Apple’s wireless AirPod earbuds sound great and they work perfectly with iPhones, giving listeners hours of tangle-free entertainment. Of course, all this time in the dark recesses of ears, often during a sweaty workout, means that they need cleaning from time to time. We show you the best way to return AirPods back to pristine condition.
For more technical problems, resetting your AirPods can often help.
How not to clean AirPods!
AirPods may be robust, but one thing they’re definitely not is waterproof or even water resistant. Therefore, it’s essential that you keep liquids well away when cleaning them. So don't dunk them in water to wash them.
There are rumours that the anticipated update to the AirPods will be more water resistant, but this has yet to be confirmed. Read our AirPods 2 release date, price, specs, and rumours guide to keep up to date with the latest information.
Can you use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to clean AirPods?
Hydrogen Peroxide or alcohol dabbed on a cotton bud might go some way to disolve the ear wax. But remember that the AirPods aren't officially considered water resistant, so we'd strongly advice you to go easy on it. Read our advice below.
Speaking of ear wax, Apple has a way to test if ear wax is causing audio problems with your AirPods. More here: Here's how Apple will tests you and your AirPods for ear wax.
How to clean AirPods
Apple recommends using a ‘soft, dry, lint-free cloth’ to remove any dirt from the exterior of the earbuds. These can be picked up cheaply on Amazon, or if you wear glasses then you can always use the one that came with them.
Give the white plastic casing a gentle rub and the shine should quickly return.
For the microphone openings at the bottom and upper edges of the earbuds, cotton buds are the way to go. Gently twist the buds around these areas, being careful not to apply much pressure.
The same is true for the speaker meshes on the inside of the AirPods, but these can be a bit more of a challenge as earwax inevitably builds up here. To remove this use an old, soft bristled, toothbrush or makeup brush.
You can, of course, buy one specifically for the task so as to avoid any horrific mix-ups later down the line.
Again, you want to use a minimum amount of force so that the mesh doesn’t get damaged or you accidentally force wax into the tiny grills. If the wax proves resistant, try altering the angle you hold the brush, but don’t be tempted get a sharper object involved as this will often end in expensive regret.
How to clean the AirPods case
As the AirPods case doubles as a quick recharge pack for the earbuds, there’s a good chance it will always be in your bag or pocket. This means that the unit will also need a good clean from time to time.
The exterior can be given a quick wipe with slightly damp cloth, or even a wet-wipe, just be sure not to let any liquids get into the lightning port at the bottom of the case.
To clear the port of any fluff or debris, use the soft brush that we mentioned above for the AirPod speakers meshes. Should you find that there’s a build-up of lint in the port you can also coax it out with a toothpick or similarly sized plastic object.
Be very careful with this though and try to only dig at the top of the lint to drag it out, rather than inserting the toothpick into the port itself. There are metal connections at the bottom and sides of the cavity that can be damaged if you go poking at them.
Again, be very careful not to apply much pressure as you wouldn’t want the pick to snap and get stuck inside.
With both the AirPods and Charging Case, take your time. A few minutes more care should mean you avoid any mishaps, while ensuring the devices look spick and span at the end.
If you’re looking for a full-size pair of Bluetooth headphones to accompany your Airpods, then take a look at our Best wireless headphones 2018 guide for some of the best ones currently available.
If you have AirPods, and are experiencing the random disconnecting problem, read this: How to fix AirPods disconnecting from iPhone.