How to Clean Vinyl Record Album Covers


Ken asked: How do I clean vinyl record album covers that have mold and mildew on them? I just inherited a large record collection that has been stored in a damp basement for several years. The collection is from 1960 thru 1990. Some are very valuable. I just want to give the collection the care it needs.

Unless your album covers are glossy or laminated, your options for cleaning them are limited. Exposing them to moisture, whether plain water or a cleaning solution, can cause them to warp, tear or lose color. For best results, stick to this method.


You Will Need:

  • Microfiber cleaning cloth(s)
  • Clean toothbrush with soft bristles

Steps to Remove the Mold or Mildew:

  1. Gently remove heavy deposits of mold, mildew or dust with short strokes of a clean toothbrush over a DRY album cover.
  2. Blow off any loose debris.
  3. Finally, use a microfiber cleaning cloth to gently wipe DRY album covers. These cloths are designed to be lint-free and non-abrasive, offering the best chance for a gentle clean over old paperboard.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If album covers are damp, allow them to air dry out of the sun before you attempt to clean them.  If they’re wet, they’ll be easy to damage.
  • For glossy or laminated album covers, wipe gently with a baby wipe then dry immediately with a non-abrasive cloth.
  • Mold spores spread easily and can irritate the skin and nasal passages. If you have any adverse reactions to the presence of mold, protect yourself with a facial mask. These are readily available at hardware and department stores.
  • For additional information about treating wet and moldy paper products, see our guide How to Clean and Sanitize Wet Books.



  1. MINT X GARBAGE BAGS! I AM “YELLING” BECAUSE I AM EXCITED! Put the entire album in the bag with the album in the sleeve and the sleevee in the bag. Wait 15 minutes and you’re done. So easy!!

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