How To Deep Clean Your AirPods And Other Headphones

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Have you ever wondered why your AirPods have suddenly lost their power? The answer might be grosser than you realize.

Substances like earwax, dirt, dust, and lint can frequently get trapped in the metal mesh inside your AirPods. Once it has accumulated, these can start to lower the quality of audio on your AirPods. Apart from a lower and muffled audio, this mixture of substances can create bacteria and cause you infections. New York University Langone Health otolaryngologist Erich Voigt tells Interesting Engineering, "Bacteria such as staph aureus or pseudomonas, as well as fungus such as aspergillus, can cause outer ear infections if these germs are on the earbud and then the earbud is placed into the ear." Another infection you can get is swimmer's ear, which is deeper in the ear and happens if inflamed skin comes into contact with bacteria.


Thankfully, there's a very easy way to avoid ear infections. All you need to do is clean your AirPods frequently to prevent bacteria and fungi from entering your ear. There are various ways you can clean your AirPods, meaning it doesn't need to be a hassle to get them clean.

How to clean your AirPods

While it's not the most glamorous chore, cleaning your AirPods is essential to maintaining their quality and to avoid any infections. The good news is there are various methods and tools available to make this task a lot easier.


According to Apple, the best way to clean your AirPods is by using a soft, lint-free cloth. Apple advises simply using the dry cloth to wipe any visible dirt around the outside of the AirPod. To clean the inside mesh, use a dry cotton swab. It is not recommended to use any type of liquid or water to clean your AirPods. You also want to avoid using any sharp object to get the dirt out. These easy cleaning instructions should be enough to get any large pieces of earwax or dirt.

If you have some extra stubborn earwax that simply won't budge, you can look to Amazon for some inexpensive tools that can help to clean it. The Akiki Cleaner Kit comes complete with a cleaner pen, putty squares, and wipes to help dislodge that extra grime. The cleaner pen contains a brush on one end if you want to give an extra scrub to your AirPods. The putty squares are perfect to simply press onto the mesh and trap the dirt that might be clinging to the metal. As of November 2022, you can have perfectly clean AirPods for under $10 with this kit.


Cleaning other headphones

Despite the convenience of AirPods, retro headphones are now a fashion statement. And just like wireless earphones, headphones should get cleaned often to avoid infections, whether they go in or over the ear.


If you have over-ear headphones, you want to clean all the fabric and leather parts of the device. Headphonesty recommends cleaning the outside of the headphones with a small cloth slightly dampened with rubbing alcohol. You can also put a few drops of sanitizer and water over the foam mesh to kill any bacteria still on the ear pads. Afterward, pat this part with a cloth and leave it out to dry.

Earbuds with a plastic covering over the earpiece require a similar cleaning. SoundGuys advises taking off the ear pads and cleaning with a cotton swab. Once clean, set them aside to focus on the actual metal piece. Using another cotton swab, clean the metal part without pushing the cotton swab in. By pressing the cotton swab in, you are just further lodging the dirt into the earpiece. Once you've scrubbed these parts out, pat them down with a dry paper towel. Then you are all set to listen with your earbuds again.