How to Fix Water Damaged Earbuds

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Updated September 15, 2022

If you are new to the world of personal audio devices, you may want to learn how to fix water-damaged earbuds. Some of the best headphones, after all, are earbuds and these devices can become damaged when exposed to large amounts of water. So what causes the best wireless earbuds to become water damaged, and what are the best methods to clear up the issue? Keep reading to find out.


  • Earbuds become water-damaged by accidentally going into the washing machine, into the ocean, or into large bodies of water of any kind.
  • Start fixing the issue of water-damaged headphones by trying the rice method. Drop the earbuds into a large amount of uncooked rice and see if that fixes the water damage.
  • You can also allow them to dry naturally, use a fan, use dry towels, or soak them in distilled water to help root out impurities and assist in the drying process.

How Do Earbuds Get Damaged by Water?

Earbuds are tiny and can easily get lost in the wash, forcing you to learn how to fix earbuds that only work on one side, among other issues. Even water-resistant earbuds can struggle when submerged in a large body of water, also forcing you to learn how to fix earbuds. If your earbuds boast no water resistance of any kind, then even a rainstorm or being dropped in a puddle can cause issues.

Insider Tip

Always immediately power down your earbuds when they accidentally come into contact with water.

How to Fix Earbuds After Being Washed (or Submerged)

There is not one universal solution here, as it depends on the design of your earbuds, what happened to them, and the extent of the damage. Here are some troubleshooting steps to consider taking to solve the issue of a water-damaged pair of earbuds.

Uncooked Rice

The rumors are true. Uncooked rice is a great way to fix water-damaged earbuds. Rice naturally absorbs moisture and even draws out excess water from the interior components of your earbuds. Start by powering the earbuds down completely, as you never want to keep water-damaged earbuds running. Next, drop them in a large container of rice and let them sit there for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. Try powering them on and see if that fixed the issue.

STAT: The circuitry and electronics in headphones are sensitive to moisture. If the interior wiring is still receiving power after your headphones have been flooded or dunked, it can short-circuit and be instantly damaged. (source)

Dry Them Normally

This is a good option for earbuds that have been exposed to plain tap water. Just leave them alone and allow the earbuds to dry out naturally for one to three days. Use a soft cloth to help them along.

Try Distilled Water

Distilled water, also called deionized water, can actually help save your water-damaged earbuds, particularly if they went through the wash or fell in the ocean. Soaking your earbuds in distilled water will remove any contaminants, chemicals, and anything else rooting around in the components. After that, allow them to dry naturally or try the rice method again.

Fix Waterlogged Earbuds FAQs

Can all kinds of water damage headphones the same way?

More or less, although it depends on the type of water your wet headphones were exposed to. Tap water droplets contain fewer impurities than, say, ocean water or laundry water.

What not to do when headphones get water damaged?

If you have wet headphones or a wet electronic device of any kind, do not plug them into a headphone jack or power outlet. Power them down immediately, even if they are water-resistant.

How to prevent water damage in headphones?

Buy water-resistant earbuds that can easily fend off splashes of water, water droplets, and other forms of moisture without accruing damage to the electric circuits of the electronic device.
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