How to Clean AirPods


Dirty AirPods can affect their performance and even stop them from functioning properly. Learn how to clean AirPods using this guide.

If you own AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max, they’ll accumulate dirt and bacteria over time. Of course, you don’t want to introduce germs and debris to your ear canal, as that can cause infection.

Dirty AirPods can also accumulate sweat, dirt, and other contaminants that affect their performance. For that reason, you’ll want to clean your AirPods on a regular basis.

You’ll want to learn how to clean AirPods to get the best performance out of them (and to avoid any nasty infections). We’ll explain the best ways to clean your AirPods below.

How to Clear AirPods Quickly

You might think AirPods are delicate, and you must use caution while cleaning them. While they are small, they can take a bit of pressure while cleaning.

Before you begin, take the earbuds out of the charging case and disconnect them from any Bluetooth-capable devices they’re connected to.

To do basic cleaning of your AirPods:

  1. Ensure you have a microfiber cleaning cloth, like the one you’d use to clean a computer screen or phone. For example, if you want to stick with Apple, the company sells an official $19 lint-free cleaning cloth.
    How to Clean AirPods

    Photo credit: Apple

  2. Use the cloth to wipe the outside of the AirPods to remove dust, smudges, and other loose debris.How to Clean AirPods
  3. If there are stubborn smudges or other debris, wet the cloth with a bit of water and wipe them down.

Apple says you can use a 70-percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75-percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox disinfecting wipes to do this.

However, you can’t use it (or water, for that matter) on the speaker mesh. No matter your method, ensure you’re not putting alcohol on the speaker itself. Also, don’t use hydrogen peroxide or bleach.

How to Clean the AirPods Case

After you wipe down your AirPods, grab your charging case and clean that up with your microfiber case.

Start by opening the case and cleaning any obvious gunk and debris from the AirPods section of the case with the cloth or Q-tip. You should also wipe down any smudges and dirt from the outside of the case.


If you have a lot of gunk accumulated in the lightning port, use a toothpick to remove the gunk carefully. Too much debris in the lighting port can cause charging issues.

Once you have it out, wipe it down with your microfiber cloth.

How to Clean AirPods

How to Clean AirPods Ear Tips

Over time, earwax and other gross things can accumulate inside the AirPods ear tips. For example, to remove the gunk, grab a Q-tip and swipe it around the inside of the earbud, and remove any gunk and debris.

If using an alcohol solution, put it on the Q-tip itself and not in the speaker itself.

How to Clean AirPods

If stubborn debris is in the ear tips, you may want to use a toothpick to remove the stuck-on gunk carefully.

stubborn gunk toothpick

Remember, don’t put too much pressure on the grill and accidentally damage the earbuds. If there’s particularly stubborn dirt and debris, dip the Q-tip in a small amount of water or a light amount of the alcohol solution.

Never place your AirPods under sitting or running water. Your AirPods are water-resistant, but they’re not waterproof.

Keeping Your AirPods Clean

Once you have your AirPods cleaned up and ready to go, connect them to your iPhone (or other devices) and begin using them.

To keep them clean, ensure you give them a once-over cleaning to stay clean and in good shape. If you’re a heavy user of your AirPods, you’ll want to clean them more regularly. Just keep in mind that it’s easier to clean them once a month than only one time per year.

AirPods can do some things you may not be aware of. For example, you can skip songs with AirPods on your iPhone or turn on noise canceling on AirPods. If you don’t like the name of your earbuds, you can change the name of AirPods. It’s also possible to add AirPods to Find My iPhone.

You can also connect your Apple AirPods to other devices like Windows 11 or connect AirPods to Roku.

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