How to Clean Headphones, Earbuds, and Air Pods. Detailed Guide

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the names headphones, earbuds, and Air Pods in whatever order is music. How to clean headphones and other music listening gadgets doesn't come up anywhere. That’s more to do with the music being food for the soul than with the various devices that make it easier to enjoy music.

But let's face it, most music lovers don’t clean their headphones or earbuds. Does that mean they are unhygienic? Of course not. But it says a lot about the fact people consider music listening gadgets clean every time.

If you are here wondering why you should clean your headphones, then we have several reasons for you. Read on to see for yourself and what's the best way to clean headphones, earbuds, and Air Pods.

Why and How Often Should You Clean Your Headphones?

To understand why you should clean your headphones and earbuds, we will need to know where they are most likely to get the dirt.

Before you start thinking about it, no, it isn’t only because of the dirt in the ears. Of course, ears are the prime suspect in earbuds and headphones becoming dirty, but they aren’t the only culprit.

The headphones or other earpieces are often in contact with a significant part of your body. However, some people think they won't get that dirty just because they are only in the ears.

The truth is that they are in contact with the facial skin in addition to the ear pinna and cheeks. The skin secretes a specific secretion known as sebum that lubricates the skin and prevents it from becoming too dry.

Earpieces will often rub against the skin on the cheeks and ears and contact the sebum and the wax from the ears. You can imagine how gross they can become if you don’t clean them often enough.

Imagine using earpieces that consistently rub on your skin, get into contact with your makeup, and sebum plus wax. How gross would that be? Yet, that is the main reason you need to clean your earbuds, headphones, and air pods often.

Some people claim you can clean your air pods by sucking the dirt off them. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only do you risk your health, but you might also damage the earpiece’s inner parts and make it defective.

The truth is you need to clean them with better ways that we will outline for you here. How often should you do that? As often as possible. The key to knowing how often you should clean your earbuds or air pods lies in how frequently you use them.

Naturally, anything that you use all the time needs cleaning more regularly. Therefore, if you are the type of person to use your headphones or earbuds daily, you will need to clean them more frequently.

One week is usually enough if you don’t have too much makeup when using headphones, earbuds, or air pods. A person who uses makeup and heavily uses their headphones or earbuds needs to clean them far more regularly than those who don’t.

A maximum of three days should be enough for you to clean them as they might have accumulated a lot of dirt and grime from wax or sebum. Also, if you are the type of person whose ears produce a lot of wax, you’ll need to clean your headphones, earbuds, and air pods regularly.

You don’t always have to wait for them to become dirty before you can clean them. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and that’s doesn’t only apply to the body and mind but also earphones, earbuds, and air pods.

But how do you go about cleaning headphones, air pods, or earbuds? Let’s look further into that.

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How to Clean Headphones

Headphones have become an increasingly integral part of life for nearly everyone. You don’t have to be generation Z or a millennial to have an appreciation for headphones. One thing, though. Headphones smell bad if you don’t clean them.

Some people use them for exercise, and you can imagine the sweat mixed with the sebum from the skin and makeup. You have a recipe for one potent and horrid smell that might even become a breeding ground for bacteria.

So how do you clean headphones? First, you need to have all the things you need to clean them.

What You Will Need

  • A piece of cloth
  • Sanitizing alcohol
  • Tissue
  • Cotton

Step 1

Prepare the headphones for cleaning by removing any impediments that might hinder you from reaching the mesh where the sound comes from. If possible, remove the covering on the mesh.

Step 2

Wet the piece of cloth to make it damp and gently wipe off any dirt and grime that might be on the headphones' hearing surface. Wipe also the other parts of the headphones paying special attention to parts in more contact with the skin.

Step 3

Dampen the cotton balls with alcohol and use them to clean over the earbud. Clean off every part of the headphones while doing that, including the handles.

Step 4

Stretch out the headphones and clean at the joints and the area the joint might hide. Please start with the wet cloth, then sanitize with the alcohol ensuring you do it as thoroughly as possible.

The handles should get some special attention, especially the part where you hold the headphones at.

Step 5

Dab the cotton in some alcohol and repeat the wiping process on all the parts of the headphones. The speakers should also get special attention as you do this. Don’t worry about the alcohol damaging the headphones since it easily evaporates after sanitizing surfaces.

Step 6

If your headphones come with any extra accessories, clean them as well, following the above procedure. Such parts include a microphone. Also, clean all the cables or wire attachments for the headphones.

Remember to allow the alcohol to dry off completely to ensure it doesn’t leave behind any streaks. Then, layout all the parts of the headphone and let them dry.

How to Clean Earbuds

Cleaning earbuds is much like cleaning headphones with only a few minor differences.

What You Will Need

  • A piece of cloth
  • Sanitizing alcohol
  • Tissue
  • Cotton
  • Tech brush

Step 1

Use the cloth and wipe the earbuds to remove the loose dirt that might have accumulated on them. Liquids aren’t a great option since they might ruin the earbuds. Earbuds aren’t waterproof after all, which is why you need to ensure they don’t get into contact with any water.

Step 2

Use the cotton and wipe the speaker mesh and the mic. A soft brush will help remove any dust that might have settled in the speaker mesh. Gently use the brush to remove the dust to avoid damaging the speakers.

Step 3

Next will be to clean the connector. The connector is also quite fragile, but a soft brush would come in handy cleaning it if too dirty. Gently brush off any dirt on the connector while making sure not to damage it.

Again, it would be best if you didn’t use a liquid unless it is fast-drying alcohol. The brush you use to clean the connector should be antistatic. Such brushes are ideal for cleaning electronic products since they won’t elicit any charges.

Step 4

Now you will be ready to clean the case. The case also needs you to handle it with care. Unless it is extremely dirty, use a dry cloth and cotton to ensure you don’t damage it. If it has too much dirt, then damp the cloth or cotton with 70% alcohol to enhance the dirt fighting power of the cloth.

Use the alcohol in spare amounts to ensure the liquid causing any issues. And with that, you will have successfully cleaned your earbuds.

How to Clean Air Pods

You can clean air pods in precisely the same way you’d clean earbuds. The same things you use to clean earbuds can also work for air pods.

What You Will Need

  • A piece of cloth
  • Sanitizing alcohol
  • Tissue
  • Cotton
  • Tech brush

Although Apple has added instructions on cleaning air pods, you can still clean them with this simple step-by-step method.

Step 1

Use the soft brush to clean the ear, plus wax and any ear lint. Do it gently to avoid damaging any of the mesh or speaker. You can do this without the need for alcohol since liquids might have detrimental effects on air pods.

If they are too dirty, you can use a little alcohol, wet the brush, and scrape off the wax and dirt.

Step 2

After working on the earplugs, you can now clean the connector much the same way you did to clean earbuds.

Step 3

Next will be to clean the casing. The casing also needs special care since it has a charging port that could sustain damage washed with liquids.

Use the cotton ball or cloth to wipe off any dirt and wax from your ears, if any. An antistatic brush will also come in handy here. Additionally, the brush should also have soft bristles to prevent any damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are antistatic brushes?
    Antistatic brushes do not create or generate an electric charge when brushed on a surface plastic or metallic. They are ideal for cleaning air pods, headphones, and earbuds for that reason.
  1. What should I do to keep my headphones clean after a workout?
    Always wipe the headphones with a damp cloth dipped in alcohol to wipe off the sweat and dust. That will help ensure it is always in good condition, especially if you exercise with them regularly.
  1. Can headphones be vectors for viruses?
    Yes, they can. Viruses are adept at ticking onto plastic and metal surfaces, and the headphones have metal and plastic parts that might be a convenient vehicle for them.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning ear wax out of earbuds will be a straightforward affair if you use the steps outlined here. Try them, and you will see that we have provided you with the best ways to clean headphones.

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