How to Clean Earbuds and Headphones
We live in an era where earbuds and headphones are a necessary addition to every purse, a required accessory for every workout and for every conference call. They come in all shapes and sizes—from wireless to designer. And just like the exercise equipment and laptops we so often use them with, cleaning your earbuds and headphones is not only good for your health, but it keeps the device lasting longer and sounding better.
How to Clean Headphones
- Of course, the first step is to make sure the headphones are off and disconnected from any charging port.
- Ideally once a week, dampen a cloth in a mixture of soap and warm water then use it to wipe down headphones’ earpads and tips.
- Allow headphones to dry completely before using them again.
- Avoid the use of alcohol to clean, as this can damage the color and break down leather.
Top Rated Headphones
If you’re in the market for a great pair of headphones, see below for top rated options in a variety of price points:
- Jabra Elite Noise Cancelling Headphones – $299
- Bose Soundlink Wireless Headphones – $229
- Mpow Bluetooth Headphones – $38
- Vogek Portable Fold-Flat Headphones – $15
- Panasonic Headphones – $17
How to Clean Earbuds
As much as we clean our ears, our earbuds will inevitably get dirty. Even worse: wax buildup can muffle the sound of your earbuds.
- Using a small soft brush (like this one) remove the eartips off of the earbuds.
- Use the small metal side of the tool to very gently scoop out any ear wax. Try not to lodge the metal loop into the tip, as this might push wax deeper into the earbud.
- Now, use the soft brush side of the tool to brush any lingering grime.
- Similar to headphones, you can now use a soapy damp cloth to wipe and dry the earbuds.
- Allow earbuds to dry completely before re-attaching the eartips.
Top Rated Earbuds
If you’re in the market for a great pair of earbuds, see below for top rated options in a variety of price points. (I recommend the wireless versions if you have kids – nothing for them to grab if you’re listening while on walks or on the go!)
- Jabra Elite Alexa Enabled Wireless Earbuds – $140 (Note: My husband uses these and is obsessed with them)
- Tozo Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds – $50
- Pasonomi Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds – $40
- LETSCOM Bluetooth Sport Earbuds w/ Mic – $20
- 3.5MM Earbuds (like the old Apple Earbuds) – 2 pack for $10
How To Keep Earbuds and Headphones Clean
Follow these three rules of thumb to help keep your earbuds and headphones clean in-between washes.
- Despite whether or not your earbuds or headphones are “water-” or “sweat-resistant” it’s crucial that you allow them to fully dry after working out. If they stay wet for too long, the moisture can seep into the battery, which may cause them to short circuit and stop working.
- Proper storage is key! Keep your earbuds and headphones in a bag or in their case when not in use. This will protect the device from dirt, scratches, and other environmental damage.
- Avoid very hot or very cold temperatures. From saunas to car trunks, keep your earbuds and headphones away from areas where dirt can get into the device or ear wax can melt. Gross!
And that’s it! Cleaning your earbuds and headphones doesn’t take a lot of work, but the effort you put in will benefit the device in the long run.
Kait is the founder and editor of A Clean Bee. She is passionate about discovering natural, eco-friendly, and sustainable ways to clean and organize her home. Kait has been featured in online publications such as NBC News, Oprah Magazine, BuzzFeed and PopSugar for her expertise in natural cleaning techniques. She enjoys spending her off-time outside in her garden with her husband and their two small boys.