Tips on Cleaning Your Earbuds or Headphones

Nowadays, earbuds and headphones have become an important part of our lifestyle. Chances are that you would have a headphone or earbuds on while walking to work, during an exercise, while running errands, or sitting at your office. There is nothing wrong with having your earbuds or headphones on all day as long as you clean them regularly. 

Your earwax is normal and there for a reason, but that’s just for you, the wax in your ear is not good for your earbud. When you use earbuds or headphones for a long time, heat is trapped in your ear canal and melts the wax, which settles on your headphones or in your earbuds. This will look gross, attract grime, dirt, and even bacteria, and subsequently cause distortion.

So, if you notice that your earbuds or headphones aren’t working properly and you can’t hear every conversation, podcast word, beat, or lyric of your favourite song, it’s time to clean your earbuds/headphones.

Clean Your Earbuds/Headphones on a Regular Basis

If you use your earbuds/headphones daily or more often, clean them once a week using an alcohol wipe. This will help in removing accumulating grime, dust, and wax.

How to Thoroughly Clean Your Earbuds/Headphones?

Once a month or more often (if your ears are exceptionally sweaty or if you use your earbuds or headphones during workouts or hot weather), give your earbuds or headphones a thorough cleaning.

What You’ll Need

  • A toothbrush
  • Alcohol wipes or microfiber cloth
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Isopropyl alcohol (Rubbing alcohol)
  • Water

Note: The following steps are similar for both wired and wireless earbuds. Do not place/hold your earbuds under a faucet or submerge them in water, you could damage the wiring. Do not clean your earbuds while they are still connected to your device. If you have any tips or covers on the earbuds, remove them before cleaning.

Step 1: Gently mix 1 part of dishwashing liquid with 5 parts of lukewarm water in a bowl to make a soapy mixture. Add the covers or tips to the mixture and allow them to soak for about 30mins. Then, gently wipe the covers/tips using a cotton swab dipped in the mixture for better cleaning.

Step 2: Rinse the cover/tips very well and air-dry them for several hours-overnight is good. Never put back the covers/tips on the earbuds until they are dried completely.

Step 3: Using an old or new clean, dry toothbrush, gently brush away any visible earwax on the earbud’s mesh screen. Don’t forget to hold the earbuds with their mesh facing downward while brushing to prevent dirt/particles from falling into the earbud.

Step 4: Insert a cotton swab into isopropyl alcohol (but don’t soak it) and gently wipe the earbud mesh to remove any residue and also to disinfect it. If you soak the cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol, excess alcohol will drip into the inner part of the earbud.

Step 5: Insert the microfiber cloth into isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe the outer parts of the bud to clean and disinfect them (including the cord if it’s a wired earbud). You can also use the alcohol wipe.

Step 6: Finally, air-dry the earbuds for about 15mins before storing them or using them. Do not use a hairdryer or fan because they can add lint to the mesh screen. 

You can apply the same method to clean your headphones. Simply wipe down the larger surfaces and the inner mesh screen. Just repeat the steps above whenever you feel your earbuds/headphones are dirty and clogged with earwax but don’t forget to also keep your ears clean always.

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