How To Safely Clean Your DJ Equipment? (Simply Explained)

How to safely clean your DJ gear?

Many people ask what is the simplest, fastest and the safest way to clean your dj equipment. DJ controllers, mixers and turntables can be really prone to scratches and water damage so just as with any other electronics it’s crucial to use proper tools and a proper technique to clean your gear, be it after the live session or after a longer break from djing.

This article features a list of cleaning products you can use for keeping your devices in good health and important information on how to use them correctly.

  1. Pre-wipe your devices with a dry absorbent cloth
  2. Next use a microfibre cloth
  3. Compressed air?
  4. Can I use baby wipes / wet wipes to clean my DJ equipment?
  5. Can you use isopropyl alcohol wipes to clean my DJ equipment?
  6. Using soft cleaning brushes
  7. What about vacuum cleaners?
  8. Check you DJ controller’s manual
  9. Appropriate cleaning tools for DJ equipment

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Pre-wipe your devices with a dry absorbent cloth

You can use any type of soft non-abrasive cloth that you have around but keep in mind that even the softest cloth can inflict micro scratches on top of very sensitive surfaces such as screens or jog wheels in certain conditions.

Just be gentle and try to wipe off all the big dust particles, dirt and sweat off the controller’s surface. For this step almost any soft material will do, just be sure to be careful not to apply too much pressure.

Next use a microfibre cloth

Using a microfibre / microfiber cloth like this one should be your next step. Microfibre cloth generally absorbs and picks up dust particles much more efficiently than an average rag you just happen to have around. Microfibre cloths are also in general designed for dry cleaning so they are less likely to scratch your device while wiping it down.

Simple microfiber cloths are generally pretty cheap in sets and you might also use them for cleaning your car, small electronics, glasses and dusting other sensitive surfaces.

Remember however that while the cloth itself might not cause nasty scratches on sensitive surfaces the larger dust particles that you can possibly move around under the cloth might. Be sure that you gently remove all the bigger dust particles during the pre-wipedown.

Microfibre cloth – source:

Compressed air?

When cleaning a device that hasn’t been in use for a considerable amount of time it’s mechanical parts, faders, cable inputs can very often be packed with dust. In that case it may be hard to remove the compacted dust using just a wipe or blowing at the dusty parts.

In this case the best solution is a simple can of compressed air that you can buy for a few dollars such as this one. Blow towards the places with compacted dust to loosen it and it will eventually come off. Then you can finish the cleaning process using a microfibre cloth.

Compressed air

Can I use baby wipes / wet wipes to clean my DJ equipment?

While you could probably get away with cleaning some sensitive surfaces using baby wipes there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Baby wipes often have some kind of oil in them and wet wipes used for home cleaning purposes may have some polishing agent infused that will leave unwanted residue on your device’s surface. Remember that while some of these additional substances may not harm your DJ gear some of them might cause discoloration or smudges on your device’s surface that may ub sine cases be permanent.

Always thoroughly check the product’s description and if you are not sure whether you can use the wet wipe on your device safely or not you can try using it on a small area first. Also ensure that the wipe isn’t dripping wet when you use it to clean parts that might have exposed electronics underneath.

Baby wipes might contain some oil while generic wet wipes can be either infused with a detergent or too damp - excercise caution while using those.
Baby wipes might contain some oil while generic wet wipes can be either infused with a detergent or too damp – excercise caution while using those.

Can you use isopropyl alcohol wipes to clean my DJ equipment?

Isopropyl alchohol is generally fine for cleaning all kinds of electronics but when used on some some surfaces it may cause material discoloring. It’s not really common but it’s good to keep in mind that this might happen. As a rule of thumb don’t let the parts get soaked, don’t wipe too hard and wait until the device is completely dry before using it.

If you’re afraid to damage any kind of surface you can always try and clean a small area first, wait a couple of minutes and check if there is any discoloration going on / coating coming off. If not, you should be fine.

Using soft cleaning brushes

While you could use cleaning brushes (like these), mind that you need to be really careful not to inflict any scratches on sensitive surfaces of your device such as jog wheels or displays. Be sure that the brush you are using has a soft tip rather than a rough one. It’s best to use cleaning brushes for removing dust from narrow places that are hard to reach – around the knobs, faders or around the cable inputs.

Electronics cleaning brushes
Brushes for cleaning electronics

What about vacuum cleaners?

You can certainly use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from your device, be careful however – the brushes that vacuum cleaners typically come with are very rough because they are designed to clean and scrub hard durable surfaces in your house, and again they may damage or scratch your gear if you use them incorrectly or apply too much pressure. A huge benefit is having a small portable handheld vacuum cleaner that has a soft pipe cover.

With a small portable device such as the one mentioned you will be able to quickly remove the dust without the hassle of grabbing your regular sized vacuum cleaner, plugging it in and manipulating with the regular sized pipe. It’s always a good idea to use a portable vacuum cleaner alongside with a soft dusting brush when cleaning any electronics, especially if your portable cleaner doesn’t feature a soft brush cover.

Example handheld vacuum cleaners

Check you DJ controller’s manual

Nowadays electronic device’s manuals are filled with all kinds of not necessarily useful information such as a friendly reminder not to submerge your CDJ player under the water or by any means not to let your children touch it. All that aside you will probably also find some information about safe cleaning agents that can be used without worrying about harming your device or ways to clean some of the device’s parts. If you still have your manual check it, it might contain some useful recommendations and info on cleaning and maintaining your controller, mixer or turntable.

A part of the Pioneer XDJ-XZ dj controller user manual
A part of the Pioneer XDJ-XZ DJ controller user manual

Appropriate cleaning tools for DJ equipment:

The list contains links to the cleaning products over on Amazon, feel free to use them to check out the prices.

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Post image: Sammy Williams, JESHOOTS.COM (composite)

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