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How to Properly Clean Your Earbuds

Why You Must Clean Your Earbuds ASAP — and How

You probably use your earbuds all day — during your commute to work, work itself, and your commute home. As many times as you pull them in and out of your bag, you probably don't think often enough about keeping them clean. Unsurprisingly, earbuds can transmit bacteria from person to person if they're shared, and in some cases can even cause ear infections. Clearly they need to be kept clean, but what's the best way?

Obviously you can't just toss your earbuds in the dishwasher to clean them. While doing some research, I came across a few suggestions of how to properly clean earbuds. Here's how:

  • Use a gentle cleaner, like soap and warm water. No need to go too heavy-duty here; try a mix of dishwashing detergent and water.
  • Use a gentle cloth with just a small amount of the soap mixture. Too much soap could leave a residue on your earbuds, and too much water, well that goes without saying.
  • If there's a lot of dirt or dust in the metal part of your earbuds, try brushing them with a dry toothbrush to dislodge the dust.
  • Some earbuds, like Apple's In-Ear Headphones, come with removable (and replaceable) silicone covers, so try removing them and cleaning those separately.
  • Never submerge them in water. You'll damage the wiring. Ditto for running them under the faucet, even for just a second.
  • Remember to only clean your earbuds when they're detached from your iPod or other device!
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