AirPods rest in front of various cleaning products.

Dropping $160 on a pair of wireless earbuds in a dental-floss-sized case is no small decision. If you decided to spring for a pair of AirPods, you're going to want to take good care of them so they'll last you a couple rounds of iPhone upgrades. After all, these ones don't come bundled in the box. Here's how you clean your AirPods and keep 'em clean!

Products used in this guide

How to clean your AirPods

AirPods in my ears

With dirt, dust, lint, grime, ear wax, and more constantly finding its way onto your glossy white AirPods, you're definitely gonna want to clean them from time to time. Consistency is your friend, friend: The best way to ward off long-lasting grime is by preventing it from building up. Clean and clean regularly.

Carry a microfiber cloth

Cleaning AirPods with a microfiber cloth

Get a little microfiber cloth and keep it on your person or store it wherever you charge your AirPods. Give your AirPods (and the case if you want) a quick buff every couple days.

If you happen to spot an offending smudge, go ahead and wipe it away. No need to let that dirt and grime build up over weeks.

Take it next level with a cleaning solution

Cleaning AirPods with a cleaning solution.

The technology inside of your AirPods is packed TIGHT. They're basically plastic and glue and plastic and glue and glue. To be clear, I'm not saying they're water resistant or waterproof but I've read more than one account of someone accidentally losing them in the laundry and pulling them out of the washer unscathed and fully functional. In other words, it doesn't seem to be a big deal if they get a little moisture on them.

I swear by a cleaning solution I came across at CES last year that's made specifically for electronics. It's called WHOOSH! and it cleans, polishes, and disinfects your electronics without damaging the finish. It comes with a little spray bottle and a cleaning cloth — pretty neat stuff!

Please note that hand sanitizer and similar skin-cleaning solutions are bad for electronics. Do not use hand sanitizer on your AirPods. You risk damaging the polish — or worse, the electronics. If you don't want to use a specialized cleaning solution like Whoosh, a little bit of water (purified is better than tap) on a cloth can help you wipe away the grease and grime.

Getting the grime out

Using a cotton swab to do a thorough cleaning of AirPods

As much as I wish Apple's AirPods were a seamless piece of plastic, they're not. And the tiny, tiny little cracks and crevices start to fill up with dust, grime, etc. When a cloth-polish just won't do, you've gotta get up close and personal!

I find a cotton swab is great for a thorough cleaning of your AirPods. Whether you've got ear wax clinging to the speaker grilles or dirt in the seams, a cotton swab will usually do the trick.

Lastly, if you've got a particularly stubborn smudge that won't wipe away from the surface of your AirPods, you might try giving it a quick swipe or four with a rubber eraser. The rubber will pull the mark from the surface of your AirPods.

Our top equipment picks

To get the best polish shine for your AirPods (and the charging case), nothing beats a good cloth and cleaning solution

The cloth

MagicFiber Cleaning Cloths

You probably have some lying around, but if you don't this 6-pack will keep you in microfiber cloths for days.

Microfiber cloths used to come with every Apple device (including the first-gen iPad), and still shows up in a lot of screen-based gadget packages. If you don't have your own stockpile, MagicFiber's 6-pack is a great deal. Each cloth measures 6 x 7 inches and it comes in black and gray.

The cleaner


It cleans all the screens, but is also safe for tiny, technologically-complex things like AirPods.

It's safe. It's non-toxic. It won't ruin your phone or tablet screens. It's the top in tech hygiene and should be on everyone's desk. You can use it on your iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and any other tech gadget. It's the perfect cleaning solution (see what I did there) for your AirPods.

Additional Equipment

If you want to really get into the fine details of cleaning your AirPods, there are some additional tools you could use.

OXO Goo Grips Cleaning Brush ($5 at Amazon)

It's got a brush on one end and a silicone tip on the other for ultra-detailed cleaning.

EcoMoist Cleaner ($10 at Amazon)

A more environmentally-friendly version, it's alcohol free, antibacterial, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic.

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