Why Clean AirPods Improve Sound Quality

Why Clean AirPods Improve Sound Quality

Are your AirPods getting quieter and less clear? Before you spend the money to replace them or have a technician diagnose the problem, you should start by checking their cleanliness.

If you’ve been using your pair of AirPods for a while and haven’t been maintaining them effectively, the most likely culprit is dirt, grime, and debris accumulation.

Over time, your AirPods are exposed to a wide range of conditions. Your ear canal holds wax and other oils, your pocket may have lint or dirt, your fingers could have food residue, and the environment you use them in is likely to have airborne dust or dirt that could get into your AirPods and cause problems with your earphones’ speakers.

Luckily, with the right cleaning tools and maintenance plan, you can restore the sound quality of your AirPods without an expensive bill at the end of it.

How Do Dirty AirPods Impact Sound Quality?

Dirt and debris accumulation in your AirPods isn’t just unsanitary – it can also act as a noise filter or block that impacts how well the sound is able to be transmitted from the speakers to your eardrums.

AirPods work by creating sound waves from their speakers that your ear hears as the music you’ve chosen. These sound waves travel through the ear canal and reach the eardrum, causing it to vibrate. These vibrations travel deeper to reach your middle ear and your inner ear, which creates nerve signals that tell your brain what sound you’re hearing.

If your AirPods have debris blocking the speaker mesh or in the ear tips, the sound waves can’t travel through your ear canal effectively. They’ll be blocked, redirected, or slightly absorbed, causing distorted sound or weaker sound waves, leading to lower volume in your AirPods.

Dirt and debris’s effect on sound quality is similar to covering your ears to muffle sounds or struggling to enunciate when wearing a mask. Your hands work to block some of the sound waves from reaching your ears, and the fabric in the mask absorbs some of the sound waves your voice creates, reducing the volume and clarity of the sound.

How to Clean Your AirPods for Better Sound Quality and Volume

Once you start to notice your sound quality getting worse, your first step should be cleaning your AirPods thoroughly. You’ll want to primarily clean two parts of your AirPods to improve sound quality: the ear tips and the speaker mesh.

How to Clean Your AirPod Ear Tips

The ear tips are the detachable part of the earphone that goes into your ear to hold the AirPods in place. They can accumulate wax throughout the entire earpiece, including the outside and inside near the speaker, which can lead to more accumulation at the speaker mesh.

Fortunately, because they’re not electric and can be detached, cleaning is simple. Apple’s ear tip care recommendations say to rinse them with water and wipe them with a clean cloth. Avoid using strong cleaners or hydrogen peroxide to avoid discoloration or damage to the ear tip’s material, and always be sure to remove the ear tips from your AirPods before rinsing them.

How to Clean Your AirPod Speaker Mesh

Your AirPod speakers are much more sensitive than the ear tips. In the base of the AirPod itself is a speaker that produces the sound you hear from your phone or other device. It’s a fragile electronic device that can’t get wet and should avoid any kind of debris accumulation from use that could damage it, which is why there is a fine mesh screen between the speaker and the rest of the AirPod.

Unfortunately, this mesh can hold onto dust, dirt, earwax, oils, and other unsanitary and potentially damaging things that block its ability to send out clear sound waves to your ears. Plus, it’s hard to clean because anything that gets through the mesh can damage the speaker, making liquid cleaners risky.

If you want to clean your AirPod mesh safely and easily, use a tool like the Hybuds Pen. It features a metal tip that can be used to scrape off stubborn debris, a soft brush to remove loose debris from the speaker mesh, and a cotton bud tip to wipe off the mesh or clean the charging case with. Otherwise, you can use cotton swabs, cotton buds, or toothbrushes to combat the debris and improve sound quality.

How to Store Your AirPods to Minimize Dirt and Debris Accumulation

Dealing with sound quality issues and needing to deep clean your AirPods often can be annoying, but if you take steps to prevent buildup in the first place, you’ll have AirPods that work better for longer.

You can prevent damage and improve sound quality by:

  • Wiping each earbud between uses
  • Brushing off the speaker mesh regularly
  • Cleaning the charging case to avoid additional accumulation
  • Putting your AirPods away when not using them to avoid debris buildup

If you need more storage tips, check out our guide on proper AirPods storage.

Maintain Clean Sound Quality By Keeping Your AirPods Clean

Nobody wants to have to worry about keeping their AirPods clean – for their price tag, they should probably be self-cleaning, anyway. But, if you want the best sound quality and to increase their longevity, cleanliness can go a long way.

Avoid using liquids anywhere near the speaker mesh. You can rinse off the ear tips, but be sure you’ve removed them to avoid damaging the AirPod speaker. A multi-tool built for AirPod cleaning is your best option for safely clearing debris from your speakers, but you can also make dry household items work.

Now that you know how to improve your AirPods’ sound quality with cleaning, stick to a maintenance schedule so you can avoid costly damage or quality loss.

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