How to Clean AirPods®, Earbuds and Headphones

You made the sound investment to buy those AirPods®, earbuds, Beats® or other headphones, so let’s protect them with some preventative cleaning. Hear us out: these little devices get so germy from earwax, dirt and bacteria, and they can lose sound quality if not cleaned regularly. 

Before you start cleaning your earbuds, consult the user manual.

Wax On, Wax Off

Any earbud can sound crystal clear again with a few easy steps. Start simple, and then if a deeper clean is required grab some tools – but be gentle!

To avoid completely damaging them, do not wash them under water, or use any liquids, this will damage them beyond repair. Do not use any bleach or hydrogen peroxide products for cleaning either.

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4 Steps to Clean Your Earbuds/Headphones:

1. If you have removable foam covers: take them off and very gently wash in mild soapy water, then rinse and lay flat to dry thoroughly. Wiping them down with 70% isopropyl alcohol is another great option here.

2. For a simple clean use a dry, lint-free cloth and gently wipe down the earbud/headphone surface and head strap.
Option 2: You can use 70% isopropyl alcohol to disinfect. Be sure it’s not so wet that it will release liquid into the earbud – DAMP only. Avoid use on speaker mesh or ear cushions. 

3. To dislodge more stubborn wax or dirt from the earbud, use a cotton swab or dry soft toothbrush. Extreme caution, do not press hard! Wipe with a dry or slightly damp cloth. 

4. We also recommend this cleaner kit (USA) (Canada) with a multi-functional cleaning pen for AirPods Pro 1, 2 and 3, and more. Use as directed. If you own Apple AirPods® then we highly recommend checking out this article with specific cleaning instructions for each product.

The Case and Cord

Give the case and cord of your earbuds/headphones a wipe-down with either a lightly damp cloth or 70% isopropyl alcohol to disinfect. Avoid getting any liquid in charging connectors or openings.


It’s so easy to just throw your AirPods® or earbuds in your pocket where lint lives, or leave your headphones lying around the room to gather dust or get lost. Taking good care of them will help them last longer, and sound better. Be sure to store your earbuds in their protective charging case or mesh bag. This will prevent damage or dirt and lint from getting stuck in them.

Depending on how often you use your earbuds/headphones it’s best to wipe them down each week, and a deeper monthly cleaning (or as needed).

While you’re at it, now is a good time to clean your other devices as well like your TV’s, computers and phones. Check out this article from our blog.

For a list of our favorite products, click here

– Denise @GoCleanCo

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