How to Clean a Microphone in 5 Steps [+Useful Videos and Links]

Knowing how to clean a microphone properly is very important for those that use these devices often.

In this article, I will cover the importance of practicing good hygiene with audio gear, how to clean both condenser and dynamic microphones, the tools and products to use for microphone cleaning, the things to avoid, and the steps to follow during the process.

Knowing this valuable information will greatly benefit you, your devices, and anyone else who uses them.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to clean a microphone the right way.

 

The Importance of Hygiene When It Comes to Audio Equipment

Since we speak into microphones and our mouths spread germs quickly, these devices can become extremely dirty. 

It is also common for handheld microphones to frequently be passed around, used, and held by different people.

Even if you may be unable to see it, this causes saliva, sweat, makeup, and skin particles to land on the devices.

If you do not clean your microphone often, it will cause a build-up on it. You can determine if your audio equipment has a build-up by opening the top part and taking a look inside. By choosing to continuously ignore this build-up, the particles will continue to accumulate, and your device may begin to sound muffled.

The reason for this is because build-ups in a mic can significantly reduce its frequency response, which will cause the device not to perform to its best ability. Therefore, if your device is sounding unusual and has not been cleaned in a long time, you should check to see if it has a build-up.

The Importance of Hygiene

To keep everyone safe, healthy, and happy, you should practice good hygiene with devices just like you would with any other item in your home or office space.

Cleaning a microphone consists of fully removing germs and dirt with soap and water, and disinfecting a mic consists of eliminating germs with chemical products. Most people choose to first clean the device then disinfect it for extra protection against germs, bacteria, and dirt.

If you would like to find out more hygiene tips for your audio gear, check out Deity Microphones’ YouTube video. In the video, Andrew will teach you how to clean a mic as well as provide several important hygiene tips that will keep users from becoming sick, keep everyone safe, and extend the life of your audio device.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no wrong or right way to clean your device as long as you thoroughly clean it as often as possible. Below, I will provide a guide on how to clean two popular types of devices, the dynamic and condenser microphones, in which you can follow for inspiration.

 

How to Clean a Dynamic Mic

The majority of microphone users claim that dynamic microphones are the easiest to clean. Most of the dynamic mics have a grille that is very easy to unscrew and separate from the body of the device, making microphone cleaning pretty simple.

Tools and Products for Cleaning a Dynamic Mic:

Tools and Products for Cleaning a Microphone:

  • Washing liquid which is typically used to wash dishes
  • A toothbrush
  • Cleaning surface disinfectant wipes
  • A paper towel roll

Things to Avoid while Cleaning a Dynamic Microphone:

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid using any cleaning product that contains bleach
  • Avoid using hydrogen peroxide
  • Avoid using hand sanitizers
  • Avoid using cleaning materials that may be too rough on the device, such as a scouring pad or scrub brush
  • Avoid excessively hot water. Warm water works best.
  • Avoid placing the device back together before it is completely dry to avoid rust

5 Steps of Cleaning a Dynamic Mic:

5 Steps to Clean a Dynamic Mic

1. Remove the Grille

The first step is to gently remove the grille from the body of the device. It should easily come off with a firm twist and unscrewing. Do not use too much strength or you could permanently damage the device.

After you have successfully detached the grille, remove the foam windshield as well. You may begin to notice that the foam windshield has saliva build-up, and the grille has lipstick, dirt, and saliva build-up.

2. Wash the Grille

Next, you will need to use the toothbrush to apply warm water and washing liquid. Begin scrubbing the grille of the device to get rid of any build-up. Be gentle and ensure that you get into all corners and edges.

3. Dry the Grille

Completely dry the grille with paper towels before reattaching it to the device. If you do not make sure that it is entirely dry, you may cause the device to rust. Air drying is another method you can use if you have the extra time.

4. Wash the Windscreen

Now, you will need to wash the foam windshield with water and washing liquid until you are sure that all build-up has been completely eliminated. Again, you will need to make sure that the foam windshield is entirely dry before putting it back on the device. I would recommend letting it air dry overnight or using a blow dryer if you need it to dry quickly.

5. Clean the Mic Body

Use the surface cleaner disinfectant wipes to wipe down and clean the body of the device.

If you need to clean your dynamic audio gear quickly between multiple people using it, use a mouthwash that has been diluted with water. Make sure the device stays upside down while scrubbing the grille to ensure that all particles fall out. This will not be an extensive cleaning, but it will at least assure the next user that the equipment is clean for them to use.

For a visual look at how to clean a dynamic microphone, watch Worship Leader Hangout’s YouTube video. The individual in the video gives an in-depth guide on how he sets up a routine to clean and sanitize his dynamic devices to prevent the spreading of germs.

 

How to Clean a Condenser Mic

Cleaning a condenser device is known to be a little more difficult than a dynamic one. This is because condenser devices are more fragile which means you must be very careful.

Tools and Products for Cleaning a Condenser Microphone:

  • A toothbrush
  • Cleaning surface disinfectant wipes
  • Paper towel roll
  • Washing liquid which is typically used to wash dishes

Things to Avoid while Cleaning a Condenser Mic:

Things to Avoid while Cleaning a Microphone

  • Avoid using any liquid products directly on the condenser microphone element itself. Only clean the grille and windscreen.
  • Avoid using any cleaning product that contains bleach
  • Avoid using hydrogen peroxide
  • Avoid using hand sanitizers
  • Avoid using cleaning materials that may be too rough on the device, such as a scouring pad or scrub brush
  • Avoid excessively hot water. Warm water works best.
  • Avoid placing the device back together before it is completely dry. Even a tiny bit of moisture will permanently damage the condenser device.

5 Steps of Cleaning a Condenser Mic

5 Steps to Clean a Condenser Mic

Depending on if the grille of your condenser device is able to be removed or not will determine how you should clean it.

1. Remove the Grille

Carefully remove the grille from the body of the device if possible. This may be tedious and require removing screws. Ensure that the device itself never comes into contact with any water or liquid products. A tiny amount of moisture can cause permanent damage to the device.

2. Wash the Grille

If the grille is able to be removed from the device, take the windscreen off as well. Begin washing the grille with a toothbrush and washing liquid just like you would for the dynamic device. Use warm water and focus on eliminating the build-up that may be on the grille. Also, check the corners and edges for hidden particles.

If the grille is unable to be detached from the device, gently use a dry toothbrush to scrub the grille. Hold the device upside down to let any dirt and particles fall out onto the ground. Try not to push any grime or toothbrush bristles through the grille, or it will be stuck in the chamber forever.

3. Dry the Grille

If you have a detachable grille that you were able to wash, dry it completely before reattaching it to the device. This is an extremely crucial step because a wet grille will significantly damage a condenser device. You can use a paper towel, but I would also recommend using a hair dryer or letting it air dry to ensure that it is 100 percent dry.

4. Wash the Windscreen

Next, you should begin washing the windscreen with water and washing liquid until you are sure that all build-up has been removed. As stated before, you will need to be sure that the windscreen is completely dry before placing it back on the device. This is very important. Air drying overnight or using a hair dryer is the best way to dry the windscreen.

5. Clean the Mic Body

Use the surface cleaner disinfectant wipes to wipe down and clean the body of the device.

Replace Windscreen with a Clean One

If there are multiple people using the same condenser device and you are unable to clean it after each use, I would recommend using removable external foam windscreens that can be cleaned quickly and easily with soap and water. By using these, you will be able to switch out windscreens and clean them, which ensures that the audio gear will be protected from germs and grime.

However, it is important to remember to make sure that the removable external foam windscreen is completely dry each time by using a blow dryer because water cannot touch a condenser microphone at all.

To find out more information and see somebody clean a condenser mic, take a look at Eklo’s YouTube video. In the video, he takes the time to show how he cleans his large condenser device using simple products like a paintbrush and distilled water.

 

Additional Parts of Microphone Cleaning

These parts also collect a lot of bacteria and germs! When cleaning microphones, make sure you also sanitize these components…

Cables

Most people probably do not think about it, but cables do need to be cleaned every once in a while. They are typically on the floor, ground, or on a surface that can easily collect dirt, dust, and particles that have fallen. To clean them, gently rub them with coconut or olive oil. This is a simple, quick way to get rid of anything that may have fallen on the cables.

You can also use warm water and soap if you do not have any oil, but you should make sure that no water or soap enters the connectors or goes near the mics. After cleaning, let the cables air dry for a few days to ensure that all germs have been killed.

How to Сlean a Cable
It is important to clean not only the microphone but also its cable

Another method to try is UV-C light which is known to eliminate any germs. By exposing your cables to UV-C light as much as possible, they will remain clean and germ-free. This type of light will not affect the functionality of the cables, but you should be sure to protect yourself when close to the light.

Do not sanitize cables, as it will cause the cable jacket to wear and tear.

Windscreens

As mentioned above, be sure to always remove foam windscreens from the devices and wash them carefully with warm water and soap. Air dry them for a couple days or blow dry them for quicker results.

It is not recommended to apply isopropyl alcohol or chemicals to the windscreen because it will damage it. Therefore, you should thoroughly wash the windscreen to ensure that all germs and dirt are completely removed.

 

A Final Word on Microphone Cleaning

As you can see, knowing how to clean a microphone is a great idea.

You may feel like it is an unnecessary step or that it adds to your daily tasks, but it is worth taking the time to do. Once you make this process a routine, it should become a normal part of your day. It is important for hygiene and cleanliness, which is important for you, your audio equipment, and others who may use it.

If you are interested in buying a vocal mic, head over to where I wrote about the best microphones for vocals here. In the article, I provide a detailed list of the top audio devices to choose from to capture your vocals clearly and accurately.

Have any questions about how to clean a microphone? Comment below and we’ll help you out.

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