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Do AirPods get dirty?

As an owner of AirPods, I have certainly noticed how quickly they can become dirty. From the lint in my pocket to dust in the air, it seems like my AirPods are constantly accumulating dirt and grime. I often find myself wondering how to clean them and whether or not it is even worth the effort.

So, I decided to do some research and testing to find out: do AirPods get dirty? In this blog post, I’ll share my findings as well as some solutions I discovered that can help keep your AirPods clean and in top condition.

Quick Tips for Cleaning AirPods
AirPods can accumulate dirt and grime if not cleaned regularly.
Isopropyl alcohol is the best way to clean AirPods safely.
To clean the earbuds, use a cotton swab and 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Wipe off any excess with a clean, lint-free cloth.
To clean the ear tips on AirPod Pros, carefully remove them and rinse and dry them before placing them back on the AirPods.

Do AirPods get dirty?

Usually, the AirPods themselves do not get particularly dirty. If you are careful not to drop your AirPods or to get sweat on them, the AirPods or AirPod Pros should hold up well and look like new.

If you are using AirPod Pros, the ear tips can get wax on them. However, you can easily remove them and clean or replace them, so this is not such an issue.

Ways AirPods can get dirty can include getting sweat on them, dropping them, or magnetic dust from the charging case.

Very rarely, there are some reports of AirPods getting yellow staining, but often they are actually fake AirPods.


Read more: Why are my AirPods making a ringing noise?

How to prevent AirPods from getting dirty

To prevent your AirPods from getting dirty by being careful to avoid dropping them, to limit how much sweat you get on them and to wipe them down whenever they do get some dirt on them.

What can you use to clean AirPods?

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.  

Read more: Can you pair one AirPod?

How to clean dirty AirPods

If your AirPods do become dirty, below are some options you have when cleaning them.

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. 

Important: 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 of AirPod Pros

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. 

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.