When was the last time you cleaned your earbuds or headphones?
Well, it’s about time you do so!
Depending on how frequently you use them, you might have noticed some residue build-up. This not only affects the quality of sound from your earbuds or headphones but also reduces their durability. But, there’s more to cleaning earphones than just getting rid of the gross debris.
The following tips will teach you how to clean earbuds and prevent ear infections.
1. Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
Since headphones and earbuds are made using different materials, it’s crucial to choose the right cleaning solutions and techniques to avoid damaging your audio devices. You also want to ensure that you have all the necessary supplies to clean even the hard-to-reach parts.
You’ll need a toothbrush to scrub away all the hard-on debris on the surface and in crevices. Instead of buying a new one, you can use an old toothbrush and save some money. However, ensure the bristles of the toothbrush are long and narrow enough to penetrate the crevices and mesh on the headphones.
You’ll also need lukewarm water, a washcloth, soap, and some cotton swabs. Keep in mind that concentrated washing solutions can corrode various parts of your earphones. As such, mild detergent such as hand soap or dishwashing detergent will be perfect for the job
Ensure you have rubbing alcohol and wipes to disinfect your clean earbuds.
2. Clean Your Earbuds/Headphones
Before starting the cleaning process, ensure you unplug your earphones from your listening device so that it doesn’t come into contact with water.
When cleaning in-ear earbuds, remove the covers of the earbuds and soak them in warm, soapy water. Using a cotton swab, gently scrub off all debris on both the outer and inner surfaces. Then, rinse and leave them to dry.
For on-ear headphones, the cleaning process is determined by whether the ear pads are removable or non-removable. If they’re removable, you can use a toothbrush to dislodge all the exterior debris and then wipe clean with a washcloth.
On the other hand, headphones with non-removable ear pads will require manual dry cleaning. Carefully apply a sufficient amount of water on the fabric and massage it using a washcloth. Soapy water isn’t recommended when cleaning non-removable ear pads as it may be difficult to completely rinse it off.
Using a toothbrush, brush the wire mesh surface of your headphones or earbuds while holding them down. Don’t scrub too hard as this may push the dirt further into the earphone, making it harder to clean.
Once you have dislodged all the dried-on dirt, wet the washcloth in the lukewarm, soapy water and wring so that it’s slightly damp. This ensures that the cloth is wet enough to clean the earphone surface without dripping too much water that can potentially damage the electronic components of your earphones.
While paying attention to contours on the outer surface of your earphones, thoroughly wipe clean all the dirt. Wet and rinse the cloth if need be.
Using a clean and dry towel, press the now clean earphones into the towel to dry the surfaces. Alternatively, you can leave the earbuds in a well-ventilated room or near a fan for some minutes.
3. Disinfect the Earphones
Since earbuds go directly into your ear canal, it’s always good to regularly sterilize them. Sparingly wet a clean cotton swab with alcohol and wipe down the headphones.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used as an alternative to alcohol. However, don’t use it excessively as it may scrap of the coatings on your headphones. Remember to do the same to the earpads of your headphones as well as the silicon covers of earbuds.
While many headphones and earbuds are predominantly made of plastic, there are others with wooden finishes. You can view here for more earbuds and headphones options.
For headphones with wood finishes, use wood-specific cleaners such as a commercial wood polish. To save money, you can use a mixture of warm water and mild detergent as an alternative. If you’re disinfecting headphones with aluminum and steel finishes, polish the surfaces with jewel polish.
4. Maintain And Care For Your Earphones
Although residue build-up on your earphones is inevitable, how you store and use your audio devices can make a big a difference.
If headphones are part of your exercise outfit, it’s recommended to wipe off the sweat on them after every workout. This will not only prevent sweat from drying on the surface and create a build-up, but also prevent it from seeping into the electric components.
Also, don’t keep your earphones in your gym shorts pocket after a workout. Such areas tend to accumulate a lot of sweat. Instead, put them in an aerated zipped bag to allow them to dry quickly and completely.
Swimming earphones, despite being water-resistant, should also be left to dry before storage. When storing them, throw in some silica gel packets in the components. This will help absorb the excess moisture as well as prevent the growth of mold.
If you aren’t using your headphones or earbuds, store them in a clean and dry place. You can make good use of the package that came with the earphones.
However, foldable headphones don’t necessarily need a storage case. Simply fold them after every use to prevent dirt from penetrating into the internal components.
Apart from storage, the environment in which you use your earbuds greatly affects how frequently you should clean them. This means that earphones used indoors are less prone to dirt as compared to those regularly used outdoors. As such, your usage pattern should dictate how frequently you clean your earphones.
Know How to Clean Earbuds and Headphones the Right Way!
Now that you already know how to clean earbuds and headphones using the steps outlined above, make it a habit. Clean earbuds will not only promote ear hygiene, but also the longevity of your audio devices.
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