How to clean your AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPod Max

If your AirPods are starting to sound weird, it may be time for a cleaning.

By Moses Johnson - Editor
4 Min Read
  • To clean AirPods, you’ll need warm, soapy water, a cloth, and liquid laundry detergent.
  • Cleaning your AirPods can improve audio quality and reduce your contact with germs.
  • When cleaning AirPods, be careful not to get water inside the earbuds.

The AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max are some of the best earbuds for Apple users, but they aren’t self-cleaning. After wearing your AirPods for a week straight, you’ll want to sanitize them. Doing so can improve sound quality and help maintain good ear health. In just a few steps, let’s walk through how to clean your AirPods.

Considerations Before You Get Started

Before cleaning your AirPods, remember these essential tips.

  • While AirPods are water resistant, that doesn’t mean they are waterproof—so using a lot of water to clean your AirPods is a definite no-no.
  • Be sure that no moisture gets in the openings.
  • Do not soak, dip, or immerse AirPods in water or cleaning products.
  • Avoid using bleach or hydrogen peroxide (or products containing those ingredients).
  • Don’t use sharp objects or abrasive materials when cleaning, as they can cause damage.

What do you need to clean the AirPods

Before you dive into swabbing your AirPods, gather the following materials:

  • Lint-free cloth, cotton swabs
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Liquid laundry detergent

How to clean your AirPods or AirPods Pro

Now you’re ready to get started and learn how to clean your AirPods or AirPods Pro.

Step 1: Grab your AirPods and remove them from the charging case. If you’re cleaning your AirPods Pro, remove the soft ear tips and drop them into a mixture of laundry detergent and warm water. We’ll come around to them a bit later on.

Step 2: Slightly dampen a soft, lint-free cloth.

Step 3: Wipe the body clean while avoiding the speaker mesh.

Step 4: Use a dry cotton swab to clean the microphone and speaker meshes.

Step 5: Turn back to the ear tips

At this point, your soft ear tips have probably been in their solution for a little while. If you’re not in a rush, it doesn’t hurt to leave them there. If you have standard AirPods, you can skip this step entirely. Pull the ear tips from your cleaning solution and give them a nice rinse in warm water. Make sure to rinse both the inside and outside of the tips.

Wipe each eartip with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.

Step 6: Let everything dry before reassembling and placing the AirPods back in the case or your ears.

Before you know it, your AirPods will look as good as new. The most important thing to remember is to use as little liquid as possible. Now, go forth with the cleanest AirPods Pro on the block.

How to clean your AirPods Max

First off, never run your AirPods Max under water. Instead, wipe the body with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.

If your AirPods Max were exposed to something that might cause stains, like soap, shampoos, or lotions, then wipe them clean with a cloth slightly dampened with fresh water. Then, dry them with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Do not attempt to use them until they are completely dry.

How to clean the cushions and headband of your AirPods Max

Here’s how to clean the cushions and headband on your AirPods Max.

Step 1: In a clean container, mix 1 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and 1 cup of fresh water.

Step 2: Remove the cushions from the ear cups by gently pulling them off.

Step 3: Dip a lint-free cloth into the soapy water solution, wring it out, and rub the cloth on the cushions and headband for a minute each. Tip: Hold your AirPods Max upside down while you clean to prevent liquid from flowing into the headband attachment point.

Step 4: Dry the cushions and headband with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to remove any excess moisture.

Step 5: Lay your AirPods Max flat to dry for at least 24 hours before reattaching and using the cushions.

See also: How to make your AirPods louder: 5 tricks

Cleaning your AirPods: A few things to remember

No matter how much you clean your AirPods, you won’t be able to remove discoloration. It helps to sanitize and remove solid waste from them, but you have to do so regularly to avoid permanent stains. We recommend
cleaning your earbuds of any make or model approximately every 72-hours of listening. If you listen for one hour a day, this means every two months or so.

You may think that aggressively cleaning your ears can help your earbuds, but we advise you to be careful. Earwax, or at least some earwax, is meant to be there. Cotton swabs can damage your hearing, leave you open to ear infections, and even change the way your AirPods fit.

We’ve given you a few great ways to clean your AirPods, so focus on keeping them in tip-top shape.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean ear wax out of AirPods?

To clean the ear wax out of your AirPods, try wiping or dabbing them with a damp microfiber cloth, then drying them off with a lint-free cloth. Alternatively, try swiping around the ear tip with a damp cotton swab to remove ear wax from your AirPods.

Why is there so much earwax in my AirPods?

The reason there is so much earwax in your AirPods is that the headphones go fairly deep into your ear canal, where that kind of thing builds up. Instead of your body naturally dispelling some of the wax out of your ear canal, it instead ends up in your AirPod. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to clean your AirPods:

Pull the eartips off of each AirPod and rinse each tip with water. Again, do not use soap or other household cleaners.
Wipe each eartip with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Wait for the tips to completely dry before reattaching to each AirPod.
Click the eartips back on each AirPod. The eartips are oval-shaped, so be sure to align them correctly before you click them back on.

How do you get deep stains out of AirPods?

To get deep stains out of your AirPods, try the following:

Slightly dampen a soft, lint-free cloth.
Wipe the body clean while avoiding the speaker mesh.
Use a dry cotton swab to clean the microphone and speaker meshes.
Let them dry before placing them in the charging case or your ears.

Share This Article
By Moses Johnson Editor
Moses Johnson is the Editorial Director of, who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. Moses is commonly referred to online as The Professor, with decades of experience in tech under his belt.
Leave a comment