Once a couple of weeks.
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I dust the amps and the electronics every month or two. I dust the speakers every couple of weeks, and I clean them every month or so. (The speakers have a piano black finish, so they look worse when dusty than the rest of the system.)
However, as far as your system sounding better when clean versus moderately dusty, well, I gotta side with your son on this one!
Speakers get dusted once a week. Equipment about once a month.
As far as clean equipment sounding better, and clean cars driving better, that seems to me to be beyond dispute. Of course, those are nothing more than halo effects, but so is a lot of high end audio. :-)
Vote me a slob. I have a pet Cockatiel, which type of bird sheds a 'dust' (which lubricates it's feathers) and I do let him fly around all the time. So my stuff, within a few days begins to get a coating of what is just like 'dusting powder' everwhere. It is so fine and light it penetrates all the little nooks and crannies. He has been 'dusting' my stuff for about 14 years now.. (His name is Mozart, and he loves Maria Callas above all other music)
So, over the years I have pretty much given up on 'dusting' equipment as a matter of habit.
The stereo equipment only gets dusted if I move it around!!! Once every year or two.
Sorry. But lucky for you I am NOT your spouse.
Also, be aware a good quality HEPA type air cleaner will significantly reduce the dust in the air, on your stuff, and in your lungs. Most dust in a home is shed human skin, and fabric along with gazillions of dust mites... and thier fecal matter. (yummy, inhailing that hey?)
I clean my gear about every couple of weeks or when needed, but since I have dedicated listening rooms I cover everything possible when not in use. This really keeps down on the dust and the frequency the gear needs to be cleaned. I have a dust cover on one turntable, and amp covers for the MBL amps and for all the other gear I went to a fabric store and bought a synthetic silk like materal and made covers for all the rest of my gear, its cheap and effective.