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A Vinyl Blog For Vinyl People

How PVC Sleeves Are Destroying Your Records

Record damaged by PVC

Frosting, Gassing, Misting

All are terms used to describe the damage caused by PVC record sleeves. There are several ways that PVC can make its way into your vinyl collection, many picture and coloured records come with clear PVC outer sleeves to showcase their unique design. But these sleeves are killing your records, and it’s unfortunate to say, but you will likely have irreversible damage on any records that have been in PVC for some time.

How do PVC sleeves damage your records?

When records are stored inside PVC sleeves, over time the sleeves can leak a chemical which attaches to the vinyl. When this chemical contacts with the record, it sticks, creating a very thin plastic layer. This plastic layer is almost invisible to the eye, many describe as creating a “misty” or “gassy” look. As you can imagine, this plastic layer plays havoc with the sound quality of the record, creating a hissing sound throughout the entire record which all but renders it useless.

Reddit discusses PVC Sleeves.

The chemical composition of pure PVC and a vinyl record is the same (vinyl comes from Polyvinyl chloride), but the type of PVC that outer sleeves are made from contains an extra component to make it more flexible and easier to handle. It is exactly this extra component, a plasticiser, that can leak from the outer sleeves.

What can you do to save your records?

For any record that has been exposed to PVC sleeves, in most cases, the answer will be to dispose of the record. There have been various attempts to remedy the damage caused by PVC sleeves. From intense cleaning to the wood glue treatment, none of these can remove hissing sound as it is not a simple matter of cleaning off dust, this is a chemical bond.

What solutions are available to you?

Don’t get me wrong, some PVC sleeves can have fantastic artwork on them, so if your record does happen to come with one, you don’t have to destroy it. The safest thing to do is to remove the record from the PVC sleeve and store them separately, ideally moving the record to a polythene inner sleeve to keep it protected from dust.
Our entire range of inner and outer sleeves is free from PVC precisely because of this. Some cheaper sleeves provided by other companies contain PVC, so always make sure to check the product description when buying.

Why would you risk a £20 odd record for the price of a £0.28 polythene sleeve?

View our range of record sleeves here and keep your records safe.

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