Pop filters can be absolutely filthy, but I guess you already know that. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to clean and in some cases wash and disinfect the different types of pop filters to keep them clean, smelling fresh, in good shape and bacteria-less. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
Table of Contents
What is a pop filter?
Pop filters are the first in line defence for your microphone against plosive sounds. Those sounds that force blasts of air into your mic whenever you way words containing letters like P or B.
Because they are usually placed between the microphone capsule and your mouth, they absorb all of the things that come out of your mouth. Not just the words, air, and voice — they also absorb the saliva that is unconsciously projected out of your mouth when you speak.
This means that after a while, your pop filter becomes very dirty and smelly. Let’s take a look at how to clean the various steps of pop filters on the market.
Read more: How to clean microphone foam cover
How to clean a metal mesh pop filter?
Pop filters that are made of metal mesh, are the premium versions of pop filters on the market. They usually come bundled with high-end microphones. For this reason, because of their high price and delicate construction material, you have to pay attention to the products you use during cleaning.
- Gently dismantle the pop filter from the microphone arm or wherever else it was hooked on to
- Spray a gentle disinfectant solution like alcohol and distilled water mix and wipe it down
- Wipe it down with a wet sponge or wet microfibre towel and then with a dry towel/cloth
- Allow to dry before reinstalling it
- For added freshness and protection, you can spray a gentle electronics cleaning spray that prevents dust. The type you use to clean your hi-fi, decoders or consoles.
How to quickly disinfect metal mesh pop filter
In case you want to quickly disinfect the metal mesh pop filter without having to dismantle it and do a big cleaning, you can use disinfectant wipes that have mild disinfectant properties and ingredients. Wipe the front and the back of the pop filter until you’re satisfied it’s clean and fresh enough.
Make sure to avoid harsh chemical ingredients that may eat into the paint over the mesh and start to erode the metal surface beneath.
If you have on hand a solution mix of Isopropyl alcohol and distilled water, this can be used to spray the mesh for fast disinfection. The CDC recommends alcohol levels concentration of 70% to kill viruses such as COVID-19 and other bacteria and germs.
Make sure to wipe it off after a couple of minutes, especially if the pop filter contains plastic parts. I haven’t had any issues cleaning my mic gear, laptops, monitors and other electronic devices with this 70-30 alcohol distilled water mix for years now.
Pay attention especially if your mesh pop filter comes with rubberised plastic parts.
Read more: Metal mesh vs Nylon pop filters
How to clean nylon fabric cloth pop filter
Nylon pop filters are more economical when compared to metallic ones. They are less durable though, so regular cleaning may actually cause damage to the nylon cloth fabric. Nonetheless, they absorb a lot of saliva, so it’s very important to clean them regularly, even more frequently than their metallic counterparts.
- Here are the steps to wash your cloth pop filter.
- Gently dismantle the pop filter from the microphone arm, or where it was attached to.
- Soak the pop filter into warm soapy water for a few minutes. You can use mild soaps with good scents to have a nice smelling pop filter in the end.
- With a soft sponge gently scrub the cloth fabric as if you were washing a pair of socks spread out on a pan.
- Once you’re done with the light gentle rub, rinse the cloth fabric pop filter till all traces of soap are gone
- Set out the pop filter to dry, once ready, you can reassemble and enjoy your thrift fresh and nice smelling close pop filter.
- For that added freshness, you can spray any fabric odor remover or freshener, such as Fabreeze.
How to quickly disinfect nylon fabric cloth pop filter
If you need to disinfect a nylon pop filter, you can have on hand a solution mix of Isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. The CDC recommends alcohol levels concentration of 70% to kill viruses such as COVID-19 and other bacteria and germs.
So if you have 70% alcohol – 30% distilled water mix, it can be sprayed onto the pop filter and allowed to soak in for a few minutes. Then allow the solution to evaporate before you start using the pop filter. This isn’t recommended to be done too frequently, but maybe a way to quickly get rid of bacteria, germs or viruses that may be on the pop filter.
You can also do this step before you start the washing steps listed above for even deeper cleaning of the pop filter.
A 70% alcohol 30% distilled water mix is not too aggressive on plastics, but pay attention to the materials that are used to build your pop filter when you sprain any disinfectant solution on them.
The plastic part of the pop filter can be quickly dried while the fabric itself is allowed to dry as the alcohol/water disinfectant solution evaporates. The less time the liquid remains on the plastics, the longer they will last.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to maintaining your pop filters.
Why does my pop filter smell?
Pop filters get dirty during use. This is because they absorb a lot of saliva that is spat unconsciously or unknowingly onto them whenever you speak, sing or shout at the microphone. After a while, the bacteria builds up and starts to smell.
Why you need to clean your pop filter regularly
you need to keep your pop filter’s claim for hygienic reasons and for health reasons. Not only is it disgusting to have a foul-smelling device in front of your face when you are trying to perform, but it’s also unhealthy because you may end up catching an illness from a very dirty, germ or virus-ridden pop filter
How frequently do I need to clean my pop filter?
It’s good practice to clean it every couple of weeks max. You can clean it more frequently if you feel like it’s actually dirty and smelly or if you’ve seen blobs of saliva land on it. It’s also advisable to disinfecting clean it if someone else has used it before you
Can you wash a pop filter?
Yes, you can wash pop filters that are made of fabric cloth. Metallic pop filters on the other hand are a bit more dedicated when it comes to water. This is because metal can rust. If you have a premium metallic mesh pop filter that is built of a metal that doesn’t rust, then you can go ahead and wash that as well.
How to prevent damage when cleaning pop filter?
especially when it comes to fabric, cloth filters, they can tear and gets damaged teeth scrubbed ad during the wash. Always be very gentle with the light pressure on them when you’re cleaning. Because of their lack of durability, you should expect to replace your nylon fabric pop filter once in a while if you regularly clean it.
There are some pop filters that come with a hoop that can be opened, allowing you to replace just the nylon mesh. You could think about investing in one of those as the nylon mesh is cheaper to replace than replacing the whole pop filter. The nylon mesh can be replaced with female nylon sock material that is available in any supermarket and is very cheap.
Can you spray Lysol on a pop filter?
I saw it as a very harsh chemical. It’s advisable not to spray this on your pop filter especially if it comes with plastic materials that are not as durable. You can use a 70-30 alcohol/distilled water mix to disinfect your devices.
So here we are at the end of the article. We hope that the guide in this article will help you keep your pop filters clean and sanitary. As you can see from the steps above, it’s all common sense stuff.
As long as you’re not too aggressive or use too harsh chemicals, you should be able to have your devices cleaned and kept in tiptop shape without damage. It may happen that you will need to replace your pop filter more regularly if you are cleaning them with a higher frequency compared to others (especially the ones made of nylon cloth fabric). As these devices stay right in front of your face and you breathe the air around them, it’s best to always have a clean or new one.
Thank you for reading down this far, all the best wishes.