Your earbuds are gross: Here’s how to clean them properly

It’s a bit stomach-turning when you think about the germs, viruses, grime, and other crud covering our devices.

Wiping away the crud
Compared to other gadgets, earbuds rack up an extraordinary amount of nastiness. They collect dirt and skin particles, earwax, grease, and sweat. They’re like portable Petri dishes for our biological debris. Yuck.

Luckily, it’s not hard to wipe it all away. First, grab a microfiber cloth. I like this 6-pack from EliteTechGear, which you can get for less than $10.

Lightly dampen it and wipe down the cord and body of each earbud. You can use these steps for your earbuds’ charging case, too, but avoid anything wet on the speaker area of your headphones.

If you prefer cleaning wipes as I do, grab a big affordable pack, so you never run out.

Pro tip: If you have white corded headphones covered in dirt and scuffs, use a pencil eraser to buff the dark streaks away.

When cleaning your earbud speakers, you need to be careful. Sharp objects like toothpicks or safety pins can do severe damage. A plastic tool, like a flosser, is a safer option for scraping earwax or other buildups from around the edge. Once you’re done, use a dry cloth to wipe away the junk gently.

One viral TikTok trick recommends Blu Tack, the reusable adhesive putty used to hang up posters, as a safer option. Sculpt it into a ball and press it into your earbud speakers. When you pull it away, it should have picked up all the junk inside your buds.

Here’s what you need to avoid
Whatever you do, don’t run water over your earbuds. Sure, you can use a slightly damp cloth or cleansing wipe – but make sure you soak up that moisture with a dry, soft, and lint-free cloth when you’re done.

Avoid metal or wire brushes. You’ll also want to skip chemical detergents. Plain water should be more than enough for the cord and body of your headphones or earbuds.

Of course, make sure to be super careful when you wipe — no rough tugging or harsh pulling over the mesh speakers. Avoid any cleaners here.

And once you’re done, be sure to dry your earbuds with a clean, soft cloth. Don’t charge them until you’re 100% sure they are moisture-free.

 

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