Our earbuds are incredibly versatile tools. We use them for jamming out to music at the gym, listening to business calls at coffee shops, taking hands-free phone calls, and plenty of other tasks. Unfortunately, putting your earbuds to work like that results in them getting dirty with germs, earwax, and other unwanted grime. Nasty earbuds are no fun, so to keep them looking and working like new, here are a few tips on how to get them nice and clean.
Products used in this guide
- Truly wireless: Aukey EP-T21 ($30 at Amazon)
- Gentle cleaning: PRO-SYS Toothbrushes (From $6 at Amazon)
- Disinfectant: Solimo Hydrogen Peroxide ($5 at Amazon)
How to clean your earbuds
Cleaning your earbuds might seem like a daunting task, but in all honesty, it's pretty easy. All you need are the earbuds themselves, a couple of soft toothbrushes, and some hydrogen peroxide. To get started, you'll want to get the tips off your earbuds and soaked in some warm and soapy water.
- Remove the gel or foam ear tips from the earbuds.
- Place these in the warm soapy water and let them soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Brush any excess dirt or wax from the ear tips.
- Rinse the ear tips with clean water and let them air dry.
This is a good start to remove large chunks of dirt/wax from your earbuds, but there's more we want to do — especially on the disinfectant front. Moving on to the next part of this process:
- Dip one toothbrush in the hydrogen peroxide.
- Shake the toothbrush to get rid of as much excess peroxide as possible.
- Hold the earbud with the speaker facing downward.
- Brush in one direction to prevent dirt from going into the speaker itself.
- Use some hydrogen peroxide or clean water to gently wipe around the speakers to clean any other dirt or wax.
When cleaning your earbuds with the hydrogen peroxide, you'll want to be sure that none of the liquid goes into the speakers of your earbuds. Similarly, you don't want to accidentally shove any remaining dirt deeper into the speaker.
Once you're finished cleaning with the hydrogen peroxide and wipe the earbuds off with the clean water, let them sit and dry for at least 12 hours. That might seem excessive, but it'll ensure that all of the liquid properly dries up and doesn't interfere with your music.
Lastly, after the earbuds have sat out to dry, find a song to play through the earbuds and crank the volume all the way up. If you let it play like that for a few seconds, it'll ensure any remaining liquid is ejected from the speakers.
Our top equipment picks
Everyday buds at a phenomenal price
Your options for affordable true wireless earbuds are more plentiful than ever before, but few deliver as good of a value as the Aukey EP-T21. These earbuds look great, have more than adequate sound for casual listening, get 25 hours of total battery life, and are water-resistant thanks to the IPX4 rating.
PRO-SYS Toothbrushes (From $6 at Amazon)
Available in a two or four-pack, these toothbrushes from PRO-SYS have ultra-soft bristles that are effective at cleaning without being too abrasive.
Solimo Hydrogen Peroxide ($5 at Amazon)
With a 3% hydrogen peroxide rating and a generous 32-fluid ounce bottle, this should get you through plenty of earbud cleaning sessions.
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