Everything we put on our body, from hats to socks, has to be cleaned at some point. The same way your clothes get dirty (from the environment) and sweaty (from you), your headphones also get dirty from everywhere and react to your secretions — and so need to be cleaned as well.

As your clothes look good for longer if you fold them neatly before you put them away, you can store your headphones with a little care so they work like new. We’ve got a few tips for cleaning and caring for a pair of headsets.

When we wear headphones, our skin cells, earwax, and facial products attach to the parts that are in contact with our ears and face, and the increasingly sticky headphones then take-up more dirt from the surrounding every time they are taken off, dropped down or dropped in a bag.

By making sure your headphones are clean and comfortable, not only will they last longer, but in the case of earphones, they can even make them sound better. Here are a few tips for cleaning and caring for your headphones.

Things you need:

  • A small cloth
  • Isopropyl alcohol/ hand disinfectant
  • Q-tips/cotton buds
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Blu-tack

How to Clean Earphones

Cleaning the driver unit

The driver unit is the place where the sound is created, and especially the part of the earphones inserted into the ears.

If you have earplugs with silicone or foam earplugs, you should remove them before cleaning, as these in-ear earphones such as IEMs or even regular in-ear earphones are usually supplied with removable silicone/foam ear tips to ensure a variety of sizes and the best fit for our ears.

  • Hold your earphones with the mesh side down. Gently brush the wire mesh with a dry, soft toothbrush (preferably a child’s toothbrush) to remove dirt or clogged earwax. Tap on the side of the earphones that do not have the mesh side to tap off some of the dirt.
  • Go over the wire mesh with a bent paper clip and some Blu-tack and remove the remaining dirt and dust. The blu-tack absorbs all unwanted substances and leave the wire mesh free of dirt and dust.
  • Moisten a small cloth with isopropyl alcohol or hand sanitizer and quickly wipe over the metal mesh and wires.

Cleaning the Ear-Tips

When cleaning your earplug tips, you should consider the type of material these tips are made of, e.g., if you have silicone ear-tips, then follow the steps below:

  • Separate the silicone earplugs from your earphones.
  • Submerge them for 5 minutes in slightly soapy warm water.

Note: This doesn’t apply to foam earplugs or other earplugs that are not water-resistant models.

  • Cleanse the silicone tips and wipe them well.
  • Allow drying fully on paper towels before reconnecting them.
  • If you have a foam ear-tips, then you’d better choose the blu-tack solution to safely get the dirt out of them.

Cleaning the Cable

The earphones have two cables that are connected to the audio jack. These cords usually get dirty and sweat stains from normal daily use, but we can still clean them so easily.

  • To clean the cables, simply moisten a piece of cloth in alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • Hold the cord close to the audio jack in your left hand.
  • Use the wet cloth in your right hand, circle the cable, and firmly wipe with the cloth moving towards the ear-bud drivers.

Warning: Don’t hold the jack firmly and do not exert excessive pressure during this movement, as this may cause internal damage to the cable’s wires.

How to Clean Headphones

These are slightly more delicate, as they affect more sensitive parts such as leather or foam ear pads, which can easily tear. So if you don’t want to order new ear pads, be careful.

To clean your on-ear headphone you must focus on the two main components, the band pad, and the earpads, by following the steps below.

Cleaning the outer housing of the headphones

  • Remove the ear cushions and wipe the outside of the headphones with a piece of cloth moistened with a little soap and warm water. Wipe them dry with some paper towels and leave them to air-dry completely.
  • Moisten a small cloth with isopropyl alcohol or hand disinfectant and carefully wipe the outside of the ear pads. Then submerge a cotton swab with alcohol/ hand sanitizer and use it to clean the corners and crevices of the ear cushions.
  • Smear some alcohol/hand sanitizer over the surface of the foam net and gently rub the right and left sides together. This will help kill the bacteria that are in the ear pads. Gentle rubbing should also help to remove any dirt or soot.
  • Allow the ear pads to air dry fully on paper towels before reconnecting them.

Cleaning the Headphone Band

Headphone straps are one of the main components of every pair of headphones that easily get dirty or begin to peel their leather over time, due to both daily use and sweat.

To clean the band padding of your headphones, simply follow the steps below:

  • Sponge the headband and its cushion with a small cloth moistened from soap and warm water.
  • Mop dry with a few paper towels and allow to air dry completely.
  • Dab some alcohol over the surface of the pillow and rub it gently.

Note: This kills the bacteria that are in the band cushion and helps to remove dirt or grime.

  • Allow the band cushion to air dry completely by placing it on some paper towels.

Wrapping up

Our headphones get dirty either by dust, sweat, ear wax, etc., no matter how hard we try to prevent this, but it’s not the end of the world, yet we can clean them regularly at home with simple solutions and keep them ready for use for a long time.

Repeat these simple steps whenever you want, and your headphones will sound as good as new until the end of time and keep your ears squeaky clean.