Considering all the safety measures in place for social distancing, surface cleaning, and awareness of how the corona virus transmission occurs, it`s likely a good time to consider how to keep microphones, wired or wireless, cleaned and safe from engagement to engagement. Obviously, much of the following information is common sense, such as assigning microphones to one particular vocalist to start out with, and storing and marking the microphone so that it can be identified for one particular vocalist. This would apply to bands that have specific members. Sound reinforcement companies now have a responsibility to see that proper microphone cleaning is done from one client to another. If your renting gear or sound reinforcement, it is prudent that you request proper disinfecting of microphones, body packs and wireless transmitters prior to use.
Is it possible that the virus can be transmitted via microphone?
Yes. When speaking or singing, tiny droplets leave our mouth when we exhale. Droplets of saliva can accumulate and settle inside or on the windscreen of a microphone, particularly during close miking. Although unlikely these droplets will leave the windscreen, there is the possibility that the next speaker or vocalist that touches the windscreen w/ their lips or hand, the virus can be transmitted to that person, entering their body. The virus could also be transmitted by simply changing the windscreen without observing the proper hygiene measures. Touching a windscreen that has just been used and then touching your face and hands can transmit the infection.
Can a plastic bag be used as a disposable cover for my microphone?
Using a disposable plastic bag over a windscreen will deteriorate the quality of the audio signal. Despite this fact, many users now cover thier microphone w/ non permeable plastic bags in order to avoid having to clean a windscreen after every use. If you choose to take this precaution measure, strict hygiene measures should be taken. Be extra careful handling the plastic bags. The bags are stiffer than windscreens. There can be a greater risk of droplets being transmitted from the bag. Be sure to turn the bag inside out, using disposable gloves, remove the bag and dispose of.
How to disinfect surfaces
The WHO suggests that alcohol based disinfectants be used to prevent corona virus being transmitted. Most microphone manufactures suggest ethanol and isopropyl alcohol. There are various disinfectant products available on the market but simple ethanol - isopropyl products is suffice. Washing hands thoroughly will also help to avoid and risk of infection.
Will thermal treatment help?
Most windscreens are made of polyurethane foam. This material is temperature resistant and it`s physical properties rarely changes up to 100 degrees centigrade. Washing the windscreen at 90 degrees C does cause considerable stress which can damage printed logos. Handwashing at a lower temperature using a degreasing detergent should be effective against the virus and will not damage any logo on windscreens in general. Most manufactures will not guaranty the outlined procedures will annihilate the virus but are certainly prudent practices to follow. Most manufactures also do not recommend regular thermal of microphones, transmitters, or receivers. These devices are specified to operate up to 55 degrees C.
Most manufactures devices specs can stand, for short periods of time, higher temperatures. Simply washing hands regularly and thoroughly, during and after use will be more useful than thermal treatment.