How to Clean Vintage Stereo Equipment

Published: 10th August 2009
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Many people still use vintage stereo equipment for listening to music from records and 8-track tapes. Clean equipment plays the best sounding vinyl records and tapes. With just a little know how and the right cleaning equipment, you'll find that you'll be a pro at cleaning your stereo equipment in no time.


Be certain to unplug the stereo prior to cleaning to ensure an electrical shock does not occur while cleaning. Also be certain to cover all your materials used for clean-up placed within simple reach.

Usually, vintage stereo equipment has a particle-board rear cover to protect the innards of the stereo suite. Remove this back plate with the appropriate screwdriver. Put the back plate to the side.

Use the can of compressed air to blow dust and spider webs all to one side of the inner cabinet of the vintage stereo. Once all of the debris is blown to one side, you can use the crevice attachment with your vacuum cleaner to suck up the remaining dust and debris. Replace the back plate. Plug in the stereo and attempt to listen to the radio, the phonograph or another sound source to verify the equipment works

The exterior of many vintage stereos is made from wood. Clean the exterior of the wood with a sponge dampened with furniture polish. To clean the plastic plate where the radio station indicators are located, use a small amount of alcohol on a sponge. You should plug the stereo in and then test each part to ensure that it works.

Blow dust away from the record needle with canned air or just by breathing out. You can clean the needle without unplugging the stereo from the wall outlet.

To ensure the volume knob, function selector knob, and other knobs are clean, remove the knobs from the stereo. Spray them with contact cleaner and allow them to dry before re-installing. You should no longer hear whooshes and hisses when you change the volume, select a different function, or turn the stereo on or off. Plug the stereo in and, one by one, test each part to make sure that it works.

The tape player heads--whether it's an eight-track player or cassette tape player--on your vintage stereo equipment will probably need cleaning before you can enjoy sound from your tapes. Dip a cotton swab into the alcohol. Hit the "Play" button for the cassette player, and rub that cotton swab on the rollers and play heads of the tape player. Prior to starting the cassette or 8-track player, you need to be sure the alcohol has dried. Plug the unit in before attempting to play a cassette tape or an 8-track tape.

Vintage Stereo Equipment
Vintage Stereo Equipment


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