Behind every great song is a great microphone picking up the nuance and the creative beauty for the world to hear—so what happens when this provider of creativity is damaged by something as silly as a splash of water?
Well, that truly is the million dollar question for singers and recording studio owners alike. Without a microphone to use, the sound is lost. But, how do you actually deal with water damage to a microphone, what can you do to prevent this damage in the future, and are there any options for waterproofing your microphones moving forward?
If you spill water on your microphone, the first step for the repair process is to assess the internal damage by removing the grille and windscreen if possible. If the internal electronics are not damaged, you can then simply let it air dry, use a hairdryer for a speedy drying process, or even put the microphone in rice for a day. However, if the electronics are in fact damaged, you will want to first find the root of the problem, repair it on your own by purchasing the damaged part and replacing it, or bring it to your local music shop to be repaired by a professional.
For a far more comprehensive breakdown of the water damage repair process as well as answers to the many questions asked above, let’s take a look at what it actually means to salvage your mic and whether it truly is worth the effort after all.
What Are The Proper Steps To Salvaging A Microphone That Got Wet, Submerged, Etc?
When a microphone is wet or submerged in water, the first step you will want to take is to remove it from those elements immediately. Next, assess what the liquid is as sometimes, you may find that the microphone has actually been damaged by sweat, oral moisture, beer, or even humidity. If the damage is caused by beer or sweat, this process will be a bit different as beer and salt water can both alter the sound of your mic and damage your pots as well if you are not careful. In this case, you will want to use distilled water and clean everything down thoroughly to remove the buildup.
If the liquid was simply water or spit, the next step you will want to take is to remove the windscreen and grille of your microphone if possible. If not, this may quickly become a process best suited to be handled by a repair professional at a local music store rather than yourself. However, if you can remove these parts of the mic, you will then want to look at the electronics within.
If you find that the electronics are in okay condition, the process is as simple as hair drying the electronics on a cool setting, patting them dry with a microfiber cloth, air drying the grille and windscreen, and then reassembling the microphone. You may also want to check that the microphone sounds the same as well by doing a sound check before being entirely positive that the problem is fixed. If the microphone sounds different, this can also be caused by water damage that must be professional repaired. If the mic is water damaged, the steps below are sure to guide you through the process needed to salvage the damaged mic nine times out of ten.
What Can You Do If Your Microphone Experienced Water Damage?
If you remove the grille and the windscreen from your microphone only to find that the actual electronics of your microphone have been damaged or the pots or diaphragm, the first thing you will want to do is try the hair dryer technique. The hair dryer technique is where you remove the electronics within and then dry them rapidly with the hair dryer set on a cooling setting.
If this does not work, you may want to switch to trying to submerge your microphone in rice for a day. Since this will be one of your last hopes, it won’t hurt to leave it for a day and see if it helps. The key is to make sure the electronics are all accessible by the rice so the moisture can be easily absorbed by the rice.
However, if after trying these two options you realize that the water damage is irreparable, your next step is to find the electronic elements specifically damaged and to look online for them in hopes of finding them and replacing them on your own. If this process would require soldering or something you’re not entirely comfortable doing on your own, you can always call around to your local music shops to see if any of their repair workers are capable of fixing the microphone for you at a reasonable price. If so, it may just be in your best interest to leave it to the professionals to save you time and money guaranteed.
How can You Properly Clean Your Microphone?
In order to preserve your microphone, you will want to clean it properly and store it in a safe place in between usage. The easiest way to clean a microphone is by using a mixture of either mouthwash and water or dish detergent and water. If the microphone also has a foul odor, the mouthwash solution is best.
Start by removing the grille and windscreen if possible. Take them both and submerge them in a mixture of one parts detergent/ mouthwash and four parts water. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub them and then rinse with water and quickly dry them to avoid water spots. If you can’t remove the grille on your microphone, you can also turn the mic upside down and simply scrub the grille with a toothbrush and air dry before turning it back over. You will want to repeat this process every three months or so to keep your microphone odorless and moisture-free without fail.
Lastly, when the microphone is clean, you will want to store it in a dry, safe place. While some people will use microphone cases to do this, for microphones without cases, you can also put them in ziploc bags and then conceal them in boxes full of cotton or soft fabric. This will prevent signs and scratches, air moisture, and water damage guaranteed.
Are There any Waterproof Microphones or Mic Cases?
For some mic owners, the thought has crossed their minds often as to whether or not it may be best to simply find a waterproof microphone or case solution to prevent disaster moving forward. This is especially true for performance bands, punk/ rock/ metal bands, and owners of highly-expensive microphones alike.
While there are plenty of waterproof lavalier microphones perfect for those that want to record video audio, those looking for a viable solution to water damage for actual instrument microphones are sure to fail. However, when it comes to waterproof microphone cases, the options are seemingly endless.
From the smaller and more compact hard case for specific microphone models to the customizable and lockable Casematix Customizable Foam Case, if you are looking to prevent water damage during microphone transit or when on the road, the selection is truly immense.
You Got This!
With all of this said, water damage to a microphone may seem like a massive crisis but, with a calm mind and a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can easily remove this water damage and get back to using your trusty mic in no time flat.
Make sure to check out our related articles on taking care of microphones and speakers. Or, if you’re looking for more info on cleaning a specific musical instrument, view our full musical instrument list.