How to Clean Your Headphones and Earbuds?

It’s a new norm to stay hooked to your headphones for practically every waking moment. Headphones and earbuds are grossly integrated into our daily lives like the body’s natural extensions. Thanks to their heavy-duty usage, these devices get dirtier sooner than expected.

Putting on your headphones or earbuds at indoor and outdoor locations results in the accumulation of dirt, skin cells, ear wax, sebum, and other facial products in these gadgets. The parts of headphones or earbuds that touch your body are likely to attract more dirt.

While you may be tempted to vacuum your earbuds and headphones, it’s not a safe way for cleaning them. Because it may damage the internal machinery, drivers, mesh, etc., of these devices.

This article discusses easy tips for cleaning and caring for your headphones so that they will last longer and sound better.

Things You Need to Clean Your Earbuds and Headphones

Before you begin to clean your earbuds and headphones, ensure that you have the following supplies ready with you.

  • Earbud cleaning tool for removing thick and sticky materials from earbuds that do the cleaning by unblocking the sound tubes.
  • Rubbing alcohol for sanitizing the silicone ear tips and hard plastic of your headphones and earbuds. You need to exercise due caution and use it sparingly while cleaning your devices.
  • Soapy water prepared from dish soap that wipes the cleaner rather than using hand soaps containing moisturizers and added colours.
  • Silica gel pack for keeping your earbuds and headphones fresh and dry
  • A soft microfiber cloth designed for polishing glass without causing any scratches.

How Often Should You Clean Your Headphones

The cleaning frequency of your earbuds and headphones depends on your usage. If you use these devices continuously for hours together, you need to clean them more often.

The cleaning frequency is also based on the climate you live in and your activities while wearing your headphones.

Generally, if you use your headphones daily and keep them on your work desk, clean them at least once a week. However, if you wear your earbuds during workouts at the gym or jogging in the park, you need to wipe them after every usage as they may get sweaty.

Ensure to check your headphones and earbuds frequently for the presence of dust, earwax, oil, sticky fingerprints, or sweat. Clean your device immediately if it looks dirty.

If you avoid cleaning your devices on time, it may result in the accumulation of more gunk and hampers the performance of your device.

Tips for Cleaning Earbuds and Headphones

Wipe Down the Headphones and Earbuds Regularly

Make sure to wipe down your headphone’s earpads and earbud tips once every week. Use a clean and slightly damp cloth for cleaning your listening devices. Before wiping your headphones, ensure to power off your headphone and disconnect them from your device.

After wiping with a lightly damp cloth, use a soft cloth for drying your headphones and earbuds completely. Avoid using the alcohol as it may wear out fabric or leather quickly. Instead, use a soapy solution for removing the gunk and dirt.

Use a Soft Brush for Removing Debris and Cleaning the Inside of the Earbuds

Use a proper earbud cleaning tool designed specifically for removing the debris out of your earbud tips. The excessive wax that builds up in your eartips may deteriorate the sound quality of your earbuds.

Thus, ensure to get a cleaning tool for clearing out the wax. Begin the cleaning by pulling the eartips off the earbuds. Then, gently scoop out the ear wax by using the metal-loop side of the cleaning tool. Make sure that the loop doesn’t get stuck into the ear tip within the earbud.

Operate the earbud cleaning tool with great caution as it risks pushing the wax further inside the earbud and thereby damaging the driver. After removing the earwax, use a soft and small brush end of the cleaning tool for cleaning debris stuck on the earbuds.

Keep the earbud opening towards the floor for using gravity in the cleaning process. Ensure that the loosened wax doesn’t fall and accumulate on the earbuds themselves. Use a wet and soapy cloth to wipe down the eartips and dry them thoroughly before fixing them to earbuds.

Clean the Charging Case and Battery Connections

In the case of true wireless earbuds such as AirPods, you also need to regularly clean the charging case and the connectors used for storing them. This is because the earwax and dust build up the gunk on the metal pads and small pins used for charging wireless earbuds.

This condition hampers the charging functionality resulting in the improper charging of earbuds. Use a dry cloth for cleaning earbuds and wiping inside of the charging case.

Clean the pins on the inside of the charging case and the earbud connectors by wiping them with a cotton swab soaked with isopropyl alcohol. Use a similar cotton swab for cleaning the charging ports of over-ear headphones that are not charging correctly.

Use the tool’s soft and small brush side for cleaning small USB-C and Micro-USB ports clogged with pocket lint.

Wipe Your Gym Earbuds and Headphones After Every Workout Session

After every workout session, ensure to wipe your gym earbuds and headphones. Even for the water and sweat-resistant headphones, it holds true because if you keep them wet for more extended periods, the water may slowly seep into earbuds and damage their machinery.

In severe cases, the water reaches the battery compartments, damages the drivers, and results in shorting of earbuds. Thus, ensure to dry off true wireless earbuds before keeping them in their charging case.

If you are using swim headphones, ensure to dry them thoroughly prior to putting them away. Also, avoid the moisture build-up into the nozzles of in-ear headphones and earcups of over-ear headphones.

If you are in a hurry and can’t wait for your headphones or earbuds to dry out completely, shake out the excess moisture and turn off the power at least. Rather than keeping them in their charging case, store them in a little zip-lock bag.

It may seem convenient for you but avoid keeping your earbuds without a water-resistant case in the pockets of your gym shorts or sports bra. This is because these body areas accumulate lots of sweat and prevent the earbuds from drying out completely.

Thus, after every workout or gym session, wipe the earbuds, and allow them to dry completely when you arrive home.

How to Store Your Headphones for Keeping Them Clean Longer

Always store your earbuds and headphones in a bag when you are not using them. This protects against impacts and scratches; while preventing the build-up of gunk.

Ensure to take optimal care of your headphone or earbuds charging case. Also, store the earbuds and headphones in circumstances that are designed for them and easily accommodate these devices.

Avoid Storing Your Headphones and Earbuds in Extreme Hot or Cold Environments

Don’t keep your headphones and earbuds in areas that witness very hot or cold climatic conditions. Thus, avoid storing your headphones in car trunks and saunas. Even if your headphones are water-resistant, don’t keep them in wet or humid environments for longer.

You can use a silica gel pack in your bag for providing enhanced protection for your earbuds and headphones against very hot or cold environments.

Don’t Leave the Battery Compartment or Charge Port Open When Storing Powered Headphones

Avoid leaving the charge port open even if your headphones are completely dry because it allows the dust and dirt to seep inside the charging case.

You need to dust the charging port regularly if your headphones have only a micro-USB or USB-C port for charging. Also, before plugging in, ensure to check for water inside the port, especially if you have been doing workouts, swimming, or walking in the rain.

Avoid Bunching or Wrapping the Cable of Your Wired Earbuds and Headphones Around Your Device

If you don’t wrap the cable of your headphones and earbuds properly, it may not last long.

If you wrap your headphone’s cable around your phone while the headphone is still plugged in, it may bend the cable at a sharp angle where it meets the plug end. This results in the pulling out of the cable from the housing eventually.

To ensure that the cord is wrapped correctly, the first loop it around your fingers to make a circle with the cable in line with the natural curve of the cable. To avoid tangling the cable, you may use a velcro cable tie or twist tie.

Don’t Unplug Your Charging Case or Headphone by Pulling the Cable Itself

Avoid removing or unplugging the headphones from your device by pulling the cable forcefully as it may weaken the cable eventually. Also, avoid pulling the cable for removing wired earbuds from your ears.

Take extra care for removing sealed wired headphones because the vacuum created may damage your ears. Always ensure to hold the earbud and twist it slightly for pulling it outwards gently.

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