How to Clean iPhone Speakers

Make your device sound like new

A woman cleaning an iPhone with a cloth

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Whether your iPhone doesn't sound as loud or clear as it used, or you're just a germophobe, it's a good idea to periodically clean your iPhone speakers. But you can't just use any products or techniques. Do the wrong thing and you could damage your iPhone in a way that makes things worse. Let us show you how to safely and effectively clean out your iPhone speakers.

There are actually two speakers on the iPhone: the bottom speakers that play audio out loud and the earpiece speaker that you listen to when making phone calls. All the cleaning tips in this article apply to both speakers.

Why You Should Clean Your iPhone Speakers

If you've had your iPhone for a while, maybe even as little as a few months, cleaning out the speakers is a good idea. That's because a lot of gunk can build up in the speakers. That gunk includes lint from keeping your iPhone in your pockets, dirt, dust, and even dead skin cells (gross!). The more of that build up there is in the speakers, the more you can have problems with your iPhone speakers. Cleaning the speakers will keep your iPhone in tip-top shape.

Clean iPhone Speakers with a Soft Brush

Perhaps the simplest way to clean your iPhone speakers is to use a soft brush. This could be something like a small paint brush or even a toothbrush. Whatever you pick, make sure it's a super-soft option. Stiff bristles could accidentally damage your iPhone.

Once you've got the right brush, dip the tip of the brush in a little bit of rubbing alcohol. It's important not to soak the entire brush in liquid. You just want enough to do the job, not so much that you drip moisture into the phone.

With the brush damp, run it lightly back and forth across the speakers to remove the dirt and debris.

Don't use water instead of rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, so if you use the right amount, it won't leak inside the iPhone and potentially cause damage. Water lingers and could cause problems. Worried that you might have damaged your iPhone with water? Check out Apple's article on the iPhone's built-in water-damage indicator.

Clean iPhone Speakers with Painter's Tape

If you've ever painted a wall, you probably used low-stick, blue painter's tape to cover edges and other things you wanted to keep paint off of. This tape can be used to clean your iPhone speakers, too. Because it's not too sticky, it's great for picking up dirt without leaving residue behind.

To use this option, get some painter's tape and tear off a small strip. Reverse the strip so that the sticky side is facing out and then roll the tape so it's in a small loop (it can be easier to roll the tape around a finger).

Then, roll the sticky side of the tape back and forth over the iPhone speaker to pull up dirt and grime.

You may be tempted to use a toothpick to clean your iPhone speakers, but we don't recommend it. Because the tip of a toothpick is sharp and small, you might accidentally push the toothpick too far into the iPhone and damage the speaker. If you absolutely want to use a tooth-cleaning tool on your iPhone, get an inter-tooth cleaner with a soft, plastic tip.

Clean iPhone Speakers with Compressed Air

Another fairly reliable way to clean out your iPhone speakers is to use compressed air. These bottles of air are often used to clean keyboards and other computer equipment by using a powerful burst of air to blow away debris.

Compressed air can be a good first step in cleaning or an option for finishing up after using the other options.

It's crucial that if you're going to use compressed air, you hold the nozzle a good distance away from the iPhone speaker. Try for 9-12 inches of distance between the compressed air and the speaker. Anything else and the powerful air could damage your iPhone.

Your speakers aren't the only interior part of the iPhone that might need cleaning. Headphone jacks can get the same sort of build up. We've got some tips on cleaning out the iPhone headphone jack and fixing related problems.