If you own or work in a recording studio then you probably know that a studio is a sensitive place that requires great care and protection.
Your recording equipment should always be protected from dust and humidity or it would not last long.
Poorly maintained studio equipment and monitors may frequently malfunction and adversely affect the quality of your music recordings.
Your studio monitors and speakers need to be in their best condition at all times and therefore need proper cleaning and care just like other electronic equipment.
In this comprehensive guide, I will show you the right cleaning process to ensure that your studio monitors are always protected from damage caused by dust and humidity.
What Are the Two Cleaning Methods?
It is essential to clean your studio monitors on a regular basis but more importantly is to know the right way to clean the sensitive components of your recording setup.
Studio monitors are sensitive equipment that cannot be cleaned with just any household cleaner. You may easily ruin your sound system if you don't clean your studio monitors the right way.
There are basically two methods of cleaning your studio monitors. The first method involves using a clean cloth and the second method uses a brush and a vacuum cleaner.
Let's look at each of these two methods in detail.
The Cloth Method
The cloth method is recommended for those who clean their studio monitors regularly. It works best when cleaning a monitor with little dust on it.
When trying this method, you can use a dry piece of cloth or soak the cloth in water before you use it to wipe the monitor.
You can use a dry or wet piece of cloth depending on the part of the monitor that you want to clean. However, you should always be careful while using a wet or dry piece of cloth on some parts of the monitor to avoid damage.
Cleaning your monitor with a wet piece of cloth is not really required unless you notice signs of resilient stains or fungus growth on the monitor. In such cases, use the wet piece of cloth to wipe the cabinets, the speaker cone, and the rubber surrounding the monitor.
A better option would be to use a piece of non-abrasive fabric. The non-abrasive fabric has the right texture to clean sensitive parts such as the woofer cones without scratching or causing other damage.
You should always be very careful when using a piece of cloth to clean the woofer cone and rubber surround. Keep in mind that a small piece or the slightest pressure can damage the woofer cone surface. The woofer cone is a very sensitive part of the monitor. Treat it with great care and avoid touching it with your fingers. You can easily damage the dome when you exert a little pressure on it.
Once you have completely wiped the monitor, check the entire unit for dust or any leftover dirt. If you see any, give the unit another gentle wipe. A dry cloth wipe is sufficient enough to clean your studio monitor unless you see evidence of stain and fungus.
You can remove stains, fungus, and bacteria using a wet piece of cloth. Gently wipe clean all the stained parts of your studio monitor, especially around the cabinet. However, remember to apply the right amount of pressure to avoid damaging your woofer and tweeter parts.
Maintain minimum pressure while cleaning sensitive parts. It is also important to point out that the wet cloth method should never be used on a woofer made of treated paper. Use dry cloth cleaning instead.
The Brush and Vacuum Cleaner Method
This method involves cleaning your studio monitor using a brush and a portable vacuum cleaner. You will need to use both the vacuum cleaner and the brush simultaneously to sufficiently clean the monitor.
Hold the vacuum cleaner in one hand and the brush with the other hand then run the vacuum cleaner over the monitor as you remove dust from the cone using the brush.
If you see a smudge, stain, or signs of fungus you can wet the brush hair is slightly and then run the partially wet brush over the affected spot. You can then use the vacuum cleaner to draw in the dust. Do not use the wet brush on the monitor's dome to avoid damage.
How to Clean Different Parts of the Studio Monitors
Your studio monitor has several parts and components. Let’s look at how you clean each part carefully without causing any damage.
Rubber surrounds are basically the flexible surroundings of the cone that act as shock absorbers when the cone moves in and out due to the intensity of the sound generated by the speaker.
They are mainly made of flexible and durable Butyl rubber. However, the rubber is also delicate which is why you should always be very careful when cleaning your monitor’s rubber surroundings.
One thing to note is that you can never avoid cleaning the rubber surrounds because they easily accumulate dust and grime after a short time of usage.
If you do not clean the rubber surrounds frequently or neglect them for a long time, the surrounds will develop a worn out or discolored look. If they develop a white shade then take this as a sign of fungus infection.
If not addressed on time, the fungus infested rubber surrounds will deteriorate and ruin the good performance of your studio monitor. You will eventually need to replace the rubber surround or the entire diaphragm that supports the monitor’s drivers.
Damaged or dirty rubber surrounds have an altered density which will affect the frequencies and precision your monitor produces. Your recordings will definitely suffer if you don’t regularly clean your studio monitor’s rubber surrounds.
We recommend using coconut oil to clean rubber surrounds that have not been cleaned for a long time. Just pour a little coconut oil on a clean piece of cloth then gently rub it over the rubber surround surface. You can then gently rub the surface with a piece of dry cloth to see if there are white blotches that would indicate a presence of fungus.
If you’ve been cleaning the rubber surrounds regularly, you don’t need to apply any moisture on the surface. A gentle wipe down using a dry piece of cloth will do. Alternatively, you can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dust.
Do not apply excessive pressure on the rubber surrounds when cleaning them to avoid damaging your precious studio monitor. Be as gentle as you can possibly be while ensuring that you get rid of all the dust and dirt that has accumulated on the surface of the rubber surround.
The woofer is the modified part of the speaker that produces bass sounds. The woofer cone is a delicate part of the studio monitor and should therefore be cleaned with utmost care. Do not use a microfiber cloth when cleaning the woofer cone because the abrasive action can potentially damage the cone.
Your safest and best option is to use a dry piece of cloth but if you notice stains, smudges, and signs of fungus infection you may wipe the cone using a soft wet cloth.
This is because the dry cloth cannot remove fungus and stains. However, never use a wet piece of cloth to clean woofer cones made of treated paper. Any exposure to water will definitely ruin treated paper woofer cones.
Alternatively, you can use the brush and portable vacuum cleaner method discussed above to safely clean the woofer cone. Use the brush to gently remove dust from the cone and the vacuum cleaner to suck in all the remaining dust.
If you see stains and fungus, you can wet the brush lightly and then pass it over the affected parts. Remember not to use a wet brush on woofer cones made of treated paper.
The cabinet is the strongest component of your studio monitor. It can handle rigorous cleaning processes and materials.
Cleaning your monitor cabinet is therefore easier than the other delicate parts. However, the cabinet is exposed to dust, stains, and dirt at all times. Fortunately, you can safely use a piece of microfiber cloth and rub it against the cabinet surface to give it a thorough clean.
Use a partially wet piece of cloth to remove hard stains from the monitor cabinet. Remember to unplug all cables and put off all the switches before you start to clean the monitor. Be careful when cleaning the backside of the monitor cabinet because it holds the volume knobs and the input/output sockets.
You should also avoid using a vacuum cleaner when removing dust from the bass reflex hole. A vacuum cleaner can also damage other internal parts of the studio monitor.
The magnet is another well protected internal part of your monitor that does not require regular cleaning.
It is sufficiently protected from the outside environment by the woofer cones. You can skip the magnet in the cleaning process.
The tweeter is a fragile part of the monitor that should never be touched with your hands or fingers during the cleaning process.
Clean them with the same care and attention you gave to the equally delicate woofer dome. Never use the cloth cleaning method or a vacuum cleaner on the tweeter.
The safest way to clean tweeters is by simply blowing off the dust with your mouth. If you can’t blow off all the dust with your mouth just let the tweeter be because any extra cleaning effort will damage the tweeter dome.
Avoid touching the tweeter dome with your fingers or using a vacuum cleaner or even a piece of microfiber cloth when cleaning the tweeter.
The driver refers to the copper coils located behind the woofer dome. The driver is normally surrounded by the speaker’s magnet.
It is an important part of the monitor because it pushes the speaker cone forwards and backward when electric current passes through the coil. The back-and-forth movement created by the driver creates the sound produced by your monitor.
The good news is that the driver is located behind the dome and perfectly insulated from dust and dirt. It doesn’t require regular cleaning so don’t worry much about it.
Cleaning your studio monitor should not be hard when you know how to clean each part safely.
Just remember to switch off power switches that are connected to the monitor before you start the cleaning process. A desktop vacuum cleaner is gentle enough for the studio monitor.
If you see white spots on the rubber surroundings, use coconut oil to gently wipe off the stains. Observe special care when cleaning delicate parts of the studio monitor such as the tweeter and woofer dome to avoid damage.
If you find this studio monitor cleaning guide helpful or have a few more monitor cleaning tips, feel free to share them with us in the comments below. Your feedback is highly appreciated.