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The best way to clean AirPods, Galaxy Buds and other wireless earbuds

When we love our tech goodies, we want to keep them close by. There’s just one problem: Well-used tech can quickly accumulate all sorts of contamination, from dirt, dust, pocket lint, body oils and even dead skin cells. Go too long without cleaning, and your gadgets could degrade.

For example, uncleaned smartphones can give you pimples when you hold them to your ear. Follow these five easy steps to make your iPhone or Android squeaky clean. Speaking of your ears, you can’t forget to tend to your wireless earbuds.

These nifty wearables are like mini boomboxes, freeing up our hands and brightening our day with on-the-go music whenever we want it. Unfortunately, wireless earbuds are prone to earwax buildup. If you don’t clean them regularly, the sound quality may sound muffled or uneven.

Follow these basic steps for cleaner listening

Compared to other gadgets, earbuds rack up a special storm of nastiness. Not only do they collect dirt and skin particles, but they also attract earwax, grease and sweat. Basically, they’re like portable Petri dishes for our personal biological debris — and as you can imagine, that’s not good for your health.

Luckily, we know of a few handy tricks you can use to wipe away some of your body’s natural nastiness. First, grab a microfiber cloth like EliteTechGear’s 6-pack, which you can get for less than $10. Lightly dampen it and wipe down the cord and body of each earbud.

(If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, a simple cleaning wipe like Care Touch’s box of 210 wipes should do.)

If you’d prefer to scrape away the debris with a more precise tool, try a toothpick. Just make sure you don’t scrape the sharp edge over the speakers. That can do some serious damage.

One viral TikTok trick recommends Blu Tack, a reusable adhesive putty many people use to hang up posters, loudspeakers and more. If you don’t want to use wipes or toothpicks, grab some Blu Tack, sculpt it into a ball and press it into your earbud speakers. Since it’s adhesive, when you pull it away, it should have slurped up all the junk inside your buds.

Want more in-depth steps to clean your earbuds? We’ve got you covered

The tips above are pretty general ideas that can kickstart your cleaning session. But if you’ve bought something pricier, you may be hesitant to grab some toothpicks or adhesive balls.

Even if your earbuds aren’t encrusted in precious diamonds, you’ll want to make sure your cleaning process doesn’t accidentally ruin them. In that case, we have some advice that should give you more peace of mind when cleaning up your AirPods, Galaxy Buds, Pixel Buds and other wireless earbuds.

First off, here’s what you need to avoid

Whatever you do, don’t run water over your earbuds. Sure, you can use a slightly damp cloth — but make sure you soak up that moisture with a dry, soft and lint-free cloth. Also, make sure your earbuds are 100% dry before you start charging them. Plugging them in too soon could spell trouble.

Oh, and whatever you do, avoid metal or wire brushes. You’ll also want to give chemical detergents a wide berth.

Of course, make sure to be super careful when you wipe — no rough tugging or harsh pulling over the mesh speakers. Although toothpicks can be a helpful way to slice up giant earwax chunks, you might want to use an ear tip instead.

Hey, if it’s good enough for your ears, it’s good enough for your earbuds, right? | Photo 182521681 © Ashish Kumar | Dreamstime.com

Eartips won’t give you as much control or accuracy as toothpicks, but they’re safer for your earbuds. You can lightly dip them in water, but make sure they aren’t dripping and only use them if they’re damp. No matter what, avoid household cleaners and other soaps.

Once you’re done cleaning, dry them immediately. If you want to be 100% certain they’re dry, throw them in a small plastic baggie with rice for a few hours. Better safe than sorry, right? If you want to clean up the charging case, stick to your dry microfiber cloth. No matter what you do, don’t let any moisture get into the connector or the charging ports.

You can also give this a try

You can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to swish through the speaker vents and microphone holes. Just don’t use that side-to-side motion since that might just spread the dirt. Instead, go up and down and in and out so the bristles can get in all those hard-to-reach areas.

Of course, earbuds aren’t the only tech gadget that can quickly accumulate grime. Plus, dirt isn’t the only annoying part of keeping tons of tech in your home. You also have to deal with organization.

That’s because keeping your devices fresh and organized can seem like an enormous task. Luckily, there are a few tools you can use to wrangle the mess in your home. Tap or click here for 12 affordable products to keep your devices clean and orderly. From streak-free wipes for electronics to cord ties and other organizers, there’s a lot at your disposal.

Looking for more general cleaning tips? Kim’s got you covered. If you’re looking for more ways to clean up your gadgets, try out these 22 time-saving cleaning products Kim uses. They work wonders.

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