Microphone sterilization

Kevin Statham

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2015
Location
Fort Langley
Our school is currently closed to students and staff as it is Spring Break, but staff will be returning on Monday at minimum for a meeting about how to proceed moving forward. I suspect that we will use the theatre for the meeting (with social distancing measures implemented, of coarse). If someone needs to use a microphone, what should I do with it afterwards? My thought was to have it on a mic stand so it doesn't get touched, then wipe it down with a lysol wipe and put it in a bag for a week before touching it again. Would this be a safe way to proceed? Any suggestions (other than telling them to speak louder)?
 

DrewE

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Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
The windscreen of most microphones is removable without too much work. It could be removed and scrubbed/cleaned more thoroughly. (An SM58, for instance, literally just unscrews and then there's a foam inner sock that can be pulled out from the wire mesh.)

If you have any foam slip-on windscreens to go around the microphone, using one of them and discarding it afterwards seems sensible.
 

JohnD

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Fight Leukemia
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north central OK
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Nic

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Sep 21, 2019
Location
St. Cloud, Minnesota
My recommendation would be to simply unscrew the metal windscreen, soak it with isopropyl alcohol for a moment and set it aside to dry. It isn’t “sterilized,” technically, but definitely should do the trick. Wipe the body of the mic down with the same stuff and you’re done. I would suggest the 70% stuff since I’ve accidentally stripped paint off of lighting instruments with the 99% stuff. And the best part is, it’s extremely inexpensive.

Alternatively, my full-time employer is a hospital. Each unit has a UV cabinet for iPads and other mobile devices. I suspect, however, for microphones, this would prove to be an expensive and less effective solution.

Obviously at a school this wouldn’t work, but in an environment like a church, it may be possible to have some mics assigned to specific individuals.
 

TimMc

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Premium Member
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Feb 15, 2017
Sporox II. If you can find it in stock. Thirty minute wet time gives disinfection, a 6 hour soak is considered medically sterile. The idea that you can wipe down a mic between speakers and achieve sterility is a fantasy.

Covid 19 isn't especially difficult to kill on non porous surfaces. You can probably spray a mic down with 91% isopropyl and let it evaporate and achieve *sanitization*.
 

Crisp image

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Jun 18, 2017
Location
Eastern Victoria Australia
Soap and water is all you need. Just drop the whole thing in a bucket give it a scrub and hang it out to dry. What could go wrong?;)
I guess I am lucky we are in isolation so none of you can harm me for comments like this.
Think I might run and hide just in case.
 

Chase P.

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Feb 3, 2017
Location
San Francisco
Alternatively, my full-time employer is a hospital. Each unit has a UV cabinet for iPads and other mobile devices. I suspect, however, for microphones, this would prove to be an expensive and less effective solution.
Your school may have a UV cabinet already. Check with the science lab and the wood shop, they frequently use them for sanitizing eye protection.
 
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Chase P.

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Feb 3, 2017
Location
San Francisco
Crazy question, would swapping foam windscreens achieve anything? I’m talking the external, foam clown nose style here. I don’t know if they protect the mic itself at all from aerosolized spittle.

It seems easy and cheap enough to keep a bunch of them and have a gloved, masked tech swap them between speakers. Obviously they can be submerged in the sanitizer of your choice afterwards.

I think this is going to be a concern going forward, and finding an accessible solution is going to be a necessity for our industry. I gotta say, it’s been pretty funny to watch press conferences of folks crowding onto a stage and sharing a mic to tell us to keep our distance.
 

TimMc

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Premium Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Crazy question, would swapping foam windscreens achieve anything? I’m talking the external, foam clown nose style here. I don’t know if they protect the mic itself at all from aerosolized spittle.

It seems easy and cheap enough to keep a bunch of them and have a gloved, masked tech swap them between speakers. Obviously they can be submerged in the sanitizer of your choice afterwards.

I think this is going to be a concern going forward, and finding an accessible solution is going to be a necessity for our industry. I gotta say, it’s been pretty funny to watch press conferences of folks crowding onto a stage and sharing a mic to tell us to keep our distance.
And if they'd not touch the mics we'd not be be having questions about user transmission to each other (edit ps) via microphone.

I think it may require a 2 step approach. Clown nose windscreens are cheap from China, and making them one person/one use items might be useful for both hygiene and marketing reasons... but I think of handling them like dog poo and then spraying down the mic with a disinfectant. Use a zipper plastic sandwich bag, turn it inside out and cover the windscreen, pull the screen off while turning the bad rightside out, zip it shut and throw away. Spray mic, clip and stand with 91% isopropyl alcohol and allow to air dry. Install fresh clown nose if mic is to be reused immediately. Your hands touch nothing, it's all plastic between you and the Microbe Factory.
 
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Chase P.

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Feb 3, 2017
Location
San Francisco
I don’t know about you, but touched by hands or not, I’d still worry about transmission. Mics only work if you get your mouth close to them.

I absolutely agree with the method of dealing with them that you outlined, and love the comparison to dog poo. It really described the method in terms that everyone can relate to and understand.
 
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TimMc

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Feb 15, 2017
I don’t know about you, but touched by hands or not, I’d still worry about transmission. Mics only work if you get your mouth close to them.

I absolutely agree with the method of dealing with them that you outlined, and love the comparison to dog poo. It really described the method in terms that everyone can relate to and understand.
Hi Chase - the talent touching the mic was primarily aimed at the press conference scenario I put in bold text. The later reference was to not having to touch the windscreen. I should have made those distinctions clearer.
 

Ben Stiegler

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Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
another option - Shure and others make mini-shotgun mic capsules (supercardiod) designed to be mounted on mfr-specific goosenecks. One could rig such a mic up far enough away from the podium that they are out of reach, or put a big ugly "do not touch - high voltage/radioactive/etc" sign on the stand supporting it. I think you'd get adequate pickup from several feet away.
 
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DrewE

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Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
another option - Shure and others make mini-shotgun mic capsules (supercardiod) designed to be mounted on mfr-specific goosenecks. One could rig such a mic up far enough away from the podium that they are out of reach, or put a big ugly "do not touch - high voltage/radioactive/etc" sign on the stand supporting it. I think you'd get adequate pickup from several feet away.
Something like a Crown PCC160 can work quite well for that sort of thing when mounted on the lectern, and has the advantage of not needing a visually obtrusive stand or boom or anything. For many years growing up they used one in my church on the pulpit to very good effect. Disadvantages are sensitivity to picking up finger tapping and paper shuffling, ineffectiveness for speakers who wander (though that's true of most any non-worn or non-carried microphone), and in some cases poorer gain before feedback due to the increased distance from the speaker. Hopefully for lectures or meetings the stage volume is not so crazy loud and the main speakers are reasonably positioned so that feedback is not a constant concern...but I do know in practice that's not always the case, particularly with respect to speaker/microphone proximity.
 

Ben Stiegler

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Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
Something like a Crown PCC160 can work quite well for that sort of thing when mounted on the lectern, and has the advantage of not needing a visually obtrusive stand or boom or anything. For many years growing up they used one in my church on the pulpit to very good effect. Disadvantages are sensitivity to picking up finger tapping and paper shuffling, ineffectiveness for speakers who wander (though that's true of most any non-worn or non-carried microphone), and in some cases poorer gain before feedback due to the increased distance from the speaker. Hopefully for lectures or meetings the stage volume is not so crazy loud and the main speakers are reasonably positioned so that feedback is not a constant concern...but I do know in practice that's not always the case, particularly with respect to speaker/microphone proximity.
wow - I never thought of putting a PCC up that close ...
 
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