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How to clean AirPods

If you have a pair of Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro, or even just the basic EarPods then you will be well aware that the pristine white of the earbuds, or the charging case will not last. They will both eventually gather dirt, dust, grime and unavoidably, earwax. Even if you followed Apple’s advice from the start, cleaning everything regularly with a fabric cloth, a deep clean of your AirPods can’t hurt. In this guide we will show you the best way to clean AirPods, how to clean the AirPods case among other areas of your AirPods.



How to Clean AirPods

Firstly, as explained by Apple in their cleaning guide, do not be tempted to run your AirPods, AirPods Pro or charging case underneath water, or clean them with liquids. The 1st and generations of AirPods are neither waterproof nor water resistant, neither is the charging case, and whilst the AirPods pro are water resistant, they are not waterproof. Also, do not expose your AirPods or AirPods Pro to anything that could damage them, such as soap, solvents, acids, oils etc.

Apple’s cleaning method

The Apple cleaning method is as follows:
  • For the main body of the AirPods, wipe them with a slightly dampened lint-free cloth (similar to one that you would clean your laptop or phone screen with).

  • Allow them to dry completely before then placing them into the charging case, and avoid using them until they are full dry.

  • To clean the mesh areas (the microphone and speaker), use a dry cotton swab (as you would use on your own ears).

  • Be sure to not get any liquid in the openings as this can damage the intervals.

  • Finally, avoid using sharp (metallic) objects, such as pins, to poke into the mesh.




Additional Steps

Whilst Apple’s methods should remove the worst of the external debris, there may still be some hard to reach debris in the mesh and crevices. This is where these additional steps come into play, and will show you how to clean AirPods microphone, and how to clean AirPods mesh. For these next steps you will need some Blu Tack / Fun-Tak (or an equivalent putty based product) and a wooden toothpick.

  • Now, in order to remove the dirt and the waxy residue that tends to get stuck inside the AirPod speakers and microphone mesh, take a small piece of Blu Tack and warm it up in your hand.

  • You need to gently dab it onto the speaker, rolling it around lightly, trying to get it into the corners. This should pick up almost all of the wax and dirt. Do not smush it into the mesh, because doing so can get the putty stuck into the speakers and this is a bigger problem, so be gentle!

  • If there are still some bits of grime that need to be removed, then take the wooden toothpick and use that to scrape away any remaining dirt. Whilst Apple recommends not using any sharp objects, they are referring to metallic pins and not wooden picks.


How to clean AirPods Pro

Cleaning a pair of AirPods Pro is very similar to cleaning the standard AirPods. You can follow the above steps for the majority of the process. The only difference is the silicon sleeves. Before you begin cleaning the main body using the above steps you will need to remove the sleeves.

  • You can put the sleeves into a small bowl of warm soapy water. This should soften any ear wax, and help remove any dirt. You will want to leave the sleeves whilst you clean the main AirPods Pro body.

  • After you have finished cleaning the AirPod Pros, you should remove the sleeves from the warm soapy water and quickly rinse them under a tap (be careful not to drop them).

  • Now gently wipe them dry with a dry paper towel.

  • Leave them to air dry for a further 30 minutes (to be 100% sure that they are dry).

  • After this time, you can reattach them to your AirPods Pro, and you will be good to go.


How to clean AirPods Case

That was how to clean earwax out of AirPods and how to clean AirPods Pro, now for the best way to clean AirPods cases. This method works for both types of AirPod.

Once again, we will begin with the Apple method for cleaning the charging case. They recommend using a soft, dry, lint-free cloth, which you can slightly dampen with isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to not get any liquid in the charging ports.

  • Remove debris from the Lightning connector using a clean, dry, soft-bristled brush.

  • Avoid using abrasive materials on the charging case.

  • Do not put anything in the charging ports and be careful not to damage the metal contacts.



Further steps to clear AirPods case

Continuing on from Apple’s method, you will want to use the soft-bristled brush to clean around the hinge, and the lid where you frequently open and close the case, and compress the dirt.

  • For this compressed dirt, you can use a cotton swab with a light spraying of isopropyl alcohol (never spray directly onto the case, or AirPods). This additional liquid should help ease the compacted grime.

  • You can also use the Blu Tack / putty and wooden toothpick method to remove stubborn dirt.


This is how to clean AirPods cases inside and out.

How to disinfect AirPods

With hygiene being at the forefront of everyone's minds, Apple says that it is ok to use a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe to clean the external surfaces of your AirPods, AirPods Pro or EarPods. However you should avoid using this on the speaker mesh and the microphone areas. You should never use bleach, you should avoid using too much isopropyl alcohol, and do not be tempted to use alcoholic hand gel directly on your AirPods.
Photo: Unsplash & 123rf.com

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This document, titled « How to clean AirPods », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (ccm.net).

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