How Do You Clean Earphones Correctly? 5 Quick and Easy Ways To Clean Them Like A Pro!

This is a sign for you to clean your earphones. Earphones have become a part of our daily lives, whether we use them for entertainment or for work-related tasks we’re all going to use them one way or another. 

But as you use them almost every day, have you ever taken a close look at your earphones? I mean at a really up close angle. 

how to clean earphones correctly


When you look at them from a distance your earphones might seem spotless, but if you look up close, you’ll be surprised by what you will see. I’m sorry to say this but earphones are kind of gross and you should definitely get them cleaned every once in a while.

So how do you clean earphones correctly? And how can you clean them without damaging them as well? 

Why Do You Need To Clean Your Earphones?

We regularly put our earphones into our ears giving them a chance to catch earwax and all sorts of stuff, and if you are someone who tosses them around and puts them in a bag when you are done with them chances are they accumulate all types of dirt and bacteria too. 

Earphones release soundwaves that produce heat when in use which can melt the wax within your ears—making it possible for earwax to easily cling to your earphone. After the wax gets into your earphone this can result in muffled sounds and uneven volume and above all, it gets icky too. 

And trust me, accumulated ear wax in earphones, and earbuds is not a pretty sight to see because they can also start smelling too. 

Your earphones can also get you sick, the bacteria that grow on them if you don’t clean them regularly can cause fungal or yeast infections in your ears. 

It’s even worse if you use them while you’re working out because of the sweat which can create moisture and if you share them with friends or family frequently, which by now you should know that you shouldn’t too. 

You should also get them cleaned every once in a while, but preferably once a week or every two weeks depending on how frequently you use them.

How To Clean Your Earphones: 5 Easy Techniques You Can Try To Get Them Squeaky Clean

The good news is you probably already have some of the stuff that we are going to use today to clean your earphones, there are just one or two items here that you might need to buy first but if you’re resourceful, you can try making a makeshift tool as a substitute for now. 

So now, let’s go ahead and check out some of the techniques you can try to clean your earphones and get them free from wax, dirt, and grime!

Things you’ll need depending on the method you’ll try:

Soapy Water – To make your soapy water mixture it’s best to use dish soap or a type of soft detergent. The Seventh Generation Dish soap is highly recommended. It’s a plant-based formula with 0% artificial fragrances and also wipes cleaner compared to other brands. 

You just take a bowl of water and mix 1-2 tbsp. Of dish soap, mix it thoroughly and you’re all set. 

Rubbing Alcohol – rubbing alcohol is also a good cleaning agent that is also a disinfectant at the same time. It evaporates quickly which means you don’t have to worry about it seeping into the internal parts of your earphone.

Alcohol prep pads – Combining the cloth and rubbing alcohol, you can use alcohol prep pads to clean your earphones as well. You can use this to sanitize and clean the external surfaces of your earphones. 

Hydrogen peroxide – hydrogen peroxide is known to help remove wax from clogged ears and earphones as well. It helps soften the wax that has solidified.

Stain remover – You might be suspicious about this, but trust me later on you’ll see how you can use this to clean your earphones. 

Soft Cloth – The next thing that you will need is a soft cloth, a microfiber cloth is ideal for the job since it is highly absorbent and it can also remove dust, dirt, grime, and oil like a piece of cake. 

The MagicFiber Microfiber cloth is also a great choice to use as it’s a high-quality microfiber cloth that will not leave a scratch on your earphones’ surfaces.

Cotton swabs or Q-tips – another useful tool that you can use are cotton swabs, especially for hard-to-reach areas. 

Earphone Cleaning Tool – If you want to be thorough in cleaning your earphones, you can opt to use an earphone cleaning tool that is specifically designed to help clean auditory devices including hearing aids and earphones. 

Blue-Tack – Another unconventional hack that you can try to use to clean your earphone is a mounting putty also known as Blue-Tack. I’ll explain further details on how you can use it to clean your earphone

Method 1

For our first method, you will be using soapy water along with a soft cloth. Once you are ready with the things you need follow these quick and easy steps to clean your earphones. 

Things you’ll need:

Dish soap

A bowl of water

2 soft cloth/microfiber cloth

Cotton swab

Earphone cleaning tool

Step 1: Mix a small amount of dishwashing soap in a bowl of warm water, make sure that you mix it thoroughly. 

Step 2: Dampen your first cloth with soapy water and squeeze out any excess water because you don’t want it dripping wet. 

Step 3: Before you go ahead and clean your earphones, if they have removable tips you can remove them first then head on to wiping down the surfaces of your earphones with the damp cloth. 

Step 4: After going through your earphone using the damp cloth, take the dry one and fully 

go over the earphones again to give it a good wipe and to help dry it down.

Step 5: You can use a cotton swab or earphone cleaning tool for the speaker grill if they have accumulated any gunk, grime, or dirt. 

Step 6: Let it air dry for at least 20-30 minutes and you’re good to go!

Method 2

For the second technique that you can try, you’ll be doing the same process, but you’ll use a different cleaning agent that is a disinfectant as well. 

Things you’ll need:

Rubbing alcohol

Alcohol prep pads

Cotton swabs

Step 1: Get some alcohol prep pads and wipe over all parts of your phones from the cords up to the external surfaces of the earphones themselves. If you do not have any alcohol prep pads as of the moment, alternatively you can use clean tissue paper saturated with the rubbing alcohol. 

Step 2: After the alcohol prep pads or tissue paper with alcohol, get some cotton swabs and saturate it with the rubbing alcohol too but don’t saturate it too much. Put enough rubbing alcohol to help clean the speaker grill and other hard-to-reach areas of your earphones. 

Step 3: After you’re done, and you’ve cleaned all that needs to be cleaned, let it dry down for just 5-10 minutes since alcohol dries down very quickly and you’re good to go. 

Method 3

Using hydrogen peroxide to clean your earphones might be a hack that you’ll never think of. And as I have mentioned before, it can be used to soften up gunk, grime, dirt, including earwax. This is also a great technique if you want to deep clean your earphones. 

Things you’ll need:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Soft cloth

Cotton swabs

Soft-bristled brush or Earphone cleaning tool

Step 1: If your earphones have tips, remove the tips first so you can thoroughly clean them and the earphones as well. 

Step 2: Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide onto the mesh surface or speaker grills of your earphones and let it sit for a few minutes. After that, wipe it clean using a soft cloth. 

Step 3: Wet the soft-bristled brush or your earphone cleaning tool and gently scrub on the speaker grills to effectively remove any debris. 

Step 4: Once you’re satisfied with how clean it is, go ahead and gently shake out the excess hydrogen peroxide and any debris left. Go over all parts of the earphone including the removable tips if they have one with the soft cloth and you’re good to go! 

Method 4

This technique might be an unconventional way to clean your earphones, and you have to be careful about how you will carry out the steps. This is great for earphones with uneven volumes and muffles sounds as this is a real deep cleaning method. 

(Disclaimer: This method is best for earphones with cords only and not with wireless earbuds and AirPods as they can result in permanent damage—proceed at your own risk)

Things you’ll need:

Stain Remover

A glass of water

Bag of rice

1 Ziplock bag

Step 1: Get about 1 tbsp. of the stain remover and mix it with your glass of water. After that let the earphones play loud music for about 10 minutes or so while soaking in the mixture. 

Step 2: Once the 10 minutes is done, get your earphones and give them a good rinse through running water for 10 seconds or so. After that shake out any excess water. 

Step 3: The next you’ll need to do is get a ziplock bag and put it in your earphones and fill it with rice until it completely covers the earphones. Leave it for about 5-7 days and let it completely dry and voila! Clean and clear-sounding earphones with an equally loud volume on both sides. 

Method 5

Blue-tack or mounting putty is a sticky and reusable adhesive that you can use to safely clean and easily remove wax, dirt, and grime from your earphones. It can get to all the surfaces and crevices of your earphones. 

The mesh can be completely cleaned through this method including the hard-to-reach spot since it’s a malleable and flexible material that is kinda similar to molding clay.  This is also one of the best and easiest ways to clean your earphones.  

Things you’ll need:

Blue-tack (Mounting putty)

Alcohol prep pads/Rubbing alcohol and tissue

Step 1: Prep your Blue-tack or mounting putty by warming it up in your hands. 

Step 2: Gently press in into the areas in your earphones that you want to clean and watch how it cleanly picks up all the wax, dirt, and grime from your earphones. 

Step 3: Once you’re satisfied with how clean your earphones are, give it a final wipe-down with the alcohol prep pads or tissue saturated with alcohol to further sanitize it. 

Organization and Storing Tips for Earphones

Don’t put it down, put it away

If you’re not going to use your earphones in the meantime, it’s best if you can store them in a bag or case to make sure that they are kept away from dirt, scratches, and bumps. 

Most earphones come with a case when you buy them, and if they do make sure to utilize it. If not, there are affordable and durable cases you can buy online, like this one

This will help maximize the lifespan of your earphone and keep them from getting dirty as well—plus they’ll be tangle-free every time you use them. 

Keep the cable clean

The earphones’ shell (the one you put into your ears) is not the only part that you should clean. 

If you’re using your earphones most of the time during the day and use them while working out or while you’re on a jog out in the park chances are it comes in contact with sweat, dirt, and all sorts of stuff. 

Simply wipe it down with a paper towel saturated with soapy water or rubbing alcohol depending on what you currently have access to and just follow it up with a full wipe using a dry paper towel again and you’re good to go! 

Keep them dry

The next thing that you would want to do is to extend the lifespan of your earphones and to keep them clean as well as to always keep them dry. In any case that they come in contact with moisture make sure that you fully dry them down first before you use them or store them in a bag or case. 

If they accidentally get soaked in water or any kind of liquid, simply bury them in rice and make sure that they are fully covered, and leave it to dry for 3-5 days—the longer the better. (please refrain from putting them in the microwave!)

Saying Goodbye To Icky Earphones!

And there you have it, folks! These are just some of the ways you can clean your earphones, there are tons of hacks and tips on how you can do it, but these are by far some of the easiest ways I’ve found on how you can do it. 

How about you? How do you clean your earphones? I’ve heard some people use their washing machine to do it, should I give it a try? What do you think?

Comment your cleaning recipes and hacks down below because sharing is caring! 

Adios, until our next one!