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A 6-Step Method to Cleaning AirPods

How to Clean Your AirPods

AirPods are wireless, Bluetooth earbuds that are specifically designed to work with an iPhone or an iPad. The design is lightweight and they sit at just the right angle in the ear for comfort and the best audio. As your AirPods are exposed to sweat, earwax and dirt, you need to clean them regularly if you want to experience the best audio quality. So, want to learn how to clean your AirPods? Read on to learn how.

You need to clean them in the correct way, or you can damage them. Cleaning your AirPods can help to reduce your contact with germs and improve the audio quality. Before you get started with the following steps, make sure your AirPods are off and disconnected from any paired devices.

Step 1

Your first step is to gather your cleaning materials. You will need two soft, dry, lint-free cloths, water, rubbing alcohol and a fine-edged tool, such as a toothpick or dental floss stick. A Q-tip will help if you do not want to use a sharp item.

According to Apple’s instructions, AirPods are not waterproof, so you will have to be careful not to get water or rubbing alcohol inside the earbuds or case. You will only use the rubbing alcohol for any dirty spots that are hard to remove. You will also need a soft bristle brush.

Step 2

Take one of your lint-free cloths and lightly dampen it with water. Wipe the outside of the earbuds with the cloth very carefully, making sure you do not get any liquid in the openings. Use a dry cloth to dry the earbuds.

Step 3

Next, you will clean out any ear wax from the speaker hole. Carefully, remove the ear wax using your fine-edged tool. Wax tends to gather around the speaker edges, so you need to make sure your tool doesn’t pierce the speaker while you focus on the wax around its edges. You do not want to damage any delicate electronic components.

Step 4

If you are battling to remove the wax, you may be more successful using a small piece of soft, reusable adhesive. Stretch it and knead it a little so that you warm it up before pressing it against the speaker a few times.

It will pick up the wax and you can then use the wooden toothpick to remove the stubborn bits attached to the sides. A wooden toothpick is pointed enough to pick out the remaining wax but it will not tear the speaker mesh, which can happen if you use a sharp metal object.

Step 5

If you have the AirPods Pro, you also have to clean the silicone tips covering each speaker. These tips help to protect the speaker from earwax and other debris and they pop off easily. To remove them, gently pull the base of the tips where they are connected to the earbuds. Rinse them in water without adding any soap or other cleaners. Abrasive cleaners can damage them.

Make sure you wipe them totally dry with a clean cloth or cotton swab before you reattach them. The ear tips are oval in shape, so you must make sure you align them correctly with the connectors. Push them in and they should make a clicking sound.

Step 6

Your AirPods come with a charging case that has a battery to extend the battery life of your earpieces when you are away from an electrical outlet. You will also need to clean the case. Use your dry, lint-free cloth to wipe the case.

Apple suggests you can use some 70% isopropyl alcohol on a clean cloth to gently wipe the exterior surface of the case and remove any spots on the surface that will not come of easily. Again, be careful not to get any moisture inside the case and make sure it is completely dry afterward.

You can use a soft bristle brush to gently remove any debris from the charging port and from all the crevices inside the case. Just make sure the case is completely dry before you charge your earbuds.

Recapping the 6 Easy Steps

If you follow the above six steps, you will clean your AirPods without any problems.

  1. Gather your cleaning materials.
  2. Clean the outside of the earbuds.
  3. Clean wax from the speaker hole.
  4. Use an alternative method to remove wax.
  5. Clean the silicone tips of the AirPod Pro.
  6. Clean the charging case.

Special Tips to Remember

  • If you repeatedly put dirty earbuds into your ears, you run the risk of transferring bacteria into your ear canal.
  • You must never submerge your AirPods in water, even if they are really grimy. If you have done a workout and find they are sweaty, wipe them down with a dry cloth. To dry a case, place it upside down with the lid open.
  • Don’t use any detergents or soaps, as they can damage protective coatings.
  • Some earbuds are waterproof but they are only designed for submersion in water for a short period of time, so it is better not to risk it.
  • Use the right tools and methods so you do not have to apply too much pressure, which could just press debris into difficult-to-reach crevices.
  • Don’t use abrasive wipes or cloths, as they can damage the surface.

If you would rather replace your old AirPods, there are start-ups like Podswap that will send you some refurbished AirPods in exchange for your old ones. If you are into recycling and sustainability of electronics, this could suit you and save you money.

To Wrap It Up

You may forget about keeping your AirPods clean, but it should not be an afterthought if you wear them on a daily basis. Exposure to dirt and wax can harm the quality of the sound and their durability. A build-up of debris can make phone calls and voice notes more difficult to hear. You may even be exposed to harmful bacteria that give you an ear infection if you do not keep them clean. Luckily, the process is very simple and all you need are a couple of household items.

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