If you’re a music buff like me, you probably have your favorite headphones or earbuds on for the most part of every day.
The strange thing is that we hardly realize that our headphones, like everything else we wear on our bodies from hoodies to socks, eventually need cleaning.
Worse still is the COVID-19 season, which has come with heightened awareness over our hygiene routines. Not only that, but we’re having to take practical steps to make sure we, our stuff, and our surroundings are clean and sanitized.
Headphones, earphones, earbuds or whatever you prefer to call them get filth and sweat from the environment and our bodies. Technically, they pick up dirt wherever we go with them, or where we place them.
To keep your music gear hygienically safe for your use now and going forward, here’s a guide on how to clean and sanitize headphones.
Why You Should Clean And Sanitize Headphones
There are many reasons for cleaning and sanitizing your headphones. For one, you want your headphones to look good longer just as you would with your clothes. Storing your headphones in a clean and dry place (if you don’t have a dedicated pod) ensures they’ll keep working like new.
As you wear your headphones, several things stick to the earpads and other parts that touch your ears and your face. Such things include ear wax, sebum, skin cells, and even the facial products that you use, if any.
Headphones pick even more dirt from our environment, whether you’re working from home or a coffee shop, walking, running, hiking, or anywhere else you go. Sometimes you may even lend someone your headphones to use, and they too add to the dirt that accumulates on your precious pair over time.
Cleaning and sanitizing your headphones will not only make them clean and comfortable to use, but it’ll also ensure they last longer and sometimes even sound a lot better.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you properly clean and sanitize your personal electronics as and when necessary.
Headphones may not specifically be included in CDC guidelines, but the fact that you touch and use the headphones warrants proper disinfection for your own safety and wellbeing.
The Easy Way To Clean And Sanitize Headphones
We don’t know whether or not the coronavirus can be transmissible through our ears. However, even if the risk isn’t major, it’s imperative that personal items like headphones are kept clean and sanitized just to be safe.
Coronavirus is known to live on hard surfaces such as wood, glass, or plastic for three to five days. If it does get onto your headphones, it’s possible to catch the virus and get infected just by touching them and touching your eyes, face, or nose without washing your hands first.
However, the risk isn’t as high when you’re physically distancing especially in an enclosed space, as compared to an open space where people are packed together for a long time.
What You Need To Clean And Sanitize Headphones
Different methods are needed to clean and sanitize different materials. For example, you can use disinfecting wipes or rubbing alcohol on rigid surfaces like plastic that can withstand such chemicals.
However, to clean and sanitize headphones, you need to find out what the manufacturer of the rubbing alcohol or disinfecting wipes you have recommends for material like fabric.
A disinfecting or alcohol wipe may not damage your headphones as much. There are different materials on different headphones, which is why you should consult the manufacturer first.
If you’re using earbuds, you need to be very careful with how you disinfect them because they’re small and delicate.
How To Clean And Sanitize Earbuds
1. If you have wired earbuds, unplug them. For wireless Bluetooth-enabled earbuds, power them off before you start cleaning
2. Clean the earbud tips if any. For removable ear tips, remove them before clearing the gunk or waxy buildup
3. Next, remove the wax using a toothpick or paper clip and then clean with mild soap and water.
4. Gently dry the earbud tips with a soft cloth
5. For the plastic casing, use a cotton swab or soft cloth to clean with 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol. You can also clean the plastic part using Clorox wipes or alcohol
6. Next, clean the mesh speaker grill. This is the most delicate part so you need to make sure it’s cleaned well without damaging the speaker. Don’t let any liquid penetrate through the mesh grill
7. Use a cotton swab or tooth brush with some light amount of rubbing alcohol to get the residue off the grill
How To Clean And Sanitize Headphones (On-Ear And Over-Ear)
On-ear headphones rest on your ear and have smaller ear cups. Over-ear headphones, on the other hand, have bigger ear cups that surround your ears, and are larger in size.
These types of headphones are easier to clean compared to earbuds, which collect more gunk and wax over time, and are more delicate.
1. To clean and sanitize headphones, use a damp cloth with soap to clean exterior surfaces like the headband and ear cup exteriors. You can also use rubbing alcohol, but make sure the softer areas of the headphones are kept dry.
2. Clear the ear cushions of oil using a dry cloth.
3. If the ear cups are removable, take them off and clean separately. Remember not to allow any liquid to get into the delicate parts.
4. Remove any gunk that you can see on your headphones, and make sure to store them in a cool, dry place or in the relevant pouch if available.
Give Your Headphones a Swipe Down
Whether you use them to listen to your favorite tunes while working at the coffee shop or working out at your local gym, headphones are good to have. If you don’t clean and sanitize headphones properly though, they can become a disgusting mess. These helpful cleaning tips will make it quick and easy to keep your headphones in great shape.