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How to disinfect and clean a microphone

Mar 26, 2020 3 min read

Thomas K. Tobias
I like words.

How to ensure that all those nasty germs keep away

Many of you have been contacting us over the last couple of days to find out how one can ensure that their microphones have been properly disinfected and are safe to pass on to others.

Well, the methods are pretty much the same for microphones as they are for most other inanimate objects.

An active approach to regularly disinfecting microphones is common practice in the music industry. It is used as a preventative measure to stop people from getting sick when on tour or recording in the studio.

This is a particularly important topic for handheld microphones, as they come into even closer contact with the hands and face on a more frequent basis. Here are a few ways to disinfect a microphone that may help to reduce the risk of transmitting bacteria and keeping your team and artists healthy.

General tips for mic hygiene.

Personal hygiene also plays an important role in keeping your microphones clean – and by hygiene, we don’t mean brushing your teeth or personal grooming.

Washing your hands regularly is one of the most simple and effective ways to reduce bacteria from spreading onto objects and surfaces via the things that you touch.

Therefore, it’s imperative to make sure your hands are clean and wash them with soap regularly and thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds before proceeding to touch your precious microphones or record with them.

Handheld microphones come into contact with hands on a regular basis.

Keeping handheld microphones clean is crucial.

Handheld microphones can be disinfected by wiping them down thoroughly using isopropyl alcohol, isopropanol, or other disinfecting agents. Important areas to cover are the handle/ grip and the mics basket where the lips may come into contact.

You can also leave your mics to dry out in UV/ lighting or the sun for up to 72 hours as most bacteria on steel and plastic surfaces will die off within this window of time—UV radiation aids in this process.

You may have heard about ‘baking’ your mics in the oven – as heat can also help to combat bacteria that may be living on surfaces. It has been suggested that one can bake a mic in the oven at 70 degrees for 3 minutes and that the bacteria on all of its surfaces will die in this process.

However, we do not encourage chucking your microphone into the oven just yet, as this may lead to the deterioration of not only some aesthetic qualities but could also damage some functional things too if not done correctly.

Studio mics can benefit from a clean too.

How to clean studio and condenser microphones.

Studio and condenser microphones may not come as close to the hands and the lips as a handheld mic. Nonetheless, it's important to assure that they get a good clean in between sessions.

Similarly to a handheld mic, you can use the methods mentioned above to ensure that all bacteria get stopped right in its tracks before jumping onto someone or something else.

Windscreen and porous materials.

Clean pop filters and foam windscreens with soap.

What about the foamy porous stuff? The most effective way to clean pop filters and windscreens is to simply wash them with warm water and soap or left to dry for a minimum of 72 Hours.

Alternatively, those looking for more exciting ways to disinfect foamy stuff can have their fun with an electric steaming machine that will kill any bacteria within the porosity from the heat radiating out of the nozzle (be generous in your application of steam and go over it multiple times).

Cables and mic stands also deserve some care.

Keeping your cables and mic stands clean.

Cables and Mic stands should also be disinfected before being used again.

However, unlike metal and plastic surfaces, cables should not be wiped down with alcohol. If you need to disinfect your cables, do so by wiping them down with a damp cloth or sponge that has been soaking in warm water and soap.

Make sure to give them a good scrub as you would with your hands and they should be ok. Leave them to dry for a minimum of 72 hours to ensure that no water or moisture may be present. You could also use a steamer to quicken this process, the heat will kill those nasty germs!

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