My records are getting a little dusty, how can I clean them without damaging the grooves? Does dust affect sound/playback quality?
Dust and dirt does affect sound quality and in extreme cases, can even make the needle jump out of the groove. Back in the 60's and 70's, when record albums were commonplace, you could easily find little kits marketed as "record cleaning systems".
Some were just a basic brush, but the better ones would often have a scheme where you put several drops of a liquid (alcohol?) onto a textured cloth pad, move the tone arm just enough to make the record spin, then place the cloth pad onto the spinning record. The dust would get picked up, then you could brush it off the pad.
This link and picture shows what those kind of systems look like. I have not seen one in a store for twenty years or more, but they are still available on line.