The Best Way to Clean Earbuds

Whilst you walk along the street listening to all your best music, have you ever thought maybe I should clean my headphones or earbuds? Well, if not, it is something you should consider doing to freshen them up and rid them of nasty bacteria and grime.

If you use them regularly, think about all the times you’ve held your earbuds in your hands whilst traveling on the subway or walking around stores, and then you transfer whatever germs or dirt is on your hands onto your earbuds. Then you put them into your ears to listen to your music, don’t overthink it though as it may repulse you but the best thing to do is give them a clean and you don’t need to worry no more.

This is another scenario that happens to many people, as your earbuds are in your ears and you start running for the bus or just to catch up with someone, they can fall out of your ears and drop on the ground. Again, this is not something you want to put inside your ears.

Even without these elements or situations happening, another issue to be aware of is infections that can occur in your ears. If you go to college and you and your friends like to stand around listening to the latest music, if your give your friend one of your earbuds to listen to what you are playing and either one of your has an ear infection, chances are the other person will catch it – and wants that!

Inside your ears can be warm and if you stick earbuds into your ears, they will be even warmer as fresh air won’t be able to circulate – heat and moisture is a perfect breeding ground for germs – so you mustn’t add germs to your ears via your earbuds.

Headphones should also be cleaned as they completely block any airflow to the inside of your ears once they have been put over your ears. With so many of the latest headphones and earbuds being designed to block out external noise, it shows how fixed they are to your ears.

It is important to clean both headphones and earbuds if you follow these steps below you will be able to keep your audio equipment clean and ready to put into your ears.

Cleaning Earbuds the Right Way

Sanitizing earphoneThe main thing to think about when cleaning your earbuds is that you don’t want them to get too wet or dipped into water as they are electrical equipment after all and water or liquid can damage the workings of your earbuds – we don’t want that to happen to your earbuds.

First, you will need to get yourself prepared with some bits ready to clean your earbuds, as you don’t want to have to get up to grab something once you have started – plus you will want to clean your earbuds in the shortest amount of time so you can get on with your day.

Cleaning Checklist:

  • Q-tip x 3
  • Alcohol rub/hand sanitizer
  • Alcohol hand wipe
  • Paper towel
  • Soap and warm water
  • Small bowl or tub (if using the soap and warm water method)

There are a few ways that you can clean your earbuds, either with just alcohol rub/hand sanitizer, an alcohol wipe, or regular soap and warm water. The choice is yours.
You will need to remove the ear tip first. This is the cover that is over the actual earbud where the sound comes out from. These come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from different materials.

Generally, most ear tips are made from silicone, although you can get foam tips and other types of materials that are gentle on your ears, and also these materials are used as they are tested to ensure a good fit into anyone’s ear shape.

Now the ear tip is taken off, this needs to be cleaned first.

If you prefer the soap and warm water cleaning method, then all you need to do is grab your small bowl or tub and fill it with some warm water. You can then wet the soap and rub both your hands on the soap as if you were washing your own hands – so lather up! Grab your ear tip and place between the palms of your hands and rub the ear tip with the bubbles you have created from the soap and use your fingers to rub the ear tip to remove any particles that are stuck onto the ear tip such as ear wax or any dirty marks.

Simply rinse the bubbles off in the tub of warm water, ensuring you give the ear tip a gentle rub to remove any soap. Grab your paper towel and give the ear tip a good dry. You will need to let your ear tip air dry for a while to ensure it is completely dry. This is a good method for silicone or thin foam ear tips.

Another cleaning option is to use an alcohol hand wipe. These wipes are wet with alcohol that can kill germs. Simply wipe over the ear tip with the wipe. Then if preferred you can give the ear tip a rinse in water or simply let it dry naturally or paper towel dry.

The last option is to use alcohol rub or hand sanitizer. It will need to be at least 65% alcohol to ensure it kills the germs and bacteria. You will need to take your Q-tip and place some liquid of either the alcohol rub or hand sanitizer onto it. Make sure the Q-tip is not saturated.

Use the Q-tip to wipe around the ear tip removing any particles or wax build-up, allowing the liquid to sterilize your ear tip. Once complete, you can wipe the ear tip with a paper towel and allow it to dry. This method works well on silicone ear tips.

Now, set your ear tip to one side and it’s time to clean your earbud.

The soap and warm water method are not recommended for the cleaning of the earbud due to the electrical components and water can damage and get inside your earbud, so your only options are alcohol rub/hand sanitizer, or alcohol hand wipe.

If using the wipe, gently remove any particles that you can see or earwax and then wipe the earbud over with the wipe, ensuring that none of the liquid from the wipe goes inside the earbud.

Instead, you can use the alcohol rub/hand sanitizer and Q-tip method. Wet the Q-tip, just like before make sure you don’t get the Q-tip too wet. Then gently wipe around the earbud with caution. You can then use the paper towel to dry the earbud off.

You now have one very clean and germ-free earbud to listen to your music. All you need to do is wait a little while until they are fully dry. Then reassemble the ear tip onto the earbud and your good to go.

Wireless Earbud Cleaning

Man hold wireless earphoneCleaning Checklist:

  • Alcohol hand wipe
  • Alcohol rub/hand sanitizer
  • Paper towel
  • Q-Tip x 2

The cleaning process for these is similar to the regular earbuds but no soap and water can be used. Just like the earbud itself, you can only use alcohol rub/hand sanitizer, or alcohol hand wipes.

You may find it easier to use the alcohol hand wipe as you can wipe over the whole earbud, although before doing so, make sure you remove any particles or wax that you can see and ensure no liquid gets inside the earbud. Use the kitchen towel to dry them after.

If you prefer the alcohol rub/hand sanitizer method, then you will need to do the same as above, by wetting the Q-tip slightly then wiping it all over the earbud but being careful not to get any inside. Simply, dry off with the paper towel and they are nice a clean.

You can wipe the charging unit over if you want to ensure a thorough clean, but don’t get the charging unit too wet. Allow both to dry then find that uplifting playlist and get dancing.

Clean Wrap-Around Earphones

Cleaning Checklist:

  • Alcohol hand wipe
  • Alcohol rub/hand sanitizer
  • Paper towel
  • Q-Tip x 2

If you have the wrap-around earphones that you attach to the back of your ear to keep them securely in place, then using an alcohol hand wipe is a good cleaning solution. All you need to do is wipe around the frame that goes behind your ear, ensuring you remove any dirt and grease.

Then wipe around the earbud area and let them dry. You can use the Q-tip method if preferred, both will work great on these types of earphones.

Clean On-Ear Headphones

Female holding headphoneCleaning Checklist:

  • Q-tip x 3
  • Alcohol hand wipe
  • Alcohol rub/hand sanitizer
  • Paper towel
  • Soap and warm water
  • Small tub with some warm water in

To clean your headphones you will first need to remove the earpad – this is only if you can as some you won’t be able to take off. If you can remove them, you can either use the soap and warm water method to give them a clean, or either of the alcohol methods, but don’t overdo it as if your earpads are leather, alcohol can destroy leather, so use just a small amount of alcohol or when using the wipe dry them with the paper towel immediately.

Make sure you get into the cracks of the earpads, to ensure you get all the dirt, you can use a Q-tip to do this if you find that easier.

You can clean the earcup area, even if you weren’t able to remove the earpad you will still be able to clean some of the earcups that are exposed. Be very gentle with the earcups, and remove any particles first. Then you can wipe them over with an alcohol hand wipe or the Q-tip method. Let them dry for a bit and put the earpads, back on once dry and hit play.

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