Let's face it: while Apple's AirPods are shiny and white, yours likely got dirty with just a little use. Coupled with an AirPods case that can show signs of wear and tear, the fully wireless headphones are known to attract dirt, grime, and even ear wax while in use.
Here's a look at how to safely clean both your AirPods and AirPods case to keep them looking like new again.
How to clean your AirPods
Before you start cleaning your AirPods, we need to ask ourselves one big question: are AirPods waterproof? The bad news is that no, AirPods are not waterproof. So when cleaning the earbuds or the case, you have to use little to no water.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can clean AirPods without damaging the delicate electronics inside.
Use a microfiber cloth
One of the most indispensable tools you can have when cleaning Apple AirPods and pretty much any other electronic device is a microfiber cloth.
You've probably seen one of these towels, and you might even have a couple in the house. If you don't, make sure you have one with you to clean your AirPods. This two-pack of MagicFiber microfiber cleaning wipes is a good place to start.
The science behind microfiber towels is simple. Made from thousands of tiny fibers, the cloth can pick up and remove dust, oil, fingerprints, dirt, and just about anything else that can stain your AirPods. All of this can be done without detergent or even water. And the cloth works wonders without leaving any fluff or anything else.
Take each AirPod in one hand with a microfiber cloth and wipe it with the microfiber cloth. Put some pressure on the cloth to remove more stubborn stains.
Make sure you have the microfiber cloth with you. It will come in handy for other chores around the house and is perfect for cleaning electronic screens like iPhone, iPad, and even TV or computer screens.
Use a small amount of electronically safe cleaner
If a microfiber cloth can't completely clean your Apple AirPods, there is another product that can help. WHOOSH is a great non-toxic and odorless cleaner specially made for electronics. The formula does not contain alcohol or ammonia.
There are many different starter kits available. This WHOOSH Screen Cleaner Kit contains two bottles of formula and three microfiber cloths.
To clean your AirPods, spray a little of the formula onto one of the wipes that came with it – a little goes a long way here. Then wipe each AirPod individually. When cleaning with WHOOSH, be careful to avoid both microphone and speaker openings.
The cleaner is also great for adding shine to other electronic devices like an Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and more.
Use a cotton swab to remove the wax from the AirPods
Use AirPods for any amount of time and you will find ear wax build up around the earbud opening. Not only is ear wax gross, but it can also degrade the sound quality of the AirPods.
To make wax a past problem, use a dry cotton swab. Gently slide it around the speaker mesh and remove any wax. You can also clean the opening of the microphone with a cotton swab. For a harder removal of dirt and wax, consider using a soft tool.
Something to avoid is a small, sharp object like a toothpick. While it may seem tempting to use it to remove wax, too much pressure can result in accidentally puncturing the AirPods mesh cover and permanently damaging the earbud.
Use an AirPods cleaning kit
The Full Circle Control Alt Clean Set offers two different ways to clean your AirPods. One end of the tool has a round soft tip that is perfect for cleaning the AirPods grille and lifting wax out. On the other side is a brush with soft bristles. The set also includes a microfiber cloth.
How to clean your AirPods case
Along with the AirPods themselves, the case is made of the same white material that can easily show dirt, grime and other junk when in use. Before tackling the case yourself, go downstairs and find the Lightning port. Be sure to use a soft, dry brush to remove dirt from the connector.
While you may want to plug something else into the charging port to clean it, like a toothpick, this is something you should avoid. It could damage the metallic Lightning contacts and cause charging problems later.
Next, it's time to tackle the charging case yourself. Spray WHOOSH on a microfiber cloth and walk around and the AirPods case to wipe it clean. Make sure you stay away from the charging port.
Consider using an AirPods case
An easy way to keep your AirPods case clean is to buy a protective case. There are several advantages to using a suitcase. Not only does it protect the case from dirt and the elements, it can also protect your case and earbuds from drops and bumps.
Many offer a carabiner to securely attach the bag to a handbag, backpack, or something else. That's a big plus as the AirPods case is easy to lose due to its small size.
Here are two great fall options:
SUPcase Unicorn Beetle Pro Series case
The SUPCase Unicorn Beetle Pro Series case is compatible with both generations of AirPods and offers excellent protection for the wireless headphones. The hardshell case has a two-piece design so you can quickly open the case to access the AirPods. Thanks to an included carabiner, you can attach the bag to your backpack, wallet, belt loop and more for easy access.
A recess on the underside of the housing allows access to the Lightning port for charging. The case is also compatible with wireless chargers. There is a small cutout to show the front LED status light. You can choose from seven different colors to suit your style.
GMYLE AirPods case
For everyday protection, take a look at the GMYLE AirPods case. This lightweight silicone case is compatible with both generations of AirPods. The housing is scratch-resistant and dirt or stains can be easily wiped off. There are cutouts for both the Lightning port and the status LED. It can also be used with wireless chargers.
The supplied carabiner can be removed if necessary. And there should definitely be a color that suits you, because GMYLE offers 45 different colors to choose from.
Cleaning your AirPods is easy
With a little work and a few simple household cleaners, you can keep your AirPods looking as pristine as they were the day you bought them. And our simple cleaning tips ensure that the wireless headphones won't be damaged.
If you've ever misplaced or lost your earbuds, be sure to check out How to Track and Find Your AirPods Using an iPhone.
How to Track and Find AirPods Using Your iPhone
Lost your AirPods or case? Here's how to use your iPhone to find your AirPods to find them.
About the author
(183 published articles)
Born and raised in sunny west Texas, Brent graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in Journalism. He has been writing about technology for over 5 years and enjoys everything Apple, accessories, and security related.
By Brent Dirks
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