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Cleaning and disinfecting headphones: This is how in-ears, AirPods and Co. get clean

Cleaning and disinfecting headphones: This is how in-ears, AirPods and Co. get clean

Those who like to listen to music on their smartphone on the go often use in-ear headphones such as Apple EarPods, AirPods or other small "plugs". At home at the desk, on the other hand, the headset sits on the head instead. Over time, dirt, dust and grime accumulates, which is why regular care is required. xiaomist explains the correct cleaning and disinfection in simple steps.

Not everyone likes to wear large over-ear headphones to enjoy music on the go. Small in-ear earplugs are also better for sports because they don't interfere with your own movements. If you use your headphones regularly, you will eventually have to clean them. This is not so easy with earphones, since they usually have very small protective grilles in front of the drivers from which the sound reaches the ears. If you want to clean iPhone headphones, for example, the openings are so small that it is difficult to get the dirt out. With a practical tool, however, even small headphones can be cleaned.

Cleaning headphones: This is how in-ears, AirPods and Co. get clean again

First of all, it should be said that in most cases you should not use water to remove dirt from the housing of the headphones. With a few exceptions, these are not waterproof. So you risk water getting into the grille and damaging the electronics. Then you may no longer be able to use your headphones. Apple, the manufacturer of the popular AirPods and AirPods Pro, also expressly advises against cleaning the headphones under running water on its support page - even though the AirPods Pro are water-resistant according to the data sheet (only the headphones, not the case). Apple's official recommendation is: Clean the microphone and speaker grilles with a dry cotton swab .

This video from Samsung on cleaning in-ear headphones such as the Galaxy Buds or the Gear IconX provides a good overview:

This is how the cleaning of the silicone attachments of in-ears works Note: The methods presented here are only a suggestion for cleaning and are based on our own experience and information. Special care is required. Using too much force can damage the device or cause undesirable results. Use is at your own risk .

Running water is allowed for the round silicone attachments - they should therefore be cleaned separately from the housings.

1. Carefully remove the silicone eartips.
2. Rinse with lukewarm water, gently wiping away dirt with your fingers. Soap or detergent is not necessary.
3. Dry completely with a dry, lint-free cloth and reattach to the in-ear housings.

This is how the cleaning of the protective grille/loudspeaker grille works

With a trick you can easily clean your headphones and also remove dirt from the grilles. The trick is called: "Blu Tack" - more simply referred to as "glue putty" , the malleable, sticky mass helps you to pull the stubborn dirt out of the hard-to-reach openings. By simply separating a sufficiently large piece of the putty and carefully pressing it against the openings, the dirt will stick to the putty.

If you have successfully removed the dirt, you can wipe the headphones with a microfiber cloth. After that everything should be clean again. Some will now say that adhesive tape, such as "tesa film", has a similar effect and they are not wrong. Adhesive putty only adapts much better to small indentations and recesses. If you are looking for alternatives to Blu Tack, you will find similar products from other manufacturers (e.g. from UHU or Tesa) under the term "glue kneading".

Disinfect in-ear headphones (AirPods): Here's how

Apple has updated its headphone cleaning information page as the coronavirus spreads. Here you can find specific information about which cleaning agents are suitable for disinfecting AirPods and EarPods :

You can use a cloth dampened with 70% isopropyl alcohol or Clorox disinfectant wipes to gently wipe the outside of AirPods or EarPods. Be sure not to wipe the speaker grilles with these cloths. Don't use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don't submerge your AirPods or EarPods in cleaning products.

Clean AirPods charging case, headphone jack and Lightning jack: This is how everything gets clean again

The AirPods charging case is not protected against water (not even that of the AirPods Pro) – the following applies here: no liquids, at most a slightly damp cloth. A clean cotton swab is also recommended for the hard-to-reach areas.

You should be careful not to use cotton swabs for the 3.5 mm headphone socket and the Lightning socket (or micro-USB socket ). The cotton can quickly get caught in the headphone jack or clog the port. Instead, you can take a toothpick, for example, and wrap tape around one part with the sticky side facing out. Then you can carefully pull the dirt out of the entrance. Make sure the tape is sufficiently taped so you don't lose it. The entrance should now be free of dirt and dust. Another method is to use a dry brush with soft bristles, which is also recommended for cleaning the iPhone's Lightning jack.

Dirt in in-ear headphones: what is that actually?

In addition to dust and grease from everyday life, yellow-brownish dirt can be found on and in in-ear headphones. This is earwax, a natural substance that everyone secretes and that performs a number of important roles in keeping the body healthy:

Earwax moisturizes the skin in the ear canal and helps remove dust, dirt, dead skin cells, and foreign materials from the ear. It also contains lysozyme and other substances that fight bacteria and prevent insects from entering the ear canal.

The amount secreted varies from person to person. Prof. Dr. Thomas Zahnert from the University Hospital Dresden in an interview with xiaomist:
Are in-ear headphones harmful to health? We asked an expert

Of course, earwax has no place in in-ear headphones, because a clog from the secretion can not only have a massive impact on the sound - it can also be the case that when you insert the headphones, you push the earwax stuck to it deep into the ear canal, so that the body is no longer able to expel the earwax. A similar danger to using cotton swabs to clean your ears.

Caring for the headset: The optimal cleaning and storage explained

Headsets usually sit on the head and therefore tend not to come into contact with earwax - regular care should not be neglected, however. In addition, in addition to your own voice, the microphone also picks up substances that need to be removed. When cleaning, however, you should always exercise caution and ideally work with a dry cloth . A disinfectant wipe can help with heavier soiling.

Incidentally, this is what Troels Rasmussen, Product Portfolio Manager at EPOS, recommends. As far as the correct storage of a headset is concerned, he also expressed the following:

Best dry and at room temperature. The best way to store wired headsets is to wrap the cord around two fingers so that the cord follows its natural winding. Then loosen the coiled cable from your fingers and stow it rolled up. This prevents damage to the cable. Alternatively, the headset can be placed on a headset cradle where the cable runs in a neutral position and is not kinked.

Furthermore, it is important not to expose the headphones to direct sunlight for a long period of time, because the UV rays contained in them can affect the colors of the materials. If you want to use your headset for as long as possible, you can also make sure that wearing parts such as the ear pads or the cable are replaceable . This not only protects the environment, but also your wallet.

Do you know any other tricks or tips to properly care for in-ear headphones or headsets? Tell us in the comments.


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