There are avid collectors of vinyl records that refuse to remove shrink wrap from vinyl and there are those who can’t wait to do so. If you belong to the latter, you may have been pondering this question: How do you remove shrink wrap from vinyl?
To remove shrink wrap from vinyl without damaging the album cover, it’s best you gently rub shrink wrap first in order to see the spots where shrink wrap is stuck to the LP cover. You can rub shrink wrap between your hands or against your pants. Whatever method you choose, don’t apply excessive pressure.
You can read more about removing shrink wrap below, including some arguments on both why you should and shouldn’t do it. Stick around for plenty of useful info on vinyl records. You may also be interested to learn what to do with stickers on records.
Table of Contents
Should you remove shrink wrap from vinyl?
To remove or not to remove shrink wrap from vinyl really is the question. We’ll try to provide you with arguments both for and against removing shrink wrap from vinyl. Ultimately, it’s your call.
There are a lot of people who are in favor of removing shrink wrap from vinyl for reasons that we will outline below.
- Shrink wrap can sometimes shrink and cause possible damage to the vinyl records.
- At times, shrink wrap can bend cardboard jackets’ corners.
- There are quality outer sleeves that can do a far better job at protecting the record than shrink wrap.
- If you are concerned about hype stickers and different markings, you can cut them out with sharp scissors and place them inside or stick them outside the outer plastic cover.
- There are concerns that shrink wrap can even degrade the album artwork.
Not to remove
On the other hand, there are also those who believe shrink wrap can do no harm to the record and prefer to leave it on. A lot of people even believe that removing shrink wrap can actually do more harm than good. Next, we will provide some arguments against removing shrink wrap.
- Some people believe that removing shrink wrap can diminish the collector value of the record.
- Warping of the record can be attributed to numerous other reasons, such as temperature changes and sun exposure, not solely to shrink wrap.
- A lot of people believe that vinyl will stay in better condition with shrink wrap still on.
- Some people advise removing shrink wrap only if it’s tight enough to bend corners. Otherwise, you should just leave it on.
- A lot of people fear that removing shrink wrap might damage the album cover since some of the ink from the album cover can get stuck to the shrink wrap.
How do you remove shrink wrap from vinyl?
We are back to the main question for today – How do you remove shrink wrap from vinyl? Do you use scissors or a hairdryer or do you first warm shrink wrap with your hands? Check out our blog to also learn how to save hype stickers.
To avoid damaging the album cover while you remove shrink wrap, it’s best you gently rub shrink wrap first. That way you will see the spots where shrink wrap might have stuck to the LP cover. Once you are sure that you’ve unstuck most of the shrink wrap from the album graphics, slowly slide your hands between the shrink wrap and cover until all of the shrink wrap is separated from the album cover.
You can also gently rub shrink wrap back and forth from left to right while pressing it against the thicker part of your pants around the belt line. This should wear shrink wrap down and it should split around the opening. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid damaging the album cover.
Do sealed vinyls warp?
Not all sealed vinyl records warp, but some do. Shrink wrap can cause a sealed vinyl record to warp. In addition to this, other factors, such as exposure to direct sunlight and improper storage have an even greater effect. Improper storage of your vinyl records can lead not only to warping but also to discoloration and even damage to the grooves. You can learn if warped records are worth anything in our blog.
How do you store sealed vinyl records?
When you think about storing your vinyl, you should take into consideration these three important factors:
- Temperature – You should aim for a cool place, that is neither too hot nor too cold. High temperatures can cause warping and have other damaging effects.
- Humidity – According to the Northeast Document Conservation Center, when storing your LPs, you should strive for a temperature from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level from 30 to 40 percent.
- Light – Bright lights, direct sunlight, and ultraviolet light can cause damage to your LPs.
When you take the above-mentioned factors into consideration, you will quickly realize that storing your LPs in an attic or shed might not be the best idea. Unless they are temperature-controlled, attics tend to get hotter than the rest of the house. Cellars can be a great choice provided that there is not too much moisture in that area. Any room in your house that is typically cool and with low humidity can be a great location for storing your records.
A thermohygrometer can help you track the relative humidity, RH, which should ideally be between 35 and 40%. It’s also worth emphasizing that you shouldn’t store your collection near radiators or windows. High temperature can distort the record and UV radiation in sunlight can also damage the record’s outer sleeve. Not to mention that water can leak from windows and radiators, ruining your entire collection.
Use protective sleeves
You should ideally use both inner and outer record sleeves. First, remove the record from its case and protect it with an inner sleeve. Then, put the record back into its case and then protect the case with an outer sleeve. The open side of the outer sleeve should line up with the open side of the record case.
Remember to inspect record sleeves from time to time for signs of mold and mildew infestation, as well as general wear. It’s important that you replace damaged sleeves to protect your records. Learn if small scratches on vinyl are normal in our blog.
If you plan to actively listen to your vinyl records, it’s best that you use a display shelf. It will enable you to have easy access to your records, as well as to show off your collection. Remember that if you actively use your records, you should also clean them before and after every use.
If you don’t plan to use your records often, you should look for a more permanent place to store them. You can use some storage boxes. The best option is to use archival plastic storage tubs, but if you are on a budget, you can also use wooden crates for example. Find out how long vinyls can be stacked in our blog. If you have quite a lot of records to store long-term you should keep in mind the following things:
- Pressure – Always take into account the pressure that you place on vinyl records. If you stack vinyl records on top of each other, lower-level records will warp over time due to weight distribution.
- Store the records vertically – that way you will keep the weight off the records.
- Use dividers – if you cannot separate your records using shelves or boxes, dividers are a great way to prevent records from leaning on one another when stored vertically. Dividers will lessen the pressure that is placed on the end LPs. They are also great for organizing your collection since you can use dividers for labeling the records by genre or in alphabetical order.
- Cleaning – You should thoroughly clean your records before you store them long-term.
How do you clean dirty vinyl records?
Never attempt to clean dirty vinyl records with your T-shirt. You may think it’s soft and clean when in reality its fibers can scratch your vinyl. A record cleaning brush is an essential tool that you will need for the job. It’s the quickest and easiest way to remove dust and dirt from the records. You simply hold the brush on the vinyl record and spin the record slowly.
For more thorough cleaning, you can use a vinyl-cleaning solution. Before you spray the solution onto the vinyl, protect the record label. Always use a microfiber cloth and wipe in a circular motion. Do this before storing your records long-term and repeat the cleaning process every six months so that your records look and play like they are brand new.
To sum up
In this article, we here at Music Gear Heads presented you with ways how you can remove shrink wrap from vinyl. We’ve provided you with arguments for both for and against removing shrink wrap and let you be the judge of that.
The article also holds plenty of useful tips on how to store sealed vinyl records so that your collection lasts for years to come. Remember to keep the records in a cool, dry place, away from bright lights and direct sunlight. Also remember to clean your records from time to time, even when they are stored long-term.