How to Safely Use Cleaning Agents on AirPods

How to Safely Use Cleaning Agents on AirPods

AirPods have been the go-to personal audio device for many. However, keeping them clean can be challenging, especially when it comes to using cleaning agents safely on these delicate earbuds. This guide will walk you through the materials that make up your AirPods, the safest cleaning agents to use, and then how to apply them properly to avoid damage. We’ll also explore some other alternatives to clean your AirPods in case you're hesitant about using cleaning agents.

Understanding AirPods' Material Composition

To keep your AirPods in top condition, it’s important to know what they’re made of, as this will influence the appropriate cleaning agent to use on them.  Here’s a breakdown:

Exterior Material

  • Composition: Primarily high-grade plastic for casing and speaker mesh made from synthetic polymers. They also have silicone ear tips for certain models.

Internal Components

  • Key Elements: Microchips, sensors, and a lithium-ion battery. Adhesives are used internally to secure these components, and metals including aluminum and nickel feature in the micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) microphones and other internal mechanisms.

Both exterior material and internal components also have a water-resistant coating to protect against moisture on both the outer casing and sensitive internal parts of the AirPods.

What Makes a Cleaning Agent Safe

Choosing the right cleaning agent for AirPods involves understanding specific properties to ensure safety and effectiveness for these particular earbud devices. Here are essential considerations:

Non-conductive Properties

It’s vital that your choice of cleaning agent is non-conductive. This will prevent electrical shorts that can impair the device. Water for example becomes highly conductive when it contains dissolved salts and minerals. This is why pure, distilled water, which lacks these impurities is recommended for cleaning electronics if water must be used.

No Residue

The cleaning agent should leave no residues on the AirPods. Residual substances can attract dust and lint, potentially contributing to clogging the speaker mesh or interfering with the sensors. Some people sometimes opt to use baby wipes or household cleaning wipes that may contain lotions, aloe, or other moisturizing agents which can leave behind residues that attract dust and contribute to increased chances of clogging your speaker mesh.

Compatibility with Plastics and Silicones

AirPods are primarily made of plastic casing and high silicone tips where most of the contact will occur with your cleaning agent. Therefore it’s crucial they are compatible with these materials and do not cause degradation such as cracking, cloudiness in plastics, or loss of flexibility in silicone. 

Mild and Non-abrasive

The cleaning agents in your formulation should be gentle so try to avoid abrasive or corrosive properties that could damage the delicate components of the AirPods such as the microphones or charging ports. Avoid agents with harsh chemicals that could strip protective coatings.

Safe Cleaning Agents for AirPods

Educating yourself about choosing the right cleaning agents is essential for maintaining the integrity of your AirPods. Here are some options that are both safe and effective then also a list of some harsh cleaning agents to avoid:

General common safe cleaning agents

  • Isopropyl Alcohol (70% concentration): This agent is effective for disinfecting the plastic external material parts of your AirPods. It’s also a great option because it evaporates quickly leaving no leftover residue.
  • Water and Soap Solution: A mild soap mixed with water is also fine for cleaning the external surfaces of the AirPods. 
  • Distilled Water: For a simple wipe-down, distilled water can be used as it is free of contaminants and minerals.

Non-Safe Cleaning Agents

  • Bleach: This harsh chemical can damage the plastic and rubber components. This can lead to discoloration and weakening of the material such as the silicon ear tips causing brittleness.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Another cleaning agent to avoid because it can corrode the metal and plastic parts of the AirPods.
  • Ammonia-Based Cleaners: Avoid using ammonia as a cleaning agent as this can strip away the water-repellent coating of AirPods making it more susceptible to moisture damage.

How to Apply Cleaning Agents to AirPods Safely

  1. Preparation: Turn off your AirPods and ensure your charging case is disconnected from any power source.
  2. Right Tools: Supplement your cleaning agent with a non-abrasive, lint-free, soft microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the surface.
  3. Apply the Cleaner: Apply a small amount of cleaning agent to the cloth, not directly onto the AirPods. For your chosen cleaning agent especially if it’s liquid-based you want to damp your microfiber cloth with it slightly.
  4. Gentle Wiping: Start gently wiping using your slightly damped cloth with the external surfaces of the AirPods and also the charging case. Try to avoid pushing liquid into any of the openings.
  5. Drying: Allow the AirPods to air dry for 10-15 minutes before using or storing them in their case.

Prefer Tools Over Agents? Try the Hybuds Pen

Concerns about the risks of liquid cleaners for your AirPods? Then we recommend the Hybuds Pen, specifically crafted to clean earbud devices such as your AirPods without the need for liquid cleaning agents. This effective 3-in-1 tool features a precision metal tip, a dense brush for speaker mesh, and a soft sponge to clean your charging case. It’s convenient to use for regular cleaning maintenance and to ensure your earbud device stays in pristine condition.

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