Author: Tosh Lubek Published: 31st March 2023
DIY Video Studio is supported by its readers who use the affiliate links or ads on this site. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank your support if you use any of the links.
Maintaining the cleanliness of microphones is important as they can easily get contaminated with saliva, sweat, dirt, bacteria, and food particles. Regular cleaning will not only promote good microphone hygiene but also help to optimize the microphone’s performance. Furthermore, if you’re a YouTuber, you don’t want to be appear in close-ups as having a filthy microphone.
I first learned about microphone hygiene while working at radio stations where each microphone could be handled and used by several people. You might be the only person to use your Blue Yeti, but looking after your equipment is still important. That’s why I’m sharing what I learned when working in radio studios, and more recently when making corporate and YouTube videos.
In this article, I frequently refer to using a can of alcohol sanitizing spray with an alcohol strength of 70%. The spray I use is manufactured by Pro-Kleen in the UK and is available from their website and Amazon UK.
If you cannot get hold of this in your location try Amazon Basics 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. If you find it evaporates too quickly, you can dilute it with water to an alcohol strength of between 70 and 80 percent.
Please note. When using alcohol spray ensure there is plenty of ventilation and avoid breathing in the vapor.
The two things cleaning does for a microphone
Cleaning a Blue Yeti microphone can involve two processes. The first is removing dirt and contamination, and the second is sanitizing the microphone.
We can remove the dirt by physically rubbing it off the surface with a cloth or brush. While the sanitizing is done using a chemical cleaner or disinfectant, often soap or alcohol.
However, it is also possible to sanitize the microphone without needing to clean it. If we can keep the surface free of dirt, a wipe or spritzing of alcohol sanitizer spay will sanitize and kill invisible microbes.
How to clean your Blue Yeti microphone body and grille
There are two part of the Blue Yeti that you need to clean, the body shell of the microphone and the metal grille.
Cleaning the metal body
The metal body shell usually only needs a light clean.
Wet a microfiber cloth in warm soapy water and then squeeze out any excess so you have a damp cloth. Wipe the surface of the mic body until you have removed any dust and dirt. Alternatively, dampen the cloth with a 70% alcohol sanitizer and wipe the microphone body.
The alcohol will ensure any germs on the surface are killed. The 70% alcohol works better that pure alcohol because it will take longer to evaporate from the surface, allowing the alcohol enough time to do its job of sanitizing the microphone’s body shell.
If your Blue Yeti has a foam cover over the grille it is OK to spray the alcohol sanitizer directly onto the sides of the Blue Yeti, and then wipe it off with a clean microfiber cloth. Don’t spray the base since you don’t want to get moisture into the USB or headphone sockets. Dampen a microfiber cloth with alcohol sanitizer then wipe the base of the microphone with the cloth.
Cleaning the microphone grille
The grille can be trickier to clean, depending on how dirty it is and because of the way the Blue Yeti is constructed.
When I examined the grille on my Blue Yeti Blackout edition microphone it appeared to consist of three layers. An outer thick metal wire mesh, then a finer metal wire mesh, and finally a thin layer of black windscreen foam. Hopefully any dirt is on the surface of the grille and not lodged between the separate layers.
If the grille only requires a light clean, wipe it all over with a damp microfiber cloth. The cloth can have been dampened with either warm soapy water or a 70% alcohol sanitizer spray. The alcohol is my preference since it should thoroughly sanitize the grille as well as clean it.
If the grille has debris adhering to it, you may need to dampen and soften it a few times. Eventually they can be wiped off with the cloth.
On more stubborn contamination you can use a damp toothbrush to dislodge the grime, then wipe with a cloth to clean the grille. You might need to do small sections at a time. Any particles of dirt that have got down in between the grille’s metal mesh can hopefully be picked out with fine tweezers or a dental pick (cheap dental tools are available on eBay).
Where the grille is exceedingly dirty, with dried dirt firmly stuck into the grille, you might need to remove the grille from the rest of the microphone.
I have written a guide to help you disassemble a Blue Yeti that I would advise you to read before attempting to remove the grille.
By removing the grille, you will be able to use a significant amount of soapy water or alcohol sanitizer spray on the affected areas since there is no danger of getting moisture on the microphone capsules.
You can even submerge the microphone in warm soapy water, swirling it around to help soften and dislodge the dirt. You can use a toothbrush on the outside of the grille, pick out larger particles with tweezers, and wipe off softened surface dirt with a cloth.
Be careful with the inner layer of foam windscreen. It is thin and could be torn or damaged easily. If your Blue Yeti is old, the foam might even have become very delicate. If this is the case, be very careful when washing the grille since the foam might disintegrate.
Finally, rinse the grille in clean water, shake off any excess, and spray inside and out with alcohol sanitizer. Leave to dry in a warm place for several hours before reassembling the microphone.
How to quickly sanitize your Blue Yeti microphone
I don’t know about you, but I try to look after my equipment. They’re the tools I use in my business, I paid good money for them, and if I ruin them I’ll have to spend more of my money to replace them. So, most of my studio equipment is clean. However, my voice booth is used by myself and my clients and none of us want to share bugs. So, this is how I sanitize my microphones.
- Disconnect the microphone from any equipment and lay it on a flat surface.
- Ensure a foam windscreen is fitted to the microphone.
- Using a can of alcohol sanitizing spray, lightly spray the sides of the microphone and foam windscreen.
- Turn the Blue Yeti around and spray the other side.
- Spray the top surface of the foam windscreen.
- Finally, stand the mic up and let it dry. You want the alcohol spray to remain moist on the mic’s surface for about one minute. If the spray evaporates much sooner than a minute, you have been too sparing with the spray. If the spray takes much longer than a minute to evaporate, don’t apply so much spray next time.
How to easily protect your Blue Yeti from getting dirty
Foam microphone covers or windscreens are the first line of defence for your Blue Yeti microphone. Although a windscreen should be acoustically transparent, it is a physical barrier that will prevent dust, saliva, and other matter from reaching the microphone grille. Think of the foam windscreen as a raincoat that you wear in a rain shower. It stops the rain and keeps you dry.
That’s why I always recommend using a foam windscreen, even a cheap one that costs less than $10. It’s makes it much easier to keep the microphone clean and hygienic.
I use the Mudder foam mic cover windscreen on my Blue Yeti, even though I also have a metal mesh pop filter. The foam cover helps to keep dust and dirt out of the microphone and does no harm to the sound of my voice.
How to clean a microphone foam windscreen
Since a foam windscreen is not part of the microphone, it is easily removed and cleaned. You don’t have to worry about moisture penetrating the foam and potentially damaging the microphone capsule.
You can wash a foam windscreen in warm soapy water. Don’t rub the foam. Instead, tumble it around in the soapy water and repeatedly squeeze it in your hand to help dislodge and dirt and grime. Keep doing this until the foam appears to be clean. You can then rinse it under fresh water to remove any soap residue. Finally, squeeze out most of the water and set the foam windscreen aside in a warm place to thoroughly dry.
Although the foam should now be dust free and clean after washing, I like to give it a spritzing with an alcohol sanitizer spray. It shouldn’t be 99.9% ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol, since that would very quickly evaporate before fully killing any bugs. A lower alcohol concentration is ideal for sanitizing surfaces. We want the spray to remain on the foam surface for about a minute to be fully effective.
As you have seen, cleaning the Blue Yeti is not difficult if you look after. All that is required is a light wipe down with a damp cloth. If you use a foam windscreen on your Blue Yeti, it will go a long way to keeping your microphone in pristine condition. All you then need to do is to occasionally wash the foam cover in warm soapy water and then sanitize it with a spray of 70% isopropyl alcohol. With a very dirty microphone you will need to use a damp brush to clean the mic grille or even remove the grille for a wash in warm soapy water.
If your XLR microphone recordings on a Zoom H5 are producing recordings where your voice is only on the left or right side, don’t worry. This article will show you how to record one XLR input to...
If you're about to get or have recently got the Maono PD400X dynamic podcasting microphone, you're in for a treat. First, you really must get and use the Maono-Link software. It’s a free download,...