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How to Clean AirPods: The Right Way

Learn how to clean AirPods so that you can enjoy a clear sound.

Have you discovered black marks or stains on your beloved Apple AirPods Pro? The desperation is real. You need to know how to clean your AirPods so you can continue to enjoy the clear sound of your favorite songs without the sound quality becoming muffled by dirt and ear wax.

We are here to chat about the best way to clean AirPods at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean AirPods using a dampened microfiber cloth and a toothpick to remove earwax.
  • Avoid using bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or sharp objects on your AirPods.
  • Clean your AirPods after every 72 hours of listening time to prevent bacteria buildup.
  • Always ensure your AirPods are completely dry before using them or placing them in the charging case.

Best Way To Clean AirPods

The best way to clean AirPods is to use a disinfecting wipe or alcohol on the exterior surfaces. You’ll need to make sure you don’t get any liquid on the speaker mesh. Use a dry microfiber cloth to make sure that the earbuds are completely dry before you use them.

You can also use a dry cotton swab or a soft-bristle brush to carefully wipe away any dirt. If you press too hard, you may push the earwax through the speaker mesh where it’s almost impossible to remove.

Make sure that you don’t use any products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide to clean your AirPods. Also, even if your AirPods are waterproof, it’s best not to submerge them in water to clean them. Instead, make sure you only wipe them with a dampened wipe or cloth to gently remove the dirt and grime.

You will also need to avoid using a sharp object like a safety pin which can puncture the speaker. Use a soft-bristled brush or toothpick instead.

How Often to Clean Your AirPods

It’s recommended that you clean your AirPods after 72 hours of listening time. The reason is that ears produce earwax, which is also known as cerumen. The earwax sticks to earbuds and is a breeding ground for bacteria.

When you put your earphones in your ears without cleaning and disinfecting them, you may transfer the bacteria inside your ear canal which will cause an ear infection.

How To Clean AirPods

Three components will need to be cleaned in your AirPods. You’ll need to know how to clean the AirPods case, the AirPods, and the microphone.

  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need


1. Wipe AirPods

Wipe your AirPods with a lightly damped microfiber cloth. You can also disinfect your AirPods with hydrogen peroxide by dipping a cotton swab into the hydrogen peroxide and wiping your AirPods with the swab.

Use a second microfiber cloth to dry your earbuds.

2. Remove Earwax

Remove the earwax by carefully digging out the earwax with a toothpick. You’ll want to make sure you remove all of the wax that’s near the speaker, but make sure you don’t pierce the speaker while removing the earwax.

You also have the option of gently pressing your AirPods into earbud cleaning putty to remove the dirt, earwax, and gunk.

3. Clean Silicone Tips

If your AirPods have silicone tips, remove them. Rinse the Airpods in fresh water that doesn’t include any soaps or cleaners.

Wipe them dry with a microfiber cloth. Once they’re completely dry, reattach the silicone tips to your Airpods.


The tricky part of cleaning the microphone of your AirPods is that no moisture can come in contact with it. Otherwise, you risk damaging the electronics of your microphone.

1. Remove Dirt

Use a soft bristle brush to gently remove any dirt from the microphone of your AirPods. Make sure you don’t drive the dirt into the mesh where it becomes almost impossible to remove.

2. Use Cotton Swab

Use a cotton swab to remove any dirt remaining on your microphone.

3. With Putty

Another option is to gently press your microphone into earbud cleaning putty. It will remove the dirt, earwax, and gunk.

AirPods Case

1. Remove AirPods

Remove the AirPods from the case.

2. Wipe Charging Case

Wipe the case with a dry microfiber cloth. This should remove all of the dirt. If you find a tough spot, clean the case with alcohol by dipping the cloth into rubbing alcohol and wiping the stain away. Be sure to dry your case thoroughly and make sure no liquid enters the charging ports or AirPod holders.

A soft bristle brush may be used to remove any gunk that’s in the charging port.

How To Clean AirPods Max

If you have AirPods Max, then you will also need to clean the cushions and headband.

  • Time: 15 minutes + 1 day to dry
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

1. Mix Detergent Solution

Mix 1 teaspoon of the liquid laundry detergent in 1 cup of water to make the cleaning solution.

2. Remove the Cushions

Remove the cushions from the ear cups of your AirPods Max.

3. Clean the Cushions and Headband

Dip a microfiber cloth into the soapy water and wring it out. The cloth needs to be lightly dampened. Gently rub the cloth on the cushions for 1 minute to clean the cushions. Then gently rub the headband for 1 minute to clean it.

4. Rinse the Cushions and Headband

Dip a second microfiber cloth in fresh water and wipe down the cushions and headbands with it.

5. Dry the Cushions and Headband

Use the third microfiber cloth to dry the cushions and headband. You’ll need to be sure to remove all excess water from the cushions and headband. Lay them flat on a towel to dry for at least one day before you reattach the cushions.

Proper Care Tips For AirPods

Caring for your AirPods will help you maintain the beautiful sound of your earbuds as well as help them last longer.

  • Don’t immerse your AirPods in water.
  • Use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean your AirPods.
  • Don’t use your AirPods unless they’re completely dry.
  • Be careful not to get any liquids into the openings.
  • Don’t use sharp objects to clean the AirPods as you can damage the screens.
  • Keep them in the case when you’re not using them.

How Can I Make My AirPods Sound Better?

Make sure you update your AirPods regularly to keep the software up to date.

Turn off the active noise cancellation on your AirPods. The active noise cancellation cancels the bass and may cause fluttering of high frequencies.

Take the Ear Tip Fit Test that Apple provides to make sure you’re using the tip that fits your ear the best.

Increase the sound quality of your AirPods to high or very high.


Are AirPods Sweat or Water-Resistant?

First and second-generation AirPods are not sweat or water-resistant.

Third-generation AirPods are sweat and water-resistant, not waterproof. They’re not built to withstand water sports such as swimming nor high moisture conditions such as showering.

Why Do My AirPods Sound Muffled?

The most common reason for AirPods to sound muffled is because the speaker has become dirty. You will need to carefully remove the earwax and dirt from the speakers.

Can You Get Your AirPods Cleaned Professionally?

Yes, your local Apple Store will clean your AirPods. You’ll also be able to receive advice on how to maintain and clean your Airpods at home.

How Do You Remove Yellow Stains From AirPods Pro?

Dip a cotton swab into isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol. Then gently wipe the yellow stain with the cotton swab until the stain is removed. Wipe the AirPods Pro dry with a clean microfiber cloth. Wait until your AirPods Pro is completely dry before you use them again.

Cleaning AirPods

To clean your AirPods safely, you will need to gently use an alcohol wipe to gently wipe down your earbuds and remove the earwax and dirt. You can also remove the dirt and earwax with putty. Make sure your AirPods are properly dry before you use them again.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.