How to Clean Headphones and Earbuds


You probably use your earbuds or headphones almost daily, but can you recall the last time you cleaned them? Headphones and earbuds can get filthy.

According to a 2008 study, unclean headphones can be a means for the spread of disease. You run a higher chance of contracting an ear infection if you share headphones with someone who has one, and the opposite is true. Additionally, wearing headphones frequently might make your ears damper, which invites bacteria to grow there.

Your headphones will sound better and last longer if they are clean (in the case of earwax- or lint-clogged earbuds). This makes cleaning your headphones very important.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions for cleaning and caring for your headphones and earbuds.

Getting Started

In this article, we’ll cover the following two types of headphones:

  1. Earphones: Earbuds and in-ear monitors (IEMs).
  2. Headphones: On-ear and over-ear models

All the equipment you’ll need is readily available at home, although it requires a little more skill and delicacy.

The checklist for cleaning includes the following:

  • A small cloth
  • Rubbing Alcohol/hand sanitizer
  • Cotton bud/Q-tip
  • Blu-tack/multipurpose adhesive made of soapy water

1. How to Clean Earphones

You should start off by cleaning the driver unit, then move to the ear tips.

Cleaning the Driver Unit

The driver unit is the component of the earphones that are put into the ears and where the sound is produced.

Here are some steps for cleaning it.

  • The mesh side of your earbuds should be facing down as you hold them. Brush the wire mesh carefully with a dry, soft toothbrush (ideally a children’s toothbrush) to remove any debris or ear wax buildup. To assist in removing some of the debris, tap the earphones’ logo or non-mesh side.
  • Go over the wire mesh and clean off any leftover dirt and dust using a bent paperclip and some multipurpose glue, such as blu-tack. The glue will gather all the undesirable materials, leaving your mesh clear of the trash.
  • Use a small cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to quickly wipe the metal mesh and wires.

Cleaning the Air-Tips

These earphones, like IEMs, typically have replaceable silicone ear tips and sleeves in a range of sizes to ensure the optimal fit for your ears.

If your IEMs only come with silicone ear tips, complete these additional two steps. These steps do not apply to foam ear tips or any other non-waterproof ear tips.

  • Take off the silicone ear tips and let them soak in warm, slightly soapy water for around five minutes.
  • Before reattaching the silicone sleeves, give them a thorough cleaning and let them dry thoroughly on paper towels.

2. How to Clean Headphones

Headphones are a little difficult because they have more delicate components, such as leather or foam ear pads, that can quickly tear.

Therefore, you should proceed with the steps below cautiously unless you wish to visit Amazon and get some new ear pads for yourself.

  • Take off the ear cushions and use a small cloth dipped in warm soapy water to clean the outside of the headphones. Use some paper towels to dry off, then let the area thoroughly air dry.
  • Clean the outside of the ear pads by dampening a small cloth with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. Then, using a Q-tip/cotton bud soaked in alcohol/hand sanitizer, wipe the nooks and crevices of the ear pads.
  • Rub the right and left sides of the foam mesh together gently after dabbing some alcohol or hand sanitizer on its surface. This will aid in eliminating the bacteria in the ear pads. Any dirt or grime should be moved by moderate rubbing.
  • Allow the ear pads to dry completely on paper towels before reattaching them.

Advanced Cleaning Technique

You’ll need a more robust option if you want that fresh-out-of-the-factory cleanliness.

We advise purchasing a hearing aid vacuum. It can efficiently remove earwax and grime by using small suction pumps.

Get a Professional Cleaner for Your Home

There you have it, then! If you follow these easy instructions as often as necessary, your headphones will continue to sound great forever, and you’ll also keep your ears clean.

Once you have cleaned your headphones, you would want to reward yourself with some music or watch one of your podcasts/TV shows, etc. Suppose you have cleaning chores to perform, but you are left with no energy or willpower to do them. In that case, you can consider outsourcing them to a professional cleaning service like HomePlus!

Our house cleaning services in Concord, MA, employ a meticulous approach to deep clean each of your rooms on a rotational basis. This guarantees that your house is always properly cleaned and sanitized, even to the grout that is notoriously difficult to keep clean.

For booking, press here!