How to clean earbuds/headphones? (Remove earwax and disinfect with alcohol)

Everyone owns multiple pairs of earphones/headphones these days. These devices have become essential for work, entertainment, and for consuming all sorts of digital content.

If you have been using earphones for a few days, you will notice signs of some dirt and waxy substance on them. Not only is this extremely gross to look at, but very unhygienic too.

So here is an article that explains how to clean earbuds at home quickly.

Before you start off, here is a list of some things that you will need to clean your earbuds/earphones.

  1. Cotton buds
  2. Rubbing alcohol/IsoPropyl alcohol-based Cleaner
  3. Microfiber cloth
  4. Toothbrush
  5. Rubber Air Blower (Optional)

Source: Brandon Butch

You can purchase all of these online from the Amazon links given below:

  1. Johnson’s Baby Cotton Buds
  2. Isopropyl Alcohol 99.9% Purity (IPA)
  3. MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
  4. Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrush
  5. Rubber Blowing Dust Ball Air Blower

How to clean earbuds/earphones?

This section covers the steps that need to be followed to clean all types of earbuds and wired/wireless earphones. Even if you are using headphones, do not skip to the next section, as the process is more or less the same for both.

Let’s start by cleaning the case in which you put your earbuds/earphones in.

Step 1: Take the earbuds out of the charging case and store them somewhere safe. 

Step 2: Close the charging case and, using an alcohol wipe, clean its external surface. 

Step 3: Now, open it and wipe the internals. If you find an area that is hard to reach, use cotton ear buds dipped in rubbing alcohol. Cleaning earbuds with rubbing alcohol disinfects them too.

Step 4: The charging contacts are especially inconvenient to clean. What you can do in such a case is use a brush to clean them. 

Once done, it’s time to clean the earbuds. 

Step 5: Again, use rubbing alcohol-based wipes or cotton earbuds to clean the entire surface of the earbuds. Do not clean them when they are turned on.

Pay special attention to the area near audio drivers. This is the part that remains inside the ears most of the time. There is a good chance that it may accumulate a lot of dirt and earwax over time. 

Source: Brandon Butch

From just a visual inspection, you may not even see anything. But if you take a closer look, then you will find a deposit of earwax around the edges of the audio driver and silicon earbuds. 

So, here is how you can clean earwax out of earbuds:

Step 6: If you have purchased an air blower, do use it to blow away the dirt.

Step 7: If you have earphones with removable silicone earbuds (ear tips), take them off and drop them in a bowl filled with water.

Step 8: Add a small amount of soap (make sure it is not a strong detergent) to the water. 

Source: Best Buy

Step 9: Keep the bowl aside for 5-10 mins. 

Step 10: Rinse the silicone earbuds with clean water. 

Now, to clean the earphone and its audio drivers,

Step 11: Dip one end of the cotton earbud in the rubbing alcohol compound just enough to moisten it. 

Step 12: Use the moist side of the cotton earbud to clear the deposited wax.

You can use a toothpick to clean the wax, too, but if you don’t do it carefully, you may end up damaging your earphones.

Step 13: Then flip the side and use the dry side of the cotton earbud to wipe the audio driver dry. 

Step 14: Fix the silicone earbuds back to the place, and you are done with the process. 

Your earphones are not just cleaner now but will even sound better.

How to disinfect earbuds?

Do you know that the surfaces of some electronic devices like smartphones are 3X-7X dirtier than a toilet seat? 

In the present times, it is recommended to disinfect your gadgets regularly. 

There are many different ways to disinfect small belongings. For electronics, however, we can not risk using something that may make them wet. 

So, we recommend using either a UV sterilizer box or a Disinfectant spray. Here are the links to the products: 

  1. UV Phone Sterilizer Box
  2. Lysol Disinfectant Spray

You can put your earbuds/earphones in the UV sterilizer box and turn it on to get your earphones disinfected. Apart from earbuds/earphones, you can use the box to disinfect almost every electronic gadget that fits in it. 

Source: SnareMan

Alternatively, spray the disinfectant over the earbuds/earphones to have the same effect. When using the spray, just make sure you don’t inhale a lot of fumes. Preferably, take your gadgets to an empty room or backyard so that the odor does not stay inside your home.

Both the methods are very effective and can kill up to 99.99% of the germs.

How to clean headphones?

Headphones are larger than earbuds/earphones. Both the over-the-ear and on-the-ear type headphones do not accumulate ear wax. It is not easy to clean headphones. Here’s how: 

Step 1: If the headphones come with removable cushions, take them apart. 

Step 2: Using a wet microfiber cloth or alcohol wipes, clean the surface of the headphone and the cushions properly. 

Step 3: Take extra care when wiping the audio and charging ports as moisture can completely destroy them. Use cotton earbuds to clean such areas. 

Source: Best Buy

Step 4: Now wait for the headphones to dry up, and once they do, they are ready to use.

Tips to avoid getting your earbuds/earphones/headphones dirty

Here are some of the good practices that you can follow to avoid getting your earbuds/earphones/headphones dirty:

  1. Purchase good earphone cases for storing your earphones. Check out this product to purchase a set of 5 cases: Earbuds Carrying Case.
  2. Avoid using your earphones in dusty areas.
  3. While we don’t recommend sharing your earphones with anyone else, if you happen to do so, then make sure you clean them properly before using them.
  4. Clean them after every few days.

Final words

Now that you know how to clean earbuds, you shall be able to take better care of your accessories. No matter what type of earbuds/earphones or headphones you use, all of them require regular maintenance. A small effort to extend the life of your audio devices.

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