Environmental Factors That Cause Your AirPods to Get Dirty

Environmental Factors That Cause Your AirPods to Get Dirty

If you’ve had your AirPods for a while, you’ve probably noticed that they can get dirty pretty quickly. From waxy residue in the ear tips to dirt in the creases of your AirPods and charging case, earbuds are magnets for dirtiness – and the last thing you want to do is risk an ear infection from dirty AirPods.

But why is it so easy for AirPods to get dirty, grimy, and gross from everyday use? It could be the environments you’re exposing them to during use or storage.

What Happens When Your AirPods Get Dirty?

AirPods accumulate dirt, wax, debris, and various other materials in the ear tips and on the speaker mesh that protects the core electronics that make them work. As more buildup accumulates, it makes it harder for the sound waves to travel from the speakers to your eardrum in the same way that excess wax or water in your ear from swimming can make your hearing worse.

When the sound waves can’t travel smoothly through the ear canal because the debris reflects or absorbs the sound, it weakens the sound clarity. As a result, you’ll experience muffled sound, low-quality audio, and other issues that impact your listening ability.

What Environmental Factors Get Your AirPods Dirty?

Whether it’s from your ear hygiene, the setting where you use them, or how you store them when you’re not using them, there are a variety of environmental factors that contribute to how quickly AirPods get dirty and how bad the debris can get.

Here are just a few ways your AirPods get dirty.

Pocket Debris

It’s tempting to throw your AirPods into your pockets when you’re not using them since they’re safer than being in your hands. But, your pockets probably aren’t as clean as you think; pet hair, lint from your pocket materials, dirt, sand, food remnants, and even money can all contaminate your earphones. Plus, you risk them getting sat on, crushed, or dropped accidentally.

Avoid pocketing your AirPods directly and insteadopt to place them in their charging case or a carrying case for safety.

Airborne Debris

When you use your AirPods while out and about, you’re unknowingly exposing them to various debris that’s floating in the air. You may run past trees or lawns that have pollen or airborne particles, kick up some dirt or sand that gets up towards your ears, or just walk through somewhere that’s dusty.

These fine materials may seem harmless, but if your headphones have wax or moisture accumulation from regular use, the particles can get trapped in your ear canal or directly on your speaker mesh. It’s even worse if you accidentally drop an AirPod into dirt, dust, or sand that blocks the speaker.

Ear Buildup

Your ears naturally maintain a certain level of wax that’s used to keep your ears clean and protect your hearing. However, using your AirPods closes off your ear canal from proper ventilation, which causes excess moisture and accumulation of excess wax or buildup from oils, skin cells, and other materials in your ears over time. These can then transfer into the ear tips and eventually stick to the speaker mesh, especially if they haven’t been cleaned properly between uses.

Unclean Hands

Your fingers naturally produce oils that will transfer to your AirPods, along with grime and debris from just about every surface your hands touch. Unless you’re washing your hands regularly between uses, you can still transfer pieces of food or oils from meals, makeup, hair supplies, and even germs to the surface of your AirPods that interfere with charging or get into the speaker mesh.

Dirty Charging Cases

Your charging case is where your AirPods will spend most of their time. Unfortunately, if you’re not maintaining the cleanliness of your charging case and AirPods, the closed area can act as a breeding ground for moisture-related accumulation and buildup from your ear tips that get further into your earphones. It may also leave a residue on the charger that dirties your AirPods every time you charge them.

How to Clean the Dirt and Grime From Your AirPods

Your AirPods getting dirty is inevitable, but you can prevent them from getting too dirty and accumulating harmful buildup on the speaker mesh with property cleaning.

The easiest way to prevent dirtiness is to wipe your AirPods down between uses and before putting them into the charging case. You want to avoid letting any moisture, wax, or debris harden within the ear tip or on the mesh which makes it harder to clean. Apple also recommends that you rinse your ear tips regularly in plain water to remove accumulation from them to help avoid debris from moving down towards the speaker. 

For storage you should also wipe down your charging case’s AirPods holders between uses to avoid creating an environment where moisture develops and makes it easier for debris to accumulate in the earphones.

If you want the easiest cleaning solution, you can use the Hybuds Pen to maintain or deep clean your AirPods and case. The metal tip cleans off hardened buildup from the creases and speaker mesh, while the soft brush makes it easy to wipe off debris before it can stick. Plus, it only takes a single pass with the cotton bud tip to wipe down your charging case to maintain a sanitary storage environment. Alternatively, you can try to use wet wipes and a Q-tip, along with some added effort, to try to achieve the same effects.

Maintain A Clean Environment To Avoid Dirty AirPods

No pair of AirPods will stay clean forever. But if you’re not careful about the way you use, maintain, and store them, you can accelerate debris and damage accumulation that shortens their lifespan and leads to worse audio quality.

Fortunately, the right tool makes maintenance and cleaning easy – and now that you know what to avoid, you can be more aware of their cleanliness and proactive with your upkeep.

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