How to clean a dirty speaker?

Buduranus2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,130
I'd like to clean this speaker but not sure how to do it. Someone said I could spray it with alcohol, let it dry and then wipe away the dried residue. I wanted to see if anyone has tried this method or perhaps there's another way to do it? Thanks!

 

dcbc

Member
Messages
2,211
Can you mail me the stuff you take off that speaker so I can put some of the mojo on some of my newer speakers?

If you like the way it sounds, I'd leave well enough alone.

/I'm not a scientist, but I'm convinced my 1967 Jensens are the best Deluxe Reverb speaker I've heard, in part because they spent a lot of their times in smokey bars and music stores. No telling what's built up on them over the years, but I'm not curious enough to go messing with a good thing.
 

jthomas666

Member
Messages
576
Brush lightly with a soft paint brush while holding the speaker upright or upside down.

Or... maybe: get some of the doughy stuff they use to clean wallpaper and gently touch it to the the paper cone to pick up the dust. (VERY GENTLY). This stuff is kind of like play dough. I've not used that on a speaker, but the method has worked on other delicate stuff. You might try the same kind of thing with low-tack painter's tape.

I wouldn't get the cone wet but maybe somebody has had success doing that.
 

Buduranus2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,130
Brush lightly with a soft paint brush while holding the speaker upright or upside down.

Or... maybe: get some of the doughy stuff they use to clean wallpaper and gently touch it to the the paper cone to pick up the dust. (VERY GENTLY). This stuff is kind of like play dough. I've not used that on a speaker, but the method has worked on other delicate stuff. You might try the same kind of thing with low-tack painter's tape.

I wouldn't get the cone wet but maybe somebody has had success doing that.
I may try a portable vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment first.
 

Scumback Speakers

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,866
I may try a portable vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment first.
You can try that, proceed slowly and carefully.

No alcohol, no acetone, no spray cleaners, that's all BS. Ask me how I know? No need, you know how I know.

Your speaker in the pic is not original, it has an 8 hole gasket, likely replaced when it was reconed. The dust cap is larger than what that speaker came with originally, and I have to say it may be the widest one I've seen.

How much time do you want to spend on a reconed speaker with the wrong gasket, dust cap, etc?

Get the vacuum brush thing, clean up as much as you can without chemicals, water, etc and be done with it.

Not trying to be a jerk, but there's only so much you can do here.
 

Montrose439

Member
Messages
47
I'd like to clean this speaker but not sure how to do it. Someone said I could spray it with alcohol, let it dry and then wipe away the dried residue. I wanted to see if anyone has tried this method or perhaps there's another way to do it? Thanks!

Olive oil and paper towel.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,224
I find lint roller (paper off the roller) works well on the doping. I would just lightly brush the paper with a soft brush and live with it. That's what grill cloth was made for; to prevent dust ... and after dusty. :aok
 

Buduranus2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,130
No alcohol, no acetone, no spray cleaners, that's all BS. Ask me how I know? No need, you know how I know.

Your speaker in the pic is not original, it has an 8 hole gasket, likely replaced when it was reconed. The dust cap is larger than what that speaker came with originally, and I have to say it may be the widest one I've seen.
Thanks for your reply. I'm sure you've forgotten more about speakers than I'll ever know, but in this instance you're mistaken. The speaker is "original." It's an OEM Eminence that was pulled from an inexpensive floor monitor. I agree that the dust cap is unusually large. As you know, Eminence will build a speaker to anyone's specs if you order enough of them. Here's an Eminence branded Legend 1275 that has eight mounting holes. So I'm not quite sure how you deduced that a speaker with eight mounting holes is "reconed." Cheers!

 
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Scumback Speakers

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,866
Well, that speaker pic posted wasn't that detailed due to the dirt/etc, and it looked like it was a Celestion that had been modified. Not a fan of Eminence speakers, so that's why I didn't recognize that ultra wide dust cap.

In any case, sorry to have mistaken that for a Celestion, but I wish you luck in getting it cleaned up.
 

edgewound

Member
Messages
5,679
I've cleaned LOTS of speakers. Probably more than anyone posting here. Even Celestions...which clearly is not what is pictured.

Most speakers are not as delicate as most would believe...unless its so dried out it's ready to crack. Or coated with something that could be damaged by water or solvent. I use a shop vac with a brush attachment to get the dust and dirt off. Just be careful you don't suck up the cone by getting a non-brush vacuum hose too close. That CAN damage it.

Yes....you can use acetone. I use acetone sometimes. Pure bristle brush dipped in acetone while spinning on a lazy susan. The acetone will evaporate very quickly...and can sometimes remove stains on the cone or renew the color somewhat.

Just make sure the the speaker is dry before using it. A blow dryer can help with that.
 

Buduranus2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,130
Yes....you can use acetone. I use acetone sometimes. Pure bristle brush dipped in acetone while spinning on a lazy susan. The acetone will evaporate very quickly...and can sometimes remove stains on the cone or renew the color somewhat.
The method I was told was to spray the cone with alcohol and let it dry. This supposedly will leech the dirt out to the surface when the alcohol dries. The you can vacuum it off. Your thoughts?
 

edgewound

Member
Messages
5,679
The method I was told was to spray the cone with alcohol and let it dry. This supposedly will leech the dirt out to the surface when the alcohol dries. The you can vacuum it off. Your thoughts?
I guess it depends on the type of alcohol. Denatured alcohol...like stove fuel...is volatile and will evaporate pretty quickly. Same with acetone.

Rubbing alcohol has lots of water and can make the cone too wet for too long. Honestly, I've never used it like that. I save it for cleaning my face or cuts.

I've also used industrial strength Windex to clean cones that had a lot of Rum and Cokes spilled on them. Ammonia cuts through the grime and sugar/high fructose corn syrup that acetone won't.
 

edgewound

Member
Messages
5,679
The method I was told was to spray the cone with alcohol and let it dry. This supposedly will leech the dirt out to the surface when the alcohol dries. The you can vacuum it off. Your thoughts?
I guess it depends on the type of alcohol. Denatured alcohol...like stove fuel...is volatile and will evaporate pretty quickly. Same with acetone.

Rubbing alcohol has lots of water and can make the cone too wet for too long. Honestly, I've never used it like that. I save it for cleaning my face or cuts.

I've also used industrial strength Windex to clean cones that had a lot of Rum and Cokes spilled on them. Ammonia cuts through the grime and sugar/high fructose corn syrup that acetone won't. Takes longer to dry, though.
 

David M.

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
445
I'd like to clean this speaker but not sure how to do it. Someone said I could spray it with alcohol, let it dry and then wipe away the dried residue. I wanted to see if anyone has tried this method or perhaps there's another way to do it? Thanks!


I would not Clean that Speaker, I'd leave it just the way it is, least you decrease the TONE. ;)
 

J M Fahey

Member
Messages
2,399
The method I was told was to spray the cone with alcohol and let it dry. This supposedly will leech the dirt out to the surface when the alcohol dries. The you can vacuum it off. Your thoughts?
No.
If anything, it will sink it deeper, while now it´s only surface gunk.
You can "wash it off" meaning like with anything dirty, water softens dirt and something mechanically removes it.
Not garden hose or dish washer level water, of course, just the absolute minimum
I regularly clean dirty speakers like that one with no ill effects, just being careful.

1) get a kitchen type sponge.

2) apply *a drop* of detergent to it, wet it under a faucet, squeeze fully, some foam will come out.
Wet and repeat squeezing, we want minuscule quantities of water and very diluted detergent remaining just by capillarity, as in if you fully squeeze it, it does not release one drop, but of course it retains a little humidity.

Use it to wipe cone surface clean, in a circular motion, parallel to edge.
Don´t overdo it, don´t go back and forth, always the same way.

Practical example, speaker cone with **bird poop** (gross).
I let it face up on a workbench overnight and one of the small grey pigeons which are a plague here couldn´t resist.

Original stain:


after 2 *light* wipes , following grooves one way, not back and forth, we are basically sweeping dirt away, slight sponge humidity just softens it a little, we do NOT want to send water deep inside the cone and turn it into a soggy biscuit, we keep cleaning as a surface only job:


after the 4th or 5th light wipe. Use a clean part of the sponge, we don´t want to smear softened bird poop around. Notice cleaned area is blacker (wetter) than rest of the cone, courtesy our not so pet pigeon.


finish by wiping cone all around once, to even it out:


this is the NASA approved speaker cone residue remover:




Do one last circular pass all around and let it dry naturally, face up, hot air guns and hair dryers may dry it unevenly and distort the cone; if let to dry on its own it will naturally recover its shape.
 




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