How to Clean AirPods Case

Don't ignore a dirty AirPods case

What to Know

  • You'll need a microfiber cloth (or an ordinary soft cloth) and a cotton swab. You might need isopropyl alcohol but use only with directions.
  • Never pour or spray any liquid directly on or into the case or blast compressed air into it.
  • Soft tools only: metallic and sharp objects can damage the case.

This article explains how to keep your AirPods case clean without damaging the finish or mechanism. It doesn't matter whether you have AirPods or AirPods Pro; the cleaning process is the same in either case. 

What You Need to Clean Your Dirty AirPods Case

Before you get started, you'll need a few supplies. Ideally, collect a microfiber cloth and a cotton swab. If you don't have a microfiber cloth, an ordinary soft cloth will do. If you have a particularly dirty case, you can also use some isopropyl alcohol, but only by following the directions below.

Apple Airpods with cleaning supplies, including a microfiber cloth and cotton swab.

Cleaning Your AirPods Case 

Here is the best way to clean your AirPods charging case and AirPods Pro case when it's dirty.

  1. First clean the interior. Open the case and remove the AirPods or AirPods Pro. 

  2. Get a cotton swab. If it's especially fluffy, you might want to gently remove a little of the fluff from the end of the swab, leaving behind just the tightly packed tip. 

    A cotton swab with some of the tip removed.
  3. Use the swab to remove dirt, grime, and ear wax on the interior of the case, cleaning the inside upper lid, groove around the lower half of the case, and the carve-out for the earbuds themselves. 

    Cleaning the AirPods case with a cotton swab.
  4.  

    Be careful when cleaning the stem well. It's rare for dirt to get down into that part of the case, but if it does, extend the swab into the well past the debris and then push the swab against the well as you pull the swab up, "sweeping" the debris out with the tip of the swab. It's important not to accidentally push deeper into the well or to touch the charging contacts at the bottom.  

    Cleaning the stem well of an AirPods case with a cotton swab.
  5. If necessary, you can dampen the swab with isopropyl alcohol to clean the upper portions of the case, but never use a dampened swab in the stem well. 

  6. After the interior is clean, close the lid and clean the exterior. Use a microfiber cloth thoroughly wipe the outside of the case. If needed, feel free to dampen the cloth with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to encourage the dirt to come loose. 

    A microfiver cloth being used to clean the exterior of an AirPods case.
  7. If the case's charging port is dirty or clogged, you can clean it using the same techniques discussed in Safely and Properly Cleaning Your iPhone's Charging Port

What Not to Do When Cleaning Your AirPods Case

Cleaning something like your AirPods case seems like common sense, but in this case, common sense cleaning strategies can get you in trouble. Here are some hard "don'ts:"

  • Never pour or spray any liquid directly on or into the case. The worst-case scenario here is that liquid will get on the charging contacts at the bottom of the stem well.
  • Never blast compressed air in the open case. It can force debris into the stem well, where it can foul or damage the charging contacts at the bottom of the well.
  • Never use anything metallic or sharp to work gunk lose or scrape dirt away.