How To Clean Earbuds

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There’s no other way to say it. Your earbuds are gross. Buying earbuds with our first allowance or salary is kind of a rite of passage. They are overlooked after being bought because of the daily workout it gets from being put in our nasty ears.

Are they now full of gunk and who knows what other bacteria? This is due to earwax, oil, and other disgusting things from our bodies. With a few tips and tricks, make your earbuds last longer to be cherished…or you may be broke and can’t afford to buy a new pair. Either way, follow these tips to make them last as long as possible!

One of the first things you should check if your earphones stop working is whether it’s an earphone problem or an audio jack problem. Plug them into another device to check if they work, and you’ll be able to find which one is the culprit.

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7 Easy Methods To Clean Earbuds

1. Use a Toothbrush 

A toothbrush will help clean the earbuds quite quickly. Make sure you use a new, clean, nylon brush. If not, use any unused brush.

The stiffer the bristles are, the better. If the bristles are too soft, they won’t penetrate the holes. Also, it may cause the outside of the earphones near the place where the ear canals are, to start peeling causing permanent damage.

Brush the earbuds in gentle, circular motions. The bristles should be long and narrow enough to penetrate inside the holes of the earbuds. But be careful not to brush too hard or too much—the soft covering of the wire will peel off, leaving the wire open to external damage. Don’t overdo it unless you want your earphones to look like they were scrubbed to oblivion!

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2. Deep Clean

You know how once or twice a week you have to go through the dreaded task of cleaning the house. Similarly, when there’s way too much gunk that a toothbrush isn’t going to make a dent on it, it’s time to get your hands dirty!

Fill up a basin with a mild solution of water and soap. Use a soft, cotton cloth and dampen it with the solution. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible, since too much water on earbuds could cause damage to the electrical components.

Wipe the earbuds thoroughly, especially the parts you insert in the entrance of your ears. Dry them with a soft, dry cloth. Take care to keep your hands dry as well, we don’t want any mini electrical accidents!

3. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol also known as isopropyl alcohol is quite commonly found at drug stores or supermarkets. Dip the tip of an ear-cleaning bud or Q-tip lightly into a bit of alcohol and immediately press it to the side of the bottle or a counter to get rid of the extra alcohol.

Clean around the earphones and very carefully clean the earbud area with the Q-tip. If possible avoid this area if there isn’t a lot of gunk. The alcohol will loosen and break down the grime and oil, making it squeaky clean. Once again, rub it dry with a soft, dry cloth.

4. Putty

No, not silly putty that’s so fun to stick on people’s faces during Halloween, but the kind you find at stationery stores. It’s often used to stick paper or material to the walls and is more useful and much easier to use than tape.

Push the putty and speaker grill together, but not too deep otherwise, that will damage the grill. Make sure you shape the putty a bit and don’t just slam it onto the earphones!

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Have a few tries at it, or until the goop from inside the grill has completely come out. Test them out to find if your earbuds are back at 100% capacity.

5. Wash or Replace Ear Tips

Take out the ear tips and clean them with a diluted soap and water solution. A dilute alcohol solution and the earbud can also do the job just as well. This works most effectively if the ear tips are made out of silicone. If they are made out of foam, do not use any soap or alcohol solution as this can permanently damage them.

Use a slightly damp cloth to clean foam ear tips. If it is possible, buy a new set of ear tips. It will be worth it when your once medieval earphones will now look super fly and most importantly, new and clean.

6. Wipes

A rubbing alcohol wipe, wet wipe, or even a baby wipe might do the job. Use these to lightly clean your earphones, especially near the place where you insert them in your ears.

Once again, take care not to rub too hard in the earbud area, since liquid could leak into the holes and damage the earphones. Then wipe the outside down with a clean, dry cloth before your trial run.  These are the simplest to implement since it’s easy to carry around wipes pretty much anywhere!

If you see a bit of gunk, whip out a wipe and tada! Cleaning on the go, kind of like how we associate this superpower with our moms.

7. Combo for 2

If any one of the above methods doesn’t work on its own, employ 2 at a time to restore your earphones to their pristine state. 

Usually, putty and soap/water solution is used together. Shape the putty, push it so that the speaker grill, and draw out the gunk. It may take a few tries for the gunk to come out since the putty is kind of thick.

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Then tape over the earbud area and clean the outside part of the earphones with a soap and water solution. Use a dilute solution since too much water or soap could damage the earphones themselves. This is quick and effective to do because you never want to take a chance and use something wet in the earbud area and risk electronic damage.

Use these easy methods and keep your earbuds forever clean. Share and save!

Written by Pulkit D

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