For vinyl collectors, there’s nothing more unsettling than observing a poorly cared for record collection.

Vinyl spilled out across a table sans sleeves is enough to induce heart palpitations. Well looked-after vinyl not only preserves the audio quality, but also the value; records can be an excellent investment. There are many ways you can maintain the condition of your collection, and the following recommendations may help.

Handling vinyl correctly will take a little practice but avoiding touching the surface is imperative. There’s a reason that museum curators use gloves when handling antiquities; fingertips contain oils that will transfer to the vinyl surface and can affect the audio playback quality. When taking out a record to play, pinch the closed end of the inner sleeve, turn it upright and let gravity do its job, using the palm of your hand to stop it. Shake the record halfway out and then use a thumb on the edge and middle finger in the centre to ensure the surface remains fingerprint-free.

Paper inner sleeves on older records can act like sandpaper over time and damage the surface, so it will pay to replace these with a modern plastic sleeve that will also help to reduce static electricity that will draw dust to the record surface like iron filings to a magnet.

Finally, the outer sleeve. Made from card, sleeves are easily damaged through general wear and tear from usage, and poor storage solutions. There is a simple way to preserve the ‘artwork’ of your album though, and that’s through using plastic sleeves. Made of thick PVC, these acid-free pockets will protect your outer sleeves from damage and help reduce the ingress of dust – and they’re available in all JB stores.

Discover the Flea Market vinyl care range at JB Hi-Fi.

Read this month’s STACK Record Club picks!