How to clean and care for your wireless earbuds

The extinction of the headphone jack in smartphones has led wireless earbuds to explode in popularity in recent years. You don’t even need to spend a fortune on buying them either – there are plenty of cheap true wireless earbuds on the market. Whether you already own a pair of earphones or plan to buy one soon, you must keep them clean and care for their batteries to extend their lifespan. This way, you prevent them from going to a landfill early and do your bit in reducing e-waste. Of course, you want to make sure you don’t break your favorite earbuds while you’re cleaning them. To get it done right, follow the tips below to get started.

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Before you get started

Before you clean your wireless earbuds, knowing what you shouldn’t do during this process is essential. A wrong move would be enough to kill your earphones for good. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  1. Do not directly wash your earbuds under running water even if they are water-resistant or carry an Ingress Protection rating. You will end up damaging them for good.
  2. Never expose the charging case to any kind of liquid.
  3. Remove the ear tips and clean them separately for best results.
  4. Do not wash them in the washing machine.
  5. Never use a dryer or similar machine to quickly dry the earbuds or ear tips.
  6. Avoid using any rubbing alcohol for cleaning the earbuds, ear tips, or charging case.

It’s important to follow these tips. Earbuds can be sensitive, so using the wrong method could easily destroy them. Don’t worry; you can keep your earbuds in tip-top shape when you use the proper method.

How to clean your wireless earbuds

The best way to get all the grime and dirt off your wireless earbuds is to clean them thoroughly using a damp microfiber cloth. You don’t need to use any special liquid or soap solution to moisten the cloth – regular tap water will work just fine. Before you can clean the ear tips, you need to remove them from the earbuds. To do that, simply do the following.

  1. Hold the left or right earbud in your hand.
  2. Proceed to flip the outer shell of the ear tips.
  3. Now gently tug them away from the earbuds to remove them.
  4. Repeat the same steps for the other earbud.

  5. Clean the ear tips by directly washing them under running water or using a soapy solution. This will help get all the ear wax and dirt off them.
  6. Using a slightly damp microfiber cloth, wipe down the earbuds. Again, do not use any cleaning solutions or soap. Don’t overly saturate the microfiber cloth.
  7. Let the ear tips completely dry before putting them back on your wireless earphones.


And that’s it! You can use moist cotton swabs to clean areas that require more precision. If the earbuds sit deep in your ear like the Sony WF-1000XM4, they will collect a lot of earwax over time that could potentially muffle and lower their sound output. So, it is crucial to clean the grille-like section from where the audio comes out on the earbuds. A damp cloth or cotton swab will remain your best option here.

You can also try using a can of air or an air blaster used for cleaning camera lenses to get dirt and earwax off the hard-to-reach areas. If you live in a particularly dusty environment or use your earphones while running or working out, I’d recommend cleaning them once every few weeks.

How to extend the lifespan of your earbuds’ battery

If you have a pair of premium earbuds that you use regularly, chances are their batteries will die after a year or two of use. Even if that doesn’t happen, their runtime will decrease noticeably. Battery replacement is not an option with modern earbuds since non-removable batteries allow manufacturers to fit so much tech in such a tiny space. Unlike smartphones, most wireless earphones do not feature any advanced software-based algorithm to extend the battery’s lifespan. So, if you want to ensure your current earbuds last for a long time, you must take good care of the cells powering them. For this, you need to follow some basic battery maintenance tips.

You should never completely empty the battery of your earbuds. Given how lithium-ion batteries are designed and work, this will do more harm than good and cause them unnecessary stress. Instead of waiting for your earbuds to run out of battery, you should top them off regularly. Additionally, avoid keeping them plugged in for a long time once they are fully charged – that’s not good for the batteries. So don’t charge the earphones overnight regularly.

If you do not use your earbuds regularly, it is recommended that you store them with at least a 50% charge. This will help prolong the lifespan of lithium-based batteries. Similarly, do not store them in too hot or cold temperatures as it would lead to capacity loss.

However, keep in mind that the lithium-ion batteries inside earphones will lose their capacity over time, and their runtime will decline even after your best efforts.

Take care of your earbuds so they last longer

You can make your earbuds last longer and keep them clean by following the tips above. Even if you are not happy with their sound quality or are just looking for a change, you can always pass them on to your friends or family. That’s always better than throwing them away.


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