How to stop your HomePod marking your fancy furniture


HomePod doily
Lace doilies -- no longer just for pot plants and figurines.
Photo: storebukkebruse/Flickr CC

Did you know that setting modern materials like silicone down onto traditional furniture finishes like oil and wax, or lacquer, could leave a mark? Judging by the insane clamor on the internet, roughly half of the planet has just discovered this fact, and is blaming it on Apple.

Those HomePod ring marks are a result of the oils in the finish of the furniture being sucked into the silicon base of the HomePod. The good news is the fix is easy, but if you’d listened to your grandmother, you never would have had this problem in the first place.

Granny knew best

Modern furniture finishes are pretty much impervious to anything you might spill or splash on them, but not all modern furniture has a modern finish. Perhaps you have an oiled wooden desk, or a waxed teak sideboard? Your vintage bookshelves might look like they are finished in paint as durable as that on your car, but perhaps it is nitrocellulose lacquer, aka old-fashioned car paint, which hates silicone and many plastics.

Placing a HomePod onto one of these surfaces will end up marking the surface. The fix is to remove the HomePod, then apply your usual wax or oil furniture polish to the affected area. But prevention is better than cure, and this is where we wish we’d listened to our parents.

How to stop your HomePod marking your furniture

There are two great ways to stop your HomePod marking your furniture. Coasters and doilies. You know how your parents never let you put down a hot cup or a cold beverage on the coffee table without a coaster? This is why. It’s not just a hot coffee cup that leaves rings on wooden tables. It’s anything wet, or oily, or plastic. The only way to be sure that an object won’t damage your furniture is to never let the two touch each other.

Coasters can be made from anything, but are usually made from cork, perhaps topped with formica, or another hard laminate. Maybe you have one around the house already? If not, you can be sure that Etsy will be full of HomePod coasters within a week, and it won’t be long before you can buy a $29 iCoaster from the usual Apple accessory makers.

Apple’s recommendations

Apple may be excellent at making awesome gadgets like the HomePod, but it needs to work on its real-world testing. Probably none of the Apple engineers allowed to take home the the HomePod for testing have fancy wooden furniture. They almost certainly have acid-free, hermetically-sealed display cases for their collections of rare Japanese vinyl action figures, but their beta HomePod units likely sat on top of a pile of greasy pizza boxes.

Which might go some way towards explaining Apple’s latest support document, Cleaning and taking care of HomePod. This offers some advice on avoiding rings on furniture:

It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-damping silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces. The marks can be caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface, and will often go away after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface.

If not, wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks. If marks persist, clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer’s recommended cleaning process. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface. [emphasis added]

How to clean your HomePod the Apple way

But the best part is the section telling your how not to clean your HomePod. Given the farrago of ignorance usually reported in the “press” every time some subnormal moron discovers a new way to break the latest Apple product (Bendgate, Antennagate, Face ID-gate, and so on), it probably makes sense that Apple is finally getting on front of these idiotic stories. Here’s the advice:

Don’t use window cleaners, household cleaners, compressed air, aerosol sprays, solvents, ammonia, or abrasives to clean HomePod.

Not mentioned, but likely to end up the subject of a YouTube video some time in the near future, are dishwashers, clothes dryers, and carwashes.