It’s time to clean the coarse earwax and dirt out of your AirPods. We’ll tell you how


Clean your earphones regularly.

Katie Teague / CNET

When was the last time you cleaned AirPods or earphones? It does not take long before they become filled with dirt, over time earwax, grease and dirt can get stuck inside your earphones. It is rough and can affect the crisp, clear sound that you are probably used to hearing. And dirty earphones can lead to infections (more below). So if you have not given them a good cleaning, it’s time.

Getting the gun out the wrong way can damage your earphones, even if they are waterproof. For example, be extra careful when cleaning the mesh speaker and microphone on AirPods when removing sticky dirt – don’t worry, we’ll tell you how.

Read more: AirPods 3 review: Great sound upgrade

Before you start getting your earphones squeaky clean again, make sure they are turned off and disconnected from all the paired devices. And if you are considering getting a new pair, here’s what you need to know about deal with or sell your earphones to buy the latest, third generation AirPods.This story was recently updated.

Failure to clean your earphones can lead to infections

Your ears produce natural earwax, medically known as cerumen, to protect your ears. When you use earphones often, wax can stick to them and contain bacteria. Repeatedly putting the earphones in your ears without disinfecting them can transmit the bacteria to your ear canal, which can lead to an infection, according to Baton Rouge General.

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How to clean earphones with removable silicone tips

If you own a set of earplugs with removable silicone tips, e.g. AirPods Pro or the JBL Reflect Flow Pro, you are lucky because they are a little easier to keep clean. The silicone tip helps protect the speaker from earwax and other dirt, and they pop off easily.

To clean the tips, remove them from the headphones and soak them in warm soapy water for 30 minutes. If they are really dirty, you can shake the container to loosen the dirt. Then use a clean cloth or cotton swab to remove any remaining earwax or dirt and allow the silicone tips to dry completely.

If you have a pair of earphones that do not come with silicone tips, you can buy some on Amazon, depending on the style of the earphones. For example, regular AirPods do not come with the tips, but we like these $ 10 ear tips that you can add yourself.

Read more: See our selection of best AirPods Pro accessories

Apple Airpods Pro

Clean the silicone tips often.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The best ways to clean your AirPods and other earphones

Apple has a few suggestions for the right way to clean your AirPods. One method is to use a disinfectant or alcohol wipe to clean the outer surfaces – but do not use it on the speaker network. If you use liquid to clean your earphones, dry them completely before use.

For microphone and speaker masks, use a dry cotton swab and a soft brush to gently wipe away dirt. Do not press too hard as you do not want to push the wax through the net. It would be almost impossible to get it out of there.

CNET contributor Matt Elliott suggests using Fun-Tak to remove stubborn earwax residue. To do this, rub Fun-Tak together to warm it up and then press it against the speaker. You can then use a wooden toothpick to scrape off anything stuck on the sides of the speaker cavity.

If you only want to stick to Apple products, the giant technology company released its own Polishing cloth, which costs $ 19 and has a compatibility list. Although AirPods do not appear to be on the list of products compatible with … a cloth, it can still be useful for hard-core Apple fans who want to give their earphones a shine. Otherwise, you can find a basic microfiber cloth for external dusting.

You should also clean your charging box. Here’s how you do it

If you have wireless earphones, they typically live in a charging case. (We hope you do not just throw them in your jacket pocket or backpack to collect lint.) Since it is their home, you will also want to keep it clean.

First, use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to wipe away dirt. If necessary, you can moisten the cloth a little with water or alcohol, but avoid getting liquid inside the charging ports at all.

wireless airpods charging cases

Also keep your charging case clean.

Rick Broida / CNET

But do not clean your earphones this way

Although we know that some earphones are waterproof or waterproof, we do not recommend immersing them in water to clean them – only the removable silicone tips. Too many things can go wrong. For example, some waterproof earphones are only designed to be immersed in water for about 30 minutes. But what happens if you forget it? Instead, stay on the safe side and dampen a microfiber cloth or cotton swab and gently wipe away the dirt.

We also do not recommend using a sharp object, such as a safety pin, to clean your speaker or microphone masks, as it may puncture the speaker. Instead, use a soft brush or wooden toothpick to gently remove dirt.

For more information, here is what you need to know about Apple’s latest AirPods, as well differences between the new AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro.

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