How To Remove Stickers From Vinyl Records

How To Clean Vinyl Records

Record collectors are constantly searching for ways to restore their vinyl collection to their original state. The vinyl 45 rpm was one of the most accessible means of distributing music from the 1950's to the mid 1980's. As consumers purchased records, they often used various methods to show ownership of their singles. One of the most popular methods was to mark the record with an address label. These labels can be an eyesore to a record collector and can be a hassle to remove. If done incorrectly, the result can be a torn or ripped label.

One of the safest ways to remove these types of stickers from vinyl records is with Genesis 950. When mixed with water, Genesis 950 can break the bonds of the adhesive used on the sticker attached to the record label. When this happens, the sticker can easily and safely be removed from the label.

The suggested mixing ratio is 1 part Genesis 950 to 7 parts water. This can be increased to a ratio of 50/50. In the examples shown, the ratio used was about 3 parts Genesis 950 to 5 parts water.

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In this example, the record used is from 1966. The photo shows a very common scenario where the record owner identified ownership of the record with an address sticker. It is most likely this sticker has been in place since the single's release in 1966.

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The mixture of Genesis 950 was used in a spray bottle. To begin the process, simply spray the mixture directly on the address sticker.

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Blot any excess moisture with a paper towel to prevent it from affecting the label. Allow the sticker to sit for a moment with the Genesis 950 and water can work to break the bonds of the adhesive.

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After the sticker has absorbed the moisture, gently roll your finger over it. Move your finger gently in the same direction repeatedly at the edge of the sticker. Move from the outer edge of the sticker to the center in repeated strokes. Do not use your finger nail as you might scratch the label or cause irritation.
vinyl record cleaning

Once the sticker begins to lift, slowly pull it up from the end you have loosened. It is important that this is done slowly as to not pull up the record label in the event the moisture has not loosened the adhesive.

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best cleaning product for recordsThe sticker should come off fairly easy. In some cases, there are sections of the sticker that might not pull off with the main portion of the sticker. In this instance, you can see the upper left side of the sticker did not pull off with the whole of the sticker. Nor did the bottom portion of the sticker. Do not force it to. Leave it sit and that can be addressed after the bulk of the sticker has been removed.

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The remaining sections can be gently scraped off or rubbed off using very light force. If you are able to pick these portions off using your nail, it should be done using care. If rubbing, gently make small circles over the remaining portion of the sticker.
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When properly cleaned, the sticker can be removed fairly easy. Near the bottom, you can see where there was some agitation. This happened for 2 reasons. The first was the use of the spray bottle. The spray bottle causes excess moisture. This can be controlled by using other applications for the solution. An eye dropper or a Q-Tip help to avoid excess moisture and allow you to specifically target only the sticker. For more valuable records, those methods are much more suitable. The second reason there is agitation is because the sticker was removed using a finger nail. This was done to demonstrate the type of issues that can arise if the cleaning is done hastily and not controlled. This record is of little value so such liberties could be taken. However when cleaning high end, rare or valuable records, it is recommend to control the dispensing of the solution and to work slowly.

Genesis 950 can also be used to remove number catalog stickers as seen here:
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In addition to cleaning labels without damaging the label, Genesis 950 can actually clean the vinyl. Because it works as a surfactant, it breaks down dust, dirt, grime and fingerprints that might be on the vinyl or in the grooves. To clean the vinyl, simply lay the record on a flat surface, spray the mixture of Genesis 950 and water on the vinyl and allow it to sit for a few moments. Use a paper towel to clean the vinyl moving it a circular motion in the same direction as the grooves. Continue wiping the record until clean. The removal of dirt, dust and grime can enhance both the appearance and the sound quality and can easily change a record's condition from Good to very Good.