How to clean headphone pads?

When the temperature outside is hot and humid, it’s natural to feel hot and sweaty all the time. We can chill with a glass of juice, but what about our headphones? 

Headphone’s earmuffs collect sweat, and the next time you wear them, they start irritating the skin. 

But sweat is not the only thing that gets the headphone pads dirty. It’s a combined effect of dust, sweat, and a lot of other environmental factors.

So here is an article that shows you how to clean headphone pads using commonly available stuff. 

Before we begin, let us provide you with a list of the things that you will need:

  1. Wiping cloth or Alcohol Wipe
  2. Rubbing Alcohol or Sanitizer Spray
  3. Pry Tool
  4. Detergent
  5. Toothbrush or Lint Roller
  6. Cotton Earbuds
  7. Headphone sweat covers 

You can check out the entire article and then come back to this list to buy the required things. You don’t have to buy all of it, just the things you will use that are not available with you at home.

We have also explained how to disinfect headphones in the latter section of the article, so make sure you don’t miss that.

Why do you need to clean headphone pads?

Let’s first understand the reasons why you should consider cleaning your headphones. Here are some of them:

  1. Dirt gets deposited over the headphones if they are not cleaned (a common cause of allergy)
  2. Sweat gets collected on headphone pads and headband if not cleaned regularly (harmful for the skin)
  3. Not cleaning headphone pads promotes the growth and activity of bacteria (or viruses; may cause rashes or more severe infections)
  4. Cleaning keeps the sound quality maintained (also extends the life of the device)
  5. Cleaning headphones is a part of maintaining hygiene

Shallow Cleaning headphones pads

First, let’s check out how you can quickly wipe your headphones. Before using headphones, we always recommend shallow cleaning them. You just need an alcohol wipe or a microfiber cloth to get this done.

Step 1: Take an alcohol wipe or a dry microfiber cloth, and use it to clean headphone muffs. Wipe the entire headphone pads.

Don’t leave those edges when cleaning. Source: Wicked Cushions

Step 2: Wipe the backside of the headphones (the plastic) to clean them.

Source: Wicked Cushions

Step 3: Now make your way to the headband. Clean both the cushion and the backside of the headband to get rid of any dirt present there.

The headband can get dirty too, if you wear headphones in a sweaty environment. Source: Wicked Cushions

Deep Cleaning headphones pads

Shallow cleaning is good, but headphone pads require deep cleaning occasionally. Even if you wipe your headphones on a frequent basis, you should consider deep cleaning headphone pads once in a while. Follow these steps to get this done:

Step 1: Take the headset pads off the headphones. If they don’t come apart quickly, you can make use of a plastic pry tool.

Source: Wicked Cushions

Step 2: If you have headphone pads that are made of cloth, using a brush or a lint roller, try to remove any dirt that might have collected over the muffs.

Step 3: Pour some warm water into a bowl.

Step 4: Put a tiny amount of laundry cleaner/detergent.

Step 5: Drop the earpads in the bowl.

Source: Bitwit

Step 6: Squeeze the muffs a bit to get rid of all sorts of dirt.

Step 7: You can use a dry cloth, a toothbrush, or a cotton earbud to wipe off any remaining dirt.

How to disinfect headphones and headphone pads

To disinfect headphones, you need to take some additional steps. Here they are:

Step 1: Take the headset pads off the headphones again.

Step 2: Pour the rubbing alcohol compound into a small bottle cap.

Step 3: Dip the wiping cloth in the rubbing alcohol.

Source: Sound Guys

Step 4: Use the damp cloth to wipe the headset pads gently.

Source: Sound Guys

Step 5: Wipe the entire headphones with the moist cloth.

Source: Sound Guys

While wiping the headphones, just make sure you don’t wet the wiping cloth too much; otherwise, the moisture may get into the device’s internals and cause issues later. 

The circuit board of your headphones may get damaged if moisture gets to it. This is the reason why we recommend using the alcohol rubbing compound with high alcohol purity.

How to take care of headphones?

In this section, we will share some general tips that will help you take care of headphones.

Tip 1: Store your headphones in a bag when not in use. If your headphones are lying around in the room, on your table, on your bed, or just anywhere else, they will surely accumulate dust. Moreover, you may also end up spilling water, juice, or coffee on it. 

Tip 2: Use headphone sweat covers to protect them from collecting sweat. This not only reduces irritation to the skin but also keeps the earmuffs clean. These covers are replaceable and washable, so there’s no harm in trying them out.

Tip 3: To clean leather headphones, use special precautions. Avoid getting them wet at all costs. Leather headphones need to be polished with a Leather Polish every few months to keep the leather maintained and shiny. Here is a link  that you can visit to purchase a leather polish: Leather Polish

Leather headphones can be challenging to clean. Source: Unsplash

Tip 4: Untangle the wires whenever possible. If the wires are not organized properly, your table will end up looking messy. If tangled wires are pulled, they may even break.

Tip 5: Repair whenever required. For example, if your headset pads are worn off, then instead of buying new headphones, you can get that specific part repaired/replaced.

Bonus Tip: When cleaning your headphones, don’t forget to clean your headphone jack connector.

What if it is not possible to clean headphone pads? 

Most of the stuff that we used to clean the headphones is available at home. Even if it isn’t, you can easily purchase them online. In times like these, it is more important than ever to clean and disinfect your headphones regularly. Hence we recommend you follow a deep cleaning process at least once in a month or two.

But what if it is not possible to clean headphone pads? The reason can be anything from your headphone pads being completely worn out to the non-availability of the cleaning tools.

In that case, you can purchase a replacement for your headphone pads (or maybe new headphones altogether). 

If you are using a headphone that comes from a famous brand like Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, etc., then just search for the following term: headphone model name + replacement earcups/muffs/pads on Amazon.

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