We know your secret — your earbuds are gross — but luckily, they’re easy to clean. Earbuds can harbor hundreds of thousands of bacteria, so leaving them to fester is unhygienic and can lead to ear infections.
Once you’ve given your earbuds a thorough clean, simply wiping them with a microfiber cloth once a week should remove the worst of the dirt. We would, however, recommend giving them a deeper clean and sanitizing them every couple of months to remove bacteria and get rid of earwax and other dirt that’s made its way into hard-to-reach areas.
Once you know how to clean earbuds, it’s easy to keep it up by regularly wiping them down. After a period of neglect, the first time you clean your earbuds will take some extra care and attention to get into all those nooks and crannies. It’s certainly worth the small amount of effort to have sparkling clean earbuds.
Now you know how often you should clean your earbuds, how do you go about the cleaning process? Luckily, it isn’t difficult, and while it might seem like one more chore to add to your list, you’ll be pleased once you’re done.
Once removed, drop them in a bowl of warm soapy water and leave them to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow any wax to loosen. We’d recommend using a mild soap like Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap. After leaving them to soak, wipe them with a microfiber cloth to remove any dirt and set them aside until you’ve cleaned the rest of your earbuds.
If your earphones are of the variety that has flexible silicone earpieces, start by removing these and cleaning them. You should be able to simply pull them off the body of the headphones without damaging them.
The majority of the dirt on your earbuds probably comes from dried earwax. It can get in any crevices and recesses, which makes it hard to remove. We’d highly recommend buying a brush designed to clean hearing aids, as they’re specifically designed for removing wax from earpieces.
You could also utilize a reusable cotton swab or even a toothpick to get into the tiniest crevices. Alternatively, you can buy special putties designed for removing dirt from hard-to-clean items like earbuds and computer keyboards. The putty molds itself to every tiny crevice where any dirt adheres to it and is lifted away when you remove the putty.
By this point, you will have removed any visible dirt from your in-ear headphones, but there may still be bacteria lurking on their surfaces. Since you put them directly in your ear, you can get ear infections from unsanitary earbuds. Lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol and use it to clean your earbuds, making sure to get into any nooks and crannies. You could also use alcohol wipes to clean your earbuds. Make sure to let your earbuds air dry before using them, putting them away or returning them to their charging case. Your earbuds must dry completely before you put them into a charging case, as you could damage the case or the earbuds by getting moisture in there.
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