How to Clean Your AirPods: A Comprehensive Guide

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How to Clean Airpods and Earbuds and their charging cases

Keeping your Airpods clean can be a challenge, especially if you’re in the habit of tossing them in your purse where debris can get into mesh or the charging case’s lightning port. Over time, dirt, dust, earwax, and other grime can accumulate on and inside your earbuds, leading to reduced sound quality, ear infections, and painful acne in your ear. In this article, I’ll explain how to clean your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and their case, so you can keep your favorite listening devices in top shape.

Equipment and Materials You’ll Need

Before you start cleaning your earbuds, make sure you have the right tools on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soft, lint-free cloths or microfiber cloths
  • A fine-edged tool (like a toothpick or needle)
  • A soft bristle brush or toothbrush (optional)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubbing alcohol (optional)

Steps to Clean Your AirPods

  1. Wipe the outside of your earbuds with a damp microfiber cloth.
  2. Dry them with a dry, lint-free cloth.
  3. Use a fine-edged tool, like a toothpick or needle, to remove earwax and debris from the crevice around the speaker grills and microphone ports. Be gentle and take care not to damage the mesh or push debris further into them.
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dislodged debris.
  5. Clean stubborn spots with a cloth lightly dampened with rubbing alcohol. Wipe away the excess and allow your earbuds to dry completely.

How to Clean AirPods Pro

If you have AirPods Pro, follow these additional steps:

  1. Remove the silicone tips and rinse them with water. Don’t use soap or other cleaners.
  2. Wipe the silicone tips dry with a soft, lint-free cloth and let them air dry completely.
  3. Reattach the silicone tips.

Related: How To Clean and Disinfect Phone Touchscreens

How to Clean AirPods Max

AirPods Max are high-quality over-ear headphones that Apple says require special care when cleaning. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Gently pull the ear cushions away from the ear cups to remove them.
  2. Wipe the ear cushions with a cloth dipped in warm water with a small amount of liquid laundry detergent added. Use this to wipe the cushions and headband, keeping the headband pointed downward so moisture does not drip into the attachment point. 
  3. Go over the seam areas with a soft, lint-free cloth dampened with plain water to remove any soapy residue. 
  4. Let everything dry for 24 hours, then reattach the ear cushions to the ear cups. 

Steps to Get Stubborn Earwax Out of Earbuds

If earwax or other grime is clogging the speaker mesh and microphone ports of your earphones, here’s how to clean them:

  1. Use a fine-edged tool: Go around the crevice surrounding the mesh with a toothpick or needle to carefully remove earwax or debris. Be sure to use a tool with a fine edge to avoid damaging the mesh or port.
  2. Apply alcohol lightly: Very lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol. It should not be dripping, so wring it out well. Press this on the waxy areas to loosen the wax.
  3. Gently brush the mesh: Use the soft-bristled brush to wipe away stubborn debris, being careful not to apply too much pressure as this could damage the mesh.
  4. Dry: Use a clean, lint-free cloth to dry the AirPods thoroughly.

Rubbing alcohol acts as a solvent to dissolve the wax, but you must take care not to let the liquid get into your earbuds or their case.

How to Clean Your AirPods Case

Inserting clean AirPods into a filthy charging case just gets them dirty again. So, cleaning the charging case is as important as cleaning the earbuds themselves. Here’s how to keep it in top condition:

  1. Remove the AirPods from the case and turn it upside down to remove any loose debris or dirt.
  2. Use a dry, lint-free cloth to wipe the outside of the case.
  3. For tougher spots, dampen the cloth slightly with rubbing alcohol. Be careful not to get any moisture inside the lightning connector charging port or AirPod holders.
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush or dry cotton swab to clean the inside of the case, getting into all the nooks and crannies.
  5. To remove debris from the charging port, use a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush.
  6. Once you’ve finished cleaning the charging case, let it air dry before putting your earbuds in to charge.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t use sharp objects (like knives or scissors) to clean your AirPods, as they can damage the speaker mesh and microphone ports.
  • Avoid getting cleaning solutions on the mesh or inside the case, as these can damage the sensitive electronics inside.
  • Never use bleach or abrasive cleaners to clean earbuds, as they can damage the finish and electronics.
  • Avoid getting any moisture in the charging port or earbud holders of the case.
  • If you routinely store your AirPods in your purse, use a case cover that also protects the lightning port from debris.

With these steps and tips, you can keep your AirPods and their case clean and in good working condition. Regular cleaning can help prevent health problems, extend the life of your earphones, and ensure that they sound as good as they did when you first bought them.

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