It’s time to clean the coarse earwax and grime from your AirPods. We will tell you how

Clean your headphones regularly.

Katie Teague / CNET

When was the last time you cleaned your AirPods or headphones? It doesn’t take long for them to fill up with icky grime, Over time earwax, grease, and dirt can get stuck inside your headphones. It’s disgusting and can take a toll on the crisp, clean sound you’re probably used to hearing. And dirty headphones can lead to infections (see below). So if you haven’t cleaned them well, now is the time.

Pulling the gunk out the wrong way can damage your headphones, even if they are waterproof. For example, you’ll want to be extra careful when cleaning the mesh speaker and microphone on AirPods when removing sticky gunk – don’t worry, we’ll tell you how.

Read more: AirPods 3 review: important sound upgrade

Before you start cleaning your headphones again, make sure they are turned off and disconnected from all paired devices. And if you’re looking to buy a new pair, here’s what to know trade in or sell your headphones To buy the latest third generation AirPodsThis story was recently updated.

Failure to clean your headphones can lead to infections

Your ears naturally produce earwax, medically known as earwax, to protect your ears. When you use headphones often, this wax can stick to them and harbor bacteria. Repeatedly putting the headphones in your ears without disinfecting them can transfer bacteria to your ear canal, which can lead to infection, according to Baton Rouge General.

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How to clean headphones with removable silicone tips

If you have a set of headphones with removable silicone tips, like the AirPods Pro or the JBL Reflect Flow Pro, you’re in luck because they’re a bit easier to clean. The silicone tip helps protect the speaker from earwax and other debris, and they come off easily.

To clean the ear tips, remove them from the headphones and let them soak in hot, soapy water for 30 minutes. If they are really dirty, you can shake the container to loosen the gunk. Then use a clean cloth or cotton swab to remove any remaining earwax or dirt and allow the silicone tips to dry completely.

If you have a pair of headphones that don’t come with silicone tips, you can purchase them from Amazon, depending on the style of headphones. For example, regular AirPods don’t come with the tips, but we love those $ 10 ear tips that you can add yourself.

Read more: See our selections of best AirPods Pro accessories

Apple Airpods Pro

Clean the silicone tips often.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The best ways to clean your AirPods and other headphones

Apple has a few suggestions on the right way to clean your AirPods. One method is to use a disinfectant or alcohol wipe to clean the exterior surfaces, but do not use it on the speaker mesh. If you use liquids to clean your headphones, dry them completely before use.

For the microphone and speaker mesh, use a dry cotton swab and a soft bristle brush to gently wipe off the dirt. Don’t press too hard, as you don’t want to push the wax through the mesh. It would be almost impossible to get him out of there.

CNET Contributor Matt Elliott suggest using Fun-Tak to remove stubborn earwax remnants. To do this, rub the Fun-Tak together to warm it up and then press it against the speaker. You can then use a wooden toothpick to scrape off anything that sticks to the sides of the hollow of the speaker.

If you want to stick just with Apple products, the giant tech company has released its own Polishing cloth, which costs $ 19 and has a compatibility list. While AirPods don’t seem to be on the list of compatible with… a rag, they could still come in handy for die-hard Apple fans who want to make their headphones shine. Otherwise, you could look for a basic microfiber cloth for external dusting.

You should also clean your charging case. here’s how

If you have wireless headphones, they usually live in a charging case. (We hope you don’t just throw them in your jacket pocket or backpack to pick up lint.) Since this is their home, you’ll want to keep it clean, too.

First, use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to wipe off the dirt. If necessary, you can lightly dampen the cloth with water or alcohol, but avoid getting liquid inside the charging ports.


Also keep your charging case clean.

Rick Broida / CNET

But don’t clean your headphones like that

While we understand that some headphones are waterproof or water resistant, we don’t recommend submerging them in water to clean them – just the removable silicone tips. Too many things could go wrong. For example, some waterproof headphones are only designed to be submerged in water for about 30 minutes. But what if you forget? Instead, stay on the safe side and dampen a microfiber cloth or cotton swab and gently wipe off the dirt.

We also do not recommend using a sharp object, such as a safety pin, to clean the mesh on your speaker or microphone, as this could puncture the speaker. Instead, use a soft bristle brush or wooden toothpick to gently remove any dirt.

For more information, here’s what you need to know about The latest Apple AirPods, as good as differences between the new AirPods 3 and the AirPods Pro.

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