AirPods rest in front of various cleaning products.Source: iMore

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 of rounds of iPhone upgrades. After all, these don't come bundled in the box. Here's how you clean your AirPods and AirPods Pro.

Products used in this guide

How to clean your AirPods

AirPods in my earsSource: iMore

With dirt, dust, lint, grime, ear wax, and more constantly finding its way onto your glossy white AirPods, you're going to 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 clothSource: iMore

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 of 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.

Disinfect with disinfecting wipes

The AirPods Pro have an IPX4 water-resistance rating, which means you can wipe them down lightly with a disinfecting wipe no problem, just make sure you use wipes that don't have bleach, as bleach can ruining the finish on the AirPods Pro.

When it comes to using disinfecting wipes with the regular AirPods, it should be fine. Even Apple says you can wipe them down with a damp cloth as long as you dry them afterward. As always, don't use any sort of bleach on your AirPods, but a quick disinfecting wipe and then a quick wipe down to dry the AirPods is just fine.

Getting the grime out

Using a cotton swab to do a thorough cleaning of AirPodsSource: iMore

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 have to get up close and personal!

I find a cotton swab is great for thorough cleaning of your AirPods or AirPods Pro. 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

6-pack 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.

Disinfecting Wipes

Clorox Wipes

Clorox wipes

Get rid of those germs

Wipe down your AirPods and AirPods Pro and kill all that bacteria that may be on your devices. Just remember to dry them off when you are done.

Get the tough spots


Q-tips swabs

Get the small details with a cotton swab

Perfect for wiping down the smaller areas of your AirPods and AirPods Pro, Q-tips can get a little spot of dirt and grime from out of all the small crevices

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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