How to Clean Your AirPods

AirPods have quickly become the most popular form of headphone on the market. In fact, it’s one of Apple’s top 3 selling products.

You don’t have to look far into a crowd before you’ll see someone with the small white pieces sticking out of their ears. They have become a universal symbol for listening to music and podcasts, and have become a huge asset for keeping in touch as we have shifted into a world of zoom calls.

However, the more often you rely on your AirPods for keeping you in touch with the world, the more likely they are to become clogged up with wax, dirt, and debris.

Simply wiping down your AirPods after use isn’t really good enough hygiene to say that they are “truly clean.”

Cleaning your AirPods is important for the maintenance of your AirPods in terms of ensuring that your AirPods will continue to work long-term, as well as in regards to your own personal health.

Many teenagers use AirPods in a social way, sharing an AirPod to listen to music together across a room. Doing this could mean moving an AirPod from one ear to another, which could lead to poor hygiene if you aren’t keeping good care of your pods.

Supplies You Need to Clean Your AirPods

To take care of your AirPods you need the following supplies:

  • a lint-free cloth
  • cue-tip cotton swab
  • some water
  • rubbing alcohol (optional)
  • a fine-edged tool like a pin or a toothpick

Step by Step Guide to Cleaning Your AirPods & Case

First, use the lint-free cloth to wipe down the AirPods. This step ensures that the exterior of your AirPods have all grease, debris, and wax removed. While this is great for cleaning the outside, it doesn’t necessarily clean your speaker and microphone screens. If you have spots that are particularly difficult to clean, you’ll want to dab the cloth in water to help with removal. and use the water to rub off any dried-on wax or other build-up.  It’s important to ensure that when cleaning your AirPods, you’re careful not to let any water get into any of the crevices or settle in the speakers or screens.

Once you’re done with your individual AirPods, you can then do the same to the AirPods case. Use a cue-tip to wipe down into the holes where the stems go when charging.

Cleaning Your AirPods Microphone and Speaker Reservoirs

On your individual AirPods, there is a screen covering both your speakers and your microphone. These tend to get clogged with gunk and wax over time. In order to clean those components, you will need to need exercise caution as these are delicate parts and can be damaged without too much care.

On a first pass, you can easily clean out gunk and wax with a small, pointed object, like a tooth pick or a toothbrush. Lightly scrape out all the wax and gunk you can.

Then, using the rubbing alcohol, dip the cue-tip and use it to lightly swab at the components a few times to help remove any excess wax and grease.

“Don’ts” for Cleaning Your AirPods

Here are a few things that you absolutely do not want to do when cleaning your AirPods:

  • Don’t run AirPods or AirPods Pro under water
  • If you do use a damp cloth, don’t attempt to use them again until they are completely dry
  • Don’t get any liquids in the openings
  • Don’t use sharp objects or abrasive materials to clean your AirPods or AirPods Pro

Keeping your AirPods clean can help to make sure that your music is clear and your device will stay in good shape for a long time. Taking good care of your AirPods is also a good idea from a personal hygiene perspective.

If you’re interested, you can also see how a pair of AirPods are deep cleaned by professional gear cleaners.

For more household cleaning tips, visit our “How to” cleaning guides.

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