How To Clean a Speaker the Right Way (11 Proven Strategies)

Speakers are one of the most common additional devices that almost all users—from smartphone owners to gamers, and techies—love, and have in some form. In this blog, I will deep-dive into how to clean an audio speaker; to do this, I will cover:

  • How to clean a speaker and various speaker openings and parts?
  • How do you deep clean speakers using various things such as a toothbrush, tape, or even compressed air?
  • Common solutions that will be helpful if you want to clean iPhone speakers.
  • Answers to some frequently asked questions on cleaning a speaker.

So, let's cut into it.


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Overview: Speakers and how to clean them

Speakers come in many shapes and sizes, and for the purposes of this blog, we will be dividing them into two different categories: phone speaker and non-phone speaker (including external and computer speakers).

how to clean a speaker

The state of your speaker will highly influence sound quality, loudness, and clarity too. So, keeping your audio equipment clean and absolutely dust free is key to getting a great audio experience every time.

Trust me when I say this, but there are many different household tools and methods that you can use to keep your speakers clean. Some of the more common methods, which we will cover, include:

  • Paper towels
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol or rubbing spirit (Isopropyl alcohol)
  • Cotton swabs (always handy for cleaning any kind of electrical equipment, like keyboards, etc.)
  • Toothbrush
  • Makeup brushes

Having said that, some of the most common things that deteriorate the quality of speakers are dirt, water, lint, grime, etc. So, plenty of stuff to clean, and plenty of hacks!

Read on to know how to clean your speaker right!

Before you clean the speaker’s exterior cabinets, it is essential to know what your speakers are made of or what the chassis material is.

But most non-phone speaker chassis are built of wood or resemble wood in their finish. Substances like varnishes and lacquers are also part of the ensemble. If you’re not sure, however, do make sure you refer the matter to a professional or even the manual of the speaker to get a clearer idea before you start cleaning your audio equipment.

The last step is actually helpful especially if the manufacturer recommends the usability of a certain cleaner, or asks you not to use something.

Read on to know how to properly clean every part of your speaker!

How to clean metal speaker grill: Or any kind of grill at that …

Speaker openings come in many shapes and sizes. Grills are very common, and at that metal grills are the most frequently used grills. Here are the steps you need to follow to clean your metal speaker grill.

For removable grills:

  • Follow the manual to loosen your speaker grills. This can be done by unscrewing mostly, but there might be specifics that you need to check for your particular speaker. An important pro tip: Please do not force anything open; if you cannot loosen it freely, you’re probably doing it wrong.
  • Lay the grill flat on a table and use a vacuum hose with brush attachment to render it dust free. If your speaker grill has a fabric layer, ensure that it is not pulled apart by the vacuum. Use consistent contact with the vacuum, and in case you’re missing the brush attachment, hold your thumb on the vacuum to decrease it’s suction force appropriately.
  • If there is a major residue of stubborn grime or a thick dust layer, use a microfiber cloth or soft cotton fabric during the cleaning process. Cleaning will mostly comprise of scrubbing using the fabric, warm water, and detergent. Be sure to scrub evenly and gently. Use circular motions preferably.
  • If your metal speaker grill is completely detachable, wash it with soapy water, after your gently brush it. Dry the grill well and properly.
  • Reattach grill correctly and ensure it fits as before. Do not forget to screw the screws in after cleaning.

For non-removable grills

To remove dust and dirt residue for grills that cannot be properly opened up:

In case you have a fabric grill, use a lint roller (lint free grills can give you clearer sound quality as there are no vibrating lint fibers to disturb the sound flow) and a can of compressed air. Careful and nimble users can attempt cleaning using the vacuum hose and brush combination.

The same combination of compressed air/vacuum hose and brush will also take care of any loose dust particles and stray grime on your non-removable plastic or metal grills.

How to clean a speaker cone

Speaker cones come in three most common forms: tweeters, mid-range, along with woofers. And, trust me on this: You want to establish any kind of contact viz-a-viz cleaning your cone extremely gently. These are often made of sensitive materials like enriched paper or fabric. There are chassis that come with metal, Kevlar, or plastic cones, however, even then a bump or fall would damage the sensitive drivers inside the speaker.

A can of compressed air will do the track most of the times. Paintbrushes, makeup brushes, and other soft brushes will also help remove dust particles.

If it works for a camera lens, it should work for your speaker cone.

And, note that tweeters are the most difficult to clean, as they are the most sensitive. So be many times more careful when cleaning a tweeter than you would be when cleaning mid-range or woofers. This is true for in-ceiling speakers and outdoor speakers as well!

Read on for more pro tips on how to clean speakers and their various parts!

How to clean a speaker cover

By covers, users mostly refer to the grills and mesh or fabric coverings on a speaker cabinet or chassis. Here’s how to clean them:

  1. Gently vacuum, using a hose and brush attachment, or the thumb hack previously mentioned.
  2. If you have pets, especially some furry friends, well, use a lint roller or pet hair remover.
  3. Use dry and sanitary towels to attack and remove any water/moisture and dust.
  4. Sometimes, there are stubborn grime spots left, even after this. Use dampened cotton swabs or microfiber cloth for cleaning those.

How to clean a speaker with sound (for iPhone and Android speakers)

Here’s one of the newer ways to clean a speaker or any audio equipment: using water removal sound! The main scientific principle behind this is playing a low or bass tone, of 165 Hz, to help the water trickle out of the speaker you want to clean.

Minicreo is one of the best online tools I found on this, and is an effective iPhone and phone speaker cleaner. Plus you can use it to know if your phone is water damaged or dust damaged in the first place. For the rest, just follow the clear instructions on the web page. It is also the best way to check if your phone is water resistant or dust resistant.

And, besides these, you can also find out the best tips for removing water from iPhone or Android phones as well as what to do or what not to do for cleaning a water damaged phone.

And, read this blog till the end to know how to clean audio equipment with (and without) various common and uncommon tools and methods!

How to clean a speaker with toothbrush: Household essential or iPhone speaker cleaning hack!

Grab an old toothbrush: normal or electric will do (just keep your electric toothbrush switched off), and just follow these easy steps!

  1. Gently, and evenly, brush away any debris or residue from your speaker, and we are talking about absolutely visible dust particles.
  2. Caution: Do not blow into your speaker. Instead, use a can of compressed air to remove other residues and dirt.
  3. Make a test call or play a tune on your iPhone to check if the cleaning worked.
  4. If the problem still persists, talk to an Apple professional.

How to clean a speaker with compressed air (iPhone and Android)

As mentioned above, if you blow at your speaker, it might not help clean any visible dust or dirt. This is because more often than not, blowing air forcefully at dust pushes it further into your speakers. This might just make your dust problem even worse.

So, it is always recommended to invest and use a can of compressed air. This can help as it can be blown parallel to the phone’s screen surface, removing dust trapped in tiny spaces like ear speaker openings on your phone.

Read on for more speaker cleaning tips, especially for removing more stubborn grime and much more!

How to clean a speaker with alcohol

Um, this is a tricky one. For non-phone speakers, external cabinets, etc., sometimes it can be beneficial to use 99% Isopropyl spirit for cleaning the external bits and bobs of a speaker. Rubbing alcohol is more easily available, however, it might just leave a couple of spots on evaporation.

However, it is not advisable to use any kind of alcohol on your iPhone speakers. If any of it gets in, it can really damage the phone overall. If at all, dip the tip of your brush bristles in some rubbing alcohol, and ensure that none of it goes in as you clean the dust away.

How to clean a speaker with tape (for iPhone and Android)

Painter’s tape is a great tool when it comes to cleaning iPhone speakers or smartphone speakers. Its pressure sensitive adhesive is especially beneficial for speaker openings.

The trick is to tear a small piece off and wrap it around your finger. Then, dab and dust and check after each application if the tape has picked up lint and other dirt particles. If yes, change the tape and continue till all the grime is removed.

Well, at this point, you might ask why is it so important to clean speakers?

In order to get the best sound out of your speakers, it is important to clean them on a regular basis. Dust can build up on the speaker cone and cause the audio to become muffled. In addition, dirt and grime can interfere with the movement of the speaker cone, making it difficult for the sound to travel clearly. By keeping your speakers clean, you can help to ensure that they are able to produce louder & high-quality sound. In addition, cleaning your speakers will help to extend their life by preventing damage from dust and other debris. As a result, a little bit of effort can go a long way in maintaining your speakers.

There are various tools that can be used to clean the on-ears speakers of an iPhone, or any phone for that matter.

  1. Can of compressed air: Can help blow the dust and stubborn dirt like ear wax out.
  2. Painter’s tape: Dab to clean. The adhesive is strong enough to trap dirt, while being more or less residue free.
  3. Cleaning putty: Similar to slime, these can help trap and remove dirt from tricky spots, thanks to their clayey texture, which can reach into nooks and crannies that are otherwise inaccessible.

After cleaning your iPhone speakers, make sure to make a test call to check if it worked. If the problem persists, contact a professional.

How to clean a speaker without grill?

If your speaker doesn’t have a grill, the safest and best way to go about removing dirt from it is by using cotton Q tips or swabs to gently brush away the dirt. Compressed air and painter’s tape also help.

However, if your speaker still has a fabric mesh, you should gently clean it with a microfiber cloth; if you must, dampen it slightly with some water, but ensure that after cleaning, the water is evaporated.

How to clean a speaker without charger?

To clean the charging port along with the speaker itself, use Q tips and compressed air to remove dirt and grime. For speakers that are portable and do not need constant power, use a dry cloth and/or a microfiber brush.

Read on to know the answers to some more questions on cleaning speakers!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you clean a clogged speaker?

The most effective tool for deep cleaning a wet or water damaged speaker, or even a clogged speaker is using short bursts of a blow dryer on it. That should help the trapped water evaporate. Minicreo is also a great tool that uses low-pitch sound to unclog a water damaged phone speaker.

How do you clean a Bluetooth speaker?

The trick to effectively clean a Bluetooth speaker is to keep it dry and moisture free. So, a microfiber brush or a cotton swab should do the trick nicely. Be gentle and thorough as you remove any visible dust, dirt, or water droplets.

From here …

So did you learn how to clean a speaker? Which strategy did you like most? Let me know in the comments down below. For more details about speakers check out my How To section.

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