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How to clean the headphones?

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Like any product in contact with our body, audio headphones accumulate impurities that our body gets rid of or necessary for its functioning. Regular maintenance of the earphones serves both to prolong their optimal working conditions and to simple hygiene.

The Sony LinkBud S
The Sony LinkBuds S // Source: Frandroid

Your ears are always clean, we have no doubts about that. However, nature is such that it regularly secretes earwax which dirties and clogs your audio headphones. Added to this are the dust and other pollutants that surround us. Especially since we use these products daily, on the street, in an armchair or while playing sports. Many small elements that over time are not very hygienic. Not to mention that they can clog up the headphones and thus reduce the sound quality. After forcing ourselves to wear our headphones for several weeks, here we will go into detail on how to maintain them.

How to clean your in-ear headphones?

There are three areas to clean on the headphones, the tips, the protective grille and finally the body.

How to clean the headphones 02
Here is your foolproof kit for cleaning your headphones! // Source: Yazid Amer – Frandroid

How do you clean the tips of the earphones?

There are two types of rubber pads, those made of plastic or silicone and those made of memory foam, which are handled slightly differently.

How do you clean the plastic or silicone tips of the headphones?

The first thing to do is to remove the tips from the headphones. Then proceed with the following steps.

  • Soak them in hot soapy water (40 to 50 °) (Marseille soap, for example, which has antiseptic properties) for a few minutes.
  • Then in the water rub the tips with your fingers, not hesitating to squeeze them between your fingers so that the friction effect reaches the ducts.
  • Using a cotton swab, remove any residue that has stuck to their surface.
How to clean the headphones 05
Source: Yazid Amer – Frandroid
  • If there are any left, use a toothbrush to finish removing them.
How to clean the headphones 06
Source: Yazid Amer – Frandroid
  • Run a toothpick through the ducts to make sure there is no residue left.
  • Rinse with cold water, dry with a towel or cloth.

How do you clean the memory foam tips of the headphones?

Memory foam earbuds are often made from foam and therefore process slightly differently than plastic and rubber.

  • Immerse them in hot water (40 to 50 °) not soapybecause foam is much more difficult to remove on this material.
  • Using a cotton swab previously moistened in hot water, remove any residue that has stuck to their surface.
  • If there are any left, you can use a toothbrush to finish removing them, but only with very soft bristles.
  • Run a toothpick through the ducts to make sure there is no residue left.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Let them air dry for a few hours so that all traces of moisture disappear.

How do I clean the protective grille of the headphones?

The small grid that separates the outside from the inside of the earphones serves to prevent earwax, wax, from entering the audio system. It is therefore a must to clean it well, but it is also very fragile.

  • Dip a cotton ball or very soft bristled toothbrush in warm water.
  • Place the headset so that the grille is facing down, facing the floor; so gravity will help you in your task.
How to clean the headphones 07
Source: Yazid Amer – Frandroid
  • Rub very gently to remove the wax and never force it to prevent it from getting into the earphones.
  • If there is any residue left on the sides of the grill, you can finish the job using a toothpick.
  • Be careful, always be very delicate, never forced. It is better to take more time to be gentle than to force it to save time and end up damaging the headphones.

How to clean your Airpods or open-fit earbuds?

Open or tipless headphones are a popular format by Apple with its AirPods and found for example by Huawei. The procedure for cleaning them is quite simple, as we only have the anti-wax grid to deal with.

How to clean the headphones 08
Source: Yazid Amer – Frandroid
  • Dip a cotton ball or very soft bristled toothbrush in warm water.
  • Position the headset so that the grid is facing the ground so that gravity helps you in your task.
  • Rub very gently to remove the wax and never force it to prevent it from getting into the earphones.
How to clean the headphones 09
Source: Yazid Amer – Frandroid
  • If necessary, replace the cotton swab and treat the internal surfaces surrounding the grill.
  • There will certainly be some residue on the sides of the grill, you can finish the job with a toothpick.

Be careful, always be very delicate, never forced. It is better to take more time by being delicate than to force to save time and eventually damage the headphones.

How to finish cleaning the headphones?

You have cleaned the “insides” and the ends, now you have to finalize the operation.

  • Using a dry cloth, you can remove fingerprints that visually pollute the body of your headphones.
  • However, you can also use an antibacterial wipe on the surface beforehand, avoid wipes that are too wet so that the product will not fit on headphones that are not waterproof.
  • Never go near the wax guards with them.
  • Finally, you can finalize the operation on the wires of your product if it has them and the remote control.

You now have perfectly clean headphones. Always take some time to dry the different elements well and repeat this operation regularly. At best once a week or every two weeks, to prevent lumps of residue from becoming too difficult to remove.


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