How to clean the fabric of your smart speaker

We’ve covered plenty of great smart speakers, from the popular Amazon Echoes and Nest smart displays to the Siri-enabled HomePod Mini. But one thing most tend to have in common is the fabric that covers the speakers. It wasn’t always in style: early Echos didn’t have it, for example. Once companies started switching to this design aesthetic, no one could get enough of it.

That fabric has some advantages. It blends in more easily with decor, especially when it’s available in a few different shades. But they can also get dirty over time (or attract pet hair, etc.), just like everything else, which begs an important question: how do you clean them? Would any cleaning techniques damage the speaker? There are a few different options, so let’s go over our preferred methods.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation) with clock.

How to clean the fabric of your smart speaker

You don’t have to try them in any particular order, but we’ll start with our favorites that have given the best results.

Step 1: Always unplug your device before you start.

Lint roller used on the sofa.

Step 2: Grab a lint roller, remove the last strip, and get to work. A lint roller offers the best of all worlds: it attracts stubborn dust, picks up small bits of debris that may have gotten caught on top of the fabric, removes any literal lint, and generally cleans everything in just a few passes. . Lint rollers are also quite affordable. and have multiple uses around the home. They create a bit more waste than other methods, but that’s really the only drawback.

Step 3: Use a vacuum accessory for curtains or furniture. Most home vacuum cleaners have an attachment designed for gentle work with fabrics. Even if they don’t, there is usually a brush attachment for certain types of hard surfaces. These accessories will work well for cleaning the fabric of a smart speaker.

Keep the suction low if possible to reduce the risk of accidents. Usually the easiest way is to hold the smart speaker with one hand, hold the vacuum attachment with the other, and join them together to cover the entire surface.

This method may be the best option if the person you are speaking to has a more serious soiling problem, such as crumbs that have gotten inside or layers of pet hair repeatedly rubbing against the fabric.

Step 4: Take a tried and true dusting cloth. Do not use any cleaner, simply wipe the speaker fabric thoroughly with a light touch. This movement will help remove the outer layers of dust from a speaker that only needs a little maintenance from time to time. Be sure to use a clean cloth, such as a microfiber cloth.

Mr. Clean magic eraser.

What if the fabric is stained?

Stains happen too, especially if you have a smart speaker in the kitchen while you cook (a common use) or if a young child gets too creative with markers or crayons. This is what you must try.

Step 1: A simple stain caused by a kitchen spill can usually be cleaned with a quick application of a damp dusting cloth or kitchen towel. Try this first. Don’t use so much water that the speaker fabric has a chance to get soaked in the process.

Step 2: If your stain is stickier, take a cleaning toothbrush, rub it in some warm water, and scrub the area for a minute.

Step 3: The marks of markers, crayons, etc. they are much more difficult to remove. While the colloquial wisdom is to try rubbing alcohol, smart speaker manufacturers are very clear that only the smallest amount should be used, or preferably none at all. Also, you could risk damaging the fabric or its dye in the process. Also avoid detergents and other soaps.

Instead, we suggest trying a magic eraser such as the Mr. Clean variety Combine with some of our steps above for your best chance of getting rid of these serious marks.

Step 4: Let the device sit and dry completely for an hour or two before plugging it back in.

What if I want a smart speaker that doesn’t have fabric?

You have options! We recommend something like the incredibly versatile Sonos One Speaker.

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