Microphone Maintenance: How To Clean And Care For Your Mic

Keeping your microphone clean is the key to optimum sound.

Keeping your microphone in good working order means using the proper techniques in caring for it and cleaning it regularly. You will not get the optimum performance out of your microphone if it is allowed to become dirty, and microphones can attract a variety of unsavory substances. All microphones are subject to moisture that can harbor bacteria and cause airborne particles to accumulate and clog up your equipment. Microphone screens catch cigarette smoke and copious amounts of saliva. In time, repeated exposure to saliva can even cause the grille of your microphone to rust.

The proper technique for cleaning a microphone depends on the type you own. Most microphones have removable grilles that unscrew from the top of the device. If your microphone has a foam screen or pop shield inside of the grille it may be removable as well. The grille and the screen can both be cleaned together if they cannot be separated. Never attempt to wash your grille or foam screen using this technique without detaching them from the microphone itself! After filling a large bowl with warm water and a small amount of dish detergent submerge the grille and screen or the combination grille/screen under the water. Gently swish the pieces through the soapy water. Use a soft brush to scrub away any particles or lipstick that may be stuck in the grille openings. Gently massage the foam screen letting fresh water be rinsed through it several times. After washing the components you should gently rinse them in clean, warm water. Gently squeeze any excess moisture from the foam screen. Place the components to dry on a soft towel. It is extremely important to allow the components to dry completely before replacing them on the microphone base. Excess moisture can damage the internal workings of your microphone.

If you own the type of microphone that does not have a removable grille and foam screen it can still be cleaned but extra care must be taken. A soft dry brush such as an artist's paintbrush can be used to dislodge any dry particles from the grille and screen. After removing loose particles hold the microphone upside down and gently scrub the grille and screen with a soft brush that has been slightly moistened in a bit of water and dish detergent. Do not let the microphone components become saturated. Once you have finished cleaning the microphone, it must remain in the upside down position until it is completely dry.



To keep your microphone clean and fresh in between performances and uses you can wipe the grille down with a soft cloth slightly moistened with a bacteria killing mouthwash. Always dry your microphone grille with a soft cloth before storing it and avoid touching the grille itself with your hands as body oils can be transferred and add to soil buildup.

The connector for your microphone can cause interference and poor performance if it is not occasionally cleaned of oxidation. You must use a product designed for this purpose such as ProGold GXL or DeOXIT. Carefully clean the connector jack of your microphone using one of these deoxidizers and a soft cloth and wipe it dry. Do not plug your microphone into its power source until the connectors are complete dry.

Keeping your microphone clean will add to its life and performance, as will some other simple techniques for good microphone care. Never drop your microphone or allow it to become jarred against hard surfaces. Keep microphones stored at room temperature and avoid humidity as moisture build up can damage internal parts. Always keep your microphone enclosed in a hard case when not in use in order to keep it free of dust and accidental damage.

© High Speed Ventures 2011