Microphone sterilization.. ??

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by s0c9, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Thought I'd throw this out to those who sing while playing?
    • If you use your own mics (I always do) how do you sterilize yours (guards, internal foam)..??
    • If you use SR provided mics.. how do you ensure theirs are "clean" so you avoid ENT (ear, nose, throat) issues from dirty mics?

    FWIW - even when SR companies provide sound.. I always use my own mics. I refuse to use theirs, unless I know the company/folks in question..

    GKon likes this.
  2. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I always carry a bunch of single use, alcohol wipes in my gig bag. I ALWAYS wipe down the mics in the rehearsal studio and on stage that I am singing in to, especially if they are not mine.
    I do own my own mic that I use for vocals which also gets wiped down before each use.
    s0c9 likes this.
  3. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    I use some Lysol antibacterial wipes with a lemon scent on everything
    s0c9 likes this.
  4. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I actually changed this post regarding the foam inside the grills. I said don't worry about it much because I see few people that do. Which, in hindsight, is the wrong thing to advocate.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah a good wipe down will do the trick for the surfaces. As for your own mic take the grill off and leave it in the sun all day every now and then. UV light kills more germs than anything else.
    RSBBass, HolmeBass, japhy4529 and 4 others like this.
  6. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    yeah,. but isn't the foam where all the resident bacteria lives to begin with?
    bdplaid likes this.
  7. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    I would That's where all the moisture builds up
    s0c9 and Geri O like this.
  8. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Actually, the foam grills on 58s and the like (Steve, you are right, btw) have been a subject of consternation among a few artists and mic makers for many years and rightfully so with regard to hygienne. Cleaning it (the whole thing) with alcohol makes the foam disintegrate faster. If you pull it out, it changes the characteristics of the mic (where 99% of folks would notice, but there's that pesky 1%, isn't it always?...:roflmao:). Removing the grill and washing the whole thing in soap and water is helpful, but again, shortens the life of the foam.

    Really, the best way is to be hygienic is for singers to carry their own microphones that they and they alone sing on. Clean after every use, replace the grills often, every couple of dozen uses or so. And there are newer vocal mics that don't use foam behind the grill, making them easier to clean without the concern for an archaic piece of foam (although the SM58 is still the most popular vocal mic out there).

    And if you are particularly squeamish about hygiene, stop reading here or prepared to be grossed out.

    Okay, you've been warned....:D

    Over the years, I can count on a little more than 10 fingers the number of people that pursue some kind of hygienic practice with regard to singing on a vocal mic that isn't theirs. Oooh, ickkkk....
    s0c9 likes this.
  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    So-oo-o true.. A couple of gigs ago we had a singer with one of the other bands on our circuit who was out partying that night, sit in with us on a song! He came over and used my mic.. and I got a whiff of the breath, as we did a few harmonies, etc.. Ewwwww....
    I [instantly] swapped mics - to my backup - at the next break.. and FOH noticed the swap (Senn 835 to Beta 58a) on stage, so I went back and explained. They understood, and adjusted.
    Then, I took my regular mic home and sterilized it that next morning.. to be ready for that nights gig...
    Yeah.. so that's sorta what triggered this thread as I sterilized them again this am..
    I carry 4 mics to gigs.. 2 Beta 58a's, my E835 and an i5 (utility backup). Habit..

    They ALL go home with me each night too :)
    I never leave my mic in its stand at a venue overnight.. learnt my lesson on that!
    GKon and Geri O like this.
  10. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Periodically unscrew the pop screen and wash with soap and water. let the foam dry out overnight.
    TomB and s0c9 like this.
  11. I take the foam out of the grill, and boil both parts. The foam, I just dip in the boiling water a few times.. not like I let it float around.
    bdplaid likes this.
  12. Matt O

    Matt O

    Feb 19, 2013
    The Mitten
    Many sound engineers and singers I've known use the method below.

    Clean it like you would a dirty mouth: Listerine and a toothbrush.

    Pull the foam out of the screen and soak it in a cup of listerine letting it sit for a few minutes, then dab out the mouthwash by squashing it repeatedly inside a paper towel. Don't twist or it might rip.

    Dip the screen ball into the cup repeatedly like a tea bag for 15 seconds or so and then scub it with the tooth brush. Don't rinse it with water.

    Air dry both for a bit, reassemble, make minty fresh rock music.
    bassfran and Omega Monkey like this.
  13. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    might be gross ... but the more germs you come in contact with , the stronger your immune system will be ..!

    i always used ' my ' mic ... mainly because i know how to 'work it ' and use it to fit my voice ...

    wanna cleaner mic ... leave it under a UV light over night ... CFL desk lamp or the like ...

    or keep a few of the foam covers around if needed ...

    keep a POS mic handy for semi drunk guest singers ...!! if they drink straight vodka , they're pretty sterilized ..!! ha
  14. Bassnomer

    Bassnomer Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2013
    Lakewood, CA
    Always bring my own mics, even when I'm not using them. If I'm playing with people I know or rehearsing at a studio I'll bring mics for them. No need for my friends to use cruddy mics. I wipe them down with antibacterial wipes before and after. If the people I'm playing with are strangers or gross then I leave the mics at home.
    s0c9 likes this.
  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I rarely lick mics and they don't sing into me.
    It doesn't really matter to me if they're dirty.
    I clean mine from time to time, soak foam and grill in alcohol.
    AGCurry and Waltsdog like this.
  16. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Doesn't the same mantra for cheesy,grimey fingerboards on basses apply?
    Don't y'all wanna "Keep the Funk?":vomit:
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
    AztecViking likes this.
  17. Sixgunn


    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    I just put mine in the closet, next to the cat box between shows :)
    shwabilly likes this.
  18. Sunset Shalom

    Sunset Shalom

    May 9, 2016
    I have never even heard of this issue ... :eyebrow: I mainly use a decently nice tube condenser which you don't need to sing right into unless it is turned down. Never noticed any issues.
  19. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    I'm generally extremely anal about hygeine,and I have to admit that cleaning a mic has never occurred to me before. I even spent some time working at a studio and never observed this practice.
  20. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I'm not singing much (or even playing out much) these days, but man, about 3 years ago I got the flu from hell from a mic at a club. I'll never forget the guy in the opening band said to me from the side of the stage about 1/3 way through our set "Hey man--sorry but I'm REALLY sick--don't touch the mic!". About 2 days later, sure enough, I get knocked on my ass for about two weeks solid!
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    Primary TB Assistant

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