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How to clean your Smart Speaker



I owned a Google Home Mini for about six months. I've just begun to ask how I should clean it when we walked down the street a few miles, and accidentally (and irresponsibly) threw it into a box of some candles and knickknacks. I was rewarded with a smart speaker accented with red candle wax stains. Yikes.

More information: The Complete List of Google Home Commands

If you have a smart home speaker, it's probably in a busy part of the house. Smart speakers are best placed in the middle of a house ̵

1; places like living rooms and kitchens. That also makes them susceptible to stains. Whether it's an idiosyncratic color marker or a flying spaghetti sauce, smart speakers are a bit defenseless when it comes to filth. So, what's the solution for a smart speaker covered in Goo? Here's what you need to know.

  google-home-max-5

Chris Monroe / CNET

Google Home

Google's smart speakers look good and I love the way Google Home Max sounds. However, Google fabric covers are not the easiest material to clean. Google says that the speaker should not be washed, so do not run over it. The Google support team I spoke to recommended not using wet wipes or any liquid cleaning products or sprays, as these methods can cause performance problems.

The recommended method? Google recommends wiping dirt and stains with a dry cloth. The support team certainly does not want to recommend that someone brings moisture near to its products. That makes sense, but it does not seem practical. If you're willing to counter Google's suggestions, a lightly damp cloth would solve my problem with wax stains, if a dry cloth just would not cut it.

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Ian Knighton / CNET

Amazon Alexa

devices like the Amazon Echo Dot are pretty easy to clean because no substance is involved. Wipe it off with a dry cloth. Watch for dust and dirt on your Echo Dot. If you buy an Echo device with a fabric cover, the same rule applies to dry fabric to ensure that you do not damage the speaker.

Amazon also recommends cleaning the outside of an Echo device with a dry cloth or hair dryer at low speed. This could reduce surface dirt or dust in the seams and buttons of the device.

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Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Apple HomePod

Apple was the only brand I could not find an answer to the question of cleaning. The suggested method is listed on a helpful help page for the HomePod. The speaker design is similar to Google Home devices. The speaker is packaged in what Apple calls "seamless mesh fabric." Here is the cleaning instructions Apple HomePod owners offer:

Clean with a dry cloth. If necessary, you can clean HomePod with a damp cloth.

Do not use window cleaners, household cleaners, compressed air, aerosol sprays, solvents, ammonia or scouring agents to clean HomePod.

Apple also notes that HomePod is not near water sources that could expose it to drops or spills. That's good advice for any smart speaker.

All three speaker brands prefer a dry method of cleaning, seemingly to ensure that no one takes a clapping rag to their smart speaker. However, this is not enough to remove the stain from the speaker cover. So, if you absolutely can not wipe the stain with a dry method and you are aware of the risks, you should use a damp cloth. It can scour one or two rounds of light and dry to get through the stain, but that's better than ruining your smart speaker with a liquid cleaner or too much water.

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