How to Clean Earbuds &AirPods? Simple Ways to Clean

How to clean earbuds &AirPods? All of a sudden, you’re not catching every lyric, beat, or podcast word. There could be wax in your ears or in your earbuds.

There is wax in our ears for a reason, but your earwax is not suitable for an earbud. When you use earbuds, heat is trapped in your ear canal, causing earwax to melt, causing it to settle on or inside the earbuds. Dirt, grime, and bacteria are attracted to the sticky surface, causing distortion and looking gross. It’s time to clean your earbuds.

How Often to Clean Earbuds?

At the very least, you should clean your earbuds with an alcohol wipe once a week when you clean your laptop or another device if you use them daily. This will remove accumulated wax, dust, and grime.

A thorough cleaning should be done monthly or more frequently if your ears sweat excessively due to hot weather or a gym workout.

What You’ll Need


  • Toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth or alcohol wipes


  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs

Before You Begin

Whether you have corded or wireless earbuds, the cleaning process is very similar. The buds should not be submerged in water or held under a faucet, even for a second. You’ll damage the wiring. Never wipe your earbuds while they are connected to your phone, laptop, or another device.

The same method can also be used to clean headphones. Simply wipe down the larger surfaces as well as the inner mesh screen.

Clean the Earbud Tips

Remove silicone tips, foam tips, or covers on the earbuds. Mix one part dishwashing liquid with five parts lukewarm water in a small bowl. Soak the tips for at least 30 minutes. To give them a better cleaning, use a cotton swab dipped in the soap mixture after they have soaked. After thoroughly rinsing the tips, allow them to air dry for several hours or overnight. Wait until the earbuds are completely cool before putting them back in.

Clean the Earbud’s Mesh Cover

Brush away any visible wax from the mesh screen of the earbuds with a clean, dry toothbrush. Make sure the mesh is facing downward so any particles will fall out instead of going deeper into the earbud.

Disinfect the Mesh Cover

To disinfect and remove any residue left on the bud mesh, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and wipe the mesh. Don’t soak the cotton swab in too much alcohol. Ensure that no moisture drips into the inner mechanisms of the earbuds. The alcohol should evaporate quickly.

Clean the outside of the earbuds and the cords

Lastly, dip the microfiber cloth in isopropyl alcohol and wipe the outer surfaces of the earbuds. You will both clean and disinfect the earbuds. Microfiber is lint-free and won’t leave fibers in the mesh. Alcohol wipes can also be used.

To clean corded earbuds, use an alcohol-dipped microfiber cloth or alcohol wipe.

Allow the Earbuds to Dry

Before wearing or storing the earbuds, let them air dry for at least 15 minutes away from direct heat. You shouldn’t use a fan or hairdryer since they can blow lint back into the mesh screen.

Tips to Keep Your Earbuds Clean Longer

  • If you’re not using your earbuds, place them in a case. Whenever you put earbuds in your pocket, backpack, or purse, they pick up lint and debris.
  • Clean your case as well, because dust and debris can interfere with charging. When you clean the earbuds, wipe down the inside of the case with a microfiber cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. If your earbuds are wirelessly charged, this is particularly important.
  • Water-resistant earbuds should not be kept wet for long periods of time since moisture can seep into their inner workings. Whenever possible, allow them to air-dry away from direct heat if they become quite wet.
  • Keep your earbuds out of your gym shorts or tucked in your sports bra where they can get wet. Place them in a sealable plastic bag or waterproof case instead.

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