How many times do you shower in a month? A year? How many times have you changed your clothes after a long, sweaty workout? Now think: how often have you cleaned your headphones? For a selected few of you reading this, the answer is “quite a few times”. For most of you though, it’s probably “never”. If that’s not gross enough for you, hear this: not only do our headphones collect dust and grime and earwax from use but also every time that they are stuffed into our bags and exposed to the air. The following methods will show you how to clean both earphones and on-ear headphones.
The things you will need
Cleaning these requires a bit more delicacy and discretion, but the steps are quite straight-forward. Even the items that you will need can be easily found at home:
- A wet wipe or paper towel
- Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer
- Some lukewarm water
These are the first type of headphones. They can either be identified with their exposed mesh (like the Apple ones) or with their silicone sleeves/ear tips. It doesn’t really matter though, because the method is simple and easy to follow for both.
- If you have silicone-covered earbuds, carefully remove the silicone tips from both heads and soak them thoroughly with soapy lukewarm water. Leave them out to air dry.
- Next, wipe down the wires and the head of the listening bud with a wet wipe or a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Make sure your towels aren’t soaked through, because you don’t want any of the liquid seepings through the mesh or exposed metal.
- Now, use a Q-tip to dislodge some of that grime caked in the mesh area. Use gentle, swiping motions to make sure the cotton reaches the tiny curves and crevices. For particularly dirty earbuds, you can use the tip of a paper clip wire to do this step.
- Leave everything out to air dry, then put back in the silicone tips when you’re done.
Despite their size, these can be a bit trickier to clean, since you’re dealing with more delicate parts, such as the leather which can tear or rip easily. So, proceed with caution.
- Remove the ear pads gently and put them off to the side.
- Wipe down the body of the remaining headphones using a paper towel dampened with soapy water or use a wet wipe. Make sure to reach all the edges and crevices. Rub the residue dry with a paper towel and leave to air dry completely.
- To clean the ear pads, dampen a paper towel, or use a wet wipe to wipe down the leather gently. Use a dampened Q-tip to dislodge any dirt or grime in the edges and crevices.
- Use some rubbing alcohol with a towel to rub the foam mesh area of the ear pads. Rubbing the two pads together will further help get rid of any stubborn grime. Leave everything to air dry once you’re done.
Cleaning your headphones will not only ease off some of your gross habits but also make sure your headphones are comfortable and clean. This will help them have a longer life and even, in the case of earphones, improve the sound quality.
Keeping your everyday belongings is a great habit to have. Try to clean your headphones at least a couple of times a month if you use them regularly. You don’t have to deep-clean every time; just wipe it nicely with a damp cloth or use a Q-tip if you notice grime accumulating on them.