We’ll be the first to admit that when Apple launched its AirPods, we were skeptical. Not only did they look a little like having electric toothbrush heads stuck in your ears but they were (OK, they still are) ridiculously easy to accidentally toss into the washing machine. But it didn’t take us long to realize that these tiny buds are actually pretty great. We’re totally on board with the three hours of talk or listening time hands-free, plus the fact that we can skip or play songs with a simple touch. We also love the sleek white design. But that modern aesthetic comes at a price—namely, it does nothing to hide dirt and grime. Not only is it kind of gross but any residue blocking up the speaker grilles could also reduce the sound quality. That’s why it’s recommended that you give your buds a quick clean once a week. Fortunately, doing so only takes a minute or two.
How to clean AirPods
First, use a dry, soft, lint-free cloth to gently buff the exterior of the AirPods. We like these microfiber cloths from Amazon that come as a set of 24. FYI: These wipes are also ideal for cleaning your computer or phone screen.
Next, use a dry cotton swab to clean the microphone and speaker meshes. (Let’s be honest, this is probably the dirtiest part of your AirPods and most likely filled with at least a little bit of ear wax.) Use a cotton swab to gently remove all that gunk. Need a little more help? You can also use a clean, dry soft-bristled toothbrush to carefully remove additional debris. And that’s it—simple.
To keep your AirPods fresh, keep your ears clean too. Doctors strongly advise against using cotton swabs in your ear canal because it could damage your hearing. You can, however, use a swab to keep the outer ear free of wax or wipe the area with a warm, damp washcloth.
One more thing to keep in mind: Don’t be tempted to put your AirPods in water. Per Apple, this is a very bad idea since they’re water-resistant but not waterproof. Another top tip? Don’t use a sharp object (like a toothpick) to clean your AirPods; it could damage the product or cause dirt to be pushed further into the device.
But what should you do if your AirPods come into contact with liquid, like sweat from a workout or an accidental water spill in your purse? First, wipe them down with a dry microfiber cloth. Next, dry the case by placing it upside down and keeping the lid open. Wait until both items are completely dry before using them. If you managed to expose your AirPods to something that could cause stains or other damage (soap, lotion, perfume, etc.), then Apple suggests wiping them clean with a cloth that’s been slightly dampened with fresh water and then drying with a soft, lint-free cloth. (But maybe don’t spill on them next time, OK?)
How to clean the AirPods’ charging case
Use a microfiber cloth to get rid of any dirt or dust in the case. If you need a little more oomph, Apple suggests slightly dampening the cloth with isopropyl alcohol. Just make sure no liquid gets into the charging ports.