Sharing tips on the best way to clean earbuds, especially when they get yellow and full of ear wax.
Earbuds can get pretty dirty from all the wax that is in our ears. We need that wax in the ears to protect the ear canal, but it does seem to come off quite easily onto the in ear, earbuds.
When you use earbuds in your ear, they become warm, and that warmth melts the earwax just a little bit, but enough that it melts and then ends up on the earbud. After a few uses of your earbud, you will notice that the wax is actually on the bud and it looks and feels quite gross.
Fortunately, it is quite easy to clean earbuds and there are several ways you can do so, but this is the best way to clean earbuds in my opinion.
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
The Best Way To Clean Earbuds
Many earbuds have a similar style to them starting with a silicone mushroom shaped cover and then a plastic main portion of the bud.
To wash the silicone covers you are going to want to pop them off gently and soak them in warm and soapy water in a small bowl. Use a cotton swab or a toothpick to gently remove any debris that may be stuck onto the cover. Let them soak for 30 minutes and then dry them off by placing them onto a dry towel overnight. You cannot replace the silicone covers onto the earbud until they are completely dry,
To wash the actual earbud part here is how you do so:
- Brush the wax out of the earbud with a Q-Tip, toothpick, your finger if you like, or even a safety pin. You don’t want to push any of the wax further into the earbud, but you do want to remove as much of it as you can with a tiny tool.
- Hold the earbuds with the mesh facing down to let any loose dust and earwax fall out on its own. If you need to get more debris out, try using a cleaning toothbrush.
- Once you have cleaned off any loose dirt and wax, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently clean the screen off. If your screen pops off in the process, you should be able to pop it back in. If you cannot pop it back in, you might want to take it into a shop so they can do it for you. It’s a simple process.
- Wipe the rest of the earbud with the rubbing alcohol to clean and disinfect the earbud fully. Rubbing alcohol does dry up pretty quickly so the moisture will not seep into the earbud.
Do NOT use soapy water or harsh cleaning products to wash your earbuds as this will likely damage them by seeping inside and ruining the electronics.
You can also use an alcohol wipe to clean the outside as often as every single day. You won’t be needing to clean the wax out on a daily basis, but maybe once a month depending on how often you use them.
More Tips To Keep Headphones Clean
- If you have beats headphones, simply use a cover on them so that they stay clean for a longer period of time.
- Keeping your earbuds clean can help prevent ear infections which are often treated with antibiotics from a doctor so be sure to maintain your earbuds with these simple tips.
- Earbuds will turn yellow over time if they are not cared for properly. You should always store your headphones in some sort of a case if it did not come with one to protect them from elements.
- Glasses cleaning wipes can also be a good way to clean up your headphones, however, they will not disinfect.
- If you decide to use a toothpick to clean out the earwax, do not push too hard into the mesh screen which can push the wax further into the screen making it harder to clean overall.
Why You Need to Clean Your Earbuds Right Away
This is kind of gross but you need to know it. Your headphones and earbuds contain more bacteria than your kitchen sink. The bacteria found on the headphones included staphylococcus and pseudomonas, which can cause infection if you have a cut or abrasion within your ear canal.
The problem is, we use our earbuds so often and we leave them laying around everywhere and anywhere all the time. Unless you are sanitizing your earbuds on a regular daily basis, then they most likely have a whole pool of bacteria on them, just like your cell phone.
When you leave your headphones laying around, or have them bumbling around in your backpack or purse and then put them into your ears, you are introducing bacteria and dirt into your ears. The wax in our ears tries to protect us from bacteria and germs, but it cannot always do so.
The moral of this yucky story is- do not share your buds, clean your earbuds once a week and sanitize them daily.
How To Keep Your Earbuds Clean Longer
- Keep your earbuds in a case when they are not in use.
- Clean the case often as well because the dust and debris can disrupt the charging function. Use a cloth and rubbing alcohol to wipe your case weekly.
- If your earbuds are water-resistant, they should not be wet for long periods of time to prevent moisture from getting stuck in the inner electronics. Allow your earbuds to fully dry if they got very wet.
- Do not store your earbuds in gym shorts, or sports bra where there is a lot of sweat when working out. Use a plastic bag or a waterproof case.