Apple AirPods on minimalist desk with cleaning tools, product photography.

Keeping your Apple AirPods clean can enhance both their performance and longevity, but many users aren’t sure how to do it safely. Did you know that by regularly cleaning your earbuds, you might prevent common issues like low sound quality? Our step-by-step guide will show you the right way to clean your AirPods and keep them in top condition without causing damage.

Dive in for a crystal-clear listening experience!

Considerations Before Cleaning Your AirPods

A pair of AirPods and charging case on a clean desk.

Before you dive into cleaning your AirPods, take a moment to ensure they’re disconnected from all devices. This not only prevents any accidental playback but also guards against potential damage while handling the earbuds.

Keep in mind that AirPods and the AirPods Pro are water resistant, not waterproof. So, avoid submerging them under water or running them under the tap.

Make sure you have the right tools on hand for a safe clean: a microfiber cloth works best for wiping down surfaces without leaving behind lint. Utilize dry cotton swabs or an anti-static brush to gently tackle grime in trickier spots such as the charging ports and speaker meshes.

Remember that applying too much pressure can cause harm to these delicate parts of your device, so always proceed with light touches. Avoid using solvents, hydrogen peroxide, shampoos, lotions – basically any liquid cleaners that could potentially seep in and disrupt the tech magic inside your AirPods or charging case.

Necessary Cleaning Tools

Assorted cleaning tools arranged neatly on a white table.

Gathering the right tools is the first step to effectively cleaning your AirPods. Clean them safely and efficiently with these recommended items:

  • 70 or 90% pure isopropyl alcohol: Use this for sterilizing the surfaces without damaging any internal components.
  • Soft-bristled brush: Employ a soft toothbrush or a brush designed for electronics to gently remove dust and debris from the mesh and speaker areas.
  • Cotton swabs: These serve as precision tools for reaching into nooks and crannies, especially where ear wax might accumulate.
  • Paper towels: A few sheets will be useful to lay out your AirPods during the cleaning process and for drying parts after using any liquids.
  • Dry cloth: Prefer microfiber types that don’t leave behind lint; they’re perfect for wiping down the exterior of both the AirPods and their case.
  • Isopropyl alcohol wipes: They offer a convenient way to disinfect your devices quickly without soaking them in liquid.
  • Fresh water (if needed): Sometimes, just a damp cloth is necessary, particularly for cleaning ear tips, but remember not to use soapy water.
  • Eartip-cleaning tool (for AirPods Pro): If you own AirPods Pro, this specialized tool can help clear out any wax from the silicone ear tips safely.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning AirPods

Start by gently wiping the AirPods with a clean cloth, then use a soft-bristled brush to remove any debris from the mesh. Finally, ensure that no harsh chemicals or abrasive materials are used during cleaning.

For more detailed steps on properly cleaning your wireless earbuds, keep reading!

Wiping the AirPods

Gently wipe your AirPods with a soft, slightly damp cloth to remove any dirt or earwax. Be sure not to get moisture in any of the openings; this could cause damage that isn’t covered by AppleCare+.

Carefully dry them afterward with a separate, soft, dry lint-free cloth. Pay extra attention when dealing with the speaker mesh as abrasive materials or cleaning agents like alcohol wipes can be harmful.

If you’re handling the AirPods Pro case or even the AirPods Max, use only a soft, dry cloth for wiping. Resist the temptation to use harsh cleaners or laundry detergent; these products are too strong and might strip away protective coatings or lead to discoloration.

Should stubborn stains demand more than just a dry cloth, lightly moisten your cloth with water but ensure it’s well wrung out before making contact with your device. Always make sure everything is completely dry before popping your earbuds back in for another listen.

Cleaning the Mesh

After wiping the AirPods, it’s important to pay attention to cleaning the mesh. The mesh covers the speaker and microphone ports on your AirPods, which can accumulate dirt and debris over time.

To clean the mesh, take a dry cotton swab and gently brush away any visible buildup. Avoid using liquids or excessive force as this could damage the delicate components.

Removing debris from the mesh is vital for maintaining clear sound quality during phone calls and music playback. Gently brushing away dirt with a cotton swab helps prevent blockages that may affect audio performance.

Brushing Away Debris

Use a clean, dry, soft-bristled brush to gently remove any debris from the meshes of your AirPods. If you notice dust or wax trapped in the AirPod mesh, a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush can be used to carefully brush away the debris.

Wipe away dirt from the microphone and speaker meshes of your AirPods using a dry cotton swab and a soft-bristled brush.

A clean, dry, soft-bristled brush is effective for removing debris from the meshes of your AirPods. A soft-bristled toothbrush can gently brush away any dust or wax caught in the AirPod mesh, while dirt on the microphone and speaker meshes can be wiped away with a dry cotton swab and soft-bristled brush.

Removing Chemicals

To remove chemicals from your AirPods, it’s important to use caution and avoid harsh cleaning agents. First, make sure to power off the AirPods before cleaning them. Then, using a soft, lint-free cloth slightly dampened with fresh water, gently wipe down the exterior of the AirPods.

Avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the delicate surfaces of your AirPods.

For stubborn residue or dirt buildup, consider using sanitizing wipes with isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol to clean the exterior of the AirPods and their case. Remember not to use these wipes on the speaker mesh to prevent damage.

Instead, for cleaning the mesh areas, utilize a small brush designed for electronics or a dry cotton swab to gently remove debris without causing harm.

How to Clean the AirPods Case

To effectively clean your AirPods case, start by wiping the outside with a disinfecting wipe and then use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or debris that may have built up.

Next, carefully clean the inside of the case using a dry cloth or cotton swab to ensure no residue is left behind.

Wiping the Outside

Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to wipe the outside of your AirPods case. This will help remove any lint, dirt, or wax without causing damage. If necessary, slightly dampen the cloth with water before wiping the exterior surfaces of the case.

Avoid using abrasive materials that could scratch or harm the delicate finish of your AirPods case.

A gentle cleaning approach is essential to maintain the appearance and functionality of your AirPods and their case. By following these simple steps, you can keep your AirPods looking clean and well-maintained while avoiding potential damage from harsh cleaning methods or materials.

Cleaning the Inside

After wiping the outside of your AirPods case, it’s essential to ensure that the inside is also clean. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate inside the case, which may affect its functionality and the cleanliness of your AirPods.

To begin cleaning the inside of the case, use a dry cotton swab or a small, soft-bristled brush to gently remove any visible dirt or particles. Pay particular attention to areas around the charging port and along the edges where debris tends to gather.

Once you’ve brushed away any loose dirt, lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with water and wipe down the interior surfaces of the case. Be careful not to let any moisture enter the charging ports while doing so.

Fixing Low or Muffled Sound Issues After Cleaning

After cleaning your AirPods, if you encounter low or muffled sound issues, try wiping them with a slightly damp cloth and then drying them with a soft cloth. This simple step can often resolve the problem by removing any remaining residue that may be affecting the sound quality.

Additionally, debris and wax buildup inside the earbuds can muffle the sound, so it’s important to clean the inside of the earbuds with a small, soft brush. By gently brushing away any accumulated debris, you can help restore optimal audio performance.

Moreover, soaking the ear tips of your AirPods in warm, soapy water for 30 minutes can aid in eliminating dirt buildup that might be causing low or muffled sound issues after cleaning.

This method has been effective in enhancing sound quality by ensuring that no blockages are impeding audio output. By taking these simple yet proactive measures after cleaning your AirPods, you can enjoy clear and crisp sound without interruptions or distortions.

Tips to Keep Your AirPods Clean Longer

To keep your AirPods clean for longer, follow these tips:

  1. Store your AirPods in a protective case when not in use to shield them from dirt and debris.
  2. Avoid using your AirPods in dusty or dirty environments to prevent accumulation of particles.
  3. Clean your AirPods regularly using a soft, lint – free cloth to remove any buildup of dust or earwax.
  4. Consider investing in protective covers or skins for your AirPods to minimize exposure to dirt and grime.
  5. Keep your hands clean before handling your AirPods to reduce the transfer of oils and dirt onto them.
  6. Refrain from using harsh chemicals or cleaning products on your AirPods, as they can damage the delicate components.
  7. Routinely inspect and clean the charging case to ensure it stays free from debris and contaminants.


In conclusion, maintaining your AirPods is essential for optimal performance. Regularly wiping the exterior with a lint-free cloth helps prevent debris buildup. Using gentle cleaning tools and methods ensures that no damage is done to your AirPods or their case.

Following these simple steps will keep your wireless earbuds in top condition and enhance your listening experience.


1. How do I start cleaning my Apple AirPods?

To begin cleaning your Apple AirPods, gently wipe them with a soft, lint-free cloth slightly dampened with water, making sure not to get moisture in any openings.

2. Can I clean the MagSafe charging case the same way as the AirPods?

Yes, you can clean your Airpods Pro charging case using a similar method—use a soft cloth for wiping down the exterior and choose something like a dry cotton swab for tighter spots but avoid liquids near the charging ports.

3. What should I do if my AirPods have hair dye on them?

If your Apple AirPods get stained with substances like hair dye, carefully wipe them with a slightly dampened cloth and mild soap after testing it on a small area first to prevent damage.

4. Is there anything special I need to know about cleaning if I don’t use an iPhone or iPad and pair my AirPods with an Android device instead?

Whether you connect your Apple AirPods to an iPhone or an Android device doesn’t change how you clean them; just follow standard steps ensuring they’re free from dirt without allowing fluids inside.

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