How to Clean a Subwoofer

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Updated October 31, 2022

Audio devices are delicate, and even the best speakers will damage if they aren’t cared for properly. Whatever type of speaker you own, it’s essential to keep it clean, not just for aesthetic reasons, but to make sure it maintains its value. For example, wouldn’t you want it to last as long as possible if you’ve researched and bought the best subwoofer? However, we get that understanding how to clean a subwoofer is a challenging task. So, below, we’ll show you how.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Choosing suitable cleaning materials and methods relies on researching the model of your subwoofer.
  • When cleaning, use a damp cloth, soft brush, and can of air to remove dust from the exterior, grills, and cone.
  • Always avoid using excess water and any cleaning agent with harsh chemicals. Even with a chemical-free cleaner, use as little as possible while cleaning.

We also have an article on adjusting a subwoofer if you’re looking for more maintenance tips. And if subwoofers aren’t your style, we also have a guide on how to clean a Bluetooth speaker.

Insider Tip

When using a can of air on a speaker cone, always keep the can right side up. Holding the can this way ensures that no harmful chemicals will come out.

How to Clean Subwoofer Speakers

Knowing how often to clean your subwoofer depends largely on circumstance. For example, if a subwoofer is kept stationary in a clean living room as part of a home theatre system, odds are you won’t have to clean it as much. But say you use a subwoofer in the trunk of a car you take offroading. In that case, you’ll need to clean it much more often.

Luckily, proper subwoofer care isn’t that hard. All you need to know is what to watch out for so you don’t damage the speaker during the process. Otherwise, you could find yourself reading our article on things like how to fix a ripped subwoofer cone.

Also, remember that certain environments require specific speakers. For more, we have a list of the leading boat speakers.

STEP 1 Consult the User Manual

Before beginning, read your user manual and check for any brand-specific guidelines for the cleaning process.

STEP 2 Gather the Cleaning Supplies

Procure a soft brush, microfiber cloth, can of air/vacuum cleaner, and a cleaner that is ammonia free. Avoid using any harsh chemicals when working with sound equipment.

STEP 3 Power Off the Subwoofer

Switch off and completely unplug your subwoofer. Also, make sure to remove the stereo wires from the back.

STEP 4 Remove and Clean Subwoofer Grills

If your speaker has grills, remove them. Some units have grills that need to be pried off and screws attached to others. Then, use a can of air or vacuum cleaner to remove any excess dirt or dust on the grill. Once finished, use the brush, water, and cleaner to scrub any remaining debris.

STEP 5 Clean the Subwoofer Exterior

Wipe down the speaker exterior (wring out any excess moisture). At first, only use water to wipe down the speaker. However, if there’s stubborn dust, you can use some ammonia-free cleaner to help remove some stains.

Avoid using excess water when wiping the speaker down; the speaker manual may direct you to use a dry cloth for cleaning. It’s also best to use a damp microfiber cloth with lint-free fabric.

STEP 6 Clean the Speaker Cone

Use a lightly damp cloth to wipe down the rubber surround and interior speaker cone. Take great caution while wiping to avoid applying too much pressure to the cone, as excess pressure can permanently damage the speaker.

Use just enough pressure to wipe away the dust particles. After wiping the speaker, if you see any excess water on the cone, use a dry microfiber cloth to remove it.

STEP 7 Reassemble the Subwoofer

After checking that each part of the speaker is completely dry, place the grills back on the speaker. Then plug in the speaker and test it to ensure nothing was damaged during the cleaning process.

Warning

Avoid using all-purpose household cleaners and vinyl solvents to clean your subwoofer. They can leave permanent damages.

STAT: Car subwoofers often last less time than subs in home audio systems. Home audio usually lasts up to 20 years, while car stereo units tend to last 4 -7 years. (source)

How to Clean a Subwoofer FAQs

What is the average lifespan of a subwoofer?

Subwoofers tend to last from 5 to 20 years. However, there are a few factors affecting how long a subwoofer lasts. For example, the average listening volume, incorrect wiring, the speaker's handling, and exposure to humidity and dust all decrease the average lifespan.

How bad is dust for a subwoofer?

Dust can get into the intricate circuitry and eventually cause the speaker to stop working altogether.

What are the best cleaning products for subwoofers?

The best speaker-cleaning products are free of alcohol, ammonia, and harsh chemicals. Such cleaners can damage the varnish and interior parts, so it's best to use a natural cleaner or water.
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