How should I clean my hi-fi gear?

For most exteriors, I recommend a damp microfibre cloth and mild detergent/water mix as a starting point. Be careful with older gear. Fascias are sometimes printed with ink that becomes fragile over time. Solvents other than water, or occasionally even just water, can remove this fragile ink, so check a small inconspicuous area first.

Wooden exteriors can be cleaned with wood soap, or a damp microfibre cloth and then oiled or waxed. I use a special furniture oil for most kinds of wood finishes and beeswax for others.

Knobs can be removed and soaked in a mild detergent/water mix and then finished with a toothbrush followed by fresh water. Plastic lenses can be cleaned with mild detergent/water and microfibre, and a little plastic polish can be used where necessary.

Interiors get a little more technical. There are electronic parts and mechanical parts to consider, high voltages and one must be very careful not to damage anything. High-pressure/high-velocity air works well, but use this judiciously. I use a cordless blower to loose dust from the pieces I work with.

Be very careful with turntables. Turntables and cloths don’t mix well, especially not styluses and microfibre cloths. Please don’t ask me how I know or any of the other countless thousands of folks who’ve learned the hard way, either through not knowing, or accidentally because of not concentrating like in my case!

From there it gets more involved, and I recommend booking your equipment for deep cleaning. I use a special deep cleaning regimen I’ve developed and adapted from techniques we use to clean laboratory test and measurement equipment. This involves high-pressure air, cleaners and solvents and a drying oven.

I’m often asked for these details but my process is proprietary and my competitors would love to get their hands on it. Not only that but there are risks involved, especially where high voltages are concerned, so it’s best that you book equipment in for specialist deep-cleaning.


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