A decent set of beginner advice to care of vinyl

OK, I did some searching on this forum and some of you are really crazy with all the stuff you do to clean the vinyl. It sounds very time consuming.

I am getting back into vinyl and was wondering what are some good (moderately priced) tools to maintain my LPs and keep them in decent condition for years to come. I am not hardcore (not that there is anything wrong with that haha) but want above-average care for my vinyl investment. Please just the basics and nothing that will break the bank.

thanks in advance for your help.
I'll take a stab.

1) Hand Vac with soft brush attachment to vacuum the LP before you clean it
2) Audio Intelligent One Step cleaner
3) Disc Doctor Record Cleaning Brushes (one for the cleaning fluid and one
for the optional water rinse)
4) Lint free cotton cloths to dry the LPs
5) Add a purified water rinse if you wish
Keep all of your records standing up to help avoid warping. Orient all of your records in the same direction no excetions. For example you keep the "top" of the jacket upward with the slit openening facing outward. Do which ever direction is most comfortable for you but do not vary. Then decide which way you want the record sleeve opening to be I prefer up as well. If you do this it will save you some aggravation or the potential droping of the reecord and damaging it. I know this is simplistic but it doesn't hurt to reitterate these simple rules.
Another major step is keeping your precious vinyl clean. You must really must give any record that is new or simply new to you a thorough cleaning. Many methods work, for instance TVAD's protocol. The best standard is to invest a fairly large sum on a record cleaning machine such as a basic VPI or less for the nitty gritty both are vacuum drying. Use the suggested cleaning solutions until comfortable and familiar with their function and use. I am not a natural obsessive compulsive type but certain situation demand that of you this is one if you possibly can and rightly expect your valuable records to sound good after playing them a few times. Repeat often or just resign youself to cleaning with each use.
If you want to take it up a notch but still keep your investment in cleaning to a reasonable level, try the KAB-EV1 record cleaner: http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/
For $159 + shipping, you get a RCM that uses your own household canister vacuum. I have been using it for a year and a half, and I am extremely pleased with the results and price/value ratio of this item. To get this level of cleaning with all the bells and whistles (built-in vac, automatic fluid dispenser, automatic record rotation, etc.) you'd pay $400 or more, but your records wouldn't be any cleaner!
from 1960 to 1982 i never saw anyone do more than 'wipe the dust off a record'....scrubbing vinyl is now a fetish.
Vinyl records occupy a vastly different place in the world of 2009, Jaybo. The average "wiper" doesn't own records anymore. They are now the domain of the scrubbers.

Scrubbing and/or rubbing with a carbon fiber brush?
You'll need:

a) Some kind of cleaning regimen-particularly if you plan to, or already do, own used vinyl. There is zero-and I mean absolute zero-agreement on how to do this, so I'd do a search over at VA, choose a method that meets your criteria for patience/obsessiveness/cost, experiment a little, and then stick with it. I'd definitely recommend some sort of vacuum cleaning device (can be very simple/cheap or complicated/expensive), and I'd ignore 'jaybo's dismissal of the practice-it makes the difference between enjoying records (especially used) or going back to digital.

(b discard the paper liners, and find a source for poly or 'rice paper' sleeves. Again, little consensus, search at VA, find your cost/quality comfort zone. My favorites are the MFSL 'rice paper', but they're probably the most expensive. Check 'Sleeve City' or 'Bags Unlimited' for other choices. Don't skip this step-those paper sleeves suck-I should say, though, that I save the originals if they have any printing on them, and store them in the outer sleeve.

(c store records in jacket outer sleeves to prevent 'ring wear'

d) buy a carbon fiber brush for a dust-off when you're ready to play

e) store vertically, and snugly, so they don't 'lean'.

That's about it in a nutshell, but as I implied, vinyl can be a vehicle for someone with latent OCD to register a full fledged outbreak. Only you know where the proper cutoff point is, but for a case of way-over-the-line-of-common-sense, check out this method on Fremer's 'Music Angle' http://musicangle.com/feat.php?id=54. Yikes.
Tfkaudio finally figured out the difference between Jaybo and me - he's a wiper, I'm a scrubber. I just knew hanging around here would pay off eventually.

I'd recommend what Tvad said, though cheaper brushes would be okay. Nothing wrong with using $2 nylon-bristled Last brushes, or even painting pads from Walmart, to spread the solution he recommended.

AIVS One-Step plus an AIVS Ultra Pure Water rinse works as well as or better than any similarly simple protocol IME.

Another pretty strong recommendation for vacuum removal of whatever cleaning solution(s) and rinse(s) you choose. That doesn't have to be expensive or slow, see several suggestions above. Only we manic scrubbers feel a need to spend thousands of dollars and hours. It's a matter of what you hear and how you react to it, for wipers and scrubbers alike.

Is that dust on my PC screen? Eww! Yuck!! I'm gonna Loricraft it right now.
i do 'clean or scrub' records, but i'm convinced as much scrubbing goes on today as listening.
wow, what a great selection of information. All of it is much appreciated. I know what I will be doing tonight - a lot of surfing for more info touched upon here. Again, much appreciated.
The beauty of the Disc Doctor pads - as compared to a machine - is that you can Listen while you Scrub.
I have bought vast amounts of used vinyl. finally got more discriminating in terms of apparent condition, but felt most needed cleaning. I have spent days and days cleaning vinyl, and it's kinda crazy, because I work long hours at my profession. would like comments as to my method of initial cleaning, and then advice as to what to buy to save me those long days in the future. I have a laundry sink, and next to it two large basins. I run cold or warm tap water over the surface, trying to keep label dry, to dislodge dust and grit. Then i wash it with microfiber cloth in first basin of tap water with a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid and a little denatured alcohol. then I do a final rinse/vigorous swishing in tub of distilled water to wash away the tap water, alcohol, Dawn, etc. lay it out on a towel to dry. when almost dry, I wipe with clean microfiber cloth. Am I doing anything harmful if I rinse really well with the distilled water? even so, I need a faster method, for volume amounts of records. what machine is out there that would cut down my time considerably?
FWIW, I have found microfiber cloths shed a good deal of microfiber lint on the LPs, which is apparent on the stylus after playing an LP. I quickly gave up on microfiber and returned to lint free cotton cloths.
I realize that before RCMs became relatively affordable, wet cleaning may have done more harm than good. Now, it's pretty well-settled that an RCM will produce far better results than a simple "wipe" or dusting with a carbon fiber brush. You can certainly try working without one. Micro-fiber cloths allow far better drying than was possible before, but, having tried both, there is really no comparision, IMO.

Nor is it necessary to become crazy when cleaning records. You will get excellent results with a Nitty Gritty by simply applying their fluid and vacuuming dry. One simple step - apply the fluid to the velvet pad, let the record rotate, then hit the vacuum. That's it. IMO, the results are not as good as when you use a separate pure-water rinse after, but the records are still very clean.

Just bite the bullet (if finances permit) and pick up an RCM. I highly doubt you'll regret it.

For a small investment, as long as you have a home vac, I second the KAB cleaner http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/. You'll be able to develop much more of a 'routine'-it will still be drudgery, but more of a linear, assembly-line sort of drudge that will definitely speed things up. Plus, you'll have better results-and I'm sure I don't need to tell you that you only want to clean your record collection once.

If you've got the money, the VPI 16.5 is the next step up for speed. Yes, Nitty Gritty has RCMs for less, but the VPI is much easier to use, and worth the extra money. The record rotates on a full-sized turntable, allowing you to apply some pressure to the brush/fluids, and the whole operation faces up at you-there's no need to flip the record in order to vacuum. They're often available used here on Agon.
Lots of good info presented already. If you want cheap but more efficient and effective than hand washing and drying; You can purchase a small shop vac (about 30 dollars) and make a very good wet vac. Just take the crevice tool and cut a 1/4 groove along the round edge of the crevice tool. Glue a felt strip along each side of the groove you just cut and partially tape the end of the crevice tool to get the vacuum pulling thru the velvet strip. Walla, you have a very good vacuum. Second, go buy a junk turntable from a thrift shop (got an old kenwood for 10 dollars) and use that to put the record on to clean. It makes a stable platform that you can spin while scrubbing and vacuuming.
you can make your own cleaning solution or buy a cleaning solution. My cheap homemade version is 1 teaspoon of dawn dishwashing detergent, one quart of distilled water and three ounces of isopropyl alcohol. Now you have enough cleaning solution to last a while. Also, the commercial cleaners are very good especially the enzyme based and pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things. I use both types depending on the record grunge. Finally the brushes, MOFI, LAST, Walker, etc all make very good microfiber brushes that help get the grunge out of the groove. My regime is to spray or apply the cleaner, Let sit for a few min, then scrub with a brush. Then i vacuum up this mixture and apply a rinse with distilled water. Scrub with a clean brush (i use separate brushes for rinsing) then vacuum again.
For real dirty records, i will insert steaming steps as part of the initial scrubbing step and rinse.
It takes about 5 min per record but you do once and its clean. I have made a great collection by buying thrift shops, flea markets,etc and cleaning. When you take that one special album and clean it well and it sounds like one right off the press, it make it all worthwhile. i also tend to clean while i listen to music so its not too bad though cleaning is a chore. I have a collection up to about 1500-2000 with most coming from sources that needed to be cleaned well.
In response to Platogirl - If you want speed, and these are not valuable records - Then don't worry about the labels. Just dump 10 records at a time into the soapy water, let 'em soak a couple of minutes (which will really help ease the removal of dirt), then rinse each under running water while using a Disc Doctor pad. I once bought a huge collection that needed this treatment, and it was very fast. Not many labels are that delicate. Many will show a slight texture after drying out, but no big deal. The worst are labels from the 60's, many will lose a little color, but they won't come off the record or disintegrate. The worst are Blue Telefunken labels which tend to lose almost all their color. Original Mercury Living Presence will "run" a bit, but still retain a dark hue. Londons are similar - will color the water, but once dry will look normal. Once you get into the mid-seventies, most labels were plastic coated and are very stable.

Just one suggestion for the "Dawn" crowd. There are a few products which I use for home brew cleaning that are either safer or better:

1. Seventh Generation "Free and Clear" Dish Liquid - no colors or perfumes added, made from plant derived sources.

2. Enzyme based (as mentioned by oilmanmojo above) - will remove tougher mildew and fungus that Dish Soap does not. Best I have found is called MoldZyme - also a plant based product. Enzyme cleaners have to be applied and left sitting 5 minutes or so for best effect.

3. I do not mix alcohol in routinely - if the above two still result in a noisy lp, I will then apply an alcohol/water mix by itself - followed by a little dish soap to finish off.

4. If the alcohol/water hasn't done it, and all appears hopeless - I try Goo Gone. Yes - it is a powerful solvent, but it has saved many lps from going into the garbage, and I have found no negative effects.