How to Clean Earbud Tips? 8 Tricks to Clean Easily

Earphones and headphones are the two rare electronic gadgets that come too close to our body parts. Technically they are not close but inserted into the body.

How to Clean Earbud Tips

Let me ask you one question, how often should you clean earbuds? Once a week or month or never. As per advice from medical professionals and earphone experts, you should clean your earbuds before and after each use.

Dirty ear tips can cause ear infections and other serious health problems in addition to inferior audio quality. But the real challenge is the cleaning process.

Do you know how to clean earbud tips? Before going deep into it, let’s see how this happens.

When we wear headphones, degenerated skin cells, ear wax, oil sebum, etc., stick to them. When we place them outside after use, dust particles stick to them.

When you wear earphones, the temperature inside your ear canal slightly rises, and this causes the wax to melt and eventually stick to the earbud.

The aftermath of using dirty earphones or AirPods include,

  • Infections
  • Uneven noise
  • Muffled sound
  • Inferior bass and audio clarity

Unfortunately, even the costliest premium headset doesn’t have an auto cleaning feature. You have to do it manually.

But the cleaning does not require costly tools. You can simply do it using the things available in your home.

But one thing is, you should be extremely careful.

Advantages of Cleaning Your headphones regularly,

  • It helps to retain the sound quality as when purchased
  • Fresh and Glossy appearance
  • Ensures more life
  • protection from infection and growth of germs

Note: When you clean your earbuds, keep them upside down. It helps to remove the dust almost instantly

How to Clean Earbud Tips?

First, let’s have a glance at the techniques,

1.Soap Solution

2.Soft and Clean Cotton 

3.Cleaning Tool

4.Alcohol Wipes

5.Hydrogen Peroxide

6.Stain Remover

7.Blu Tack


Now let’s see in detail how these techniques can be used safely,

Note: If you have a replaceable earbud, remove them before proceeding.

1.Soap Solution

You can use any soap to prepare the solution to clean earbuds. Still, we personally suggest premium antibacterial dish wash liquid because they are clean and do not produce any sediments.

Step-1: Make soap solution at low concentration.

Step-2: Remove the earbuds, usually silicone, from your earphone.

Step-3: Dip it in the solution for 1-3 minutes to dissolve the dirt.

Step-4: Take it out and clean it using a cloth or normal earbud cleaner.

Step-4: Again, rinse it with water allow it to dry.

Note: This method is only for earbud cleaning, not recommended if the buds are not removable.

2.Soft and Clean Cotton

If your earphone is an old type without any silicone earbuds, this is useful. Take a small piece of soft and clean cotton and wipe off the wax and other oily materials.

3.Cleaning Tool

earphone cleaning

You can use any soft brush-like material as a cleaning tool. Before using, ensure it is completely dry. 

If you want to use a toothbrush, we recommend a kid’s brush because it is softer.

Then rub slowly over the speaker using the brush. Even though it can’t remove oil, it removes wax and dirt effectively.

4.Alcohol Wipes

headphone cleaning

Alcohol wipes are available in the market, and it is a good cleaning medium too. First, you have to separate the rubber/ silicone earbud from the earphone.

Then take a small piece of alcohol wipe, and clean the speaker smoothly. The highly volatile spirit dissolves the wax, oil, and dirt and removes them. It evaporates quickly without damaging the internal parts.

They can also be used to remove the dirt sick to the earbuds too.

5.Hydrogen Peroxide

headphone cleaning

This is one of the best methods to remove dirt from your earphone. Even though hydrogen peroxide can not dissolve the ear wax completely, it is suitable for softening wax and removing other dirt. 

Finally, you can remove the softened wax using a cloth piece.

Step-1: If your headphone’s earbud is removable, remove it.

Step-2: Pour one or two drops of Hydrogen peroxide on the speaker portion.

Step-3: Wait until all wax and dirt precipitate out.

Step-4: Remove them using a clean cloth.

Note: Do not try if yours is not water-proof. We also don’t recommend you to try your luck on highly expensive models. 

6.Stain Remover

Using stain remover is another method. Since it is also a liquid-based method, try it only on water-proof earphones.

Step-1: Take a small glass bottle and fill it with a stain remover such that the liquid level is enough to sink the earbuds completely.

Step-2: Dip your earbuds into it.

Step-3: Wait until all wax precipitate and remove.

Step-4: Take it out and clean using a clean alcohol wipe.

Step-5: Dry earphones using any water-absorbent materials like silica gel.

7.Blu Tack

earbud cleaning

Blu Tack is a putty-like pressure-sensitive material. But it helps you to remove dirt and wax from your earphones.

This is a safe and intelligent method and can be used for any earphones.

Take a small quantity of blu-tack and press it towards the earphone’s dirt. Then the dirt will stick to the material and take it back.

Repeat the process until your earphone is completely clean.

Since it does not involve liquid, you can use this tip for earphones without water resistance.


You can use alcohol or nail polish remover for this method. This method helps you to clean both earbuds and speakers.

The wax dissolving property of the alcohol helps here.

Step-1: Remove the earbuds if it is removable, and place the speaker downside.

Step-2: Take a new earbud cleaner and dip it in the alcohol.

Step-3: Then, use the cleaner to remove the dirt.

Step-4: Tap on the earpiece slowly until the loosened dirt is removed completely.

Note: Not use too much force while cleaning, do it softly. Do not use the earbud cleaner directly without dipping on the alcohol/ spirit.

Since alcohol is highly volatile, it evaporates almost instantaneously. So this method can be applied to any earphones with or without water-proof properties.

Common Superstitions

At least some of you have done it, cleaning earphones “directly” with earbuds cleaner. But this can seriously damage them.

The earphone components like the driver, diaphragm, etc., are made with small things and can’t handle the pressure exerted by an earbuds cleaner.

Instead of removing the wax, it spreads the wax to the entire speaker and further destroys it. So please don’t do it.

Over-Ear Headphone Cleaning Tips

Most of the tips mentioned above are exclusively for earphones. Compared to in-ear earphones, over-ear and on-ear types are not that prone to ear wax because they aren’t inserted into your ear canal.

Accumulated dust and sweat are two factors that mainly affect headphones.

Here we have some tips to keep your headphone, especially the cushion, clean. 

  • Quick wipes: You should clean your earcups, head pads and cushions regularly after each use using soft and dry cotton. This helps to remove sweat and dust and always delivers a fresh and glossy look.
  • Periodic Check and Cleaning: It is better to carry out a routine check weekly. You can use alcohol wetted cloth or wipes to remove skin cells and oil particles. You should clean earcups using it. Please do not wipe hard, do it smoothly.
  • Yearly Maintenance: This method is exclusively for headphones with protein leather cushions. You have to do this only once or twice a year. You can apply one or a maximum of two drops of conditioner on the cushion and spread gently. Excess and frequent use may damage your earcups.
  • Replace Headphone Pads: Even though you do all the process mentioned above regularly, at some point, it’ll get damaged. Then replace it with premium quality pads. It’ll deliver a fresh look, comfort and better sound quality.

Headband Cleaning Tips

The headband of over-ear and on-ear headphones are prone to dust and sweat. You can clean it using soft cotton.

Charging Case Cleaning Tips

If you are using wireless headphones, especially True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds, you should clean the case regularly. You should clean the metallic point-off contact between the case and earbuds once a week for efficient charging.

The metallic portion may get contaminated with dust or verdigris and inversely affect charging. So clean them with soft clean cotton or alcohol wipes. Do it carefully without damaging it. 

Following Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in charging wireless earbuds helps in better performance.

Headset Cable Cleaning Tips

If your earphone is white, then after a month of use or so, the cable eventually turns black due to the accumulation of dust and fungi. If the dirt is not old, you can simply clean using wet cotton or alcohol wipes.

If the dirt is old and difficult to remove, please these tips,

Materials required,

  • Bleach
  • Vinegar
  • Thinner
  • Soft cotton
  • Water

Step-1: Take a clean, soft cotton piece and dip it in thinner. Then gently wipe the wires till the dirt loosens.

Step-2: Take another fresh cotton piece and sock it in vinegar. Then wipe the cable thoroughly.

Step-3: Now soak the fresh cotton piece with bleach and again wipe the cable. Now the cleaning process is complete.

Step-4: Finally, wash off the above liquids with water. Otherwise, they can damage the chemicals.

Note: Do not wipe hard or stretch the cable too much.

Quick Rewind

Here we provided all possible tips to clean your earphones and headphones for better performance and a glossy look. Some premium brands have unique methods to clean their product. In such cases, you can refer to their websites.

We hope now you understand how to clean earbud tips for better and safer performance even after years. Regular cleaning of earphone tips prevents the accumulation of ear wax and delivers better audio quality.

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