How to Clean Apple Airpods or Apple Airpods Pro

Apple Airpods. A lot of people have them, a lot of people love them. But do a lot of people clean them? Even the cleanest people can have icky Airpods. Every set of Airpods and Airpods Pro need cleaning from time to time. 

How Do Airpods Get Dirty?

Let’s face it, almost everything gets dirty, and Airpods are no different. At some point you are likely to get them dirty from at least one the following:

  • Germs 
  • Dust from the air
  • Earwax from clean, or not-so-clean, ears
  • Oils from your skin
  • Sweat
  • Hair products
  • Makeup

The list goes on and on. Eventually, you will get your Airpods dirty if you use them at all. 

How Do I Clean My Airpods?

First of all, they are not waterproof, so don’t dunk them in water. Airpods Pro and the third-generation Airpods 3 are water resistant, but you still shouldn’t run water over them. Water resistant does not mean they can take that much water, just that splashes or sprinkles probably won’t hurt them. Apple Airpods 2 and Airpods 1 are not water resistant, so be extra careful with them.

The charging cases for all versions of Airpods are not water resistant. You should do your best not to get any liquid on them, and wipe it down immediately if you do.

You also should not use compressed air on any of the components of your Airpods. The high pressure air could cause damage. 

Tools Needed

To clean your Apple Airpods or Airpods Pro and their case you need these items:

  • Soft, lint-free cloth (preferably microfiber or an Apple Polishing Cloth) 
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Isopropyl alcohol 
  • Reusable mounting putty (Fun-Tak, Blu-Tack, etc.)
  • Toothpick or pointed dental floss pick
  • Q-tips

Instead of these tools you can buy one of the Airpods cleaning kits that are available at Amazon and Best Buy, among other places. Most of the kits include the items you’ll need for the steps below.

How To Clean The Case

To clean your charging case for your Airpods or Airpods Pro:

  1. Wipe the outside and inside of the case with a lint-free cloth. If you have a difficult time removing dirt or crud, try dampening the cloth with a very small amount of isopropyl alcohol. Be careful not to oversaturate your cloth. You do not want to drench your case in alcohol.
  2. Use a Q-tip to clean down into the charging bays. Again, if there are particularly difficult spots you can use a tiny bit of alcohol on the Q-tip, but be sure not to overdo it. Dip the Q-tip in alcohol and squeeze most of it out before you use it on your case.
  3. Use a soft bristle brush, such as a soft toothbrush, to scrub gently at the Lightning connector. If there is gunk in the port, try using the cleaning putty. You do this by pushing the putty firmly into the connector, then pulling it out. If that doesn’t get everything out, you can use the toothpick to very gently and carefully pick it away. Be very careful with the toothpick or you could damage the port. This should be a last resort, after you try the brush first.

How To Clean The Pods

 When it comes to cleaning the pods themselves, there are a couple of ways to consider. 

Apple’s Method

Below is the method Apple suggests on their site. They err on the side of caution, so if you follow this method you should not damage your Airpods or Airpods Pro.

  1. Wipe the exterior with a soft, lint-free cloth. 
  2. If there is anything on the pods that may stain or cause damage, dampen a lint-free cloth and wipe the outside well. Make sure not to soak the cloth completely, you just want it damp. Do not get any liquid inside the openings.
  3. Use a dry Q-tip to clean the microphone and speaker mesh.

For Airpods Pro, you should also follow these directions to clean the ear tips:

  1. Tap the Airpod on a soft, lint-free cloth with the ear tip facing downward to remove any moisture from inside.
  2. Pull the silicone ear tips off of each Airpod.
  3. Rinse the ear tips with water. Do not use any kind of cleaner.
  4. Wipe with a lint-free cloth to dry.
  5. Once you are sure the ear tips are completely dry, make sure to orient the ear tips correctly, then click them back onto the Airpods.

Other Methods

While Apple’s method is the safe and approved way, some people find it is not as thorough as they would like. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning the speaker mesh. A lot of people have better luck with the methods below.

  1. Start with a simple Q-tip around the speaker area. Make sure you don’t push too hard on the speaker mesh. 
  2. If that doesn’t take the accumulated gunk off around the speaker, try adding a very small amount of isopropyl alcohol to a Q-tip and try it. Be sure to squeeze as much excess alcohol as you can out of the Q-tip before going near your Airpods.
  3. If you still can’t get everything off, you can try using a cleaning putty, Fun-Tak, or other reusable mounting putty. Just knead a small bit of the putty until it is soft and pliable, then press it into the speaker and pull it away. Do not press hard or you could damage the Airpods. You may need to repeat this a few times to get everything.
  4. If there are still hard to remove deposits inside the speaker opening then you can resort to a toothpick or floss pick. Be very careful with this, as you could easily damage your speaker. Carefully scrape away deposits around the speaker mesh. Avoid the speaker mesh as much as possible to avoid causing permanent damage.
  5. Wipe the outside of the Airpods with a lint-free cloth. You can dampen it slightly with isopropyl alcohol if necessary.
  6. If you have Airpods Pro, remove the ear tips and run them under water. Use only water, no cleaners or detergents. Wipe them dry and reattach them to the Airpods.
  7. Let everything dry completely before using.

How To Remove And Reinstall Ear Tips On Apple Airpods Pro

The best way to clean your Airpods Pro involves removing the ear tips. To do that, grab the ear tip near where it attaches to the Aipod and pull firmly away. Some people prefer to invert the cup part of the tip before removing. This exposes the base, making it easier to grip before pulling it away from the pod. 

Reinstallation just reverses this process. Carefully align the ear tip to the pod and press gently until you hear a click. Again, some people prefer to invert the cup part of the tip before they install their ear tips, which allows them to grip the base when pressing into the pod. Then just roll the cup back into the correct position before using or storing.

How Often Should I Clean My Airpods?

You usually should clean your Airpods and Airpods Pro about once a week if you use them regularly. If you only use them occasionally, you may be able to stretch that timeframe a bit. On the other hand, if you wear them while working out and they are covered in sweat, or if you notice a lot of earwax on them, you may want to start cleaning them more often. Some people clean them after every use, but it usually is not necessary. 

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