How to Clean Speakers – [ Grill, Cones, Cabinet, Terminal ]
Speakers are the crucial element of any sound system and knowing how to clean speakers is something you should know. A well-maintained speaker will last longer without compromising its output performance. That’s why cleaning your speakers every now and then will help to maintain their quality, and performance for a long time.
The accumulated dirt and debris reduces the sound quality, even if you are not experiencing any sound output issue still your speakers need cleaning like any other thing in your house. But, it doesn’t mean you grab any household solution and start cleaning.
You surely don’t want to damage them, for that reason put your hands on the right kind of tools and solutions. To clean your speaker in the correct way, follow the cleaning steps on its manual. If you are not having the manual by the time, we are here to help. Follow the instructions given bellow
The Best Materials for Cleaning Speakers
Before starting take a look at your speaker’s construction, notice what kind of material is used. After that, choose the cleaning method that matches the material of the speaker and doesn’t damage it’s finishing. A wrong kind of cleaner can strip off any existing wax ending up with a dull finishing.
Speaker cabinets can be made from a variety of woods. Some common woods used in the manufacturing of cabinets are pine, maple, oak, birch, cherry, and walnut. Different kinds of cleaners are available in the market, some of them are meant specifically for one kind of wood. They may act differently on another kind of speaker exteriors so you need to be more cautious while choosing them.
Pledge and other waxes are not suitable to polish the speakers that are covered in vinyl covering. A slightly damp cloth works well. To clean metal & plastic speaker cabinets choose the cleaners that suit them or consult the product manual. Using glass, kitchen/bath, or all-purpose cleaners are not ideal.
Are you still confused about choosing the right type of cleaner for a wood exterior? You can go with anything that is meant for wood furniture. If you don’t want to go out and look for suitable cleaning solutions, use warm water and mild detergent mixture for basic surface cleaning. Adding some baking soda to the mixture adds a little help in cleaning stubborn dirt and sticky stains.
After a thorough cleaning of the speaker next comes finishing. for finishing use oil or varnish depending on the type of material. Oils work better for real wood and varnish is ideal for plywood, MDF, vinyl, or laminate.
Cleaning the speaker’s exterior cabinet
After choosing the right kind of cleaning solution you will need clean and soft microfiber cloths, a can of air, a lint roller, canned air, and little warm water to properly clean your speakers. Instead of microfiber cloth, an old cotton t-shirt can also work well.
It is better not to use paper towels because when they get wet they are most likely to leave small particles behind. Grab all the things and before starting to use them, power down your speaker and leave them off for a couple of minutes.
Prepare two separate clothes, one for dry cleaning and the other for wet. First, blow off any excess dirt and dust with the help of a can of air. Soak one of the microfiber cloth in water then wring it out to remove excess water. Squeeze it out until no more water drips off and the cloth is barely damp.
Thoroughly wipe down the exterior of the speaker with the damp cloth by applying gentle pressure to remove any remaining dust. Put a small amount of cleaning liquid of your choice on the damp cloth.
It is better to test the liquid on an inconspicuous area before using it on the whole box. To test for any adverse reaction apply it on the rear of the speaker cabinet and leave it for a few minutes. If you observe no reaction it is safe to use, you can continue with it.
Rather than putting the cleaner directly on the surface, it is better to put it on the cloth first and then use it on the surface. Depending on the requirement you can add more cleaner, this way you can control how much of the cleaner is to be used.
Do not put more pressure while cleaning the surface, a gentle wipe is enough. Starting from one side of the speaker go all the way around. To preserve the appearance of the cabinet’s real wood exterior wipe with the direction of the grain. If the surface is laminated or wrapped in vinyl just wipe it gently.
After finishing one side, take the dry cloth and wipe off the surface to remove any water or residues. Be careful while cleaning wood, veneer, plywood, or MDF surfaces. Any excess liquid will soak into the surface and damage the cabinet.
Clean all the sides of the speaker in the same way. Watch out if there are any seams or cracks, as they can easily accumulate liquids and residues, thoroughly clean them using cotton swabs. After cleaning all the sides, depending on the type of surface, use oil to condition or varnish to protect the surface
Clean the Speaker Grills
Speaker grills are attached to the front of the speaker covering the drivers. They protect the drivers and prevent the accumulation of dust. Some speakers have delicate fabric grills like stockings while others have metal grills. They may be of any design like a perforated, checkerboard, or dot design.
Some grills are detachable and some are not supposed to be removed. Fabric grills can be attached to frames. They pop right off by gently loosening the prongs. Once they pop off by using a thin flat object, pry the frames off of the speaker and lay them down. If the grills are connected with screws, remove the screws with a screwdriver.
Handle the grills carefully as they are very delicate. Mishandling can lead to damage to any silicone or rubber gaskets. Plastic grills can bend or warp easily if they are not picked up gently. Smoothly lie down the grill or frame on a flat surface for cleaning.
Use a vacuum hose with a dust brush attachment to clean a fabric grill. A vacuum can efficiently remove the dust from the fabric. To keep the fabric safe just make sure it does not pull and stretch the fabric.
A lint roller also works great for cleaning a fabric grill. Roll a fresh adhesive piece of lint roller over all the surface area of the grill. If the grill is big, you may need more layers for complete cleaning. After some time peel off the dirty adhesive to use a fresh adhesive layer.
If tougher dirt or grime is still there make a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Wet the microfiber cloth in that mixture and gently scrub the dirt. Repeat in circular motions until the dirt is gone. Take another clean cloth and rinse the area with plain water and then dry.
Plastic or Metal Grill
If the grills are plastic or metal, use an appropriate cleaner. A simple soap and water mixture can also do the job effectively. You can soak the grills in a sink or tub filled with soap and water mixture and softly rub the grill with a cloth or sponge. Then take them out and rinse them off with water. let them completely dry before you replace them.
when the cleaning and drying process is complete place them back on the speaker, fix them using screws. Some grills are fixed. If they are fixed to the box, use a lint roller or a can of compressed air to clean them.
Cleaning the speaker cones
Speaker cones are very delicate, it is extensive to handle them with more care to prevent any damage as a little hard touch can punch a hole through a paper cone. Exposed cones need extra care to handle to prevent any harm to the sensitive drivers that rest behind. Even a slight bump can harm them.
For cleaning cones, it is good to use a can of compressed air or a soft-bristle paintbrush or makeup brush. Carefully dust the cone and attached gasket. To avoid any damage gently hold the brush and put the least amount of pressure to dislodge any dust or dirt.
Hold the can of compressed air in the right way so that the dust blows away from the cone and not into it. Stay a few inches away and hold the can upright when you spray. Do not use any kind of liquid for cleaning cones.
Tweeters are exceptionally delicate as compared to other parts. For that reason, you need to be exceptionally gentle when brushing them. To be on the safe side to avoid any possible damage skip the brushing. Instead of brushing spray the canned air to clean the tweeters.
Clean the Speaker Terminals
The terminals of speakers are sturdy. They also accumulate dust and dirt like other parts of speakers. To clean them unplug every connected cable. Clean them properly by using a vacuum with a hose attachment. Clean the connections and seams. Avoid using compressed air cans.
Resist the urge to use water or water-based cleaning solutions. You can use isopropyl alcohol (99%) for cleaning speaker terminals and connections. After that completely dry the terminal with a dry cloth, when cables are completely dry reconnect them.
Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Speaker
Keep your speakers in a clean place where it is less chance of dirt accumulation. As dust negatively affects the performance of the speakers so it is vital to clean the speakers every now and then. Use a vacuum cleaner or blower for basic cleaning. Giving them a good deep clean a few times a year will help in their proper functioning exactly as you expect them to.
Follow these tips for better cleaning and to avoid any damage:
- Check the speaker manual for helpful cleaning tips
- Don’t use harsh soaps or chemicals. you may end up with a damaged and dull exterior.
- Before starting the cleaning, first, test any solution or oil on an inconspicuous part to observe the reaction. If nothing wrong happens it is safe to continue.
- Use only a small amount of liquid or water as required; a little goes a long way.
- Do carefully select the product before you buy. Read the labels and make sure you are buying the right solutions for your speaker’s material.
- Be extra careful when cleaning the wood veneer. Anything that contains solvent dissolves the glue that holds the veneer to the base.
- Don’t rush and move too quickly. Take your time when cleaning speakers.