How To Clean Headphones

If you’re looking for how to clean your headphones or the best way to clean your headphones then this is the article for you! 

We’ll take a look at some of the most common household items that can be used to keep your headphones in top shape. We’ll also give some tips on what to avoid when cleaning your headphones.

Keep in mind that headphone covers are made of various materials, some of which can be damaged if exposed to certain substances or high heat/cold. 

So it’s always best to do some research into the specific cover material before you try one of these methods for how to clean headphones.

Methods To Clean Headphones:

1. Toothbrush

A toothbrush with soft bristles is the best tool for cleaning your headphones. They’re small enough to get into all of the little cracks and crevices without damaging or scratching any plastic, metal, or silicone parts. 

The head of a normal toothbrush is also big enough to handle most of the larger areas of your headphones without too much trouble. 

2. Cotton Swabs/Q-Tips

The cotton swab is another item that will come in handy while cleaning your headphones. You can use them to clean dust and dirt out of the grates on the outside of earbuds, as well as between buttons on remote controls and internal components like circuits, audio jack ports, etc… Don’t forget to use a cotton swab for cleaning any crevices where grime may have built up.

3. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

You can also use a microfiber cloth to clean your headphones efficiently. They’re especially good for wiping down the rubber that’s located on earbuds so you can restore them to their original sheen. 

There are some inexpensive clothes out there that are specifically made for cleaning glasses, so if you find one of those it will be even more effective when it comes to restoring the shine on all of the parts of your headphones that are made from metal or plastic. 

4. Water/Isopropyl Alcohol Solution (50/50 mix)

For this method, you’ll need a small bowl and some lukewarm water. Fill the bowl so there’s enough to submerge your earbuds completely in it, then add 50% isopropyl alcohol and stir it around with a spoon so the solution is made up of two parts water and one part rubbing alcohol. 

Next take one of your earbuds that you want to clean and turn it inside out, then submerge it into the solution in the bowl. Make sure that all parts of the pad are submerged, such as the grating on the outside and any audio jack ports. 

Let them sit for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally to make sure all dirt comes loose from their surfaces. Then remove your earbuds from the bowl carefully (don’t want any water dripping down your headphones, do you?) and use a microfiber cloth to dry them off. 

You can also use a toothbrush to get any stubborn dirt out of any crevices. If there’s any residue or gunk left on the surface after cleaning, you can use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean it away.

5. compressed air

You can use a can of compressed air to blow dust and dirt out of all the crevices and cracks on your headphones. 

This is especially helpful if your headphones have an internal microphone that’s gathering dust over time. Just make sure that when you’re using the compressed air that you’re not too close to the headphone drivers otherwise you’ll end up with distortion.

6. Q-Tips/Cotton Swabs + Rubbing Alcohol

If you don’t have access to any isopropyl alcohol, you can use plain old rubbing alcohol found in the drugstore or supermarket. 

You’ll need to put some of it on a cotton swab so that you can clean out all the little crevices and crannies in your headphones where dirt could be hiding. 

Just dip your swab in the bottle of rubbing alcohol, then wipe away any grime that needs cleaning before letting them dry completely. 

Another option is using a toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol which will help clean out any dust or grime that has settled into smaller areas where compressed air won’t reach, like around buttons or in the grating on your earbuds.

7. Toothpaste (non-gel)

You can use a very small amount of toothpaste on a cotton swab to rub away stubborn dirt and grime that’s built up around buttons or in small crevices. 

Just remember not to get any toothpaste in the audio drivers, and only put it on the parts of your earphones that aren’t metal or silicone since it can be hard to fully clean once you’ve used toothpaste on them.

It might take some elbow grease and scrub for serious buildups, but rubbing away grime with this method will make your earphones look like new again after they’re all dried off!

8. Alcohol-Free Baby Wipes

Since alcohol dries out the kin, you can use an alcohol-free baby wipe to do the same job as rubbing alcohol. Just make sure the wipes are at least 99% water so it doesn’t leave any residue behind after cleaning your headphones. 

This method is good for earbuds and other parts of your headphones where you don’t want to risk damaging or discoloring them since most headphone drivers aren’t made from plastic that’s meant to be cleaned this way.

9. Toothbrush + Dish Soap

For this method, all you’ll need is a toothbrush dipped in dish soap (yes, really!) which will help dislodge dirt/dust/debris as compressed air would. 

You should only do this as a last resort if all other methods haven’t worked, and it’s important that you completely dry your headphones afterward or you’ll end up with water damage.

10. DIY headphone cleaner

If you’re feeling crafty, there are a few different ways you can make your own headphones cleaner at home. One way is to mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water in a spray bottle and use it to clean the earbuds, grill, and other surfaces of your headphones. 

You could also try making a cleaning solution using isopropyl alcohol, baking soda, and dish soap which can be used to clean all parts of your headphones (including the audio drivers). Just be careful when using any kind of chemicals and always do a test area before cleaning the entire surface to make sure the solution won’t damage or discolor your headphones.


As you can see, there are quite a few ways to clean your headphones depending on what material they’re made out of. Remember that it’s important you don’t use too much force when cleaning the earbuds or audio drivers since this could damage them over time instead of cleaning them. Luckily, most headphone companies make their products to be easily removed so you can access all the parts inside without having to take apart the entire piece! If anything does go wrong after you’ve tried one of these methods for getting rid of earwax, dust, dirt, or other grime in your headphones just remember that you have 30 days to return it for a full refund/replacement if something goes wrong with yours during this period.

Hope this helped give you some ideas on how to clean your headphones!

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