I tried to clean the rubber of my speaker cones but ended up making it worse!

I was just using water and a cotton bud, and when it dried it left all these marks. I've since cleaned it again with ionized water and a very light soap solution and it has remained the same, this is a picture of the devastation I have brought upon myself.


  • 1
    The simplest solution is to put the grille cloth back on over the speaker. Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 13:13

5 Answers 5


I would suggest you to use this hack:

  • Use a small piece of waste cloth(should be clean and dried one)
  • Dip it in a small quantity of oil (I prefer coconut oil, you may use cooing oil)
  • Rub it on the surface having these marks. The marks will dissolve in oil, cloth absorbs this oil.
  • The shiny appearance of surface can be left as such as it will not cause any problems.
  • This shiny appearance can be resolved either by using hair dryer or by cleaning the surface again with a wet cloth.
  • thank you for your suggestion but I do not feel comfortable leaving the rubber part oily, furthermore, wouldn't it attract more dust?
    – beepbeep
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 1:26
  • @beepbeep thanks for reminding me about that, any way I have updated the solution with requested answers. Now, regarding 'rubber part oily', if you require the surface to be clean, by applying hacks, you will have to do it even if hacks does not comfort you. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 6:31

If that rubber is starting to degrade to the point where its wearing off from cleaning it, or some mild cleaner or Armor-All is going to wreck the surrounds - you may be ready to replace the surrounds anyways

As for the reactiveness of the coil/suspension mechanism of that type of speaker - the spider takes on most of the work, NOT the surround. The surround is just there to seal it up and let the speaker "float" in the middle.

You can order parts and DIY the surround or bring it/ship it to a place to have someone else do it if you are not comfortable with that kind of thing. I used to replace surrounds amongst other repairs of speakers, amps and other audio/electronics equipment.

TLDR; just clean it, if it gets wrecked it can be fixed.use oil or armor-all, Windex, diluted vinegar...whatever you do DO NOT use acetone - it WILL dissolve the rubber.

  • hey thanks for ur input. but im guessing that replacing the rubber surrounds will be quite a considerable cost to what i can sell the speakers for..
    – beepbeep
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 14:09
  • Parts are under $10US. What brand and model of speakers are those?
    – phil v
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 13:42
  • that's a krk vxt speaker
    – beepbeep
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 15:20
  • I would use Armor-All applied with an old tee-shirt. It will not harm the rubber-it’s designed to clean/protect multiple surfaces including rubber.
    – M.Mat
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 14:03

You're not supposed to wipe your speakers down with anything. Rubber is not meant to be wiped down with any solvents or liquids, but if they dry out (like old tape capstans used to do), moving parts may need to be lubricated. Standard 3-in-1 oil or coconut oil should be fine, don't use WD40.

In this case however I would probably just leave it alone. You don't need to lubricate the rubber on your speakers, just like you don't need to clean it other than occassional dusting if necessary.


Hit it with some ArmorAll. You might need to use a Q tip to apply.

  • No. Really no. Something that harsh is pretty much guaranteed to affect the elasticity of the mounts & kill the speakers.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 20:27
  • @Tetsujin Really? AmorAll is not harsh and only effects the surface.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 21:00
  • I'm not an automotive engineer, I'm an audio engineer. I use similar stuff on my car; I wouldn't dream of using it on my speakers, which cost as much as my car ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 7:44

Honestly, leave them alone & try not to do any further damage.

Those "rubber bits" are the suspension mounts which allow the speakers to freely move the coils within the magnet frame.
They are designed in such a way that the movement is only ever at exactly 90° to the housing.

The tolerance on a speaker coil is measured in microns.

Thumping the mounts around in some clumsy attempt to clean them is just going to distort the coils & ruin the speakers, permanently.

Accept the visual appearance, don't ruin the speakers.

  • thank you for your input from the POV of an engineer. never knew it was so delicate. using just a small cotton bud on the surface can damage it? i dont fully understand as the speakers move all the time anyway, there should be enough allowance on the rubber for slight movements?
    – beepbeep
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 1:57
  • there's allowance for movement, but it ought to be exactly perpendicular to the speaker plane, i.e. they stay 'flat'. Carefully with a cotton bud might be fine, just avoid any pressure that pushes it away from 'flat'
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 7:20

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