How to Clean AirPods

You don't have to use gross AirPods

What to Know

  • Apple recommends cleaning your AirPods with a slightly dampened, lint-free cloth, a dry lint-free cloth, and cotton swabs.
  • Using Apple's method may not remove all the earwax from speaker ports, but you can use a toothpick and Fun-Tak (carefully).
  • If you can't get your AirPods clean, there are services like PodSwap that will swap your AirPods out for a refurbished pair for a fee.

This article provides instructions for safely cleaning your Apple Airpods, including removing earwax in AirPods and information on how often you should clean them.

How to Clean Your AirPods

Your AirPods may get gunky and dirty if you use them regularly, and this could reduce the sound quality you get when using them. To clean them, Apple has a recommended method for cleaning AirPods that includes: wiping with a slightly dampened, lint-free cloth or a Clorox wipe and then dry them with a dry lint-free cloth.

Someone wiping off AirPods with a slightly dampened, lint-free cloth.

Do not use any detergents or other types of soap or cleaner on your AirPods as it can cause skin irritation if you don't get it completely removed from the AirPods.

Be very careful during this process not to get water into any of the holes in the AirPods because although AirPods Pro are water-resistant, they are not waterproof. If water gets inside an AirPod, it could cause damage.

If you need to clean the charging case for your AirPods, you can repeat the same process, using a slightly damp, lint-free cloth first, followed by a dry lint-free cloth. If there are stains or stubborn dirt on the outside of the AirPods case, you can use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth to remove it, but again, use caution to prevent getting any liquid inside the AirPods.

To clean the external charging port (where the cable connects to your AirPods case), you can use a soft, dry brush to brush away any debris which may have collected in the port.

If you're clearing your AirPods Pro, you can remove the ear tips, rinse them under clean water, and wipe the rest of the AirPod using the method listed here. Be sure to dry the ear tips completely before aligning them and snapping them back into place.

Do not put anything damp down into the charging ports on your AirPods or AirPods Pro charging case. If necessary, you can use a small, soft dry brush to remove any debris that may have gotten down into the charging ports.

How to Remove Earwax in AirPods

If earwax is a problem in your AirPods, Apple recommends using a dry Q-Tip to brush any dirt or wax out of the speaker port on your AirPods. Unfortunately, this method might not remove the ear wax. Therefore it's necessary to find another way to clean them.

Someone cleaning an AirPods speaker port with a Q-Tip.

Using a small toothpick, you can gently scrape the ear wax from around the edges of the speaker port on your AirPods. Don't stick the toothpick into the holes in the speaker cover, as this could damage the speaker.

Instead, if you have stubborn earwax or debris stuck to the speaker cover, one thing you can try is to use Fun-Tak, a removable mounting putty, to pull the debris through the speaker cover. To do that, knead the putty until it's pliable, then gently press it onto the speaker opening. When you pull it away, debris will stick in the putty. Repeat the knead and press actions as often as necessary to clean the loose earwax and debris from your AirPods.

Do not press the Fun-Tak too deeply into the speaker opening, as it could break off into the internal areas of the AirPods and cause the AirPods to become non-functional.

What If I Can't Get My AirPods Clean?

If you've gotten your AirPods so gunked up that it's impossible to get them clean without the risk of ruining them, there is one other option. You can use PodSwap, which will take your old AirPods and swap them out for refurbished ones for a fee. This service is handy if your AirPods also have super low battery life.

  • How do you clean the AirPods' case?

    With a soft, preferably microfiber cloth and either some warm water or isopropyl alcohol, gently wipe down the case. Let the case completely dry before using.

  • How do you keep AirPods clean?

    Regularly giving them a quick wipe with a soft cloth every once in a while will prolong the period you can wait in-between deeper cleanings.

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