How to Properly Clean a Boombox

Clean Your Boombox

You love jamming with your boombox. You appreciate its weightiness, its design and its sound quality.

If your box works great and you don’t want to lose that killer sound quality, you need to clean it every so often.

And if it’s not sounding so great, then you definitely need to clean it.

What Goes into Cleaning Your Boombox?

Before you go running to the cabinet to grab your all-purpose cleaner, wait a minute. You need to think about what cleaner you’re going to use.

Here are some qualities you want in your contact cleaner.

1. It Must Be Safe on Plastic

Your contact cleaner must be labeled “safe for use on plastic.” This is a must.

You’ll find plenty of contact liquid or spray cleaner that are designed to dissolve corrosion on metal electronic parts. That makes sense because it’s the corrosion that causes the scratchy or popping sounds while moving knobs, flipping switches or plugging in to jacks.

But while all contact cleaners work on metal-only parts, the majority of them will destroy the plastics and lubricants found around nearly every volume control potentiometer and switch.

2. It Shouldn’t Be Available at the Dollar Store

Remember, you’re looking to restore your boombox without harming it. Using a low-cost contact cleaner that dissolves or destroys those plastic components is going to cost you a lot more in the long run.

Rather than shelling out a lot of cash later to fix your boombox, make the investment now. It’s time to purchase a safe contact cleaner at an electronics store or on the Internet.

3. Go for the Quick-Dry, No Residue Application

You want both of these qualities for cleaning your boombox because you won’t be able to wipe many of the internal components dry. Keep your eyes peeled for the “D5” designation.

D5 is an industry standard in the world of broadcasting. It means that the product safely removes oxidation from the metals without harming the internal plastic pieces and lubricants.

4. Read Labels and Check out Online Forums

If reading the labels leaves you confused or with doubt, don’t take chances. Check out online forums for advice first.

You might be able to test out the contact cleaner on low-cost modern reproduction volume controls available over the Internet. That way, you can see if it works without potentially destroying your plastic components.

Now, You Are Ready to Clean

With your safe and effective contact cleaner in hand, you can now proceed to cleaning your boombox.

Simply follow these steps:

1. Unplug Or Remove Batteries

You want to be sure that there will be no electricity flowing through the internal components when you’re cleaning your box.

To make sure that no electricity will be flowing through the internal components while you clean. This doesn’t mean just to simply turn off the power switch. Remove all possibility of electricity.

2. Remove the Case Cover

Chances are, the case of your boombox can be removed by loosening a few small screws or bold. Look around the sides or back if they’re not obvious on the front.

You want to remove only the casing screws, so be mindful as you begin removing screws that aren’t associated with the casing.

Keep track of the screws you’ve removed so as not to lose then.

3. Clear the Dust

The best way to remove dust is to spray compressed air throughout the unit’s interior. This is a far better solution than using a cloth. It’s just too easy to dislodge or damage delicate electronic components.

4. Apply the Contact Cleaner

You took all that time to find the perfect cleaner. Now it’s time to use it.

But use it sparingly.

Yeah, you can use contact cleaner to remove unsightly corrosion and dirt. But you want to get beyond the cosmetics.

Find the components you feel are causing the issue and spray a fine, even coat of the contact cleaner on them. For components where the corrosion is more severe, use a thicker coat.

Apply the spray to jacks, plugs and any switches or removable connectors that are not soldered. And don’t forget battery contacts.

What should you avoid with the contact cleaner? Here’s the list:

  • pulleys
  • rubberized belts
  • friction wheels
  • motor shafts
  • meter displays
  • light bulbs
  • audio or video heads
  • window or dial faces

Also, do not soak any high voltage power switches. Contact cleaner is flammable and it could cause them to ignite. You’re better off getting them replaced.

5. Clean the Potentiometers

You’ll find that the pots, or knobs, will be the components most likely to display corrosion.

In order to clean them, you’ll need to find the small hole in the back assembly of the pot, or a typically larger opening where the pins are soldered to the board.

Spray a small amount of contact cleaner into the hole or into the openings. There are typically two separate openings for stereo potentiometers.

Then work the knobs back and forth continuously for about a minute to spread the contact cleaner throughout the inside of the pot.

6. Clean the Faders and Buttons

Access to the faders and push buttons may be impossible from the inside without taking the whole boombox apart. So you may have to spray the contact cleaner behind the controls from the front of the unit.

Once you’ve sprayed, slide the fader back and forth or push the button for about a minute. If any cleaner drips down the faceplate, you’ll need to wipe it off with a microfiber scratch-resistant cloth.

7. Let It Dry

Let your box dry for several hours with the case off. You want to be sure that all of the contact cleaner has dried.

8. Put Your Boombox Back Together

Gently replace the case, not forcing or over tightening the screws to avoid cracking the plastic.

Once the case is back in place, you can then plug it in or replace the batteries and test it. And you’re ready to get back to your jams.

Do you have any advice about cleaning boomboxes? Feel free to share your wisdom below.

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