Tech Q&A: How do you clean your AirPods?

Oliver has some questions about the proper way to care for his AirPods without damaging them.

Q. Oliver
I live in Melbourne, so have spent a good deal of time working from home over the past two years due to various lockdowns.

This has meant spending a lot of time on Zoom meetings and the like, and I have started to notice that my AirPods are looking in a lot worse shape than they were at the beginning of the pandemic.

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As these are an expensive item to replace, I don’t want to risk cleaning them in case I do any damage, but is there something I can do to freshen them up? I am sure there have got to be some hygiene problems with sticking dirty earbuds into my ears.

A. I read an interesting article recently that AirPods could be falling out of fashion. It has little to do with hygiene, though, and more to do with celebrities starting to be photographed wearing old-fashioned corded headphones.

I mention this because they were always undoubtedly a cheaper option and you didn’t mind replacing them when they got too worn or filthy, but I understand your unwillingness to fork out the money for a new set or AirPods, just because they are getting a bit dirty.

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The good news is that it is possible to clean your AirPods without damaging them.

The key is to wipe them clean with a soft, lint-free cloth that has been slightly dampened with water, then use another soft, lint-free cloth to dry it.

While you are doing this make sure not to get any liquid in the openings. You can also pick out any earwax from your AirPods by using a toothpick, or Apple suggests using a dry cotton bud.

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If you are using AirPod Pro buds, you can clean the ear tips by rinsing them in water, just make sure not to use soap or other household cleaners.

You can then dry them using a soft, lint-free cloth, making sure that they are completely dry before reattaching them.

To reattach them, align the oval shapes on the AirPods with the ear tips and push them back into place.

To clean the case, you should use a soft, dry lint-free cloth for the outside (you can dampen the cloth with alcohol if there is some stubborn grime).

It is very important not get any liquid in the charging ports, though.

If the inside of the case needs to be cleaned, you can use a soft toothbrush that has been dipped in alcohol. Steer clear of cleaning the case with any abrasive materials as it will damage easily.

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Written by Ben