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  • Marianne Zara

How to Clean Your AirPods

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Man in green pointing at his AirPods while smiling at his phone screen

After getting your AirPods, you should try your best to keep them in tip-top condition. Having dust, dirt, grime, and ear wax in your AirPods can be not great to look at, but what’s worse is that it can damage your AirPods. Its sound quality and its charging capability may be affected. Hence, it’s necessary to clean them often - better yet have a cleaning schedule.

This tiny device, however, needs extra care in cleaning. We use certain products (definitely available in the market) to clean the AirPods. Let us guide you on how to properly clean and disinfect your AirPods without messing it up.

How to Clean AirPods

If you don’t clean your ears regularly, there will be earwax build-up which could be transferred to your AirPods. Another way that could make your AirPods dirty is having to put them lying around on the table or in your pocket for example. Eventually, you will be looking at your AirPods full of dust and grime. You wouldn’t want this to be the reason to say goodbye to your favorite earbuds.

Cleaning your AirPods’ body

The most sensitive part of your AirPods is the earbuds themselves. Apple recommends using a microfiber cloth. You may think your AirPods are just a piece of plastic and you may use any cloth you like but the safest way is to use a soft, dry, and lint-free cloth. This suggestion reminds us that the AirPods are not water-resistant or waterproof. Only the AirPods Pro has an IPX4 rating which means it’s water-resistant but still not waterproof.

Sometimes, you would notice that a dry cloth may not be enough. We suggest using disinfectant wipes (make sure they’re not too wet); then follow it up by wiping with your microfiber cloth and make sure they dry up completely before using or being placed back in its charging case. Also, read the labels. Don’t clean your AirPods with disinfectants that use bleach as this is extremely harmful to your delicate AirPods.

You may also disinfect your AirPods’ body by spraying some 70% isopropyl alcohol on your microfiber cloth. Again, make sure your cloth is not too damp, and remember to spray on the cloth and not the device.

Make sure they are completely dry before placing them back in the charging case or before using them again.

Cleaning your AirPods’ speaker mesh

The oval-shaped speaker goes deep down to your ears. It’s highly susceptible to earwax build-up. The speaker mesh, when left uncleaned, can be ruined. Thus, the sound quality of your AirPods will be affected.

Cleaning and disinfecting with a cotton swab

To clean the speaker mesh, you may use a cotton swab and slowly clean the surrounding of your speaker mesh. Lightly circle your oval speaker. Make sure not to poke the mesh. This could cost you about $90 when pierced hard. You may also lightly spray isopropyl alcohol on your cotton swab to disinfect your AirPods’ body near the speaker mesh. Simply circle your swab around the oval-shaped AirPods’ opening (the exterior surface only) and make sure not to touch the speaker mesh. Moreover, make sure not to spray it directly to the AirPods as it has cracks and crevices that if sprayed, alcohol might seep through in it.

Cleaning and disinfecting with other tools

Sometimes the cotton swabs cannot reach some places. Moreso, if you end up pushing the dirt a little bit more, you may use a toothpick and carefully lift the grime build-up. Alternatively, and more recommended, you may use a blu-tack or a cleaning putty (also known as dust cleaning gel) and slowly place it in your speaker mesh to remove any dirt or wax that may be left after your cotton swab clean-up. Simply put the blu-tack or cleaning gel in and quickly remove it. Repeat if there is still some dust, wax or grime left. If there's stubborn dirt, use a rubber eraser to rub it off.

How to Clean AirPods Pro

The difference between the AirPods Pro is that they have ear tips that could be removed and changed for the perfect fit. This makes it easier for you in cleaning. Since these are silicone tips, you can completely submerge them into water. Running water is recommended to clean them completely.

Apple advises not to use soap anymore. You may spray some alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe it over your silicone ear tips. Make sure that they are aligned properly when you place them back on. For the body, it’s just the same as your AirPods.

How to Clean AirPods Case

Now, you may ask how to clean your AirPods case? The AirPods case accumulates dirt from your bags, pockets, drawers, or even from the AirPods’ earbuds themselves. Aside from it being nasty, this could shorten the life of your AirPods.

The surroundings of your AirPods case use the same materials as your AirPods’ body so you may use a dry microfiber cloth to clean the surroundings of your case. Similarly, you may use cotton swabs for some parts that have stubborn dirt and grime. Disinfect with cleaning wipes but make sure they’re not too damp. You may also use isopropyl alcohol sprayed on your cotton swab. Again, don’t spray directly on any part of your AirPods or AirPods case.

Make sure not to use the wet swab or wet wipes on the charging ports. If there is dust build-up or grime, simply use a soft-bristled toothbrush for the port. Note that the metal parts of the charging port, especially where you connect your lightning cable, is highly sensitive so don’t place any disinfectant or wet wipes. As for the charging port, avoid using sharp and pointy objects. If you must, that is there’s something stuck that would limit you from charging, use an unfurled paperclip. Again, remember not to put too much pressure.

How to clean AirPods case inside

Always start with a dry microfiber cloth followed by a dry cotton swab. If both don’t work, try to spray some isopropyl alcohol to get that stubborn dirt. Don’t spray too much that there will be droplets of alcohol left in your case, remember that it’s a charging case and there are certain parts that could be affected when wet.

If there is still some dirt left, you may opt to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is firm enough to get the dust, ear wax, or dirt that got stuck on your AirPods case inside. Just remember to handle your AirPods case with care.

Clean Your AirPods Regularly

Having to wait many months before cleaning your AirPods and AirPods case will just give you a harder time cleaning what’s in there. Moreso, there may be some that are irreversible anymore. Schedule a cleaning day every month. If you use them for workouts, maybe you need to clean them twice a month.

Furthermore, we all heard that prevention is better than cure. In this case, you may purchase a charging case protector. And as for the earbuds, regularly clean your ears.

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