Written by Asha Kalsi 


Let’s be honest, when was the last time you gave your earbuds or headphones a little pampering? It's time to get them sparkling clean and sounding their absolute best! 

 earbuds being cleaned


Why Clean Earbuds Matter: Hygiene and Performance! 

No matter how often you pop them in, ear wax, debris, and bacteria love to find their way into the crevices of your earbuds – especially if you have in-ear earbuds. Left unattended, this buildup can ruin your sound quality and even invite bacteria to cosy up inside your ear canal, causing potential infections. Regular cleaning is essential and should occur at least monthly (or weekly if using your earbuds is part of your daily routine).  

 No tap water

First, Handle with Care: What to Avoid! 

  • AVOID using compressed air; it can push debris deeper, harming the delicate components. 
  • Do NOT soak or submerge your earbuds – liquids and electronics don’t mix. 
  • AVOID hydrogen peroxide or bleach – and NEVER mix the two! 
  • AVOID getting moisture trapped in ports or openings. 
  • Do NOT use abrasive materials or sharp tools – they'll damage your earbuds. 
  • AVOID cleaning putty. It can be tempting to use but can get lodged in mesh or plastic seams, potentially causing more problems. 
  • AVOID applying heat– it can fry the components. 

 So, How Do You Actually Clean Earbuds? 

Start by removing any detachable bits – take each earbud out of its case and remove silicone tips (or foam ear pads if you’re cleaning over ear headphones). 


What You’ll Need: 

  • A lint-free cloth, soft toothbrush, or cotton swab (the latter is preferred)
  • Diluted dish soap (1 tsp soap per 1 cup warm water)
  • OPTIONAL: 70% Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (available in the pharmacy first aid section)

 earbud cleaning tools

Cleaning the Removable Components: 

It’s best to start by cleaning the removable parts, such as silicone tips or foam pads, thoroughly using the diluted dish soap, ensuring no crevices are overlooked. Soak silicone tips if needed, then pat dry or air-dry while you clean the rest. For some extra hygiene, you may want to use 70% isopropyl alcohol to make sure any nasties on there are gone.   

Getting Debris Out Of Your Earbuds: 

For the earbuds you’ll need to use a dry cotton swab or soft toothbrush to clear away any gunk, ensuring the mesh faces downward. Gently scrub away debris with your tool of choice. 

Avoid using alcohol on the earbuds or headphones themselves. This is especially the case with the mesh, as liquids can damage internal components. Ensure everything is air-dried before reassembly.  

Maintaining Your Earbuds 

Alcohol, particularly Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol, can strip coatings, dissolve glues and damage materials like foam and rubber. Avoid excessive use or prolonged contact to keep your earbuds looking good.  

Storing your earbuds in a case when not in use shields them from dust, moisture, and accidental damage, prolonging their lifespan. 

If you've used them during intense activities like workouts or in hot conditions, ensure to wipe them down and allow them to air-dry completely before storage. This prevents moisture buildup. 

 Man wearing ultra mini earbuds


Regularly cleaning your earbuds not only preserves your earbuds’ sound quality but also ensures they last longer and promotes better ear hygiene.  

Ready to experience great sound? Check out our range of headphones at Mixx!