how to sanitize your alexa speakers

How to Safely Sanitize Your Alexa Speakers [5 Easy Steps]

In How Tos by Tim BrennanLeave a Comment

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In this article, I present some easy DIY options on how to sanitize your Alexa speakers safely and easily, regardless of the model of the Echo smart speaker you own.

I’ll include five simple steps to clean all generations of Amazon Echo, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Echo Dot, and even Echo Dot Kids Edition.


Alexa, Let’s Get Rid of Some Germs!

With a global health crisis currently in effect, and surprising new research that shows that germs can survive on surfaces for several hours to even days at a time, we all need to be more vigilant about germs than ever before.

how to clean sanitize amazon echoFewer germs in our lives can only lead to fewer ailments and less disease.

But with all of the talk about frequent hand washing and sanitizing our doorknobs, laptops, smartphones and remote controls, I got to thinking, hey – what about Alexa?!

I mean, your Amazon Echo devices could use a little sterilization every once in a while, too, right?

While I mostly interact with my Alexa speakers using my voice, I find myself reaching for the volume button on my Echo Dot fairly regularly.  And I probably touch the screen on my Echo Show more than most.

This got me thinking about a University of Arizona study I read recently in which researchers studied germs on cell phones of high school students. Do you know what they found? The students’ phones carried 10 times more germs than most toilet seats!

Holy bacteria, Bat Man!

Whether you are joining the new crusade in the war to keep germs at bay, or you just want to freshen Alexa up a bit, this article will walk you through How to Safely Sanitize Your Alexa Speakers step by step.


What to Do and Not to Do

Here is a quick high-level to-do list—along with a list of things you shouldn’t do—when exterminating the microbes and other gunk lurking on your Echo Devices.

Do

  • Do be sure to unplug your Echo device before performing any cleaning operation to avoid electric shock. [I realize it is unlikely cleaning your Echo will electrocute you, but hey, safety first people!]
  • Do clean first, sterilize after you clean.
  • Do wipe the Echo Show or Echo Spot lightly to avoid causing any damage to the touchscreen.

Don’t

  • Don’t use a coarse towel or cloth that could potentially scratch the device.
  • Don’t spray liquids directly onto the Echo device. This is to prevent chemicals or moisture from getting inside.
  • Don’t use bleach or other harsh cleaners that can damage electronic components and screens.
  • Don’t blot or clean with a sopping wet cloth or wipe. You may need to squeeze any excess liquid out of the cloth or wipe to avoid this.
  • Don’t use anything but a screen cleaner or a reputable glass cleaner on your screened Echo devices. While some have reported success using window cleaners, I prefer a screen cleaner designed for LCD screens. More on that below.

Recommended Cleaning Products for Amazon Echo

how to sanitize alexa speakersThe Center for Disease Control [CDC] says that most common disinfectants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], can be used to sterilize surfaces where viruses many linger.

Chances are you will likely have at least some of these products in your home. If not, here is your shopping list! Of course, the specific products you should use will depend on the type of Echo device you own (e.g., Echo Dot vs Echo Show).

For Cleaning

  • A clean microfiber cloth
  • Mild dish soap diluted with a little bit of water
  • Your favorite laundry detergent [not bleach]
  • A moist rag

For Sanitization

  • A clean microfiber cloth
  • Disinfecting wipes, a 60% rubbing alcohol and 40% distilled water solution, or any of the approved products recommended by the EPA listed here
  • For screened devices: A good display cleaner [like Monster ScreenClean]
  • A Q-tip for hard to reach areas

I’ll give specific recommendations for each of the major Echo device models next.


Disinfecting and Cleaning Your Amazon Echo Dot

how to sanitize alexa speakers

The Echo Dot is one of the most affordable and versatile Echo speakers.  I have both the Echo Dot 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen Models.

Small Aside: I have yet to see an actual 1st-Gen Echo Dot. If you have one or know how to get one, please leave me a comment below!

The Echo Dot Kids Edition is widely popular with the younger set. Not surprisingly, this can typically be a high-touch device.

The main aesthetic design difference between the newer and older generation Dot is the newer ones have a fabric outer wrapper. The wrapper may require an extra step to clean if it gets dirty.

Do the following to clean your Echo Dot:

  1. Unplug your Echo Dot.
  2. Wipe down the entire exterior surface with one of the following:
    1. A slightly damp disinfecting wipe [e.g., Lysol or Clorox without bleach recommended]
    2. A microfiber cloth dampened with 60% rubbing alcohol and 40% distilled water solution
    3. A microfiber cloth dampened with one of the approved disinfectants recommended by the EPA
  3. Wait a full 30 seconds. “Alexa, set timer 30 seconds.”
  4. Wipe off excess disinfectant with a damp rag.
  5. Wash your hands.

✨ Pro Tip: If you have a Fabric wrapper on your Dot (i.e., 3rd generation) and it is dirty, use a very small amount of laundry detergent on a damp rag to clean the wrapper. I used Tide Sport Edition. It smells really great.

📗 Related Reading: Echo Dot 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen [Cool LCD Clock Update 2020]


Disinfecting and Cleaning Your Echo Show or Spot

how to sanitize clean alexa speakers

The following procedure can be used to both disinfect and clean the Echo Show 1st or 2nd-Generation, Echo Show 8, Echo Show 5, or Echo Spot.

  1. Unplug your Echo Show.
  2. Wipe down the entire exterior surface, including the screen, with one of the following:
    1. A slightly damp disinfecting wipe (e.g., Lysol or Clorox without bleach recommended)
    2. A microfiber cloth and 60% rubbing alcohol and 40% distilled water solution
    3. A microfiber cloth and one of the approved disinfectants recommended by the EPA
  3. Wait a full 30 seconds. “Alexa, set timer 30 seconds.”
  4. Apply a screen cleaner like Monster (recommended for screened devices) to a clean microfiber cloth, and give the screen a good but gentle cleaning.
  5. Wash your hands.

✨ Pro Tip: Never spray screen or glass cleaner directly onto your Echo Show or Spot. Otherwise, you run the risk of liquid getting inside and damaging components.

If you don’t want to pay for a screen cleaner like Monster, CNET has a video out on YouTube that shows how you can make your own. I’ll embed it below.

📗 Related Reading: Echo Show 8 vs 5 vs 2nd Gen: Which Screen is Just Right?


Disinfecting and Cleaning Your Amazon Echo

how to sanitize amazon echo

I still have my Amazon Echo First Generation and use it daily. Next to my 2nd-Gen Echo Show, it is still one of my favorite devices.  I like the way it looks and sounds, even over the newer fabric versions.

I gave it a good wipe down this morning. Here’s the procedure to follow to sanitize yours:

  1. Unplug your Amazon Echo.
  2. Wipe down the entire exterior surface with one of the following:
    1. A slightly damp disinfecting wipe (e.g., Lysol or Clorox without bleach recommended)
    2. A microfiber cloth and 60% rubbing alcohol and 40% distilled water solution
    3. A microfiber cloth and one of the approved disinfectants recommended by the EPA
  3. Wait a full 30 seconds.
  4. Apply a damp cloth to wipe excess disinfectant from the device.
  5. Wash your hands.

✨ Pro Tip: If you have a Fabric wrapper on your Dot (i.e., 3rd generation) and it is dirty, use a very small amount of your favorite laundry detergent on a damp rag to clean the wrapper.

📗 Related Reading: 21 Best Echo Show, Dot & Spot Stands, Wall Mounts & Holders


Additional Cleaning Tips for Amazon Echo

Here are some additional cleaning tips that you can use to sterilize, clean, and sanitize your Alexa speakers:

  • If you are concerned about germs hiding out in the crevasses of your devices, use a Q-tip dipped in at least 60% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol/40% distilled water solution to get at those areas.
  • If you have pets, and the fabric in the device gets covered with cat hair or dog hair, etc., use a lint brush to remove the hair.
  • If you have small children that use these devices, clean them more frequently.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Amazon Echo FAQs

Can I use Windex?

While the “experts” recommend a screen cleaner, I have used Windex in the past to clean my Echo devices with zero problems.  Just make sure to spray it on a microfiber cloth first, and don’t overdo it.  A couple of pumps is typically what I use.

Also, keep in mind that Windex itself is not a sanitizer. See the full procedure above to fully sanitize your Echo Show or Spot.

Are All EPA Recommended Products Safe to Use on Alexa Speakers?

Generally, no.  Here is a partial list of products recommended by Good Housekeeping:

  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray
  • Purell Multi-Surface Disinfectant Spray
  • Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner

You should read the labels carefully and exercise common sense.

I wouldn’t go the bleach route. Using a product that contains bleach is probably risky in that it could potentially damage internal components.

I would also stay away from home remedies that rely on using vinegar.

I haven’t tested bleach or vinegar on my Echos myself but I think that even in small amounts they may cause discoloration. [And vinegar will make your Alexa speakers stinky!]

In order to make sure you disinfect your Echo properly with minimal problems, the solution of at least 40% rubbing alcohol to 60% distilled water will work nicely.  Just be sure to follow the guidelines above.

Will This Work to Disinfect My Google Home Speakers?

Probably. Actually, almost definitely. Since the materials are basically the same, I would say this is a safe bet. However, I am an Alexa guy through and through.

I own all of the speakers listed above so I was able to put each of these procedures to the test.

I don’t own and didn’t test Google Home devices so I wanted to keep the scope of this article limited to how to sanitize your Alexa speakers.

Where Can I Get More Info. On How to Disinfect My Echos?

Here are some of the main sources I used in researching this article:


How to Sanitize Your Alexa Speakers: Your Turn

What do you think of my advice on how to clean and sanitize your Alexa speakers?

I did a ton of related research on this topic with the one goal of ‘getting it right’ to help better protect you and your family from germs.

How did I do? Are you feeling any cleaner as a result of following these steps? I know I am.

Do you have any additional cleaning tips or hacks you can share? What kind of Alexa devices do you own?

Please leave a comment below and let me know.


About the Author

Tim BrennanTim Brennan, Technical Writer & Blogger

Tim Brennan [a.k.a. "Tec Timmy"] is a senior technical writer with over 20 years of experience writing for companies and organizations in and around Greater Boston, including GE and MIT. In addition to actively writing for this smart home blog, Tim is also a regular contributor over at UniversalRemoteReviews.com. Tim holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and loves a good taco🌮. There is a strong chance he is developing a crush on Amazon Alexa. You can learn more about Tim here.

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