How to properly clean your AirPods

We’ve all been there: You pull out your AirPods case, flip the top, and realize your earbuds have become very small (very expensive) petri dishes. And though you may not know how they got so dirty, you’re sure that things have to change. The Apple AirPods are particularly prone to building up of gunk, mostly because they have so many nooks and crannies for that stuff to hide in. Here are a few ways to battle the build-up.

Clean your AirPods using tools you have at home

Giving your AirPods a glow-up doesn’t take much, and you can make it happen using tools you may have lying around your home.

  • Toothpick: Use toothpicks to ease gunk out of tight spaces. Just be sure to clean gently, as the mesh panels in your earbuds can pop out or dislodge.

  • Q-Tip: Use a Q-Tip to pick up particles along the curves of your AirPods and inside your charging case.

  • Soft makeup brush: Use a clean makeup brush to remove detritus from the black mesh on your AirPods.

  • Microfiber cloth: Grab any microfiber cloth — those small square pieces of fabric that are often included with sunglass, eyeglass, and phone purchases — and gently rub to remove dust and dirt from your buds.

Check out how to use these household items to clean your AirPods in the video below:

Invest in tools to clean your tech

Splurging for tools made specifically for cleaning electronics isn’t necessary, but having them handy can make it easier to regularly touch up and care for your devices so they don’t get so dirty to begin with.

OXO’s double-sided cleaning brush is a huge help for small electronics. Use the rubber end to remove debris in and along the thinnest crevices of your device and brush dust away with the soft bristles on the other side.

To clean the exterior of your device, Apple recommends using a wipe with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or 75 percent ethyl alcohol — just be careful around that pesky mesh, which is sensitive to liquid. These small disinfecting pads are the perfect size for disinfecting small handheld devices and can be popped in your purse for a quick, convenient clean.