How to Clean Earbuds

Quality music and multimedia gadgets are some of the factors that have largely contributed to making earphones a must have accessory for many people. You must have observed how people often shut others out for some time alone with their music at home or even in the streets and stations but it is very rare to find people actually cleaning their earbuds. Just like other items and appliances, earbuds are important to clean because they too can get dirty. As we all know, dirt always limits the functions of electrical devices.

A research carried out by R. Mazlan, L. Saim suggests that the use of earbuds is one of reasons leading to infection in the ear canal.

Our ears produce cerumen (earwax) which has the purpose of protecting the interior against particles and germs. Over time, oil and wax from our ears accumulates on eartips and the nozzle of the earbuds and this reduces the sound quality and in rare cases spreads bacteria which can cause infections when the earbuds are shared. So how do you effectively clean your earbuds?

Nozzle catches dust and particles

Nozzle filter catches dust, particles

How to clean Earbuds

Earbud parts can be cleaned separately and it is advisable to start with the nozzle, ear tips, and the sleeves. These parts are always in contact with the wax thus they attract dirt faster and accumulate wax with time. You will need a small piece of cloth, hydrogen peroxide or antiseptic, alcohol, and a toothbrush. Bose suggested using  these solutions with maximum concentration, 3%.

First, remove the sleeves (earbud tips) then use the toothbrush to brush off wax from the ear tips and nozzle. Do this facing the nozzle downwards so that wax does not fall back into the earbud housings, causing further damage to diaphragm of drivers. After that wet the cloth with hydrogen peroxide and wipe off all the remaining wax with the cloth then dry clean it again with antiseptic. The sleeves can be washed with mild soap or using antiseptic and then dried by blow dryer.

Remove eartips

Next, you have to clean the cable, jack, and the inline controls. When cleaning the inline controls you should keep water away from its parts because water may get in and damage the wiring. So the best way to clean it is by wiping it gently using a wet piece of cloth and antiseptic. The cables can also be wiped clean with the cloth.
The jack accumulates more dust so you should use a toothbrush to wipe off the dust particles then clean it using the cloth. Finally, you can use soap or the antiseptic to clean the housing and leave the earbud to completely dry off in a clean place. After that re-attach the sleeves.

When you are done cleaning all the parts of your earbud, you can use alcohol wipes to disinfect it further. Alcohol will help to kill germs and leave a clean surface since it dries super fast and doesn’t attract particles.
You should always remember to never immerse your earbuds in water and always detach them from your iPod or device when cleaning.

It is very important to clean our earbuds periodically as the accumulation of dust and wax on the nozzles will eventually reduce the sound quality or you may hear the volume level lower than usual, the jack should be cleaned to make sure it does not introduce foreign particles to our multimedia devices. A lot of particles may also cause malfunctioning of the inline controls. Cleaning will also help us to avoid rare infections and keep us healthy.

Just like we clean our ears, we should also clean the earbuds to maintain general personal hygiene.

Published on 04/11/2016

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