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How to clean your AirPods to remove earwax and improve audio quality

Emma Witman   

How to clean your AirPods to remove earwax and improve audio quality
Tech3 min read
  • To clean AirPods, you'll need water, alcohol, a cloth, and a fine-edged tool like a toothpick.
  • Cleaning your AirPods can improve audio quality and reduce your contact with germs.
  • When cleaning AirPods, be careful not to get water or alcohol inside the earbuds or case.

AirPods are probably the most popular earbuds on the market right now, especially for iPhone users. But like all earbuds — and all devices — over time they get dirty, and will need to be cleaned.

Not only do AirPods get clogged up with earwax, but there's also the grime they accumulate when they're lost under your car seat. And of course, anything that you touch every day will fill up with germs and grease anyway.

Fortunately, cleaning your AirPods and their case is easy.

To clean your AirPods and their case, you'll need at least one lint-free cloth, some water, and a fine-edged tool like a toothpick or pin. If there are dirty spots that won't come out, you might also need some rubbing alcohol.

Best way to clean any AirPods

To clean your AirPods, you'll need a soft lint-free cleaning cloth — ideally, a microfiber cloth — and a tool with a fine end. The fine-edged tool can be a toothpick, dental floss stick, bobby pin, needle, or another household item. If you don't want to use something sharp, a cotton swab works too.

First, wipe the outside of the earbuds with the lint-free cloth, lightly dampened with water. Then, use another dry lint-free cloth to dry the earbuds, being careful not to get liquid in any of the openings.

How to clean earwax out of AirPods

To tackle earwax that's stuck in the earbuds' speaker hole, grab your fine-edged tool or dry cotton swab. Carefully dig out the earwax, making sure to focus around the edges of the speaker. If you're using a sharp object, be careful not to cut yourself or pierce the speaker.

If you have AirPods Pro, you'll also need to clean the silicone tips that cover each earbud's speaker.

Remove the silicone tips that cover your AirPods Pro earbuds and rinse them in water. Don't add soap, or any other household cleaner. Wipe them dry with a soft, lint-free cloth, making sure they're totally dry. Once they're dry, reattach them to the AirPods.

To remove the tips of an AirPod Pro, pull firmly from the base of the tip, where it's connected to the earbud. To reattach it, align the tip with the oval-shaped connectors on the earbud's speakers and firmly push it in. Once you've aligned the connectors, it should attach easily with a click.

How to clean AirPods case

To clean an AirPods case, remove the AirPods and use a dry lint-free cloth to wipe the outside of the case.

For tougher spots, you can dampen the cloth a bit with alcohol, but be sure to dry the spots afterwards. Make sure not to get any moisture inside the case's AirPod holders, or in the charging port. To remove debris from the charging port, use a soft bristle brush.

To clean the inside of the case, use a soft bristle brush or a soft toothbrush — the bristles will help dig dirt out of the nooks and crannies inside of the case.

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