AirPods are awesome, we know that and you know that. However, they can accumulate earwax and other debris very easily and quickly. With proper care and cleaning, AirPods can last for years, but remember to refer to Apple’s care instructions before doing any DIY cleaning or maintenance. For our best care and cleaning tips, here are the most effective and safest ways to clean your AirPods and case.
Why Cleaning AirPods is Important
Cleaning your AirPods and keeping them well-maintained is the best way to keep them working properly. Keeping your AirPods clean allows them to maintain a higher audio quality and volume. You will also notice that if there is debris or buildup within the charging case, the debris could prevent the AirPods from properly charging or resetting. We know the earwax, dirt, and sweat buildup can be pretty gross, but removing it properly can improve the lifespan of your AirPods.
Removing that grime can also help you, it could get stuck in your ear canal and cause irritation or even infections. It is recommended that you clean your AirPods after every 72 hours of listening, this can vary based on how long you have the devices in your ears at a time. Regular cleaning can prevent bacteria from forming heavily on the AirPods and within your ear canals, this is common and can be accelerated by sharing your AirPods with others without cleaning between uses.
You should also be regularly cleaning your ears to prevent a wax buildup within your ear canals, we trust you to keep up with this without our help, though. Keep all this in mind next time you see that gross stuff all over your AirPods, and maybe take a few minutes to learn how to properly clean them for their benefit and yours.
What Not to Do
Before you get started with the cleaning process, there are a few things you should remember:
- Make sure you don’t submerge or wash your AirPods or the case in running water, they’re not waterproof. If you do use too much water and need to quickly remove the excess moisture from the device, check out our guide for removing water from AirPods below.
- Don’t use rubbing alcohol with a percentage higher than 70%. Any higher percentage can damage the plastic of the AirPods and case beyond repair.
- Don’t use any compressed air to clean out your AirPods as the cold and powerful blasts of air can very easily damage the internal electronics.
- Don’t use cleaning putty to remove debris from your AirPods as this could push earwax deeper into the device and create further clogging.
- Don’t use any abrasive cleaning pads or solutions to clean the AirPods or the case or remove staining and stuck-on debris. Abrasive cleaning materials will scratch the plastic of the AirPods and case and this cannot be repaired.
- Don’t use bleach or acetone products to correct any discoloration. While bleach and acetone can restore discoloration on many white surfaces, they will also leave behind a thin layer of chemical film on the device that can harm your skin and ears if not removed properly.
Keep these tips in mind when gathering the necessary supplies for cleaning your AirPods and the case. Now that you know the risks and what not to use, you can get started with the cleaning process.
How to Clean AirPods
As we previously mentioned, make sure you read the user instructions and cleaning guide before getting started. This is always the best course of action for cleaning and caring for any sensitive electronics and Apple products. Here is the simplest and safest way to clean your AirPods:
- Remove the AirPods from the case and place them on a dry, flat surface.
- Wipe the surface of the AirPods, one at a time, with a dry cloth.
- To clean the mesh around the speakers and mic, use a dry cotton swab to gently scrub away any debris.
- If your AirPods are particularly dirty and clogged, use a cloth dipped in a small amount of water or rubbing alcohol to clear the debris.
- Dry the AirPods carefully and thoroughly with a dry, lint-free cloth.
To clean your AirPod Pros the process is not too different, but you will have to also clean the rubber tips. Here is the cleaning process for the tips:
- Remove the rubber tips from the AirPods before cleaning the devices.
- Rinse the tips in warm water, and flip the tips inside out if necessary.
- Dry the tips with a soft, lint-free cloth and set them aside to fully dry before replacing them on the AirPods.
While AirPods Max are actually headphones and not earbuds, they still require cleaning after a while. Here is the best way to clean your AirPods Max:
- Remove the ear cushions from the headphones.
- Use a damp cloth to wipe the headband and speakers with water or rubbing alcohol.
- Mix together a teaspoon of gentle laundry detergent and a cup of warm water, then use a soft cloth dipped in the solution to scrub the headband and ear cushions clean.
- Wipe the headband and ear cushions with a dry cloth and set the components aside to dry completely.
- Ensure that the headband and ear cushions are completely dry before reassembling the AirPods.
If, while cleaning your AirPods, you accidentally use too much water, don’t worry. Act quickly to remove the moisture from within the devices, here is the best way to remove water from within your AirPods:
- Place the AirPods upside down, and fill a sealable container with desiccant packets. Desiccant packets are suggested as rice can get inside the devices and damage the speakers within.
- Place the AirPods, upside down, in the container and seal it.
- Leave the AirPods in the container for a few hours.
- Remove the AirPods and dry them with a dry, lint-free cloth.
- Place the AirPods upside down and leave them to dry out completely. Note that this is not a guaranteed method of removing water and saving your AirPods. If too much water has gotten into the devices, they may not function properly again and should be replaced.
How to Clean AirPods Case
If you have noticed that your AirPods have not been charging properly, this is likely caused by a buildup of debris or dirt blocking the charging plate within the case. To fix this, you’ll want to clean out the earbud chargers as well as the lighting port at the base of the case. Here is the best way to safely clean your AirPods case:
- Use a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to wipe the exterior of the case.
- Lightly dampen 2 cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol and use them to clean the interior of the case, including the ports where your AirPods fit.
- Use a toothpick to clear the tight areas of any dirt or debris, you can also use the toothpick to clear any grime from around the lighting port. Make sure you use the toothpick extremely carefully around any of the sensitive electrical components so that you don’t damage the case’s charging capabilities. Use a very light touch around the charging port and plates inside the case.
- Use a dry cotton swab to clear away any remaining moisture and grime from the interior of the case.
- Use a dry, lint-free cloth to give the case a final wipe-down around the interior and exterior.
This is not a guide to repairing your AirPods or the case, so you’ll need to consult with Apple or a tech repair service for any audio or electronic issues you may be having. Remember to use caution when cleaning and maintaining your electronics and always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions over any others.
With regular cleaning and upkeep, your AirPods should be working like new for years to come. As a reminder, be sure to research the official Apple care and cleaning guides that came with your devices or find them online. For more cleaning tips and tricks for around the house, check out our blog at TidyHere Boston. You can also contact us to schedule a consultation or book any of our professional cleaning services. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help you keep your home looking and feeling its best.