If you’re like me, I’m slightly lazy when it comes to cleaning. If that’s you too, then it’s almost certain that you have dust on your DJ mixer, turntables or DJ controller. I still use a DVS setup with turntables and get super frustrated with dust accumulating under the turntable needles. Surfaces and buttons on my DJ controller also get clogged up from sweaty venue environments also which is to be expected.
How to To Clean Your DJ Gear?
Cleaning DJ gear and equipment requires cleaning tools such as non-abrasive cloths, light tipped brushes, a soft brush vacuum cleaner and sometimes Isopropyl alcohol. Vacuuming dust from underneath crossfaders, volume faders and buttons helps keep equipment clean. Applying non-abrasive cloths will help to resolve any grease and grime without scratching surfaces.
Now let’s explore how to go about cleaning and maintaining your DJ gear. As I’ve gone through a fair few different pieces of DJ equipment I have some experience and learnings that I’d like to share with you guys. The amount of times I’ve had a clogged up cross fader from dust and a sticky button on a DJ controller is actually quite a lot. So I’ve put this guide together to benefit all fellow non-cleaning DJs.
Before you start, here’s a shopping list of items to get hold of before cleaning your DJ gear.
Cleaning Tools List:
- Vacuum cleaner with brush extension
- Absorbent cloth (non-abrasive)
- Microfibre cloth
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Cleaning fluid / soapy water
- Can of compressed air OR air pump
- Screw driver
- Bearing grease / lubricant / crossfader cleaning fluid
Warning Advice: ALWAYS un-plug your equipment before cleaning it, whether it be a laptop, DJ controller or mixer.
Why Clean Your DJ Equipment?
A quick point before why you should clean your DJ equipment and gear.
Air born dirt and dust can quickly accumulate on the surfaces of your equipment. Usually this type of dirt can stick and sit on the electronics inside the equipment causing malfunction and crackling sound when using the equipment.
If you want to maintain the quality and longevity equipment that you’ve purchased then it’s certainly worth cleaning it. It will pay off in the long run.
Cleaning Your DJ Controller & CDJs
Use an absorbent cloth and dampen it ever so slightly, use it to wipe off the majority of the dust, sticky residue or grime that’s stuck to the controller or CDJs.
On some DJ controllers there are different types of surface textures, materials such as plastic or metal, some smooth and some with small grooves. This is to give separation to the design of the mixer to the turntables.
Therefore sometimes when cleaning the dust, not all of it gets swept up from the absorbent cloth.
Avoid wiping digital display dials that may be prone to scratching. This is where step 2 comes in handy.
This is when the microfibre cloth comes into play. Grab hold of your microfibre cloth, this is the most efficient type of cloth to get as much dust off of the DJ controller.
Use the microfibre cloth to lightly remove any excess dust or smudges from digital displays.
Let your DJ controller or CDJs dry off until you place it back into your carry cases or putting the plastic protective cases back on the CDJs.
Cleaning Your DJ Mixer
There’s two main parts to cleaning a mixer. The mixer surfaces but also within the crevices of the crossfader, channel faders and switches/knobs.
First start off with cleaning any loose dust and grime off of the mixer with the vacuum cleaner and brush. This will get any dust out of the crevices of the channel faders, crossfader and other areas that dust can get stuck into. This is particularly helpful to stop faders and buttons etc from malfunctioning.
The use a non-abrasive cloth that’s slightly damp and lightly wipe any dust or greasy smudges left over on the mixer. This will be a great way to make sure your mixer works consistently over a longer period of time.
Don’t forget to check the back of the mixer to make sure where all the cables connect are clean and dust and grime free.
Is your crossfader making a funny cracking sound? Check out the below steps to try to resolve this issue.
If you’re getting a cracking sound when you move the crossfader from A to B channels then there’s a good chance you need to clean the inside of the crossfader. In order to check this you need to unscrew the outside screws of the crossfader and take out the crossfader from the mixer.
You will notice that the crossfader itself is attached to the fader plate of the mixer, simply unscrew this also to access the crossfader.
The fader is connected with a wire inside the mixer and usually it’s possible to detach this by simply pulling the connector and the crossfader apart. Don’t forget to remove the slider knob also to allow you to get inside the crossfader itself.
It’s not time to remove any dust or dirt that might of accumulated within the crossfader. Do this by blowing out the dust yourself or with the help of a compressed air can.
If you’ve gone the extra mile here and purchased grease lubricant for the crossfader, then fair play to you. Simple apply a small amount to lubricate the crossfader mechanism, move the crossfader to blend in the grease.
Re-attach the crossfader wire to the mixer and screw back in the crossfader plate back into the mixer and then you’re done. Check the crossfader works still and that there’s no cracking at all, then you’re ready to roll the beats.
Cleaning Your Record Vinyl DJ Turntables
The main parts to a record vinyl turntable to clean are, slipmats, needles and inbetween the pitch slider crevice, also not to forget the surface area for dust too.
Start by taking off the end of each needle and rest both needles upside-down to protect the needles. I have kept the cartridge nib cases in which I bought the needles so I put them in there.
Once you’ve done that, lightly brush the cartridges on the swing arms carefully with a light brush. This will help to get rid of any dust that’s accumulated due to dust being picked up from record vinyl and static build up over time.
In the past I have noticed that there’s been thick chunks of fluff behind the needle, and resolved it by quickly using air compressed can or blowing into the cartridge where the needles sit.
Once you’re done, sit the needles back into place, test out your needles to see if they are playing the music correctly. Then you’re done. If the needles are still muffled in sound double check you’ve cleaned the cartridges thoroughly.
Slipmats are next to clean. I never used to think about cleaning slipmats to be honest, but it can really help reduce the amount of dust collected by the needle and also dust that sticks to the record vinyls when put away back into the sleeves.
Using a cloth, dampen it slightly, and then apply it lightly to the slipmats to get rid of the dust and excess fluff. In the worst case scenario get your trusty handheld vacuum cleaner brush and sweep away while vacuuming the dust.
The platter underneath the slipmats can some times get some dust underneath it so wiping down the surface and vacuuming underneath will help maintain the turntables functionality. Some people advise online to use Isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the turntable platter surface too, this helps to displace and evaporate any water residue left over.
Cleaning Your DVS Control Record Vinyls
As part of cleaning your turntables, it’s really important to look after your control vinyls too. I use the control vinyls at home a lot still to practice my mixes.
After a while dust, sweat and other messy grime can build up on the vinyls. More to the point is that vinyls don’t always sound so great if you haven’t cleaned them. Therefore this can impact the sound and calibration to the DJ software due to the lack of signal quality.
So here’s a simple process that I use to clean my control vinyls.
Apply some small globules of light soapy water or blue cleaning fluid (you can buy this at online DJ shops or Amazon).
Press play on the turntable and then use a damp absorbent cloth to wipe the control vinyl while it’s spinning the control vinyl. This will get most of the dirt that’s wedged into the micro grooves of the vinyl.
Once you’ve done that, use a microfibre cloth, similar to what you use for a modern day smart phone. Wipe the vinyl in the same manner as in step 2) to grab any remain loose dust. You can also use a vinyl brush if you already have one, but a microfibre brush will do the same job.
Test out your vinyl to check the difference in quality. If the sound is not that great still, repeat the process until you’ve got your control vinyls back in business.
Cleaning Your DJ Laptop
Cleaning the keyword is firstly where I start when looking after my MacBook Pro. It’s worth a lot so I make sure I look after it after each DJ set I play.
Turn your laptop off, open up the screen and use a can of compressed air to blast out any loose dirt and bits. The other way I do this is by turn the laptop upside down and lightly shaking it to remove the remaining dirt.
Use a brush extension on a hand held vacuum cleaner to suck up any left over dust or dirt on the keyboard. Make sure the brush extension has soft bristles so you don’t scratch the keyboard and its surfaces.
Use a damp microfibre cloth or soft cloth with a screen cleaning solution. Some people say that water and white vinegar solution does the same job, but I’m yet to try this out.
Apply the cloth gently to the screen to remove any remaining dust or smudges. Do that until you’ve got rid of all the dirt and the screen is super clear again. Then you’re ready to start using your DJ software again.
Lastly you can wipe the outside of your laptop to keep it clean.
Some DJ’s I’ve seen use a laptop protector to save the laptop from damage, scratching and also dirt too. I also have a protective carry case to protect and keep the MacBook Pro clean for transporting it around to different DJ gigs.