Earbuds so far, are the best pair of headphones for those who practice an active lifestyle. They are much portable and less bulky than studio type headphones, and they stay in our ears more quickly than other regular headphones.

However, after some extended time of using earbuds, they can get pretty dirty, especially if you’re using in-ear designed ones. Its sealed design increases the accumulation of wax and oils ‘on’ or ‘in’ the buds as it generates heat, which is generally a magnet for the earwax.

Although the settling of our earwax and oils are not practically dangerous, it can significantly affect the performance of your earbuds over time. However, in some cases, earbuds can also be the cause of ear infections if they are shared from person to person.

You cannot just toss away your earbuds into the water to clean them. Here are a few best ways to clean your earbuds. It’s fool-proof, easy to follow, and cheap—no need to go to service centers to pay huge bucks.

Method 1. Using Soap and Water

Soap and water turn out to be the most accessible, cheapest, and one of the most effective ways to clean objects. Now, for earbuds, here are the steps you need to follow:

What You’ll Need

· Cotton swabs

· A cleaning (used) toothbrush

· Warm water

· Dish soap


1. To make a gentle cleaner using water and soap, try mixing a dishwashing detergent with warm water.

2. Using a soft cloth or cotton swabs with a little amount of cleaning mixture, wipe the external or exposed parts of the earbuds until they come clean.

3. Please do not use too much soap as it could leave residue or soap marks on your earbuds. Too much water could also cause damage to the internal parts of the earbuds.

4. If you can still see some dirt or dust around some parts of the earbuds, try using a dry toothbrush and brush them with the mesh facing downwards to remove any residues and to avoid pushing the dust further away to the internal parts of the earbuds.

5. Never try to submerge or run your earbuds under a faucet with running water, not even just for a second. This could damage the wirings and the internals of the earbuds.

6. Always remember to regularly clean your earbuds before a collection of dirt solidifies over time, thereby making cleaning even harder to perform. Always unplug your earbuds from your devices before you start cleaning them.

Method 2. Alcohol and Cotton Swab

In some cases, soapy water or cleaning products are not suitable for cleaning your earbuds. It is best to read the manual or ask the sales agent when buying earbuds, so you’ll know what the recommended methods are for cleaning your pair of audio accessories.

For this method, you are going to need this set of materials:

· Dry nylon bristle toothbrush

· Alcohol

· Cotton swab


1. Examine your earbuds and determine their need for cleaning.

2. Hold them downwards with the mesh faced down and started by gently brushing the dirt build up out of the earbuds. Don’t press too hard when cleaning your earbuds so you won’t push the soil in further when touching.

3. Once done, assess if there are remaining waxy build up on the surface of your earbuds. Tap off the remaining build up with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and wiped until everything is removed and the earbuds are clean.

4. Using an alcohol wipe, disinfect the earbuds and its surrounding area to remove any living microorganisms present on your earbuds. Rubbing alcohol usually dries lightning fast, so you won’t have problems with it seeping into the buds.

Note: Ensure that you’re using a nylon-bristled toothbrush. Anything else that’s not nylon can break off and get caught onto the mesh, thereby potentially ruins the earbuds. Clean your earbuds as necessary or at least once a month to maintain the quality and cleanliness of your earbuds.

Silicone Covers

Examine your earbuds and note for any detachable parts. If your earbuds have silicone covers, gently pop them off and soak them in warm, soapy water. Gently remove any dirt or earwax buildup with a cotton swab after some time of soaking. Rinse them thoroughly and let them dry overnight to ensure they are 100% dry before putting them back to your earbuds.

Silicone covers are usually found on in-ear designed headphones.

Why Cleaning Earbuds Matter?

Cleaning your earbuds regularly roots from these two simple reasons:

1.    It maintains the sound quality if your earbuds. Keeping your earbuds clean and free from accumulated earwax doesn’t only helps maintain your accessory, but it is also suitable for your audiophile ears. It prevents dirt particles and earwax from reducing the quality of the sound coming from your earbuds.

2.    It’s hygienic and good for your ear health. Keeping your earbuds clean reduces the risk of bacterial growth, viruses, and other pathogenic microorganisms from being introduced through your ears. This also prevents any ear infections and excess ear wax buildup.

As you know, it is always a good idea to learn how to clean your earbuds and to keep everything clean. Even if you bought cheap earbuds that you plan to only use for a couple of months, it is essential to keep them fresh for those months for your ear health’s sake.