Best Way To Clean Your AirPods (Step-By-Step Guide)

Your AirPods can turn into a breeding ground for bacteria without proper care. This can also degrade the sound quality along with a possible risk of ear infection. 

But considering their unique build and design, you’ll need to adapt to proper techniques and necessary materials to clean them. Also, it’s important to follow the steps respectively. 

Don’ts of Cleaning AirPods

AirPods may be sweat and water-resistant, depending on their model. But, they’re still fragile to water or hardware damage. So, here are some steps to avoid while cleaning your AirPods: 

  • Don’t wash the AirPods with water.
  • Don’t use dampened wipe or cloth on the speaker and microphone.
  • Don’t soak the AirPods in a soapy solution.
  • Don’t use sharp and pointed objects.

How to Clean AirPods?

Before we move on to the cleaning portion, we recommend having some of these necessary materials on standby. 

Materials Required:

  • Lint-free cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Cotton swabs or a soft-bristled brush
  • 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox disinfecting wipes 
  • Liquid detergent (only for cushion and headband of AirPods Max)

Cleaning the Exterior of AirPods

To clean the exterior, it’s pretty easy as all you need is a lint-free microfiber cloth that’s soft and dry. This type of wiping cloth prevents your AirPods from any scratches. Gently wipe the exterior portion with this cloth. 

If there are stubborn stains, wet a tiny part of the cloth and wipe gently. But, be careful not to wet the microphone and speaker meshes while cleaning. Instead, clean these areas with a normal dry cotton swab or a soft-bristled brush.

Cleaning the Ear Tips

eartips for airpods pro

First, detach the ear tips only from the AirPods and proceed to clean them under running water. But, avoid using household cleaning agents like soap, detergents, etc. After cleaning them with water, dry them off using a dry and lint-free wipe.

If the ear tips are not completely dried off, tap them down on a microfiber wipe. Don’t attach the ear tips back to AirPods until they are dry. 

If you have AirPods Pro, you can clean the detachable silicone tips easily. These silicone tips safeguard your AirPods from getting clogged with earwax. When these tips get dirty, you can remove the silicone tip from AirPods and immerse them in a soapy solution. 

Once you let them sit there for about half an hour, you can clean them using a dry lint-free cloth. Reattach them only after they completely dry.

If you have the 2nd or 3rd Gen AirPods, you don’t need to clean the ear tips with water. Instead, you can use dry cotton swabs. While cleaning the earbud parts, you might also find accumulated ear wax particles. But, don’t use sharp objects as they can damage the AirPods instead. Instead, you can use cotton swabs and a soft-bristled brush. You can also use a toothpick steadily to remove the earwax from AirPods. 

Cleaning the Charging Case

You can use the same microfiber cloth for its case as well. But, unlike AirPods, you cannot even slightly wet the cloth with water to clean the case. 

But as per Apple, you can use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to dampen the cloth ever so slightly. Any other liquid agents other than that shouldn’t be used to cleanse the charging case.

Likewise, you have to be careful around the case’s charging points. Don’t let liquid substances near the charging points as well. Or else, the metal contacts may be severely affected. 

You can, however, use a soft and dry brush if dirt is stuck in the lightning connector. In the end, make sure your case is dry after cleaning, especially if you used isopropyl alcohol to clean them. 

Cushions and Headband for AirPods Max


When it comes to AirPods Max, you can remove and clean ear cushions afterward. But, the headband cannot be detached. So, hold the AirPods Max from the bottom up to stop the liquid from getting into the attachment point of the headband. Then, follow these steps. 

  1. Firstly, combine 5 ml of liquid detergent with 250 ml of water.
  2. From the earcups, take out the ear cushions.
  3. Now, use a microfiber cloth to dip into the detergent solution that was made earlier. Gently wipe the cushions and headband with the dampened wiping material for a minute or so.
  4. Then, take another lint-free cloth and slightly wet it with fresh water. Use it to clean the cushions and headband.
  5. After that, use a lint-free cloth that is both soft and dry to wipe up the remaining moisture.

Then, leave the AirPods Max to dry for a day or two. Wait until you reattach the cushions to the AirPods without having them completely dried.

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