Have you ever put on your favorite pair of earbuds and thought they sounded muffled? Not quite as crisp as you remember them sounding? If so, the fix may be as easy as giving your buds a deep cleaning.
Let's face it—most of us don’t clean our earbuds very often, even though we wear them inside our ears, for crying out loud. On top of it being a bad health habit (dirty earbuds have been found to have very high relative levels of bacteria on them), gunked up, waxy speaker openings can have more of a negative impact on the sound quality than you might think. So, with personal hygiene more en vogue than ever this season, now is the perfect time to develop a cleaning regimen for your earbuds.
Cleaning Your Earbuds
So how do you go about cleaning your earbuds? Well, that depends on which ones you have. Some manufacturers, like Apple, say it’s OK to wipe down the exterior of your AirPods and AirPods Pro with an isopropyl alcohol wipe. This is great for getting off a lot of the grime that accumulates on the surface and, of course, it also disinfects, which in this day and age is important, to say the least. Other manufacturers explicitly say not to use any solvents whatsoever on their earbuds, including alcohol, because it may fade or discolor the plastic. If you’re unsure, you’re better off just using a cloth slightly dampened in soapy water. One thing you must keep in mind is that you don’t want to get any moisture in any of the speaker or microphone vents, or in any of the charging ports if you’re using a Bluetooth model. You should clean these areas using a dry method only.
Cleaning the Speaker and Microphone Vents
A deep cleaning of the speaker vents on your earbuds can really improve how they sound, especially if you haven’t done it in a while. If you’ve had your buds for a few months or more, and haven’t cleaned them at all after regular use, you likely have a ton of wax buildup in the speaker vents, and you may be in for a “day and night” improvement.
If your earbuds have rubber eartips, go ahead and remove them, and put them aside for a moment. Gently remove all of the wax and debris from the microphone and speaker vents using only a dry cotton swab. Be sure not to press too hard on any of the vents, so as not to push any grime into the unit. Once these areas have been cleaned, if you have eartips, run them under warm water, then dry thoroughly with a cloth. Don’t put the eartips back onto the earbuds until they’re completely dry, and don’t plug them back into your device or put them back into their charging case until they have dried completely.
Clean the Charging Case
If you’ve got wireless earbuds, you’ve likely got a charging case, and you definitely need to clean that, too. If you have the Apple AirPods or AirPods Pro, you know how easily lint and dirt can build up in the case, and since they’re bright white, you really end up seeing a lot of it in all of its grossness. Open the lid to your case, make sure the AirPods themselves are removed, and use a cotton swab, partially dipped in isopropyl alcohol, to clean out all of the crevices on the upper lid and the rim where dirt can collect. Don’t put anything into the charging ports, and make sure no liquid gets into them. You can follow a similar case-cleaning procedure for other brands, but just remember to use soapy water instead of alcohol unless you’re sure your manufacturer says that it’s OK. Let your case dry completely before putting your buds back in.
So, who knew? Cleaning your earbuds keeps them sounding good, too. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions about how to clean your earbuds , please feel free to ask us in the Comments section, below.