct sunlight can help prevent future odors.

What are the benefits of clean vinyl records?

Clean vinyl records preserve the sound quality, extend the lifespan of the records, offer a better listening experience, and showcase your collection.

Are there any other tips and considerations for vinyl record maintenance?

Yes, other tips include using proper cleaning tools and solutions, avoiding abrasive materials, regularly inspecting records for damage or mold, and seeking professional help if needed.

How can I remove the smell from vinyl records easily?

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively clean and maintain your vinyl records to remove any odors.

Kenneth Haney


Kenneth Haney is an ardent collector and a scholar of vinyl records, with extensive knowledge ranging from production roots to pressing nuances and audio equipment.

Photo of author

Written By Kenneth Haney

I am Kenneth Haney, an unyielding audiophile and an ardent collector of vinyl records.My love affair with vinyl started at a young age of 15. As a teenager, I found myself enchanted by the distinct warmth and depth that vinyl brought to music. Unlike digital music, vinyl records carry a tangibility, a piece of history, an art that exists far beyond the confines of an MP3 file.


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