The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Earbuds Without Damaging Them!

Have you ever felt disgusted after taking a look at your earbuds and all the gunk accumulated on the tips? And then you tried to rub it off only to spread it even more and make yourself disgusted at the sight?

Yeah, most of us have been there. And guess what? It's very easy to ignore dirty Bluetooth earbuds because we shove it in our ears without even looking, which lands us in a not-so-pleasant gunky earbuds situation.

If you're facing the same issue and want to clean and unclog your wireless earbuds without damaging them, you're at the right place. In this post, we'll discuss ways to safely clean earbuds and give you some tips to maintain cleanliness. Keep reading!

How to Safely Clean my Earbuds? 

Did you know those dirty earbuds put you at risk of ear infections and allergic reactions? When the wax from your ears has no outlet, it accumulates on the earbuds. Dust and other residue stick to this wax when you shove your earbuds in your pockets or bag.

Moreover, sound quality in such earbuds degrades more quickly than it should. Not to forget, dirty earbuds look gross.

Hence, it's imperative that you regularly clean your earbuds. However, these things are delicate, and you want to clean them without any damage.

Follow these steps to clean them safely:

-      Step 1: Cleaning the Tips

If your earbuds don't have tips, move on to the next step. Most earbuds, though, have silicone tips that go inside your ears.

 Hand showing blach earbuds with charging case

For instance, our Reduxbuds have silicone tips that fit snugly, but this also means that sweat, wax, and other gunk can accumulate on them.

  • Firstly, take off the tips from your earbuds carefully. Make sure you don't tear them apart by pulling them too harshly.

  • Next, mix a dishwashing detergent into some water and create suds. Drop the tips into the mixture and let them soak for five to ten minutes.

  • Once they've soaked long enough, take them out and use a piece of cloth to wipe off any wax and dirt. For the inner hole, use a q-tip to remove any stubborn residue by rotating it inside.

  • When you're sure there's no dirt left, it's time to disinfect them. You can either use a 70% concentration of isopropyl alcohol or a hand sanitizer.

    We recommend using alcohol, though, because sanitizers often contain ingredients other than alcohol, and you don't want to put unnecessary chemicals on the delicate tips. Dip a clean piece of cloth into some isopropyl alcohol and wipe all parts of the tip with it. This will ensure that they're free from any germs and bacteria.

    Alternatively, you can use some vinegar to wipe the earbuds clean if you think your tips are too delicate to handle alcohol. Vinegar has acetic acid that can kill many pathogens, and hence, it can be used as a gentle disinfectant.


-      Step 2: Unclog your Earbuds

Here's the tricky part. Now you'll have to unclog your earbuds by removing all that sticky, disgusting stuff from your earbuds' wire mesh without damaging it.

This is the part of the device that gives out sounds, and if anything enters inside it, your earbuds can stop working. Even the best water-resistant Bluetooth earbuds can get damaged when harsh chemicals seep inside of it.

1.    Use a Toothbrush

One way to tackle this is by using an old toothbrush. Find one that has hard bristles but still bendy enough.


First, make sure your earbuds are powered off. Hold one piece so that the wire mesh part of the earbud is facing downwards.

Now grab your toothbrush and gently scrub off the residue from the surface and unclog your earbuds. Make sure you're not pushing the bristles too hard against it. Otherwise, the dirt will end up going deeper inside the earbud.

Stop after every two or three strokes and gently tap the earbuds against a hard surface. This will ensure that the stuff you're scrubbing falls off and doesn't remain stuck in one place.

2.    Use Putty

If you want to be extra thorough, try using adhesive putty, such as Blutack, as an additional step in cleaning your earbuds.

Mold it into the shape of a small button and press it against the wire mesh surface of your earbud. All the tiny particles of dirt and wax will stick to this and clean the tiny holes.

If you think putty is too sticky and you're unsure about it, try using play dough. Just don't let it get stuck on the surface or break apart, as it will be too difficult to remove small pieces of the sticky play dough.

3.    Wipe Clean

The last step in cleaning the wire mesh of your earbuds is disinfecting it. Once again, using a q-tip, take some isopropyl alcohol and wipe the surface with it. This will not only get rid of germs but also remove any remaining gunk.

Try using a piece of cloth if you don't have q-tips, but make sure it's lint-free. You don't want small pieces of thread stuck in the tiny holes of your earbuds. Also, you might be tempted to use plain old water, vinegar, or other liquids for this step.

However, this could damage your earbuds because, unlike alcohol, water/vinegar doesn't evaporate within seconds. It could actually trickle inside and damage your earbuds, ruining the sound quality.

Even if you've got the best water-resistant Bluetooth earbuds or a pair that's entirely waterproof, we recommend staying away from these liquids for this area.

-      Step 3: Cleaning the Wires and Charging Case

If your earbuds have wires attached to it, you might as well clean them too. You touch them every time you use the earbuds, and this makes them very dirty over time.

Use some soapy water or alcohol to wipe the wires clean with a piece of cloth. Be gentle and don't pull them, and don't wipe the jack as this could damage it.

For the charging case, use a q-tip with some alcohol to reach all crevices and corners that a cloth can't reach. Clean the outside and the inside to get rid of dust and residue, which could transfer to your newly cleaned earbuds.

Tips to Keep Your Earbuds Clean

Since you've spent so much time cleaning your earbuds carefully, here are some tips that can help you keep them tidy:

-       Store Your Earbuds in a Case

If you keep them outside, dust and dirt could accumulate on them.


Moreover, don't just shove them in your pocket or your bag when you're outside, as this will further make them dirty. Take out the time to store them in their casing - it'll be worth it.

-       Avoid Using Your Earbuds While Sweating

You may want to use them when you're running or working out, and some earbuds are sweat-proof. For instance, the Reduxbuds are water-resistant and can handle workouts well.

Nevertheless, when you're done working out, wash your hands, and then take out the earbuds. Next, wipe them with a dry piece of cloth before storing them.

-       Use Silicone Tips

Some of the best water-resistant Bluetooth earbuds come with extra pairs of silicone tips that you can use if the other one gets dirty.

-       Keep Your Hands Clean

Always use your earbuds with clean hands. Also, try to clean your ears regularly to maintain your earbuds.


All that sounds like a lot of work, but believe us, it pays off. Your earbuds will last much longer when you keep them clean, and your ears will thank you for this too.

Just make sure you don't let liquids enter the earbuds while cleaning them. If you take these precautions and use the correct stuff, cleaning your earbuds will be safe and simple.