Many of us, particularly those who used to exercise every morning or listen to music while riding the train, now use our headphones every day. Who doesn’t want to put on some good headphones and listen to some of their favorite tunes? Even if it’s normal, having unclean headphones may quickly dampen your mood.
Cleaning Your Earbuds and Headphones Your phone, computer, and mouse are all spotless, but have you given any thought to your headphones? It’s not only excellent hygiene to remove any ear wax and clean your headphones, but doing so may also enhance the quality of the music.
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Why Clean Headphones?
For cleanliness and maintenance, wipe over-the-ear or in-ear headphones periodically. Many people work out with headphones, so this is particularly true. Ear cups might stink from sweat. Ear wax may jam drivers, reducing loudness and clarity. Bacteria and other germs may make you ill, too. Clean headphones are more hygienic.
Adjusting your headphones during the gym transfers anything you touched. SARS-Cov-2 may survive on plastic and other hard surfaces for three days. Touching a contaminated earbud might spread the virus or infect your lips, nose, or eyes.
Shared headphones may spread ear bacteria, according to studies. Even if you don’t share, consider what your headphones have impacted. Earbuds may spread staphylococcus from your ear. Ear infections may result from this bacterium overgrowth. Cleaning earphones reduce this danger.
How to Clean Over-Ear Headphones
Several types of over-ear headphones have different cleaning options. Several models have detachable ear cups and wires that can be unplugged at both ends, making them ideal for cleaning.
You should take extra precautions while cleaning other brands since they are not as durable. Check the manufacturer’s care instructions if you can. Companies like Apple, Beats by Dre, and Bose all provide simple maintenance guidelines with their products.
You’ll need the following items to properly clean your headphones:
- A gentle wet washcloth
- Cotton swabs or balls soaked in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol (at least 70% alcohol)
- A tissue, towel, or spotless washcloth
If you are worried about ruining your headphones’ fabric, try a little patch first. At the amounts you’ll be using, leather or PVC (fake leather) should be safe against irreversible damage caused by rubbing alcohol. You can relax if your headphones are made entirely of plastic or metal.
To clean your over-the-ear headphones, do as follows:
- To have easier access to the mesh, remove the ear cups from the headphones if feasible.
- You may clean the ear cups and the headphones’ housing by wiping them down with a moist cloth. Bacteria and other pests will cling to dirt, so it’s important to remove as much as possible.
- Rub some alcohol onto a paper towel or a clean cloth. Put the headphones through a thorough cleaning, focusing on the ear cups.
- Use rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab or Q-tip to clean any tight spaces. Both the ear cups (in places like fabric folds) and the main unit of the headphones should be treated in this way.
- Extending the headphones to their full extent is the first step in cleaning them with rubbing alcohol and a towel. Get the dust off the controls, the volume knobs, and the remotes. The part of the headphones you’ll be holding onto to put them on and take them off should get some special attention.
- Wipe the primary speaker mesh with an alcohol-soaked paper towel or Q-tip. Be thorough; don’t forget any details.
- Don’t forget to use rubbing alcohol to clean the mesh and the movable arm of your headphones’ microphone if it has one (like a gaming headset).
- Then, use a paper towel and some alcohol to clean any cords, especially the rubber grip at the jack.
Before reassembling and using your headphones again, make sure the alcohol has dried fully (it should evaporate rapidly). Allowing the isopropyl alcohol to dry should prevent any streaking or other unwanted effects.
Cleaning In-Ear Headphones
The fact that in-ear headphones must be placed within the ear canal makes them an even less sanitary option than their over-the-ear counterparts. Silicon ear tips allow certain headphones to fit deeply into the ear canal, creating a seal. While the sound quality is unparalleled, ear infections are more likely to occur.
The methods we discussed for cleaning AirPods are applicable to most other in-ear headphones as well.
The following items are required for the proper cleaning of in-ear headphones:
- A gentle wet washcloth
- Rubbing alcohol (sometimes known as isopropyl) that contains 70 percent alcohol or more
- A tissue, towel, or spotless washcloth
- Cotton swabs or cotton balls
- A toothpick made of wood
- Sticky materials, such as Blu-Tack (optional)
- Use of soap and hot water (for silicon tips)
If the ear tips on your in-ear headphones are made of silicone and can be removed, do so. The most effective method is to use soap and warm water. Be careful not to rip the silicon in the process. When you’re done cleaning the drivers, place the glasses down to air dry in a secure location.
Earphones with foam covers may have their coverings removed for washing in warm soapy water. You might also try dousing the foam with isopropyl alcohol and waiting for it to dry. Any germs or bacteria in the area will be eliminated as a result.
If you want to clean your in-ear headphones, do what I say:
- Use a gentle, wet cloth to thoroughly clean the drivers. Get rid of stubborn dirt, wax, or grime.
- Use the wooden toothpick to carefully clean the speaker mesh of any ear wax or other debris. In doing so, take care not to tear the mesh.
- Blu-Tack (or any comparable adhesive) should be warmed in the hands before being pressed carefully into the speaker mesh. Quickly yank it out and repeat as necessary to wipe the speaker mesh of dust and wax. The sound quality of your speakers will also benefit from clean speaker mesh.
- Rub some alcohol onto a paper towel or a clean cloth. Scrub the whole driver, paying special attention to the sensors (like the ear-detection sensors on Apple AirPods).
- Clean the speaker mesh by swabbing it with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Any tenacious dirt should now be easier to remove.
- Wipe out the wires, the in-line remote, and the rubber grip at the jack using a paper towel or clean cloth that has been dampened with alcohol.
- Don’t touch the headphones or their case again until the alcohol has evaporated.
Cleaning the Case
You can get charging covers for certain models of wireless in-ear headphones. You should also give them a good cleaning; otherwise, your clean headphones will quickly get grimy again. To remove filth off the hinge of your AirPods or other comparable headphones, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. The interior of the case may be cleaned and disinfected with little rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. To clean those out-of-the-way charging ports, just use an alcoholic Q-tip to wipe them off.
Remember to clean up the mess first before applying any disinfectant. Even after cleaning the case with alcohol, bacteria, and other hazardous microorganisms may adhere to the filth. Soap and warm water are OK for spot-cleaning over-the-ear headphones’ casings without completely submerging them in water. Fabrics can be disinfected with rubbing alcohol, however, a spot test is recommended beforehand to make sure the alcohol won’t ruin the material.
Finally, some individuals say that silica gel may be left in a headphone case to maintain it smelling nice. Less moisture in the casing, the thinking goes, means less opportunity for germs to thrive. If you usually put your headphones away soon after a sweaty workout, this could be a smart idea.
Essential Advice on Personal Hygiene
Clean your headphones periodically. Avoid ear wax and other debris. After usage, clean them using alcohol-based disinfectant wipes.
Sharing headphones—especially in-ear ones—can bring new germs into your ears and disrupt their natural equilibrium. Bacteria overgrowth may cause painful ear infections. Avoid sharing headphones and earbuds.
Clean your ears last. Q-tips and other sharp things might damage your eardrum, therefore doctors advise against using them. Put nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear.
Instead, clean the exterior of your ear canal with a wet towel. Over-the-counter eardrops soften earwax. Follow package directions. Over-the-counter ear syringe kits cleanse the canal with warm saline.
After cleaning your headphones and ears, why not clean your other devices? Because VR headsets are on your head, they require cleaning just as much as headphones.