How to Clean Headphones

How to Clean Your Headphones (without ruining them)

Headphones have become an integral part of our lifestyles. But as headphones are such a must-have gadget and we use them so often, it’s important to keep them clean. After all, you don’t want to end up with a nasty infection. Keep reading to learn all about about how to clean headphones.

With need to keep our personal listening equipment pieces clean and hygienic. We frequently jam them into our ears, sweat on them profusely in the gym, stuff them into our bags or our pockets, or even leave them around on the table to collect dust. They’re regularly exposed to germs.

In this article, we go over how to clean your headphones without damaging them.

Things You’ll Need to Clean Your Headphones

Here are the things you’ll need to clean your headphones.

A Clean Cloth or Paper Towels

You need a clean cloth or paper towels to wipe your headphones. Cotton buds (Q tips) or cotton pads also work.

Things You’ll Need to Clean Your Headphones

A Toothbrush

Use a toothbrush to gently scrub some nooks that the cloth will not be able to reach.

Soap and Warm Water

Carefully using some soap and a little warm water will help you clean off the grime that has been covering the headphones.

Rubbing Alcohol or Hydrogen Peroxide

This is so you can properly disinfect your headphones and make them squeaky clean.

Additional Items You Can Use to Clean Headphones

Here are some additional things you can use to make your headphone cleaning easier and more effective.


Wear gloves to ensure there is no extra contamination while cleaning.

Cleaning Headphones


Use tweezers to help you pull out tiny hair or threads that are stuck to the creases and may need a little extra nudging to pull out.


You can wear googles to protect your eyes from the germs that may fly around if you use a brush to scrub them off.

How to Clean Your Headphones Safely

Now that you have all the items required for the cleanup, here is a step by step guide on what to do.

Exterior Cleaning

To clean the outside part of your headphones, start by carefully removing the rubber or silicone ear cap over them.

How to Clean Your Headphones?

Set it next to the headphones. After that, do the following steps.

  1. Dip your cloth or paper towel in soapy warm water and wring it out as much as possible. Carefully wipe the surface. Make sure the cloth or paper towel is not dripping wet, just enough to loosen the dirt and grime.
  2. If there is visibly more dirt or ear wax stuck on them, go ahead and use your toothbrush. Keep in mind to be gentle. While the toothbrush will scrub the surface, you do not want to exert too much or it can scratch it.
  3. When using the toothbrush, dip it ever so lightly in the soapy water. This way you can lubricate and nudge some of the stubborn ear wax off the headphones.

Interior Cleaning

While you are at it, clean the insides of the ear cap. You should also use the brush to loosen any debris that is stuck on the mesh from where the sound comes through.

  1. Use your cloth or paper towel and do a second wipe. This will remove all the excess loose dirt that did not come off in the first wipe.
  2. Make sure you wipe the cloth on the wire as well, wiping it with warm soapy water.
  3. Now that you’ve wiped it with warm soapy water, wipe it down one more time with just water. Make sure the paper towel or cloth that you use is not soaking and dripping wet. It should be wet enough to pick up the soapy residue and make the headphones squeaky clean.
  4. To properly disinfect it, wipe it down with a fresh paper towel or a clean cloth with a little bit of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

Now that you have cleaned and disinfected them, let them dry up. Once air dry, you can go ahead and slip the rubber caps back on.

Cleaning Earbuds

Make sure to try to keep your headphones in a separate pouch. If you use your headphones in the gym, make sure you wipe them dry.

Then, let them air dry a bit before stuffing them in your pouch or the gym bag. Remember the moisture if left unchecked can not only be a breeding ground for germs and mold but also damage the wiring.

Now You Know Why (and) How You Should Clean Your Headphones

It is no brainer that headphones are exposed to dirt and germs. It is something that we put in our ears. Sometimes, we even share headphones.

Research has found that if you share your headphones, there is a chance that you can get an infection from the other user. This is one of the reasons why you must have your own pair.

Cleaning Earphones

Another reason why it is important to clean them is to make sure that they do not get damaged easily.

Sometimes when you go to the gym, the sweat can get into the wires and through the mesh and damage it. This is why it is important for maintaining your headphones.

With these tips, you will be able to thoroughly clean and maintain your headphones, and use them for a much longer time.

Regularly cleaning your earphones is essential for ear health. You can also buy some headphones that are designed to help prevent infections. Learn about those headphone designs in my article on the best headphones for ear health.