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Cleaning dusty cones?

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Old 02-22-2010, 08:46 PM   #1  
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Default Cleaning dusty cones?

Hello All, first post.

I am anxiously waiting for delivery of an Onkyo TX-sr607 and I thought I would check out my speakers and connections. They have just been sitting there working for years. When I pulled the covers off my speakers, I saw that the tweeters and woofers have a layer of dust on them.

Does anyone know of a safe way to clean the cones of speakers, or should I just leave them alone?

Thanks for any info.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:11 PM   #2  
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Originally Posted by hafreed View Post
Hello All, first post.

I am anxiously waiting for delivery of an Onkyo TX-sr607 and I thought I would check out my speakers and connections. They have just been sitting there working for years. When I pulled the covers off my speakers, I saw that the tweeters and woofers have a layer of dust on them.

Does anyone know of a safe way to clean the cones of speakers, or should I just leave them alone?

Thanks for any info.
I frequently clean my speaker cones using a soft (camel hair) 1 or 1-1/2" quality paint brush using soft outward strokes from the center of the cone to the outer edge. Works and doesn't inflect any cone paper damage.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:41 PM   #3  
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That sounds great, thanks.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:55 AM   #4  
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I have found it best not to touch the speaker material itself especially when the speakers are older. A can of compressed air works great...
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:55 PM   #5  
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Default Cleaning paper cone speakers

I have a pair of hlx 3-way speakers (circa 1970 from HALE Electronics in Groton, CT, no longer in business); 3" tweeter, 6" Mid & a 12" woofer, all w/ paper cones! These are hooked up to a TEAC AG-D9260
Long ago i replaced the torn fabric covers; then recently i decided to investigate an annoying sound that came along with the deep bass from "Star Wars, the empire strikes back" ( i was finally tweaking my surround sound). i removed the cover and found that a couple of screws holding the woofer were loose & the speakers were very dusty. There was also some kind of whitish material on the bottom portion of the cone itself. so, i brushed off the speaker oh so gently... but the stuff was still there!! i then used a microfiber cloth gently but to no avail: i wanted to get these buggers clean!!
I then used my homemade window cleaning concoction of water w/ a little alcohol(R-OH) & vinegar on the microfiber cloth so it was just damp & surprise, the white stuff came off! So i gently did the entire surface of the cone then all of the speakers of both sets! Then i removed the loose screws, applied hot glue to the site of the old screws & quickly put in new screws securely! i cushioned the grille w/ some foam & secured them back on the front. Lo & behold the speakers worked great! Even when tested w/ the THX optimizer they sounded terrific; & when THX tested the sub-woofer, these 12" 40+ y/o woofers stood out!!
I listened to the entire movie at half volume & was excited to feel the bass just like having a sub & without distortion!
So, i cleaned the paper cone speakers w/ water, R-OH & vinegar w/ no damage whatsoever!!
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:30 AM   #6  
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Originally Posted by BobCat1950 View Post
I have a pair of hlx 3-way speakers (circa 1970 from HALE Electronics in Groton, CT, no longer in business); 3" tweeter, 6" Mid & a 12" woofer, all w/ paper cones! These are hooked up to a TEAC AG-D9260
Long ago i replaced the torn fabric covers; then recently i decided to investigate an annoying sound that came along with the deep bass from "Star Wars, the empire strikes back" ( i was finally tweaking my surround sound). i removed the cover and found that a couple of screws holding the woofer were loose & the speakers were very dusty. There was also some kind of whitish material on the bottom portion of the cone itself. so, i brushed off the speaker oh so gently... but the stuff was still there!! i then used a microfiber cloth gently but to no avail: i wanted to get these buggers clean!!
I then used my homemade window cleaning concoction of water w/ a little alcohol(R-OH) & vinegar on the microfiber cloth so it was just damp & surprise, the white stuff came off! So i gently did the entire surface of the cone then all of the speakers of both sets! Then i removed the loose screws, applied hot glue to the site of the old screws & quickly put in new screws securely! i cushioned the grille w/ some foam & secured them back on the front. Lo & behold the speakers worked great! Even when tested w/ the THX optimizer they sounded terrific; & when THX tested the sub-woofer, these 12" 40+ y/o woofers stood out!!
I listened to the entire movie at half volume & was excited to feel the bass just like having a sub & without distortion!
So, i cleaned the paper cone speakers w/ water, R-OH & vinegar w/ no damage whatsoever!!
The secret is being gently ....respect the age.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:23 AM   #7  
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I'd use a vacuum cleaner with a soft furniture brush attachment.



Reminds me that I should pull off the covers and clean mine...fabric needs replacing anyways. Do you think the cones gathered any dust since they have only only been in service daily for 44 years?

Last edited by zip2play; 10-19-2012 at 08:27 AM..
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:26 AM   #8  
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I'd use a vacuum cleaner with a solft furniture brush attachment.
those brushes are still a little aggressive (coarse horse hair) a soft brush (camel hair used in conjunction with a vacuum hose would be a better choice) most of those older paper cones are pretty sensitive and the aged paper is delicate.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:38 AM   #9  
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Originally Posted by BobCat1950 View Post
I have a pair of hlx 3-way speakers (circa 1970 from HALE Electronics in Groton, CT, no longer in business); 3" tweeter, 6" Mid & a 12" woofer, all w/ paper cones! These are hooked up to a TEAC AG-D9260
Long ago i replaced the torn fabric covers; then recently i decided to investigate an annoying sound that came along with the deep bass from "Star Wars, the empire strikes back" ( i was finally tweaking my surround sound). i removed the cover and found that a couple of screws holding the woofer were loose & the speakers were very dusty. There was also some kind of whitish material on the bottom portion of the cone itself. so, i brushed off the speaker oh so gently... but the stuff was still there!! i then used a microfiber cloth gently but to no avail: i wanted to get these buggers clean!!
I then used my homemade window cleaning concoction of water w/ a little alcohol(R-OH) & vinegar on the microfiber cloth so it was just damp & surprise, the white stuff came off! So i gently did the entire surface of the cone then all of the speakers of both sets! Then i removed the loose screws, applied hot glue to the site of the old screws & quickly put in new screws securely! i cushioned the grille w/ some foam & secured them back on the front. Lo & behold the speakers worked great! Even when tested w/ the THX optimizer they sounded terrific; & when THX tested the sub-woofer, these 12" 40+ y/o woofers stood out!!
I listened to the entire movie at half volume & was excited to feel the bass just like having a sub & without distortion!
So, i cleaned the paper cone speakers w/ water, R-OH & vinegar w/ no damage whatsoever!!
Caveat - the materials and components being used to day are markedly different than evrn 10 yrs ago let alone 40 so I would be very careful or hesitant to use any type of alcohol or other solvent without checking with the manuf first.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:29 AM   #10  
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Originally Posted by ImRizzo View Post
those brushes are still a little aggressive (coarse horse hair) a soft brush (camel hair used in conjunction with a vacuum hose would be a better choice) most of those older paper cones are pretty sensitive and the aged paper is delicate.
My first guess was that my cones were plasticized but looking at the picture makes me think they are indeed paper so I;d best be very careful:
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:41 AM   #11  
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Also bass speakers with the foam surrounds are particularly subject to deterioration, so I would completely refrain from attempting to clean those with anything but canned air used sparingly in the foamed area.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:28 AM   #12  
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Originally Posted by jkkyler View Post
Caveat - the materials and components being used to day are markedly different than evrn 10 yrs ago let alone 40 so I would be very careful or hesitant to use any type of alcohol or other solvent without checking with the manuf first.
Unfortunately there was no manual w/ used speakers back in the 70's! And I was extremely careful but I did it w/o injury to the old hlx 3-ways! What i really didn't care for was the off-white "stuff" on the lower diameter of the woofer. I did want that off & I figured the vinegar(weak acid) would be helpful... & the amount of R-OH is minimal, a few oz in a gallon of H2O {very dilute, more than a light beer probably,(chuckle)} w/ some vinegar; so there wasn't any damage & the speakers dried nicely after very gently( i cannot stress that enough) wiping w/ a minimally damp microfiber cloth. No distortion in the appearance & remained tight!
The speakers are clean & secure now. No more rattle from loose screws around the 12" woofer!
And now that I've changed the speaker wires(posting "Does speaker wire gauge matter") for both the rear & front speakers the sound is better than ever!
Also, zip2play, that is an amazing speaker! Mine are only 24" high & 1 tweeter!

Last edited by BobCat1950; 10-22-2012 at 07:37 AM.. Reason: error
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:44 AM   #13  
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Sorry to intrude on this thread, but does it matter if the speaker is dusty?
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:13 PM   #14  
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Dust in general is never a good thing but on speakers not a huge concern but many people don't like their stuff dusty - on electronics such as an amp dust will often block ventilation and cause overheat issues.
Heat generated by electrical components are like a magnet for dust, and it builds up a coating which acts as an insulator not allowing heat to dissipate leading to over heating and failure. Speakers are not affected in the same way by dust, but it is also a dampener if it is allowed to coat the speakers to heavily.

Last edited by ImRizzo; 10-22-2012 at 02:18 PM..
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #15  
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Dust in general is never a good thing but on speakers not a huge concern but many people don't like their stuff dusty - on electronics such as an amp dust will often block ventilation and cause overheat issues.
Heat generated by electrical components are like a magnet for dust, and it builds up a coating which acts as an insulator not allowing heat to dissipate leading to over heating and failure. Speakers are not affected in the same way by dust, but it is also a dampener if it is allowed to coat the speakers to heavily.
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