How to Clean Your Earbuds

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Updated October 7, 2022

Whether or not you have the best headphones, knowing how to clean your earbuds or headphones is essential to extending their lifespan. This is even more important if you have the best wireless earbuds. These little audio devices can be a considerable investment, which means you want to keep them clean and in working order to get the most out of them.


  • First, you’ll need to ensure you have all your supplies. You’ll need a soft cloth, q-tips, lukewarm water, and isopropyl alcohol.
  • Once you have your supplies, begin by wiping away grime on the outer surface of your dirty earbuds. You’ll use a soft cloth to do so.
  • Finally, focus on cleaning the mesh screen. Use a q-tip with some isopropyl alcohol and be very gentle during this step.

Can You Clean Earbuds?

Absolutely! Just like learning how to charge your earbuds, cleaning them is crucial. This is because the build-up of grime can cause damage if a proper cleaning schedule isn’t maintained, and cleaning them improves their lifespan. Of course, you can also look into the most durable earbuds to help even more.

Insider Tip

Keeping earbuds clean is crucial to aural hygiene and keeping your ears clean.

How Do You Clean Earbuds?

Fortunately, the process of cleaning your earbuds is quite simple. So, let’s hop into it!

STEP 1 Gather Your Supplies

First, make sure you have everything you need. You’ll need some basic cleaning tools, including dry cotton swabs, isopropyl alcohol, soapy water, and a microfiber cloth.

STEP 2 Get Your Earbuds Ready

Next, take your wireless earbuds out of their charging case, or unplug your wired model. Look to see how much grime has built up to decide on your plan of attack. Since your earbuds are in your ear canal, most of the grime will be from ear wax.

STEP 3 Clean the Exterior

First, use the microfiber cloth with a bit of soapy water to clean the outer plastic shell. Use very minimal water, and be sure not to get the speaker meshes wet. This could affect the sound quality of your pair. Then, use a little warm water to clean off all the soap.

STEP 4 Clean the Interior

You’ll now want to focus on the speaker meshes. This is best done with a drop of isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab. Gently wipe it across the mesh screen. This is how you clean ear wax out of earbuds. You can also use alcohol wipes.

STEP 5 Allow for Drying

Allow your earbuds to dry completely before using them again. However, they shouldn’t be damp even after cleaning since you used minimal water and alcohol. Just ensure no moisture remains before using them again.


Not cleaning your earbuds regularly can cause soil buildup and even ear infections.

STAT: During a survey conducted in May 2019, over half of the Chinese respondents stated that they would replace wireless earbuds or headphones in one year. (source)

How to Clean Earbuds FAQs

What are the dangers of not keeping earbuds clean?

Dirty earbuds are a cesspit for ear infections. This is because they sit snugly in your ear canal, which means all of that bacteria from the buildup of earwax has direct access to your ear.

What cleaning products can I use on my standard earbuds?

You should only be using warm water and isopropyl alcohol. Any other liquid can damage your earbuds. Be careful not to use anything else, especially on the mesh speakers.

What types of earbuds are the best?

That depends on personal preference. However, the ones with foam tips tend to be more comfortable. You’ll want to make sure they come with different sizes of tips to ensure a great fit for your ear.

What should I look for when buying earbuds?

There are a few things you can keep an eye out for when doing your research, such as water resistance, great audio quality, and active noise cancelation.
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