How To Clean AirPods In 4 Simple, Thorough Steps

If you’re a heavy user of your AirPods, you’ve likely noticed the earbuds can gather a significant amount of dirt rather quickly. The dirt you gather on your hands, earwax, pocket lint, and everything in between can begin to stick and cause dark, grey stains on your pearly white AirPods. Don’t worry, though. You’ll be able to get them back to the same shine they had when you bought them.

How To Clean AirPods In 4 Simple Thorough Steps 1 How To Clean AirPods In 4 Simple, Thorough Steps

Table of Contents

How do you clean your Airpods?

The outside shell of your AirPods can easily be wiped clean with a microfiber cloth. You can use a cotton swab or static-free brush to detail the edges and the speaker grill, but do not use any cleaning agents or non-distilled water to clean your Airpods.

It’s important to use a microfiber cloth and not a regular cloth rag. The material texture makes a world of difference when comes to picking up dirt, grease, and stains. Microfiber has a softer surface with more ridges to grab hold of the dirt on your AirPods without damaging them.

That doesn’t quite cover every part of your AirPods. If you’ve gotten to the point where the outside of your AirPods is looking grimy, it’s probably time to clean up the inside as well. 

You’ll likely want the AirPods case to be just as shiny as the earbuds you pull out of them as well.

In the next few sections, I’ll detail exactly how to properly clean your AirPods and AirPods case. You’ll get a good grasp on what you’ll need to keep on hand to get the job done as well.

Cleaning Your AirPods

First, let’s get to work cleaning the earbuds. It’s not a long process, but I prefer to do the earbuds first so I can put music on while I clean the AirPods case. 

Tools You Might Want

Before you just grab a random cloth and start to rub vigorously into your earbuds, take a look at these suggested cleaning products:

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Fine Tip Cotton Swab
  • Pencil Eraser
  • Anti-static Brush
  • Distilled Water

Each item will help make the task easier and cleaner. Microfiber cloths are incredibly beneficial for cleaning technology of all kinds. 

You may want to keep a supply available for wiping down your iPhone screen as well. Hand rags and towels are far too rough to use on the soft plastic case of your AirPods.

Cotton swabs, a pencil eraser, and the anti-static brush are precision tools for cleaning out spaces that microfiber cloth can have trouble reaching or isn’t designed for.

You can do the job without them, but you’ll likely miss earwax build-up near each earbud’s speaker grill. 

How To Clean AirPods In 4 Simple Thorough Steps 1 1 How To Clean AirPods In 4 Simple, Thorough Steps

When you select a pencil eraser for detail cleaning, it’s best to get one that slides onto the end of a pencil. This will help you with precision.

Lastly, when you need to dampen your microfiber towel, it’s better to use distilled water than it is to use tap water. 

Tap water contains minerals, pipe rust, and other byproducts that can add a rough surface to the cloth. Too rough of a surface, even if it’s wet, can damage the polish of your AirPods.

Step By Step

Step 1: The Initial Wipe-down

This step is pretty standard. Just wrap the earbud you’re currently wiping down in the microfiber cloth. Gently rub it all over the surface of the AirPod. Repeat for the second earbud. 

If any dirt stain or smug is still visible, don’t worry about it just yet. You’ll be removing more difficult stains next.

Step 2: Erase Solid Stains

Grab your pencil eraser. Place it over the stained spot you want to remove. Rub the eraser tip in smooth small motions back and forth. Be as gentle as possible. Repeat this step for all stains on the AirPods.

Once your stains are removed, use the microfiber cloth to wipe down the earbuds again. The eraser can leave shavings and rolled together dirt. Just like in step 1, be gentle with the cloth.

It doesn’t take much pressure for a microfiber cloth to gather dirt and debris.

If any stains remain, you may need to resort to dampening the microfiber cloth. Add a couple of drops of distilled water onto the microfiber cloth. Then, gently rub the wet area of the cloth along the stained surface. Do not let the moist cloth touch the AirPods speaker grill.

Step 3: Detailing the Edges

Now, grab one of your fine-tipped cotton swabs. Hold the cotton swab in one hand and the AirPod you’re currently cleaning in the other. Gently rub the cotton swab along the sharper edges of the earbud.

Make sure to get each crack and crevice to get the dust and lint out. 

Carefully wipe the cotton swab around the speaker grill. Start with the inside of the edges in a circular motion. Then, gloss over the top of the speaker grill to remove what the cotton swab can grab and break up any dust that’s built up.

Step 4: Detailing the Speaker Grill

The last step is to make use of your anti-static brush. With a smooth, gentle motion, brush the speaker grill to remove any dust, dirt, or wax that has made its way inside.

Your AirPods speaker grills are small and fragile. You mustn’t apply too much force. While damaging the grill doesn’t always affect the audio quality of your AirPods, the right kind of damage can render them useless.

How To Clean AirPods Case

It won’t do much good to have clean AirPods and a dirty case. The same dirt, dust, and earwax that gets attached to your AirPods can easily transfer inside the case when stored. 

To make sure you won’t need to clean your AirPods too soon, it’s best to keep your AirPods case clean as well.

What You’ll Need

Luckily, you’ll be using the same tools to clean the AirPods case as the AirPods themselves with one addition. Just to be safe, make sure you have the following:

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Fine Tip Cotton Swab
  • Pencil Eraser
  • Distilled Water
  • Toothpicks

The only difference between what’s needed to clean the AirPods and the case is a toothpick.

The case has a few more edges that are susceptible to storing dirt and lint than the AirPods themselves. While you may be able to get it out with a cotton swab, a toothpick is plenty of power to scrape out the sharp-edged corners.

Step By Step

Step 1: Clean Out the Charging Ports

The most important aspect of cleaning the AirPods case is making sure the charging port is free of debris. Any disconnect can prevent your AirPods from charging.

Use a cotton swab to wipe out the charging ports and the surrounding area. The charging contacts should shine just like when they were new.

Step 2: Scrape Edge Grime

Use the toothpick to clean the sharp edges around the edges where the case opens and closes. Don’t be rough. Point the stick inward with the tip acting as a dirt wedge

Then, gently push it around the edges. Repeat until it’s nice and free of any dirt.

Step 3: Polish the Inner Casing

With a new cotton swab, go back over the inner openings. Brush out debris loosened by the toothpick. Use this time to make sure the inside is fresh.

Step 4: Wipe Down the Case

The last step is to wipe away the outside of the case itself. Use your microfiber cloth to gently rub against the surface of the case. If any stains remain, gently rub the pencil eraser across it until the stain is removed. 

You may need to use distilled water on a microfiber cloth to remove tough stains.

Once you’ve finished the deep stain removable, wipe over the case with the microfiber cloth once more just to make sure there are no eraser bits left behind.