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How to use AirPods and AirPods Max: Tips, tricks and general instructions

Clean AirPods (Safely)

The AirPods' white plastic design makes it easy to spot gunk and wipe it off. But sometimes you need to do a deep clean, like when the interior of your charging case somehow manages to gather lint from who-knows-where, or when you get earwax on the speaker grilles. (Look, these things happen.)

Apple recommends that you not get your AirPods wet, because they aren't officially rated for water-resistance. In my experience, the pods are pretty tough — they've handled sweat and a couple of unexpected rainstorms with ease. But I wouldn't recommend dousing them in water to get them clean. instead, try these tricks.

1. Buff the surface with a microfiber cloth. These cloths are perfect for keeping your iPhone screen clean, and the same goes for wiping away dust and grime.

2. Try a Q-tip or cotton swab. Wiping out the inner grooves of the AirPods charging case sometimes requires something with a finer point than a cloth-covered fingertip. Run a swab around the case's lid and inside the pod canals to de-gunk them. You can also use a Q-tip to dislodge any earwax that collects around the speaker grille. It's inevitable! For stubborn spots, try a specialized cleaner designed for electronics.

3. Give mounting putty a shot. If you're still having trouble removing wax, some YouTubers have had luck with blue putty, such as Fun-Tak or Blu-Tack. These products, which can be found on the cheap, grab onto gunk and lift it away with ease.

4. Keep your ears clean. Doctors say you should not use a cotton swab in your ear canal because you could do some damage to your hearing. To keep your AirPods clean, use a Q-Tip to keep your outer ear pristine. If you're seeing a ton of wax in the speaker grill, see a doctor — your ear might need some care to get its self-cleaning routine back on track.