• The Alchemist

Record Cleaning 101: Polylined Sleeves To Save Your Records

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Welcome to the first in our ongoing series of articles on record cleaning and perfecting the vinyl playback experience. In this article we'll look at the simple tips and tricks that we've used over the years to help keep our records clean, noise-free and giving perfect playback.

New Record Day- Should I Discard those paper sleeves?

Fitting paper record sleeves in high-quality vinyl releases should be a sin, plain and simple, we've said it. There's simply no excuse in this day and age for packaging a pristine piece of vinyl in a roughly cut paper sleeve. They leave scuff marks on the vinyl, they leave tails of paper on the run-out groove and they let card particulates from the outer sleeve contaminate the entire playing surface, and they do a great job of charging up your new album so it's loaded with static charge.

Our favourite record labels always use anti-static polylined record sleeves. If you're buying your own sleeves to replace OEM fitted paper sleeves then we think you can't beat the Mofi Polylined Sleeves. They have a great low-profile that fits all albums covers, they don't bulk-up gatefold sleeves, they shield your records from static charge and they don't cost the earth. There are a few other types that deserve an honorable mention, The Nagoka Discfile is a great anti-staitc record sleeve with a rounded lower edge; they are easier to slip into the outer sleeve than the usual square liner, but they don't hold their shape quite as well due to not having internal paper support. 

How Do I Stop Brand New Records picking Up Static and Dust When I Open Them?

Using Anti-static sleeves is going to be a great help, and there's a trick to getting a polylined sleeve over your new record before you've even taken it out of the paper sleeve. We love this video tip, it elminates the risk of edge scuffing and it helps keep your records static free from day one. 

What could be simpler than that? We can even fit a poly sleeve straight inside the paper liner without even taking it out of the album cover. We love this trick, it's saved us heartbreak and crappy paper scuffs many times.

When should I fit a Poly Lined Record Sleeve?

We either fit ours as soon as we open a new record for the very first time or, if the record is already contaminated by its paper sleeve and shoddy handling at the pressing plant then we'll wait until we've cleaned it with E3 Enzymatic Record Cleaner. There's no point putting a dirty record in a new sleeve so always clean it with your favourite vinyl record cleaning solution beforehand.

How Much Should I Pay For Quality Sleeves?

It's a bit of thin paper sandwiched between the thinnest piece of polyethene imaginable. Don't pay over the odds for boutique brand ones. We like the Mofi sleeves and we've been using them for decades with no issues. If you shop around you can find them slightly cheaper at the big online retailers we prefer to buy them from our local record shop, even if they might cost a little bit more because let's be honest it's always a good excuse to go record shopping.

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