Surprise! Those AirPods that you stick in your ears regularly, sometimes for hours at a time, often while you’re sweating it out at the gym, need to be cleaned occasionally.
Some people just wipe them off and go about their day, while others want to completely clean and sanitize their AirPods.
good me AirPods Pro Saw a lot of use, and they could do with a cleaning, so I thought I’d bring you along for the ride.
How to clean and sanitize your AirPods
Note that while I clean the AirPods Pro here, the process is the same for the AirPods. Apple offers its official guidelines on how to clean AirPods here.
I see people overcomplicating the cleaning process. I like to keep it simple.
- A couple of Q-tips
- A couple of lens wipes
- A disposable surface for the cleaning process, such as a paper towel (so everything doesn’t get covered in earwax)
I’ve come across people who use isopropyl alcohol for cleaning, but I’m reluctant to soak the AirPods in solvent. I don’t think dissolving earwax and pushing it deep into the earbuds is good for them in the long run. Then there is a possibility of damage to the plastic.
This wipes the lens They’re cheap and contain only 40-50% alcohol, so they’re less abrasive and perfect for cleaning glasses, camera lenses, screens, and in this case, AirPods.
Step 1: Assess the damage
First, I assessed exactly how bad things were. Apple replaced my AirPods Pro earbuds a few months ago because they were suffering from crackling issues. They look pretty new. The case, on the other hand, is over two years old, and it looks like it. It has been scratched, and has chips that have come off. No amount of cleaning or buffing it out is going to make it look new.
I noticed that the lightning port has quite a few warts stuck to it.
Step 2: Clean the case
I started with the case. This design has many nooks and crannies and they trap a lot of debris. Around the hinge area, where the AirPods sit, and the connectors below that provide power for charging the earbuds appear to be wart magnets.
However, it’s nothing that a lens wipe (you can also use a screen cleaner) and a Q-tip can’t solve. I was actually surprised at how easy it came up. The Q-tip was especially useful for cleaning around the charge connectors.
Step 3: Clean the AirPods
As I said, the AirPods earbuds themselves were pretty clear. However, they benefited from the removal of the silicone earbud tips and a simple cleaning.
Step 4: Clean the lightning port
To clean the lighting port, I used — gently, very carefully — a Q-tip bamboo stick. Be careful, don’t go full gorilla on it and you should be fine. If you have a can of compressed air, that might work too.
My AirPods Pro certainly don’t look like new, but they look a lot cleaner and a lot healthier.