How to Clean Your AirPods

Mte Feat Airpods

Like any Apple product, AirPods are as much of a status symbol as they are earphones. After all, not everyone can afford them. Those who can, need to make sure the devices are kept in good shape with regular cleaning and maintenance, including procedures like updating firmware. Here are the instructions you need to follow to thoroughly and properly clean your AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

How to Clean Each AirPod

Do not run your AirPods under the water directly, as this can mess with their sensitive internal mechanisms. Instead, wipe your AirPods clean using a lint-free cloth slightly dampened with fresh water.

  1. Wipe the AirPods with a slightly dampened part of the cloth, then wipe away the moisture with a dry part of the cloth. Make sure to have the device completely dry before you put it back in its charging case.
Airpods Microfiber Wipe
  1. The microphone and speaker mesh of the device should be wiped with a dry cotton swab to deal with collected earwax. Under no circumstances should you try to poke at the mesh with a sharp object to remove blockages.
Airpods Q Tip

How to Clean the AirPods Case

  1. The case for your AirPods or AirPods Pro also needs to be cleaned – once again, with a soft, dry cloth.
Airpods Case Wipe
  1. Remove debris from the Lightning connector using a dry brush. Any abrasive material that comes in contact with the case may damage its insides.
Airpods Case Connector Clean

How to Clean the Ear Tips on AirPods Pro

  1. The ear tips for each AirPod should be pulled off separately and rinsed in water without adding any soap or other type of cleanser. If water is left in the ear tip, turn the AirPod upside down so that the ear tip is facing downward, and gently tap out the water.
Airpods Tip Ear Drip
  1. After wiping the ear tips dry with the cloth, make sure they are completely moisture-free before reattaching them to the AirPod. While putting the ear tips back on, make sure they align with the oval shape of the AirPod nodes before clicking them back into place.
Airpods Tip Fasten

Tip: avoid sharing your AirPods with too many people, as this can make the earwax problem worse and open your ears up to infection from others.

How to Clean the AirPods Max Smart Case

  1. Use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to gently wipe the inner and outer parts of the AirPods Max Smart Case.
  2. For stains or debris that are more difficult to remove, slightly dampen your cleaning cloth with isopropyl alcohol. Be sure not to use abrasive materials or industrial cleaning solutions on your AirPods Max Smart Case.

Note: the microfiber lining inside the Smart Case may retain moisture if you clean your AirPods Max using a dampened cloth. It’s best to let the case air dry before you place your AirPods Max inside.

How to Clean AirPods Max Cushions and Headband

  1. Grab a clean container and mix 1 tsp. (5 mL) of liquid laundry detergent into 1 cup (250 mL) of water.
  2. Use the soapy solution to dampen a soft lint-free cloth. Be sure to wring out the cloth before using it to clean your headphones. Any excess moisture may damage the internal components of your AirPods Max.
  3. Remove both of the magnetically-attached fabric cushions from your AirPods Max ear cups and set them aside.
  4. Carefully rub the soap-moistened cloth on the headband and ear cushions for a minute each to thoroughly clean your AirPods Max.
  5. Use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to wipe away any remaining moisture from the headband and ear cushions. Do not reattach the ear cushions to your headset until both cushions are completely dry.
  6. Lay your AirPods Max on a flat surface and let them air dry for at least a day before reattaching the ear cushions and resuming regular use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are AirPods waterproof?

Keep in mind that AirPods (1st & 2nd Generation) are not waterproof or rated for liquid resistance. While they can withstand occasional contact with moisture, they will not guard against regular drenching, hence the repeated warning not to use water to clean your AirPods. AirPods (3rd Generation) and AirPods Pro have an IPX4 liquid- and sweat-resistance rating and may become less effective over time.

How can I prevent wax buildup when using AirPods?

If you’re having trouble getting wax out of the speaker grill, you can head the problem off by cleaning your inner ear regularly with a Q-tip or cotton swab so that there is less transfer of wax from your ear to the AirPod.

Can I clean my AirPods with isopropyl alcohol?

According to Apple, you can use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75% ethyl alcohol wipe, or a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe to gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or EarPods. Learn more about cleaning your AirPods by visiting Apple Support.

Image credit: Alejandro Luengo via Unsplash All photos taken by Brahm Shank

Brahm Shank
Brahm Shank

Self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur and tech enthusiast Brahm Shank is captivated by the impact of consumer tech: “It’s profoundly moving when people discover that the phone in their pocket or the tiny computer on their wrist has the power to enrich their lives in ways they never imagined.” Apple, Inc. and its unique position at the intersection of technology and the creative arts, resonates deeply with Brahm and his passion for helping people unleash their potential using technology. Over the years, Brahm has held various podcasts - including famed technologist David Pogue of The New York Times on topics such as Big Tech and digital wellness.

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