You probably use your earbuds all day, and know how gross they can get after they’ve been in and out of your ears, in and out of your bag, picking up dirt, wax and bacteria along the way. That gunk can also get inside the earbud speakers and distort the sound. Headphones also accumulate dirt and oil, and their pads need cleaning.
Remove soft tips and covers
First, remove any soft silicone tips or covers from your earbuds. You can wash them in mild soap and water, then leave them on a towel to dry.
Use a toothbrush
Use a soft, dry toothbrush to gently brush the hard surfaces of the earbuds or ear cups and remove any debris. Be careful not to brush too hard around the ear openings or mesh surfaces; this can push wax and debris inside. Then dip a cloth in soapy water or isopropyl alcohol, and rub this over the surfaces to clean them. Make sure not to get liquid inside.
Deep clean the screens
If the screens are loaded with ear wax and dirt, use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (maximum concentration 3%) to the mesh surfaces with a cloth, making sure no excess liquid gets inside. Let this sit for five minutes to soften any wax, and then clean with a cloth soaked in soapy water. Be careful with hydrogen peroxide and any cloth coverings of over-ear headphones; it can leave bleach stains.
Let them dry
Once you have finished cleaning your earbuds, let the parts dry on a towel for at least 10 minutes before putting them back together and using them. It may be tempting to speed this up, but don’t use a hair dryer or fan; this could cause corrosion and ruin them. When they’re fully dry, reassemble and go back to listening.
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