How To Clean My Headphones – The Tricks That Actually Work

headphones cleaning the easy guide

Using our headphones on a daily basis has become a habit for many of us especially for those who use to jog every morning or spend the time in the train listening to music. Who doesn’t enjoy listening to his favorite music in a high-quality sound headphone? It’s so common but joyfulness could be ruined easily if your headphones got dirty.

Why Should I Clean My Headphones?

Headphones and especially earbuds are most exposed to dirt from the date you purchase them and started using them, sweat or ear wax are more common sources of dirt that could be stuck or trapped in your earbuds, we use to shower after our gym or morning jogging sessions because of dirt and sweat, but what about our headphones? when was the last time we cleaned them?

Headphones become dirty not only because we are using them, but misusing them or saving them inappropriate manner could be worse, we always toss them into our pockets, bags …etc where they keep on being mixed with other dirt, dust, and other grime. And simply we grab them out without any hesitation and use them in our ears.

So cleaning your headphones is crucial to protect them from any sort of sound quality reduction or reducing its lifespan, as well as protecting our own ears from any sort of bacterial infections.

You should clean your headphones regularly for several reasons:

  1. Preventing headphones from damage.
  2. Increase Headphones lifespan.
  3. Getting high-quality sound.
  4. Clear all bacteria that might get into your ears.

So better to check the below easy hacks that actually work on how to clean your headphones and earbuds at home.

How To Clean My Headphone & Earbuds?

This is the part when it comes to cleaning your headphones, I will cover the two types of headphones that you might have and require to clean which are:

  • Earbuds: Airpods, Earpods, Earbuds, In-ear monitors (IEMs)
  • Headphones: In-ear, On-ear, Over-ear Headphones

To start cleaning your headphones, you require to have the below:

  1. Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  2. A small cloth (any cloth even like the glasses soft cloth)
  3. Cotton buds or Q-tips.
  4. Soap
  5. Water
  6. Blu-tack

Cleaning a headphone has never been easier with the below steps.

How To Clean Apple Airpods

Apple Airpods have their own unique design out of all the earbuds products on the market, they often get dirt and earwax occasionally for both the driver part as well as the charger case.

cleaning Apple Airpods

CLEANING THE DRIVER UNIT

This is the unit where the sound is being produced hence we should focus more on the part of it that inserted into the ears.

Step 1: Using a dry and soft toothbrush (I prefer children’s toothbrush because it is softer), brush the wire mesh gently while holding the mesh facing downwards to help the removed dirt or wax particles falling down.

NOTE: At the same time tap on the back side of the Airpod continuously to help knocking off the removed particles.

Step 2: Using blu-tack gel with the aid of a bent paperclip, go over the wire mesh after step 1 and remove all remaining dirt, wax or dust. Put the blu-tack on the wire mesh and apply pressure to each individual dot of the mesh using the bent paperclip, then remove the blu-tack again.

NOTE: The blu-tack will pick up all the extra substances from the mesh and leave it debris free.

Step 3: Using a small cloth by dampening it into the hand sanitizer or alcohol should finalize the cleaning process by quickly wiping over the metal wire mesh back and forth.

CAUTION: Do not soak the cloth with the alcohol or the sanitizer as it may damage your device.
CLEANING THE CHARGER CASE

The Apple Airpods have a charger base to keep them charged and ready to use, and not only they were created to serve drivers charging, but also to support pairing with the iPhone smartphone devices.

Upon using the Airpods, the charging case gets dirty because of the earwax, dust, moist ..etc, however, to clean the Apple Airpods charging case simply follow the below steps:

Step 1: Using a Q-tip or cotton buds after soaking them into alcohol or hand sanitizer and start applying movement with pressure in the case corners where all the dirt are.

Step 2: Use a dry Q-tip or even a dry piece of cloth to wipe and dry the cleaned areas.

How To Clean Apple Earpods

Apple Earpods (the earlier wired version of the Apple Airpods) they often get dirt and earwax occasionally for both the driver part as well as the cords.

cleaning Apple Earpods

CLEANING THE DRIVER UNIT

This is the unit where the sound is being produced hence we should focus more on the part that is inserted into the ears.

Step 1: Using a dry and soft toothbrush (I prefer children’s toothbrush because it is softer), brush the wire mesh gently while holding the mesh facing downwards to help the removed dirt or wax particles to fall down.

NOTE: At the same time tap on the back side of the Airpod continuously to help knocking off the removed particles.

Step 2: Using blu-tack gel with the aid of a bent paperclip, go over the wire mesh after step 1 and remove all remaining dirt, wax or dust. Put the blu-tack on the wire mesh and apply pressure to each individual dot of the mesh using the bent paperclip, then remove the blu-tack again.

NOTE: The blu-tack will pick up all the extra substances from the mesh and leave it debris free.

Step 3: Using a small cloth by dampening it into the hand sanitizer or alcohol should finalize the cleaning process by quickly wiping over the metal wire mesh back and forth.

CAUTION: Do not soak the cloth with the alcohol or the sanitizer as it may damage your device.
CLEANING THE CORDS

The Apple Earpods have two cords connected together at the audio jack, those cords normally get dirty because of normal daily use but still, we can clean them so easily.

cleaning headphone EarPods cord

Step 1: To clean the cords simply dampen a piece of cloth into alcohol or hand sanitizer.

Step 2: Hold the cable near the audio jack/lightning jack in your left hand.

Step 3: Using the soaked cloth in your right hand, encircle the cable and wipe firmly with the cloth moving towards the Earpods drivers.

CAUTION: Do not hold the jack while doing that, and Do not apply too much pressure in this movement cause this might cause an internal damage to the cord’s cables.

How To Clean Earbuds

This is a very generic procedure cause there are plenty of earbuds types and designs in the market, I will cover different types of them as below.

Cleaning Earbuds

CLEANING THE DRIVER UNIT

Before you clean your earbud drivers, if you have earbuds with silicone or foam tips then you should remove them first, as these in-ear headphones like IEMs or even normal ones normally come with detachable silicone/foam ear tips to provide variety in sizes and provide the best fit for our ears.

Step 1: Remove the earbuds silicone tips.

Step 2: Using a dry and soft toothbrush (I prefer children’s toothbrush because it is softer), brush the wire mesh gently while holding the mesh facing downwards to help the removed dirt or wax particles falling down.

NOTE: At the same time tap on the back side of the earbuds continuously to help knocking off the removed particles.

Step 3: Using blu-tack gel with the aid of a bent paperclip, go over the wire mesh after step 1 and remove all remaining dirt, wax or dust. Put the blu-tack on the wire mesh and apply pressure to each individual dot of the mesh using the bent paperclip, then remove the blu-tack again.

The blu-tack will pick up all the extra substances from the mesh and leave it debris free.

Step 4: Using a small cloth by dampening it into the hand sanitizer or alcohol should finalize the cleaning process by quickly wiping over the metal wire mesh back and forth.

CAUTION: Do not soak the cloth with the alcohol or the sanitizer as it may damage your device.
CLEANING THE EAR TIPS

To clean your earbuds tips you should consider the materials type those tips were made from, for example, if you have silicone ear tips, then follow the below steps:

multiple silicone earbuds

Step 1: Detach the silicone ear tips from your earbuds.

Step 2: Soak them for 5 minutes in slightly soapy warm water.

NOTE: This does not apply for foam ear tips type or any other ear tips that are not water-proof models.

Step 3: Rinse the silicone tips, give them a good wipe down.

Step 4: Leave them to dry completely on paper towels before reattaching them.

If you have a foam type of ear tips, then better to go for the blu-tack solution to grab all the dirt out of them securely.

CLEANING THE CORD

The earbuds have two cords connected together at the audio jack, those cords normally get dirty and sweat spots because of the normal daily use but still, we can clean them so easily.

Step 1: To clean the cords simply dampen a piece of cloth into alcohol or hand sanitizer.

Step 2: Hold the cable near the audio jack in your left hand.

Step 3: Using the soaked cloth in your right hand, encircle the cable and wipe firmly with the cloth moving towards the Earbuds drivers.

CAUTION: Do not hold the jack while doing that, and Do not apply too much pressure in this movement cause this might cause an internal damage to the cord’s cables.

How To Clean On-Ear Headphones

These type of headphones require periodic cleaning and special treatment for the leather to stay functional for a longer time, they have different parts comparing to earbuds style headphones, they consist of caps cushions and band cushion.

To clean your on-ear headphone you need to focus on it’s two main parts which are the band cushion and the ear pads by following the below steps.

CLEANING THE HEADPHONE EXTERIOR BODY

Step 1: Remove the ear pads.

Step 2: Wipe down the exterior body of the headphone with a small cloth dampened with soap and warm water.

Step 3: Wipe dry with some paper towels and leave to completely air dry.

CLEANING THE EAR PADS

Step 1: Dampen a small cloth with rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Gently wipe down the exterior of the ear pads.

Step 3: Using a Q-tip or cotton bud to clean the nooks and crevices of the ear pads after soaking it into alcohol or hand sanitizer.

Step 4: Dab some alcohol over the foam mesh surface and gently rub both the left and right sides together.

NOTE: This will kill off the bacteria that are residing in the ear pads.

Step 5: Leave both ear pads to air dry completely by putting them on some paper towels before reattaching and using them.

CLEANING THE HEADPHONE BAND

Headphone bands are one of the main parts of any headphones that get dirty easily or start peeling its leather over time, this is caused by daily usage as well as sweat.

NOTE: If you want to replace your peeling headphone band you can simply check my other article Replace Peeling Headphone Pads & Band Cushions At Home Easily

To clean your headphone’s band cushion simply follow the below steps:

Step 1: Wipe down the headphones band and its cushion with a small cloth dampened with soap and warm water.

Step 2: Wipe dry with some paper towels and leave to completely air dry.

Step 3: Dab some alcohol over the cushion surface and gently rub it down.

NOTE: This will kill off the bacteria that are residing in the band cushion as well as helping to dislodge any dirt or grime.

Step 4: Leave the band cushion to air dry completely by putting them on some paper towels.

How To Keep My Headphones & Earbuds Clean?

It’s so important to keep your headphones and earbuds clean not only for the sake of your ear health but also to have long-lasting headphones for daily usage.

To keep your headphones and earbuds clean and preventing them from getting dirty:

Tip 1 – Cleaning them regularly

Cleaning your headphones regularly is a must to prevent further dirtiness.

Tip 2 – Store them in a protective case after finishing

Have you ever had that funky smell out of your headphones? this is caused by moisture and dirt or sweat stains on the ear pads or band cushion, mostly this is caused by a humid environment if not your sweat, so storing your headphone in a dry storage case is a good prevention to keep it clean for a long time.

Silica gel packets

To do so, you need to have a couple of Silica gel packets to be stored in the same headphone case, those gel packets can be found in any electronic device package or food packages. Those gel packets will reduce the moisture inside the pack and it is very useful to keep them with your headphones pads while storing.

Tip 3 – Apply leather oil 

Applying a leather protective oil on the on-ear headphones pads and cushions can rapidly increase its lifespan as well as keeping them clean most of the time.

Tip 4 – Do not use your headphones with unclean hands

If you were eating crisps or any oily food by your hands it’s better not to use your headphones till you clean your hands.

Tip 5 – Do not use your headphones while sweating

If you purchased your headphones for the sake of using them indoors and not for jogging, better not to use them if you feel you are sweating, cause this will add the dirt on them occasionally.

Tip 6 – Clean Your Ears Regularly

Aside from cleaning and keeping your headphones clean, you should also clean your ears from wax, ear wax is an oil produced by your ear canal to protect it from any foreign particles, thus will add dirt to your earbuds so you should always keep your ear wax-clean.

NOTE: To clean your ear from wax, its better to consult a doctor and let him clean it for you for your ears’ safety.

The above are only preventive suggestions for you to keep your headphones clean hence no one is perfect, and you might need to clean them from time to time as suggested in this tutorial article.

Conclusion

Our headphones will get dirty either by dust, sweat, ear wax… etc no matter how much we try to prevent it, but this is not the end of the world, still, we can clean them regularly using simple solutions at home and keep them ready to use for a long time.

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Firas Sameer

This is me Firas Sameer the one behind “How To Fix Headphones” wearing my Beats headphone, I like listening to music a lot but since I had some issues with my headphone jack and I had to replace it my self, I decided to create this website and help you guys with headphone hacks all the way I am learning new ones and other stuff which helps you fix your own.

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