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Can you clean AirPods with nail polish remover?

As an AirPods owner, I’ve had my fair share of struggles with keeping them clean. Recently, I’ve seen some people suggest using nail polish remover to clean AirPods. I was a bit skeptical of this method and decided to do some research to find out if it was actually safe to clean AirPods with nail polish remover. In this blog post, I’ll share what I’ve learned and present some alternative solutions to keeping your AirPods clean.

Nail polish remover will damage your earbuds beyond repair. Instead, use 70% isopropyl alcohol to keep the AirPods clean. 

Key Takeaways and tips:

  • Nail polish remover is not safe to use on AirPods as it can damage them beyond repair.
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol is the best solution to clean AirPods safely.
  • Clean the ear tips by rinsing them under lukewarm water and drying them with a microfiber cloth.
  • If you accidentally get nail polish on your AirPods, use 70% isopropyl alcohol to safely clean it off.
Cleaning MethodProsCons
Nail Polish RemoverNoneDamages AirPods, contains acetone which melts plastic
70% Isopropyl AlcoholSafe for various materials, evaporates quickly, disinfects surfaces, inexpensive, availableStrong odor, may irritate skin, flammable
Bleach or Hydrogen PeroxideNoneHarsh, can damage AirPods and charging case
Scouring PadsNoneAbrasive, can scratch AirPods and charging case
Lukewarm Water (Ear Tips)Easy, gentle cleaning of ear tipsNot suitable for cleaning the rest of the AirPods or case
Microfiber ClothSafe, gentle cleaning, reusableMay not remove all dirt or debris without a cleaning solution

Can you clean AirPods with nail polish remover?

Nail polish remover contains acetone, and acetone melts plastic. This fact alone makes them unsuitable for cleaning your AirPods or your AirPods charging case.

Furthermore, avoid using any harsh or abrasive chemicals or cleaning tools on your AirPods.

This includes bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and scouring pads. Instead, choose a safer option that not only cleans the AirPods without damaging them, but also disinfects the surface of the headphones. 

Read more: Can I charge AirPods with a Magsafe charger?


What can you use to clean AirPods?

Just because you cannot use nail polish remover to clean your AirPods doesn’t mean your headphones have to stay dirty. Isopropyl alcohol works best to clean AirPods. Not only is it safe to clean a wide array of materials, but it also dissipates quickly.

Isopropyl alcohol is available at most grocery stores and pharmacies, and is relatively inexpensive. It is available in various percentages.

These percentages indicate the amount of alcohol that it contains.

Isopropyl alcohol with higher percentages, such as 70%, is used for cleaning purposes because of its ability to safely disinfect the surface and dissipate quickly.  

How To Clean The Earbuds

To clean the earbuds, dip a cotton swab in 70% isopropyl alcohol. Make sure to get into the sensors located on the side of the ear buds.

Continue in this manner until you have cleaned the entire AirPod. Wipe the excess alcohol off the AirPods with a clean lint-free cloth. 

Before you place the AirPods back in their charging case, make sure they are completely dry. Placing wet or damp AirPods into the case can severely damage both the earbuds and the case itself.

How To Clean The Ear Tips

Carefully pull off the ear tips from the AirPod. Rinse the ear tips under lukewarm water, and dry them with a microfiber cloth. Wait until they are completely dry before placing the ear tips back on the AirPods.

How To Clean The Charging Case

Cleaning the AirPods charging case is done in the same way as cleaning the earbuds. Dampen a lint-free cloth with 70% isopropyl alcohol and wipe the case clean.

Make sure to let the case air dry completely before putting the earbuds into the case. 

Read more: Why is Youtube slow on Philips TV?

How often should I clean AirPods?

Ears naturally contain wax, and while this wax plays an important part of your ear, it doesn’t belong on your AirPods. Unfortunately, since the earbuds go inside your ear, it is only natural for wax, dead skin, and even sweat to get on the AirPods.

It is recommended to clean the AirPods after 72 hours of listening time (or every 72 hours the earbuds are in your ears.) You should also clean the charging case whenever you clean the earbuds. 

What happens if I don’t clean my AirPods?

Ear wax may seem gross, but the wax actually plays an important role in helping to protect your ears. When you frequently use your earbuds, the wax that was inside your ears will begin to stick to the headphones.

If not cleaned, bacteria can begin to form on the wax and then transfer to your earl canal. This can potentially lead to a yeast or fungal infection.

Furthermore, not cleaning your AirPods can lead to ear pain, excess wax production, and ringing in the ears.

How can I remove nail polish from AirPods?

If you accidentally get nail polish on your AirPods, grabbing the nail polish remover seems like the ideal way to remove it.

Unfortunately, this could be a costly mistake since nail polish contains acetone, which is a strong dissolvent that can severely damage plastic.

Instead, use 70% Isopropyl alcohol to safely clean the nail polish off the AirPods. Dampen a cotton swab in the alcohol and rub the nail polish. Use a clean cloth to wipe off the access.

Continue in this manner until all the nail polish is removed. 

Pros and Cons of Using Isopropyl Alcohol to Clean AirPods


  • Isopropyl alcohol is safe to use on a variety of materials, including plastic and metal.
  • It evaporates quickly, leaving no residue behind.
  • It disinfects surfaces, reducing the risk of infections.
  • It is inexpensive and widely available.


  • It has a strong odor.
  • It can irritate the skin if it comes in contact with it.
  • It is flammable.