Gross! How to clean your dusty, crusty speakers

Learn how to clean speakers the right way

Two Bose speakers on pastel background
(Image credit: Future)

Listen up music lovers: You need to learn how to clean speakers ASAP, so nothing comes between you and your fave playlist. Don't worry, I've got your back with some pretty easy tips.

Portable Bluetooth speakers can make or break a space’s vibes — whether in your living room, at the beach, or while studying in a park. But, with so much wear and tear, speakers can get dusty and crusty, leading to lackluster performance. 

If your portable speaker has seen better (re: cleaner) days, it might be time to give it a good refresh using these tips for cleaning dusty speakers. Before you get started though, you may need to stock up on some of the best cleaning supplies for all your cleaning needs.

Good to know

Time: 20 minutes 

Difficulty: Easy — the whole process is quick and simple

Helpful hint: Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions before you start taking your device apart to avoid any accidental damage or voiding the warranty.

Here’s what you’ll need

How to clean speakers

1. Understand the speaker type and required clean-up

The first step in cleaning your Bluetooth speaker is understanding what type of cleaning is required and what your speaker can withstand. 

If your speaker is waterproof and has a lot of dirt caked on the outside, try running it underwater to break up the build-up. If it’s not waterproof, use electronic cleaning tools, like this 7-in-1 kit available at Amazon, to gently lift away any dirt and debris. 

2. Use Putty to Remove Stubborn Particles 

Similar to earbuds, if you have any stubborn particles caked into your speakers, applying some cleaning putty can be worthwhile. 

This stuff is designed to stick right to the speaker and pull out gunk without causing damage to the overall integrity of the device. We recommend this FiveJoy cleaning gel on Amazon.

3. Wipe speakers with a damp microfiber cloth 

After removing the build-up from Bluetooth speakers, take a microfiber cloth (like this Amazon's Choice set) and run it under lukewarm water. Squeeze out all of the excess water until the cloth is damp, and use it to gently wipe down the speaker. 

If your speaker isn’t waterproof, this won’t cause damage so long as you ring out as much excess water as possible and gently wipe it down. 

Speaker care tips

Cleaning speakers starts with proper care as some of the most common aggressors— like dust— can actually cause damage to your speaker and make clean-up a lost cause. Learn how to care for portable speakers and keep them clean and functioning.

Speakers aren’t equipped for ultra-hot environments. While taking portable speakers to the beach or park is feasible, you want to ensure they stay cool so that they don’t overheat. 

Place speakers in a shaded area and make sure it has proper ventilation so that the speakers’ internal fans can work properly. If it’s a particularly hot day, you can place a small fan directly onto the speaker or store it on top of a cool spot, like the top of a cooler. 

Some Bluetooth speakers are waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally splashing them while hanging out at the pool or beach.

 However, if your speaker isn’t waterproof, it’s essential that you keep it dry in order to preserve its integrity. 

Frequently asked questions

How should I store speakers?

Dust is one of the biggest reasons why portable speakers get dirty in the first place. Not only can dust buildup impact the quality of your speaker, but it can also cause a ton of damage and might even result in speakers no longer working. To protect speakers from dust, be sure to store them in a case or storage bag to keep build-up at bay.

What can damage speakers?

Sunlight can also damage portable speakers. Since these speakers are so small and have compact designs, sunlight can cause speakers to overheat. Protect speakers from heat exposure by keeping them out of direct sunlight, and if you are using them outdoors for an extended period of time, consider directing a small fan at the speaker to prevent it from overheating. 

Keeping your portable speaker clean can help preserve the overall quality and lifespan of your device. In some cases, Bluetooth speakers can last a lifetime, so be sure to store them properly and protect them from elements such as dust and excess sun and heat exposure in order to prevent damage. If you have to spruce them up, follow these steps or some unusual cleaning hacks to clean your speakers.

Jessie Quinn
Freelance Writer

Jessie Quinn is a lifestyle writer with words published in The Spruce, Byrdie, Well + Good, Shape, PEOPLE, and more. Jessie has a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Journalism from Academy of Art University and leans on her background in fashion to inspire readers to hone their personal decor style as if it's their wardrobe. When she's not writing, Jessie can be found browsing the aisles of her local antique stores, creating DIY home decor projects, and taking care of her dozens of houseplants. Her eclectic decor style balances vintage, modern, and artisanal pieces that reflect her artsy style and love for handmade goods.