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

Clean AirPods (Safely)

 On the AirPods and AirPods Pro especially, Apple’s clean styling makes it easy to spot and clean off dirt. Still, sometimes it’s best to perform an even deeper clean: charging cases can gather lint from your pockets, and yes, even the most careful owner can get earwax buildup on their shiny buds. 

Apple recommends that you not get your AirPods wet, especially not the standard AirPods and AirPods Max, which lack IP-rated water resistance. In my experience, the AirPods 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, and see our guide on how to clean an AirPods case for caring for your charging case specifically.

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. A Q-tip can be useful for dislodging any earwax that collects around the speaker grilles. It's inevitable! For stubborn spots, try a small amount of 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.

Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.