Clean AirPods: Pro, Max, case, microphone

Clean AirPods: Pro, Max, case, microphone

In this guide, we will show you the best way to clean AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and EarPods and how to clean the AirPods case, among other areas of your AirPods.

How to clean AirPods: advice

Firstly, as explained by Apple in their cleaning guide, do not be tempted to run your AirPods, AirPods Pro, or charging case underneath the 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 and later versions 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.

If you are wondering, if you can use a disinfectant on your AirPods, here's the thing: you can use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75% ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, and gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your AirPods and EarPods. However, don't use it on the speaker mesh, the knit mesh canopy, and the ear cushions of your AirPods Max. Also, make sure to not use products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide, and don't submerge your AirPods in any cleaning agents.

What is 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 you would clean your laptop or phone screen with).

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

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

  • Be sure not to 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

What are the 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 the AirPods microphone and how to clean the 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 some bits of grime still need to be removed, then take the wooden toothpick and use that to scrape away any remaining dirt. Whilst Apple recommends not using sharp objects, they refer to metallic pins and not wooden picks.

How to clean AirPods Max: cushions and headband

  • Remove the cushions from the ear cups.
  • Mix 1 tsp of liquid laundry detergent and 1 cup of water in a clean container. 
  • Dip a cloth into the soapy water and wring it out, then rub the cloth on the cushions and headband. Hold the headband upside down when you clean it to prevent liquid from flowing into the attachment point.
  • Wipe the cushions and headband with another water-moistened cloth.
  • Wipe the cushions and headband with a soft dry cloth.
  • Lay your AirPods Max flat for a day so they get completely dry.
AirPods Max
© AirPods Max

How to clean the case of your AirPods Max

  • To clean the Smart Case, simply use a soft and dry cloth.
  • You can slightly dampen the cloth with isopropyl alcohol if you need to.
  • Let the case dry and use it again.
  • Read the Apple guides on AirPods cleaning to get more detailed instructions if you need them. 

How to clean AirPods and AirPods Pro

Cleaning a pair of AirPods Pro is 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 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 water. This should soften any ear wax and help remove any dirt. You will want to leave the sleeves while cleaning the main AirPods Pro body.

  • After cleaning the AirPod Pros, remove the sleeves from the warm water and 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 ready.

How to clean AirPods Pro 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 AirPods.

Once again, we will begin with the Apple method for cleaning the charging case. They recommend using a soft, dry, lint-free cloth that can slightly dampen with isopropyl alcohol. Be sure not to 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 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 to remove stubborn dirt.

This is how to clean AirPods cases inside and out.

How to clean your EarPods

  • Wipe your earpods with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth, and don't use any liquids.

  • Clean the microphone and speaker meshes with a dry cotton swab and remove any debris from the meshes with a clean, dry, and soft brush.

How to disinfect AirPods

With hygiene at the forefront of everyone's minds, Apple says it is okay 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, avoid too much isopropyl alcohol, and do not be tempted to use alcoholic hand gel directly on your AirPods.

Do you need more help with your earbuds? Check out our forum!
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