Wireless Earbuds: Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

How to Clean Earbuds

Wireless earbuds are (kind of) the rave of the moment when talking about audio accessories. And since you wear them almost every day, just like you wear clothes, hats, pants, shoes, etc., you should also make time to clean them, too — like you do every now and then with your laundry.

Not only are clean earbuds advisable health-wise, keeping your audio accessories clean makes their sound quality consistently sound better. Also, personally, I find clean headphones/earbuds comfortable.

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Why You Should Clean Your Earbuds

Let’s use a cloth analogy here once again. Undoubtedly, you leave the house wearing clean and properly laundered clothes every morning, yes? And do they, somehow, become less clean (read: dirty) when you return home later in the day? Yes, your clothes get dirty subconsciously. This is almost the same with the tech you put in your ears every day.

As you plug your earbuds in your ears, dead skin cells, grime, ear wax, oil, dust, sebum, make-up, and other facial/skin products stick to different parts of the device. Even when you put them in your pocket, bags, or on the table, they pick up dirt. Every. Single. Day. This is why it is advised that you should clean your earbuds at least every week. But given how small and delicate earbuds are, how do you efficiently clean them? Find out the tips on how to clean your earbuds below.

How to Clean Your Earbuds

What you’ll need…

  • Cotton Swabs
  • Mild Detergent (Dish soap)
  • Distilled water
  • Soft Cleaning Brush or Wax Loop or Toothbrush
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%)

Procedures for Earbuds Surface

To clean the outer covering of your earbuds:

  • Before anything, ensure that your earbuds are
    disconnected from your smartphone and powered off.
  • Dampen a piece of cloth with warm water and soap and wipe down the outer part of your earbuds. This cleans sweat, dirt, makeup, etc.
  • Next thing is to dry with a soft cloth.
How to Clean Earbuds

P.S: Do not use alcohol or any other harmful chemicals as they can discolor the paint of your earbuds and ultimately disfigure the aesthetic — especially if they are made with leather or fabric. Soap is enough to remove dirt.

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Procedures for Cleaning Earbuds Opening

The openings of your earbuds require extra care when cleaning. Here’s how you can go about it:

How to Clean Earbuds
  • If your earbuds are covered with silicone covers/tips, dislodge/remove them.
  • Hold each earbud so that the opening is facing down – this is to prevent particles from being pushed further into the earbuds when cleaning them.
  • Use a clean, dry earbud cleaning brush or a wax loop (like this one) to remove wax and dirt from each earbud. Alternatively, you can use a clean and dry toothbrush.
  • If the dirt or wax buildup on the earbuds are a bit tough, dip a cotton swab in a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide and gently clean the earbuds.
  • You can also gently tap the back of the earbuds as you clean with either brush or cotton swab so the dirt/particles can fall out easily.
How to Clean Earbuds

Remember, the opening of you earbuds should be faced down during the cleaning process. Also, don’t push the cleaning materials (brushes, cotton swab, wax loop, etc.) too hard when cleaning as you might push particles deeper into the earbuds. Or worse, the particles get stuck in the opening.

WARNING: Never use a needle, toothpick or other materials with sharp endings to remove debris, dirt or wax out of your earbuds. Asides from the risk of pushing these material further into the mesh screen/earbud opening, you could also damage the device.

Earbuds Maintenance Tips

Your earbuds (the Apple AirPods, for instance) cost you a lot of money to purchase, yeah? And even if it cost just a meager amount of cash, you don’t wanna see it get damaged and your money down the drain, yes? That’s more reason why should take care of your earbuds.. and here are some useful tips to get the ball rolling.

  1. Unless stated by the manufacturer, your earbuds are not waterproof or water resistant. Hence, you should not clean/wash them with water or any other liquid material.
  2. Likewise, you shouldn’t take them swimming and avoid using them in the rain.
  3. If your earbuds come in contact with liquid (e.g sweat from a workout session), wipe them with a dry cloth ASAP. Additionally, allow them to dry properly before charging.
  4. Clean your earbuds before lending them out. You should also clean them when you get them back.
  5. Don’t use sharp objects or abrasive materials to clean your EarPods.
  6. Clean the charging case of your earbuds with a dry microfiber cloth. In the case of tough stains or unhealthy dirt, you can use a cloth dampened with Isopropyl alcohol to clean the case.
  7. You earbuds’ case isn’t waterproof either; do not allow moisture into any openings.
  8. Keep your earbuds in a bag or case when not in use.
  9. Don’t use or store your earbuds in very hot or cold environments.
  10. Lastly, you should clean your earbuds and its case at least once every week.

Follow these tips when using and cleaning your earbuds and get the best out of them; longevity and consistent top-notch audio quality.


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