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How to properly clean your phone's speakers

Can you hear me now?
March 2, 2023

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


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


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 not a good idea. You could short-circuit or corrode components. Plus, this may void your phone’s warranty.
  • Sharp objects: Don’t use a bent paperclip, sewing needle, pins, or other sharp objects to clean speaker grilles. If you do this, you can damage your phone’s surface or delicate interior components.
  • Compressed air: Canned or compressed air seems tempting to blow off dust and dirt, but you could also force dirt further into your phone.
  • Scouring powders or harsh cleansers: Using harsh chemicals or abrasives can damage your phone permanently.

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 on 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 into the speaker.
  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 too deep into the grille. And lift the putty away from the grille to ensure you remove the dirt.
  3. Blow away any remaining dirt using a handheld air blower. A handheld air blower is much more gentle than canned 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 and careful and not to damage any components when cleaning.

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

  • Cotton swabs: Gently scrubbing the speaker grill with a cotton swab can help dislodge dirt.
  • Cleaning sponges: You can buy dedicated professional cleaning sponges in various shapes and sizes. Cotton buds can shed lint, but sponges don’t, and they also help prevent static buildup.
  • Cleaning brushes: Like sponges, dedicated cleaning brushes are stiff enough to knock off dirt and grime without being too rigid and causing scratches.


You can, but it’s best to avoid super sticky tape when doing so. Use something like painters 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.