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How to Clean Headphones & Earpods

Headphones and earbuds have become indispensable companions in our daily lives, providing a personal auditory escape to music, podcasts, and calls. However, as these devices nestle into our ears, they also collect an unsavory assortment of earwax, dirt, and debris over time. 

This accumulation not only jeopardizes the pristine sound quality but poses a potential health hazard. The microphones integrated into many models can suffer functionality issues if clogged with grime.

Beyond the immediate impact on audio fidelity, the uncleaned nooks and crannies of your audio gadgets can transform into breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. 

Such microbial growth not only threatens the durability of your headphones but also poses risks to your ear’s health. To ensure the longevity of your audio devices and maintain a hygienic listening experience, regular cleaning is imperative.

In this informational tutorial on “how to clean headphones and earbuds,” we will guide you through the proper techniques to safeguard your gadgets from damage and your ears from potential discomfort. 

Why clean headphones and earbuds?

Maintaining pristine headphones or earbuds is non-negotiable for any audio enthusiast. Regular cleaning of headphone & earbuds ensures optimal sound quality, prevents hardware damage, and guarantees a hygienic listening experience. A clean audio device isn’t just a pleasure; it’s an investment in enduring audio excellence.

Amongst the crowd of “Wired headphone” and earbuds options available today, understanding the importance of maintaining a clean audio environment is crucial for the longevity and performance of your cherished headphones and earbuds. There are several reasons why you should clean your headphones and earbuds regularly:

  • Improving Sound Quality: 

Earwax and other debris can block the speaker grills on your headphones and earbuds, reducing the sound quality. Cleaning your devices regularly will help to remove this debris and improve the overall sound quality.

  • Avoid getting infections:

Headphones and earbuds can harbor bacteria and other germs, which can lead to ear infections and other health problems. Cleaning your devices regularly will help to kill these germs and reduce your risk of infection.

  • Audio devices lifespan expansion: 

Dirt and debris can also damage the internal components of your headphones and earbuds, leading to premature failure. Cleaning your devices regularly will help to extend their lifespan and save you money in the long run.

How to clean Headphones

Your headphones, aren’t they the most useful companions for music, podcasts, or intense gaming sessions, demand meticulous care to ensure their longevity and pristine performance. The accumulation of dirt and debris poses a significant threat, particularly to the synthetic leather adorning your headphone’s Earpads cushions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to safeguard your substantial audio investment:

  1. Soaked Microfiber Cloth: Begin by using a microfiber cloth dampened with water. This ensures a gentle initial wipe to remove surface-level dirt.
  1. Water-Soap Mixture: Create a cleaning solution by mixing a small amount of liquid soap with half a milliliter of water. Shake the mixture to achieve a uniform blend.
  1. Soak and Squeeze: Submerge the microfiber cloth into the water-soap mixture, then squeeze it thoroughly to eliminate excess liquid. This cautious approach prevents over-saturation, especially crucial when dealing with synthetic leather.
  1. Gentle Cleaning: Given the delicate nature of the synthetic leather on headphone Earpads cushions, employ the soaked microfiber cloth to gently clean the surfaces. Ensure a thorough cleanse, paying extra attention to areas with visible dirt.
  1. Inner Earpads: Shift your focus to the inner Earpads. Large cotton swabs, submerged in the water-soap mixture, become your allies here. Gently swab the inner regions, meticulously removing any dirt or residue.

By adhering to this cleaning ritual, you not only preserve the aesthetic appeal of your headphones but also enhance their longevity and hygiene. 

A regular cleaning routine, employing the right tools and techniques, ensures that your headphones continue delivering the audio experience you cherish. As you immerse yourself in the world of sound, let the clarity be complemented by the pristine condition of your cherished audio companions.

How to clean Earbuds

Cleaning your compact and lightweight wireless headphones, such as earbuds or a mini neckband is just as crucial as maintaining larger headphones, although with a more focused approach due to their mini size. 

Given the complexity involved, a precise cleaning process ensures not only cleanliness but also the longevity of these audio accessories. Here’s a step-by-step guide for effective earbuds cleaning:

Microfiber Cloth: Begin by dampening a microfiber cloth with water. Ensure the cloth is well-squeezed to prevent excess moisture, especially considering the smaller size of earbuds.

Gentle Finger Cleaning: Use your fingers to gently clean the earbuds. If your earbuds come with removable eartips, remove them first before proceeding with the cleaning.

Eartips Maintenance: Thoroughly clean the eartips separately. This step is crucial to maintain hygiene and prevent any compromise in sound quality.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Steer clear of using shampoos, liquid soaps, or detergents. The small size of earbuds magnifies the risk of chemical particles damaging the intricate sound system, leading to compromised audio quality.

Cotton Buds: Employ cotton buds to clean the outer layers of the earbuds. This delicate approach ensures meticulous cleaning without risking damage to the speakers.

3rd Party Cleaning Equipment: Consider using specialized earbud cleaning tools or gears available in the market for a more comprehensive cleaning process.

Avoid Sharp Objects: Refrain from using sharp objects during the cleaning process. The sensitive speakers in earbuds can be easily damaged, leading to muffled or distorted sounds.

For an added layer of assurance, seeking technical support for proper earbud cleaning is advisable. This ensures that your cleaning routine not only maintains the visual appeal of your earbuds but also safeguards their functionality and your auditory experience. 

Cleaning Advice from Brands

Renowned audio brands like Apple, Sony, JBL, and Bose not only deliver top-notch sound but also share valuable cleaning tips for their premium audio gear. Given the precious nature of these devices, maintaining hygiene is paramount. 

Apple, with its meticulous standards, recommends lint-free cloths and caution against chemicals for AirPods. Sony, revered by audiophiles, advocates gentle cleaning with soft, dry cloths for headphones. 

These brands understand the significance of proper maintenance to ensure longevity and optimal performance. Following their expert advice is a small yet crucial step towards preserving the quality of your expensive audio equipment, keeping them dust-free and in pristine condition.


Apple, a paragon of innovation and quality, extends its meticulous standards to the care of its audio gems—the AirPods, AirPods Max, and cable EarPods. Recognizing the diversity in design and components, Apple offers tailored cleaning advice.

For the majestic AirPods Max, featuring sizable foam cups, a damp lint-free cloth is Apple’s weapon of choice. Steering clear of soaps, shampoos, conditioners, or any substance housing chemicals is crucial to preserve the integrity of these audio giants.

The compact AirPods and AirPods Pro demand a gentler touch. Apple advises users to employ soft, dry, lint-free cloths, or microfiber alternatives for meticulous cleaning. Emphasizing caution, Apple warns against the intrusion of liquids into the microphone and shuns the use of sharp objects.

Preserving your AirPods’ pristine home is as vital as caring for the buds. To clean the case, gently use a clean, soft, dry, lint-free cloth. For a deeper cleanse, employ alcohol pads. After cleaning, let the case air dry on a dry cloth. This simple routine ensures your AirPods case remains a protective haven for your cherished audio companions. Here are the right way to clean the case: 

  • Debris inside the lightning ports can damage the ports. So, removing any debris from the Lightning connector with a clean, dry, soft-bristled brush is advised;
  • Avoid using abrasive materials (Liquid/powder) to clean the charging case;
  • To avoid damaging the metal contacts, don’t put anything in the charging ports. As excessive charging ports may damage the ports and eventually make it unable to be used.

Going beyond traditional cleaning methods, Apple recognizes the need for specialized tools. Enter the “Cleaner Kit for Airpods,” a dedicated solution with versatile functions. This kit boasts an Earbuds Cleaning Pen/Brush and Bluetooth Earphones Case Cleaning Tools, ensuring a comprehensive approach to maintaining the hygiene and longevity of your audio companions.


Sony, a stalwart in audio innovation, extends its commitment to excellence with precise cleaning guidelines for their esteemed products. From the iconic Walkman series to their state-of-the-art headphones like the “WF-1000XM4,” Sony’s audio prowess is matched by their meticulous care advice. 

For the larger headphones, a soft dry cloth or cotton swab suffices, while a crucial warning against freezing environments and diligent moisture-wiping safeguards against malfunctions.

When it comes to earbuds, exemplified by the “WF-SP900,” Sony emphasizes a methodical approach. 

  • Start by firmly removing and cleaning the eartips. 
  • For the delicate sound output areas, a cautious touch is vital, prompting Sony to suggest seeking technician assistance if uncertain about DIY cleaning.

Sony’s advice includes a stern caution: avoid pushing dirt or debris into the earbuds, a key measure to preserve optimal performance. 

Extra care is warranted for water-resistant models, with Sony underlining that certain cleaning measures might void water-resistant warranties. Sony’s cleaning tips not only ensure longevity and performance but reflect their dedication to providing users with a seamless and responsible audio experience.


In the short term, just as you maintain a clean home for guests and personal hygiene, extending that care to your headphones and earbuds is equally crucial. 

These devices, often a significant investment, house intricate sound hardware that requires protection. Neglecting cleaning may expose them to the damaging effects of dust and outdoor particles, leading to potential malfunctions or permanent damage.

For high-quality headphones with larger sound hardware and ear foams, regular cleaning safeguards against the accumulation of debris that could compromise audio performance. 

Meanwhile, earbuds, with their smaller components and hard-to-reach ear tips, demand diligent cleaning to prevent the unhygienic build-up of dirt and earwax.

Ensuring the cleanliness of your headphones and earbuds not only preserves their functionality but also promotes a more enjoyable and hygienic listening experience. It’s a small yet essential step in the maintenance of your valuable audio gear.




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