How To Clean Car Speaker Holes?

Have you noticed the sound levels of your car speaker dropping significantly? Have the holes in your car’s speakers have become clogged up with dirt and dust? Hence the overall quality of the music system has been degraded. It is a good time to find out how to clean car speaker holes so that you can listen to the perfect music again.

car speaker holes need cleaning for better sound

Read on to learn various ways of cleaning the speakers of your car without any difficulty.

How Do The Speaker Holes Become Dirty?

The car’s speakers come with a grille cover for purposes of protection as well as aesthetics. The grille has many minutes holes that let the sound from the speakers move into the car space. There is always some dust in the air, even if you cannot see it with your eyes. Over time, this dust gets clogged in the holes of the car’s speakers and blocks the sound from propagating properly.

car speaker holes gets dirty

Sometimes, some liquid may fall into the speaker from an unaware passenger’s hands and clog the grille. Simply wiping over the speaker grille will not solve the problem because the dirt is lodged in the holes of the grille. Hence you cannot reach it easily with just a cloth.

Different Ways To Clean Car Speaker Holes

If dirt is clogging your car speaker holes, there is no reason to worry. There are many ways to easily clean up the grime. In most cases, you won’t even need to disassemble the panels to do the cleaning.

1. Toothpicks or Q-tips – Manual Cleaning

If there is just regular dirt and lint on the outside of the grille, you can use the toothpicks usually available at home to clean the car speaker holes. Use the sharp point to poke the holes of the speaker grille where the dirt is sticking. Then use a soft cloth (preferably micro-fibre) to wipe the surface. If necessary, you can dampen the end of the toothpick to let the dirt adhere to it.

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You need to be gentle while you are doing it. Don’t use excessive force, or you may damage the grille yourself.

You may find that the holes of the grille are delicate or small. If the toothpick is too thick for the job, you can use special Q-tips available at electronics stores. They are known as detail Q-tips, similar to cotton swabs, but the cotton is point-shaped for delicate or precision work.

detail q-tips to clean car speaker holes

If you are buying online, you may have better luck if you search for precision tip cotton swabs. You may also find them at beauty supply stores.

2. Alternatives To Toothpicks

If you find that the toothpicks are not cleaning adequately, you can use the following as alternatives.

  • Detail Q-tips
  • Dental Pick
  • Firm Bristle Toothbrush
  • Auto Detail Brushes
    auto detail brush for cleaning car speaker holes
  • Paper clips
  • Brush attachment for the vacuum cleaner

Just be careful not to scratch the outside of the grille too hard. Otherwise, you may ruin the looks of your car speaker.

2. Canned (Compressed) Air

However, if some kind of liquid has fallen on the speaker and gone inside, the grille may be jammed on the inner surface. In this case, compressed air is very effective in clearing out the dirt. Just point the nozzle at the grille and press the button.

canned air to clean car speaker holes

If you don’t have a can of compressed air, an easy way to get compressed air is to use your bicycle pump. Point the tip that goes into the tire valve, at the car speaker holes. Meanwhile, operate the pump to blow air at the speaker grille. It will knock the dirt loose, and you can wipe it off with a cloth.

3. Alcohol Cleaner

Sometimes you may find the dirt stuck fast to the grille material of the car speakers. In this case, you will need to use an alcohol-based cleaning solution (for example, Super Clean) to help dissolve the dirt.

alcohol based super clean

Then you can easily wipe it off or use the other methods of cleaning listed here to remove the loosened dirt.

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4. Using a Vacuum Cleaner

Using a vacuum cleaner is the easiest way to clear the dirt from the grille. For this, you will need a vacuum cleaner of sufficient power. If you already have a vacuum for cleaning your car, you can use that. You will also need an alcohol-based cleaning solution to dislodge the dirt.

If your vacuum cleaner has a brush attachment, that is even better. You can use the brush attachment and clean the speakers much faster.

Disassembling The Car Speaker Grille

If you have tried all the methods above and the dirt simply refuses to move, you will have to open the speaker from the car body. After that, remove the grille and manually wipe the inner surface. In the case of most cars, the grille attaches to the door panel, so touching the speaker may not be necessary.

As a last resort, you can also replace the grille with a new one to solve the problem of a clogged speaker grille. You will need a flathead screwdriver for this and a compatible replacement grille.

Cleaning the Woofers and Sub-Woofers

While cleaning your car speaker holes, you may also notice that the woofer surfaces have become dirty. You may want to clean them too while you are at it. If so, follow the steps in the video to clean your car speakers. You will need a bottle of slightly soapy water (about a thimble of soap in a bottle of water), a few paper towels and a clean old toothbrush.

Always clean on the bottom side of the subwoofer, so that any dirt you dislodge will fall to the ground instead of getting stuck in the sound electronics. If your speaker model has a foam surround, be careful that you don’t poke a hole in it. And always spray the soapy water onto the toothbrush or paper towel and not the speaker.


If you follow the steps mentioned above, you can easily clean car speaker holes without any hassle. You can do all of it by yourself right at home. In case you need to open the car speaker, be careful not to damage it. While replacing the grille, make sure to buy a replacement part that is compatible with your car.

Be careful not to spray cleaner into the speaker electronics; you might damage them. If you need any help during the disassembly, feel free to contact a friend of yours who knows about automobiles.

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