As Holidays approach, singers can expect bookings at gatherings where microphone use will be necessary. Before Covid, using a borrowed microphone or sharing yours was quite common but now, extra care should be taken to assure your own safety as well as others.
To begin, let’s understand the differences between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt, while disinfecting suggests killing germs – clean first, then disinfect.
Microphone Cleaning Explained
A proven way to clean a handheld microphone is to wipe down its surfaces with a light mixture of hand soap and water or cloth wipe which also destroys germs in the process. Take care not to get any cleaner on the capsule (the “element” inside the windscreen). If possible, let the microphone completely air dry for 24 hours after use and cleaning.
Microphone Disinfecting in Detail
Disinfecting is essentially the same as the cleaning process except for the solution used. To disinfect, wipe down the cleaned microphone with a cloth moistened with 70% isopropyl alcohol. (In a pinch, you can use Purell or similar alcohol based hand cleanser). Again, be sure to avoid getting any liquid on the mic’s capsule. Avoid using “drug store 99% alcohol” which you might think is more effective due to its higher strength, but note that this is not the case as it evaporates very quickly – too fast to kill any germs. A diluted solution is actually better for this job – if you only have 99% alcohol, add 20% water to it which should allow it to linger long enough to do its job in killing Coronavirus germs.
More Tips on Safe Microphone Hygiene
Any foam wind screens should be cleaned by gently removing them from the microphone (most simply unscrew from the microphone handle but never use any excessive force) then cleaning with warm soap and water. Let dry for 24 hours or more, which is long enough for any remaining germs to die. Unfortunately you can’t use isopropyl alcohol here as it will damage the foam.
Lastly, try not to overlook cleaning microphone cables. Like foam wind screens, you can’t use alcohol to clean them because alcohol will break down the cable jacket and make it very brittle. Consider cleaning with a warm soap and water mixture on a damp cloth and wipe dry with a towel.
Cleaning and disinfecting your microphone is probably something it needed before Covid, and it’s simply a healthy regimen to practice anyway. It’s not difficult, takes just a little time, and it will go a long way to keeping you healthy!