Tip of the Week: Cleaning Your Headphones

It Can Be Unsettling to Think What Headphones Go Through

Apologies in advance, but headphones can get pretty gross. First of all, ears can sweat, and likely will if your headphones are on all day (as they probably will be). Second, ears generate wax, and that wax often winds up in or on a person?s headphones. Third, it has been shown that headphones and earbuds help promote the growth of bacteria in the ear and can even carry strains in and out.

Again, gross.

So, you want to be sure that the headphones you?re wearing are clean. How to do so properly depends on the kind of headphone you are wearing. Here?s how to safely clean the two types of headphones you?ll see in the office.

Cleaning Over-Ear Headphones

Gather your cleaning supplies:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (70 percent alcohol or higher)
  • A clean, soft, dampened cloth
  • A clean, dry cloth
  • Cotton balls
  • Optionally, electronic dust-cleaning gel

When cleaning your over-ear headphones, your first step should be to check if the earpieces can be removed. Some brands incorporate this feature specifically to simplify the cleaning process. It?s okay if they don?t, but you?ll need to be extra careful.

Once you have your supplies, follow this process:

  1. Remove the earpieces from the headphones, if possible
  2. Using the damp cloth, wipe away as much grime as you can from the earpieces and rest of the headphones in general
  3. Using the clean cloth and alcohol, wipe down the earpieces and rest of the headphones
  4. Dampen a cotton ball with alcohol and clean any small areas the cloth couldn?t reach
  5. Fully extend the headphones and use your cloth and alcohol to clean the frame, focusing on where you grab the headphone and any buttons or dials
  6. Dampen a cotton ball with alcohol and gently wipe the speaker mesh. Clean the microphone, too, if there is one
  7. Wipe down all cables with rubbing alcohol

Once the headphones dry fully, it will be safe to reassemble and use them.

Cleaning In-Ear Headphones and Earbuds

Gather your supplies:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (70 percent alcohol or higher)
  • A clean, soft, dampened cloth
  • A clean dry cloth
  • Cotton balls
  • A toothpick
  • Optionally, electronic dust-cleaning gel

Considering how in-ear headphones reach deeper into the ear, hygiene becomes even more important. The first step to cleaning this variety is to check if there are removable silicone tips on them. If so, remove them and clean them with soap and water. Let them air-dry as you clean the headphones themselves.

Foam covers can also be removed and cleaned with the alcohol, or with some soap and water.

After this is done, follow this process:

  1. Wipe down the whole unit with the damp cloth
  2. Carefully remove any gunk from the speaker mesh with the toothpick
  3. If using, heat up the electronic dust-cleaning gel in your hands and dab the speaker mesh to clean it
  4. Using the clean cloth and isopropyl alcohol, wipe down the whole unit
  5. Dampen a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe the speaker mesh
  6. Wipe down any cables with the cloth and alcohol and let air dry.

Hopefully, this will help you keep your necessary equipment clean. We can help keep your equipment operational. Find out more by calling (603) 889-0800.

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