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How to clean your dirty AirPods and charging case

AirPods have been a huge hit for Apple for a few different reasons. Among them are convenience, seamless integration with the company’s devices, and a great charging case. However, with a great product comes a lot of use, which in this case means build up of dirt, gunk, and earwax. Follow along for how to clean AirPods and the charging case.

With the main portion of AirPods being white, it can be easy to focus on wiping down the outside of the earbuds and forget to check out the black speaker grilles. If you haven’t been cleaning out your AirPods’ grilles regularly, you’ve probably got some build up going on.

How to clean AirPods and the charging case

  1. Grab a cotton swab, flosser pick, and microfiber cloth, and/or Blu-Tack
  2. Wipe down your AirPods and charging case with a microfiber cloth to start
  3. Remove some of the excess cotton from an end for a more precise, yet still soft tool to remove stickier debris
  4. Try your best to clean your AirPods and charging case without using any liquids
  5. Use the flosser pick to break up and remove build up in tough to reach spots
  6. Another option as mentioned by a 9to5Mac reader is using Blu Tack to remove build up. Press it on your AirPods and remove it to easily remove loose debris (particularly handy for the charging case and AirPods speaker grilles)

How to clean AirPods - modified Q tip

Apple’s direction on the matter is to “Clean your AirPods with charging case regularly with a soft, lint-free cloth. Don’t get moisture in any openings, and don’t use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives.”

While a microfiber cloth is handy for the exterior of the AirPods and the main body of the charging case, a Q-Tip (cotton swab) or Blu-Tack work well to clean out the speaker grilles.

If you must, cautiously try a little bit of screen cleaner, or distilled water on a microfiber cloth or cotton swab to remove any tough debris.

Amazon has a 6-pack of the silk style microfiber cloths for $9 or a 24-pack of the thicker, larger style for $10.

If you end up with debris or build up down toward the charging contacts in your charging case, you could try a manual air blower before giving canned air a try. It’s best to refrain sticking anything down toward the charging contacts to avoid damage. Head to your local Apple Store or AASP if you find yourself in a tough situation.

More 9to5Mac tutorials on AirPods:

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.