How to clean iPhone speakers and improve the sound quality

The lower half of an iPhone showing the speakers ready to demonstrate how to clean iPhone speakers
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If the audio quality on your iPhone isn’t what it used to be, you might have to learn how to clean iPhone speakers. While we often take the time to clean the screens of our iPhones or even give the clear phone case a once over, when was the last time you inspected the speakers? With everyday use, dust, dirt and debris can build up in these tiny ports, resulting in muffled phone calls and reduced audio output. 

While it might seem time-consuming, much like learning how to clean an iPhone’s charging port, it can be done quickly with the right care. So, if you want to get your audio quality in check, here’s how to clean iPhone speakers.   

Cleaning options 

  • A soft bristled brush 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Toothpick 
  • Air blower 

How to clean iPhone speakers and get rid of gunk

There are a couple of methods you can use to clean out your iPhone’s speakers depending on what you have available at home. Here, we will take you through each of them. 

The most important thing to note is not to use any liquids when cleaning these components. Liquids can easily damage the internals of your iPhone, so you won’t be doing yourself any favors — even with rubbing alcohol.  

1. Use a soft bristled brush 

An iPhone 13 Pro Max's speaker being cleaned with a paintbrush

(Image credit: Future)

A soft bristled brush is what Apple itself recommends to clean the speakers. Remove any cases and screen protectors from your iPhone. Shine a flashlight, such as the Energizer LED Tactical Flashlight into the speaker openings so you can see what you’re dealing with. 

Make sure the brush you’re about to use is soft-bristled, clean and dry, so it won’t cause damage. Paint brushes, or makeup brushes are useful for this. We recommend the Bosobo Paint Brushes Set.

Starting with the receiving speaker, gently brush from side to side, angling so dust is brushed out rather than pushed in. Do this several times, tapping any excess dust out of the brush between strokes. 

You can also use a soft bristled brush to remove excess dust from the lower speaker holes near the charging port. Insert the bristles into the holes gently, rotate softly and remove to pull out dust and debris.   

2. Use painter’s tape 

An iPhone 13 Pro Max's speaker being cleaned with painter's tape

(Image credit: Future)

Another popular method is to use painter’s tape or masking tape. This kind of tape isn’t as strong as other sorts and won’t leave any residue behind on your phone. 

Remove the case and screen protector so you can easily access the speakers. Use your flashlight for a better view of the debris. Wrap a small piece of painter’s tape around the tip of your finger, sticky side down. We recommend STIKK Blue Painters Tape. 

Place your finger over the receiving speaker and roll from side to side to collect dust. You don’t need to apply lots of pressure, just enough for the tape to reach into the speaker. You will need to roll the tape into more of a point to be effective on the smaller speaker holes at the bottom of your phone. 

3. Use a toothpick 

An iPhone 13 Pro Max's speakers being cleaned with a toothpick

(Image credit: Future)

Toothpicks can be used for this job, but you should do so cautiously because they can damage the internals if used incorrectly. Because of this, you should only try this method at your own risk. Toothpicks should only be used on the lower speakers near the charging port if you can visibly see they’re clogged.  

Remove your phone case if necessary and have your flashlight ready so you can better see what you’re doing. Using the sharp end of a wooden or plastic toothpick, insert the toothpick into the speaker holes gently. Don’t use pressure as you do this, and don’t push any further once you feel resistance. 

Then, slightly tilt the toothpick sideways and up as you pull it out, until it flicks the debris out. Make sure you don’t tilt it down to avoid damage. 

4. Use an air blower 

Some sites recommend using compressed air to clean iPhone speakers, but this can easily cause damage. A far safer method is to use an air blower, such as the Soft Tip Silicone Super Air Blower. This can be used to blow out any excess dust once you’ve used one of the above methods. 

Hold your air blower a short distance from the speakers and use a few short bursts to remove dust and debris. It won’t be as strong as compressed air, but that’s a good thing. If necessary, bring your air blower closer for more effect. Use your flashlight to check on the progress and repeat if necessary.  

If your iPhone’s sound quality still seems distorted, you may have an issue with the software rather than blocked speakers. You can try turning it off and on again to rectify this. If the problem still persists, unfortunately you may have to take it in for repairs.  

Now you know how to clean your Apple phone's speakers, why not check out our other iPhone-related guides, including how to change your iPhone's ringer volume using side buttons, how to set TikTok videos as iPhone wallpapers, how to stop spam texts on iPhone, how to enable Back Tap on iPhone and how to identify plants on iPhone.

Looking at cleaning up your kitchen? You can read our guide on how to clean a stainless steel sink to make it sparkle.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.