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How to properly clean your phone's speakers

Keep your phone audio output in optimal condition.
By

Published onDecember 12, 2023

Your Android phone spends a lot of time in your hands, in your pocket, and by your face, which means it inevitably going to attract dirt and grime. Wiping your phone’s screen may be simple, but properly cleaning its speakers requires a bit more finesse. Here’s how to do it the right way.

QUICK ANSWER

You can clean your phone speakers using a soft paintbrush or toothbrush to knock off dirt, adhesive putty to lift away dirt, and/or a small, handheld air blower to remove dust. You can try dedicated sponges and brushes if stubborn dirt remains.


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Here’s everything you should avoid when cleaning your phone speaker

A photo of the bottom of an iPhone showing the charging and speaker ports.
There are many guides and how-tos out there about cleaning your phone’s speakers, but some advice is ineffective or downright harmful. Here are some things you should avoid when cleaning phone speakers:

  • Liquids: Introducing liquids into a phone is never a good idea. You can short-circuit or corrode components, not to mention void your phone’s warranty.
  • Sharp objects: Don’t use a bent paperclip, sewing needle, pins, or other any sharp object. If you do this, you might damage your phone’s surface or delicate interior components.
  • Compressed air: Canned/compressed air may seem tempting, but you could also force dirt further into your phone, or spray some of the can’s liquids.
  • Scouring powders or harsh cleansers: Using harsh chemicals or abrasives can damage your phone permanently.
  • Cotton swabs: There are worse ideas, but you risk getting lint from the swab stuck in the grille.

Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean phone speakers?

While you can use alcohol-based wipes to wipe down the outside of your phone, it’s best to avoid using alcohol anywhere near interior components. Not only is it a liquid, but highly concentrated rubbing alcohol solutions can also degrade your phone’s water resistance rating.

How to properly clean your phone speaker

A photo of a cotton swab cleaning a phone.

Now that you know what to avoid, here’s how to correctly clean your phone’s speakers. First, turn off your phone, then:

  1. Using a soft-bristled brush, such as a clean toothbrush or paintbrush, gently clean your phone’s speaker grilles. Brush at an angle so that you knock the dirt out and don’t push it further in.
  2. Press an adhesive putty — such as Blu-Tack or a dedicated cleaning putty — into the grille to lift off more dirt. Take care not to press the putty in too deep. Lift the putty away.
  3. Blow away any remaining dirt using a handheld air blower. A handheld blower is much more gentle than compressed air. Again, ensure you blow dirt and dust away from the speaker, and not further into the phone.

You may have to repeat these steps a few times until your phone’s speakers are clean. Remember to be gentle whatever you do.

If you find that there are still stubborn spots, you can try some additional tools:

  • Cotton swabs: We don’t recommend these, but they may do in a pinch. You’ll need to gently swipe the surface of a speaker grille to avoid getting lint trapped.
  • Cleaning sponges: You can buy dedicated cleaning sponges in various shapes and sizes.
  • Cleaning brushes: Like sponges, dedicated cleaning brushes are stiff enough to knock off dirt and grime without causing scratches.

FAQs

You can, but it’s best to avoid super sticky tape when doing so. Use something like painter’s or masking tape that won’t leave residue behind when you remove it.

No. Soap can damage your phone’s internal and external components. Do not use it to clean your phone’s speakers.