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How to clean your AirPods and AirPods Pro

Here's how to give your AirPods a nice little scrub-a-dub.

Published onApril 3, 2021

The longer you hang onto your AirPods or AirPods Pro, the more dirt and grime they tend to pick up. Even if the mess is an accident, you should have no problems cleaning them back up again. Here are the steps to follow if you want to clean your AirPods or AirPods Pro.

See also: How to clean your earbuds and headphones

We’re not going to tell you to go out and grab just any old cleaning supplies, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll walk you through the safest materials and the easiest steps to follow. Ready to give your earbuds a new lease on life? Let’s go.

What materials do you need to clean your AirPods?

House cleaning products stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Before you get to scrubbing, you have to gather your tools. There’s a solid chance that you already have most of these materials, but you may need to head to the store for a few of them. Here’s what you’ll want to grab:

  • 70-90% pure isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Paper towels or a soft, dry cloth
  • A soft toothbrush only used for cleaning
  • Adhesive putty
  • Liquid dish soap and warm water

How should you clean them?

A picture of the Apple AirPods Pro earbuds in a man's open hand with an iPhone in the background.

Once you have all of your cleaning supplies, it’s time to set up your battle station. Lay your paper towels on an open stretch of countertop and arrange the rest of your supplies. Now, grab your AirPods and remove them from the charging case. If you’re cleaning your AirPods Pro, remove the soft ear tips and drop them into a mixture of dish soap and warm water. We’ll come around to them a bit later on.

Bust out the brushes

Hold your cleaning toothbrush in your non-dominant hand, bristle side up. We’re cleaning this way to avoid applying too much pressure on the earbuds themselves. Now, hold your AirPod in your dominant hand and brush it over the bristles to knock away any earwax and gunk. You don’t have to get it all, just work on clearing out the larger and looser chunks.

Once you have the larger pieces cleared out, it’s time to grab your adhesive putty. Carefully dab it on each AirPod to pull the smaller debris out of the grate. Make sure not to use too much pressure, as you don’t want to wedge the putty right back into the grill that you’re cleaning.

If you can no longer see any real dirt or grime, it’s time to sanitize. Take your cotton swab and dab it into the isopropyl alcohol. Now, lightly brush the exterior of each earbud. Our goal isn’t to soak the pair, just to lightly wipe it clean.

See also: Apple AirPods Pro review

Turn back to the ear tips

How to clean headphones 3

At this point, your soft ear tips have probably been in their solution for a little while. If you’re not in a rush, it doesn’t hurt to leave them there. If you have standard AirPods, you can skip this step entirely. Pull the ear tips from your cleaning solution and give them a nice rinse in warm water. Make sure to rinse both the inside and outside of the tips.

You can wipe any remaining gunk away with a cotton swab, and now let your ear tips sit and dry on a fresh paper towel. Don’t rush to put your AirPods back together, as you don’t want to get any moisture lodged in them.

See also: How to clean your computer screen

Cleaning your AirPods: A few things to remember

The Apple AirPods Pro earbuds charging case in a man's hand.

No matter how much you clean your AirPods, you won’t be able to remove discoloration. It helps to sanitize and remove solid waste from them, but you have to do so regularly to avoid permanent stains. We recommend, or at least the team at our sister site Sound Guys recommends, cleaning your earbuds of any make or model approximately every 72-hours of listening. If you listen for one hour a day, this means every two months or so.

You may think that aggressively cleaning your ears can help your earbuds, but we advise you to be careful. Earwax, or at least some earwax, is meant to be there. Cotton swabs can damage your hearing, leave you open to ear infections, and even change the way your AirPods fit.

We’ve given you a few great ways to clean your AirPods, so focus on keeping them in tip-top shape. If you want to clean your phone as well, check out our handy guide below.

Read next: How to clean and disinfect your phone to help prevent the spread of germs

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