If you have not had a chance to clean your AirPods case or AirPods Pro in a while, take this as your sign. Do it now!

For all my fellow clean freaks out there, cleaning Apple’s wireless headphones and the charging ports can be really satisfying, thanks to all the crevices where gunk can get stuck. After cleaning, you’ll trick your friends into believing that you traded in your earbuds for the latest AirPods Pro. 

AirPods and their case could probably use a cleaning every day since they typically live among the lint and dust of your purse or backpack. I haven’t even begun to mention the earwax and sweat your AirPods Pro earbuds carry and transfer to the AirPods Pro case. 

Beware, that build-up of dirt isn’t just gross and stinky. It can damage the performance of the headphones. And I’m afraid to say that dirty AirPods can contribute to ear infections. Cleaning your AirPods can help you avoid these problems. Also, you don’t need to put much pressure on the AirPods when you put them in your ear canal. By pushing them in too far, you are also shoving earwax further into your ear. That’s not good. 

Cleaning your AirPods can be a great motivator to build a cleaning streak! In one sitting, you can clean most of your electronics thoroughly. Small steps like these will make your work and home environment more comfortable and give you more peace of mind. 

Let’s clean that up!

What You’ll Need: 

  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • Water
  • Container 
  • Microfiber Towel or soft cloth
  • Q-Tips
  • Air-in-a-Can 
  • Fun-Tak

Don’t feel like reading? Watch the video instead.


1. Blend your cleaning solution.  

Fill a small clean container with a 50/50 solution of water and rubbing alcohol. You can use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol if you don’t have rubbing alcohol. In that case, make the ratio 70/30 for water to isopropyl alcohol.

2. Soak the silicone tips in the 50/50 mix. 

Remove the tips from your wireless earbuds. Let them soak while you clean the rest of your AirPods. By letting them sit in the mixture for an extended time, the solution will better remove the ear wax and oils that have gathered over time.

3. Use your dry microfiber towel to wipe down the Apple AirPods themselves. 

Because AirPods Pros have silicone tips, you probably won’t need to use a wooden toothpick, or if you’re feeling fancy, a reusable metal toothpick, fine-edged tool, or handy multitool. If you do find stubborn grime that got cozy in the speaker meshes, feel free to gently excavate and then use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Otherwise, the microfiber towel should be plenty. Regular AirPods, though, tend to get quite a bit of buildup on the grill. To remove this, use the Fun-Tak. Roll the Fun-Tak into a ball and gently press it into the grill then slowly pull it back out. This will pull out the grime and not push it further into the mesh. Then, very carefully clean out the edges with a toothpick.

If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, any dry cloth (and of course, it needs to be a clean cloth) will do.

Microfiber towels are a must-have when it comes to your cleaning arsenal. I love them so much I have created a microfiber cleaning set for purchase on my website. This might be a good item to casually let your relatives know you want it as a gift! 

As awesome as microfiber towels are, they aren’t any good if they are not cleaned properly. A microfiber towel can do more harm than good if it is dirty.  The small particles that get trapped in the fabric can scratch and damage surfaces if the towel is not kept clean. Thankfully, washing microfiber towels is simple. 

4. Wipe the AirPods charging case with a Q-Tip. 

Using a dry Q-Tip, wipe down the inside of the case. Be sure to wipe the AirPod case compartments. There should not be any liquid on the Q-Tip during this step as this can ruin the electrical components. The Q-Tip will pick up any dust and loose dirt particles. There is no need to use abrasive materials when dealing with the sleek surface of your electronic device. 

There really shouldn’t be anything wedged in the lightning port, but you may want to check just to be sure.  

5. Wipe the outside of the case with a damp towel.

Retrieve that microfiber towel once again. Dip it into the 50/50 mix and rub the towel along the entirety of the case. The towel will buff out the imperfections on the case and make it shine once again. 

6. Retrieve the ear cushions or earbud tips from the 50/50 solution. 

Take another Q-Tip and scrub the silicone down. The Q-Tip will remove the grime that the solution loosened while soaking. For a final touch, take a can of air and blast out excess moisture. 

7. Allow everything to dry for at least an hour. 

Set case, silicone ear tips, and AirPods out to dry. Make sure to wait at least an hour to put them back together. Do not attempt to speed up the process with a hair-blow dryer or other sources of heat! This could ruin them. 

Bonus Tip #1: While you wait for your AirPods case and AirPods Pro to dry, why not clean your cellphone and phone cases? With the same ingredients used in these cleaning instructions, you can sterilize your phone and not feel gross about touching it to your face anymore. Or at least until it needs to be cleaned again.

Bonus Tip #2: If you’re following along from a laptop or computer right now, you have the added opportunity of cleaning your keyboard! You’re welcome! 

After an hour, your AirPod Pros will be ready to use; and they’ll be in tip-top condition, nice and clean!

The greatest thing about this cleaning method is it can be applied to many other electronics and household items. And the materials are inexpensive and easy to find. 

If you don’t find cleaning satisfying or remotely fun, you can at least take pride in your clean items and sleep a little more soundly, knowing your devices are not piled high with bacteria and dirt. (This is why it’s a good idea to clean your electronic device items regularly.)

Besides, appreciating the transformation of a grimy item to a shiny one can make you feel productive and accomplished without excessive effort. With Apple products especially, maintaining the sleek appearance and design can help your product feel new! 

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Did cleaning your AirPods get you on a cleansing kick?

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