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!

Cleaning 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 — cleaning your AirPods can become your next Fidget Cube.

You can pick up a six pack of microfiber cleaning cloths from Amazon and be set for life … or at least the life of your AirPods!

See at Amazon

Water would be nice?

Cleaning AirPods with a cleaning solution.

If you haven't had a chance to check out iFixit's teardown of AirPods, know this: AirPods are 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.

Contrary to popular belief, 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. Instead, a little bit of water (purified is better than tap) on a cloth can help you wipe away the grease and grime.

I also 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!

See at Amazon

Patient AirPod to the operating table

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.

Keeping your AirPods clean

OK, you've gone through all the hard work of cleaning your AirPods — you've used a cotton swab, a microfiber cloth, even some cleaning spray! You deserve a drink.

Leo DiCaprio raises his glass in celebration

A word of warning, though: Don't get lazy! Check on your little Pod Pals from time to time to make sure they're not collecting grime.

  • Buff 'em if you've got 'em: Use your microfiber cloth regularly to keep your AirPods shining.
  • Aural hygiene is a must: This kind of goes without saying, but keep your ears clean! If your body is functioning within normal parameters, your ears are going to produce earwax. But if you keep your outer ear clean (for the love of all that is good, do not use a cotton swab in your ear canal), you'll keep your AirPods clean, too!
  • A place for everything and everything in its place: Your AirPods came with a case for a reason: charging and storage. Keep your AirPods stowed away in the case when they're not in use to keep them protected from dust, dirt, and more!
  • Sharing ain't caring: Tempting as it might be to let your pals try out your latest gadget, do everyone a hygienic favor and keep your AirPods to yourself. Handing them to a pal only means more germs, grime, ear wax, dirt, dust, fingers, … do I need to go on?

Cleanliness is next to AirPodliness

Do you have any tips on keeping AirPods clean and sparkly? Disagree with any of my recommendations? Gimme a shout on Twitter or in the comments below!

AirPods: Ultimate Guide

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