In this article, we will be discussing how to clean earbuds effectively. Before we proceed to the nitty gritty of ear bud cleaning, it would be better if we have a brief overview of how the human ears work.

Human ears naturally produce ear wax as a way of protecting the skin of the ear canal. Earwax also assists in lubrication and cleaning, serving as a protection from water, insects, fungi, bacteria and other external dirt and debris. Earwax is undeniably a vital part of overall ear care but it’s also one of the issues why users really need to learn how to clean earbuds properly.

When you are using earbuds, heat is being generated, which makes these products practically a magnet for ear wax. When heat is generated in the ears, the earwax softens or melts, making it re-settle either on or in the earbud. If you own a pair of earbuds, you really need to know how to clean earbuds because you will have to do some cleaning regularly. Remember, come in close contact with the skin so it really needs proper hygiene.

While having some residue build on or in your earbuds may not be dangerous or completely damaging, it can affect the sound quality and device performance over time and is also unpleasant in terms of hygiene.

Apple Inc. is one of the most popular makers of earbuds, with their AirPods being one of the most saleable in the market. Whether you are using earbuds with a keyboard and mouse, or with mobile phones or tablets, you need to know how to clean earbuds properly. We  got some legit advice from someone who works in the earbud industry on how to clean earbuds the right way without causing any damage in the process and affecting the sound quality.

Why Clean Your Headphones?

Most people use their earbuds or headphones at a frequency that makes this device indispensable. Some users don’t really bother on knowing how to clean earbuds, mainly because they think that this is a low maintenance gadget item and needs little to no care. In reality, it is highly important that users know how to clean earbuds properly because these products may actually harbor bacteria and other dirt in the form of melted earwax. Gross, right?

How To Clean Earbuds: Step 1

The first thing you need to prepare in cleaning the earbuds from oil and dirt are the following:

  • alcohol wipes
  • dish soap
  • cotton swabs
  • cleaning brush or toothbrush
  • rubbing alcohol

Silicone Covers

Silicone covers are usually part of in-ear headphones. If you are wondering how to clean earbuds with silicone covers, the first thing you need to do is to remove them from the earbuds and soak in warm water with soap. After being soaked, you can then remove any discoloration or debris using a cotton swab. Rinse the silicone covers well and air dry them overnight; you can set them aside on soft cloth towels so that excess moisture can be absorbed on the foam. Make sure that the silicone covers are 100% dry before you put them back on.

How To Clean Earbuds: Step 2

Now that we’re done with cleaning the silicone covers, it’s time to start cleaning the main earbuds.

2.1 Begin the process by dry brushing the earbud to allow the bristle to loosen the earwax

2.2 Hold the earbuds with the mesh materials facing down so that the debris can fall out of the mesh instead of going back in. In the process of learning how to clean earbuds, you also need to learn how to manage how much you press on the earbud. Make sure you don’t press too hard or else, the dirt and debris will be pushed further in instead of out.

2.3 If you still see a waxy buildup even after doing step 2.1 and 2.2, you need to switch your tool and use a cotton swab. Dip the swab in rubbing alcohol, tap it off and start wiping the earbud to remove any dirt and residue.

2.4 Get an alcohol wipe and use it to clean the earbud as a whole. This serves a dual purpose to mildly clean the area while disinfecting it at the same time. Rubbing alcohol does an expert job in cleaning small, sensitive products like earbuds because it dries very fast and won’t have the chance to store some moisture or seep into the bud.

While we are in this step of discussing how to clean earbuds, we need to highlight the importance of not using soapy water, perfumed solutions or other cleaning products or liquid agents that may seep in and damage the insides of your earbuds. Additionally, earbuds are made of plastic so you really need to make sure that the solution you’ll be using won’t be corrosive or damaging to the material.

When using a cleaning toothbrush, make sure that it has nylon bristles, otherwise, some bristles could break off and end up getting stuck and ruining your device. Numerous study also show that nylon is a great anti-static, which implies that your earbuds won’t get fried during the cleansing process.

While we are on the topic of how to clean earbuds, you might be wondering what is the right frequency or how often should you clean your earbuds? Well, typically, it would be cool if you can clean them at least once a month. If you tend to sweat a lot or go to the gym or humid places often while using your earbuds, then you may need to clean your earbuds at least twice a month to avoid accumulation of dirt. Of course, you may wipe your earbuds with alcohol wipes as often as needed.

How To Clean Earbuds: Tips and Tricks

Now that we’ve helped you through the process of how to clean earbuds the right way, make sure to follow these steps to ensure that your earbuds will be safe and damage free. If you are what most techy people refer to as a “keyboard researcher”, you can also check out some tech pages on YouTube that feature a step by step English video on how to clean earbuds.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you are using an Apple or Android brand, or whether you are using your earbuds to listen to a podcast or your favorite jams at full volume. Bottomline is, you need to know how to clean earbuds so you can prolong its lifespan and save yourself from browsing for new ones either at your favorite grocery store or at You don’t really need to be tech savvy when it comes to learning how to clean earbuds. Just make sure you use the right materials so that your pair of favorite earbuds won’t break in the process.

We hope that this article helped you in knowing the proper way of how to clean earbuds. Remember, clean earbuds make for a fresh and enjoyable listening experience.