How Do I Clean Speakers?

By Richard Bowen

If you're like me, you like your electronics to look great and operate that way, too. Cleaning your speakers, headphones and earbuds are part of that picture. These components are delicate and require special care -- you can actually add dirt or debris to the component or damage it if you do not clean it properly. PCs and built-in car speakers have a plastic or metal “grill” to protect them. Stereo speakers have a cloth-like material covering the front of the speaker cabinet that serves as protection.

Things You'll Need

  • a soft brush (a small "chip" paintbrush works well)
  • mild soap
  • a soft rag
  • hand-held or "dust buster" vacuum
  • cotton swabs

Cleaning Stereo Speakers

Step 1

Use the soft brush to brush the grill that covers the outside of the cabinet and is attached to the cabinet with Velcro strips or easy-pull tabs. Brush away any dust or dirt.

Step 2

Remove the grill from the speaker cabinet by gently pulling it off of the Velcro or tabs and away from the cabinet. Set grill aside.

Step 3

Use the soft brush to brush away any dust, dirt or debris from the inside of the cabinet. This includes the speaker cones themselves -- very gently brush the cones since they are made of a paper-like material and are easily damaged -- and the areas around the cones.

Step 4

Use mild soap and water and a rag to clean the outside of the cabinet. Gently remove all grime, finger prints, dust and dirt. Re-install the grill onto the cabinet.

Cleaning PC Speakers, Car Speakers, Headphones and Earbuds

Step 1

To clean PC and car speakers, use a dust buster or hand-held vacuum to gently clean the plastic or metal grill covering the speakers. Vacuum away any dust or dirt particles.

Step 2

To clean headphones and earbuds, use a soft cloth and mild soap to clean most surfaces, including any membrane surfaces and the headphone/earbud housing.

Step 3

For dirt buildup around the speaker cone, remove the outer housing and use a cotton swab to carefully wipe the surfaces around the cone but avoid touching the cone itself.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you use a regular floor vacuum to clean PC and car speakers, cup your hand around the cleaner nozzle to reduce the suction.
  • Disconnect power to speakers or headphones before cleaning.
  • When cleaning your speakers:
  • * Do not use abrasive cleansers to clean the stereo speaker cabinet, as these will scratch the cabinet surface.
  • * Do not use compressed air (sometimes called “canned air”) to clean PC, auto or any other type of speakers, headphones or ear buds. Doing so can embed dirt into the speaker grill, the speaker itself or headphone/ear bud.
  • * Do not use a cloth or rag to clean a cloth speaker grill. Particles of cloth or micro-fiber may drop off and cling to the grill.
  • * Do not use a cloth or rag to clean PC or stereo speakers because particles of cotton or micro-fiber may drop off and fall into the speaker area.
  • * Avoid damage to headphones and earbuds: do not immerse in water.