How to Clean Airpods Microphone? Complete Step by Step Guide

Is your AirPods microphone not working well? If so, it might be too dirty to record sounds or answer calls.  The good news is that the steps on how to clean AirPods microphones are fairly simple and easy to do at home.

Take note that earbuds are prone to dirt. Earwax may build up and trickle on the device. Aside from that, the dirt from your hands can transfer to the earbuds. If not cleaned regularly, all of these will leave stains, which are undeniably gross.

Aside from that, the dirt might block the microphone and make it less efficient in capturing sounds. Worse, it may damage your AirPods in the long run.

So instead of waiting until your earbuds are no longer properly, it’s best to establish a habit of cleaning them regularly. After all, regular cleaning will make maintenance faster and easier for you. It will also stretch the lifespan of your AirPods, which is a must for this expensive audio device.

Below, we outlined steps to help you clean your earbuds. Read on and feel free to follow through with the methods we discussed here.


How to Clean Airpods Microphone Guide

How to Clean Airpods Microphone Guide

You have several options on how to clean the microphone on AirPods. You can use a dry swab, a moist cloth, rubbing alcohol, or an earbud washer. Below, we discuss the specific steps for each method:


Method #1. Using a dry swab

Apple recommends using a dry swab or a piece of cloth to clean your AirPods. It’s the safest way to wipe away dirt like sweat, earwax, and oils from the earbuds.

When it comes to how to clean an AirPods mic, you should flip the earbuds, so the microphone part is on top. After that, use a dry swab or Q-tip to wipe off the microphone and its surrounding areas.

Remember to be gentle and never scrub too much as this can damage the AirPods.

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Method #2. Using a moist cloth

If your AirPods got contaminated with something, for example oil, earwax, or chemicals, you can use a moist cloth to clean it up.

Again, turn the earbuds upside down before wiping. Use gentle force to remove deep-seated dirt without ruining your AirPods.

Take note that you’re not supposed to use soap as the abrasive chemicals may get into the circuits and damage the earbuds for good.


Method #3. Using rubbing alcohol

If the dirt didn’t budge when you used moist cloth, you can use a small amount of rubbing alcohol instead. Again, it should only make the cloth moist and not dripping. You wouldn’t want the alcohol to get inside the microphone and ruin its functions.

Aside from removing dirt, rubbing alcohol will help sanitize your earbuds. This is helpful, especially if you’re sweaty or you always touch things around before using your AirPods.


Method #4. Using an earbud washer

If you’re feeling fancy, you can purchase an automatic AirPods washer. This device is designed specifically to clean AirPods safely.

One of the up-and-coming options nowadays is the Cardlax AirPods washer. Aside from AirPods, it can also earbuds from other brands like Samsung, BOSE, Jabra, ECHO, and so on. It’s also safe to use on hearing aids if you have one as long as it’s an in-ear type.

The Cardlax washer is equipped with a built-in sponge that’s already soaked in a cleaning agent. There’s also a soft brush that will boost the cleaning power.

Simply plug the device using the provided cord and then turn the power on. After that, rub your earbuds around the sponge then place it vertically, with the mic first, into the cleaner. Close the lid and wait until it finishes the cleaning process.


Method #5: Compressed air

Clean Airpods Using an earbud washer

This is just a bonus method in case you want to proceed at your own risk. Compressed air can help remove deep-seated dirt that wiping alone can’t remove. It’s also an alternative if you can’t afford a Cardlax washer.

Take note that blowing into the AirPods using your mouth is a no-no. You’ll just blow your saliva into the microphone, which is another thing you’ll have to clean later on.

When using compressed air, make sure that you keep the AirPods at a distance. This is to reduce the impact of the air, so it won’t damage your device.


Things to avoid when cleaning your AirPods

Knowing how to clean an AirPods microphone also includes identifying common mistakes, so you can avoid them. Here are some to keep in mind:


Never use sharp objects

Apple specifically discourages the use of sharp objects like pins or needles to pick on the microphone to remove dirt. This can easily damage the earbuds and void the warranty.

Aside from that, pins may press the dirt even further into the microphone slot. Worse, if your pin got stuck, it might be difficult to remove without causing damage to the device.

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Never soak your AirPods in water

AirPods are not waterproof, so you should never wash them in any way. Soaking or submerging it into the water to clean it is a guaranteed way to ruin your device. Also, you should never run water on it like putting it under the sink faucet.

If you want to clean your AirPods deeply, your best bet is the Cardlax earbud washer. A moist cloth will also go a long way.


Never put your AirPods on the washing machine

cleaning your AirPods microphone

For some reason, there are AirPods users who think that their earbuds can withstand the washing machine. Sure, this will clean your earbuds, but it will also damage them for good.

The fact that the device can’t withstand water means that it won’t put up with intense force and prolonged submergence.


Never use it when wet

After wiping your AirPods with a moist cloth, wait for them to dry before cleaning them. This way, the fluids won’t get into the microphone opening and cause short circuits.

It’s best to wipe with a lint-free cloth to remove any moisture left. Nevertheless, you should never use heat or direct sunlight to dry your AirPods. Let it air dry instead before each use.


Forgetting to clean the AirPods case

Aside from cleaning the AirPods itself, it’s crucial that you also clean the case. You might not be aware, but your AirPods case might be a reservoir of earwax and other dirt.

To clean this, you can use a dry cloth to remove dirt. You can also use a small amount of rubbing alcohol to sanitize the case and remove stubborn gunk.

Never use any liquids on the case, especially near the charging ports. And after cleaning, make sure that the case is dry before putting your AirPods inside.


Don’t forget the Lightning connector, too

If there is debris on the Lightning connector of your AirPods case, you can clean it using a soft-bristled brush. An old toothbrush will also do.

Be gentle since you don’t want to ruin the connector itself. Also, never use any liquids on the connector, even if it’s rubbing alcohol.

And if the connector is already worn out and old, you should consider replacing it with a new one for optimal charging.

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Last Words

Knowing how to clean AirPods microphones will be second-nature to you if you practice it regularly. Besides, the steps are easy and you have multiple methods to choose from.

Whatever happens, never use detergent or any other chemicals aside from water and a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Abrasive chemicals can easily damage the mic of your AirPods.

Cleaning your AirPods regularly will guarantee top performance and a longer lifespan. Nevertheless, you should always practice gentle methods to avoid any damage to the device. When in doubt, you can always reach out to Apple support for guidance.

Do you have other AirPods cleaning methods you want to share? Feel free to comment below!


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Is a musician and journalist with over 13 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands. Ray loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.

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