How To Clean Headphones – Apple, Bose, Sennheiser & Others

How to clean headphones

Getting a new pair of expensive headphones can feel great. They sound crisp, and everything feels fresh, clean, and ready to go. 

If you're like me, you wear your headphones at the office, to the gym, around the house and more. But it's often you stop and think about just how dirty your headphones can get in that process. 

Think about it. You take a shower and wash your clothes after a workout, but when's the last time you can remember cleaning your headphones after a workout? Odds are, you haven't.

This means your headphones are a breeding ground for bacteria, ear wax, and overall stank. 

In this article, we're going to break down the right way to clean headphones from different brands ( and styles, so let's get started!

How To Clean Apple Headphones

According to Apple themselves, you should never use any liquid to clean your apple AirPods or other apple headphones. The water can damage the headphones, so instead, use a soft, dry lint-free cloth. 

Wipe down the headphones, and take time to get into any small crevices too. If you have a build-up of ear wax, don't use anything sharp to get it out. Instead, use something like blue-tack to get the earwax out.

If you have a pair of apple headphones that come with removable ear tips, you can pull the ear tips off of the headphones, and soak them in water, but don't use any soaps or other household cleaners. Make sure the ear tips are completely dry before replacing them. 

How To Clean Bose Headphones

When it comes to Bose headphones, you have a little more freedom. According to the Bose website, you can use a soft cloth dampened with dish detergent and water to clean the exterior of the earcups for over-ear Bose headphones. 

For in-ear Bose headphones, you can take a cotton swab and dip it in a small amount of rubbing alcohol and clean the outside of the headphones, just be careful no liquid gets inside.

If you have wax build-up in the driver unit, use blue tack to remove it. 

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How To Clean Sennheiser Ear Pads

Sennheiser headphones aren't used as often for working out. They're more for gaming or music mixing. With that being said, they can still get build-up and need to be cleaned. 

Remove the ear pads and brush off any visible dirt, ear wax, dandruff, etc. Take a very small amount of dish detergent and mix it with lukewarm water (not hot!). Make sure the mixture is sudsy, but don't overdo it. You should be able to see the soap, not be overwhelmed by it. 

Next, put the ear pads in the soapy water and give them a little rub down. You should see the color of the water change (gross!) as the dirt and oils are removed. 

Once you're satisfied that the ear pads are clean, take them out, wipe them down with a damp cloth to rinse them, and then hand dry them. If they're made of fabric, NOT leather or plastic, you can also put them in a laundry bag and let them tumble dry on low, then leave them off overnight to finish up drying. 

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How To Clean Over Ear Style Headphones

If you don't have any of the brands listed above, the following instructions are generic enough to be used on all brands of over-ear style headphones. 

First, take a dry cloth and wipe down the headphones to remove any loose dirt, oil, skin, etc. 

Next, dampen the cloth lightly with warm soapy water and carefully clean the headphones, being careful not to get any liquid inside the headphones, or around the wires then rinse with another damp cloth, without any soap added.

If your earpads can be removed, do so and wash those separately in warm soapy water and rinse afterward. 

Hand dry the headphones as much as you can and let them air-dry overnight. If you took your earpads off, don't put them back on until they're fully dried.

How To Clean In-Ear Headphones

If you have a pair of off-brand in-ear style headphones, the following instructions are generic enough to be used to clean them. 

First, wipe the headphones down with a dry cloth to remove as much debris as you can. 

Next, dip a cotton swab into a small amount of alcohol and use it to clean the outside of the headphones. 

If you have removable rubber ear inserts, you should clean those separately, in a bath of warm soapy water. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly after. 

For in-ear headphones without removable rubber tips, use something like blue-tack to clean the drivers. Avoid using anything sharp. It won't remove all of the build-up, and you'll most likely damage your headphones in the process. 

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Closing Thoughts

Keeping your headphones clean isn't something we always think about, but it's something everyone should do periodically. 

If you have a well-known brand of headphones like Apple, Bose, or Sennheiser, use the instructions that come from the manufacturer.

Otherwise, use your best judgment to clean using warm soapy water or rubbing alcohol.

Let us know if you have any other tips in the comments section below!

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