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How to clean smelly headphones?

In this article, we’ll be discussing How to clean smelly headphones? If you’ve ever owned a pair of gross smelling headphones or earbuds, then you know the struggle is real. You might not think that something as small and insignificant as your headphones can get really stinky, but they can! I’m going to share with you some quick tips on how to clean your smelly head gear so that it doesn’t bother anyone around you anymore.

How to clean smelly headphones

Cleaning doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wash them (although that’s never a bad idea).

Follow these steps for a quick and easy cleaning without any water.

  • Make sure the headphones are OFF and unplugged from the audio device.
  • Wipe down the earpads with a lint-free cloth or an old t-shirt
  • Remove debris from inside of ear cups with compressed air (i.e., canned air, hairdryer) or by blowing into the open earpiece 
  • If your headphones have removable/replaceable parts after,
  • Remove all foam pieces and replace them in reverse order 
  • If your headphones do not have removable/replaceable parts after step three, then use a lint-free cloth to remove the dirt and wipe down all surfaces.

Ways to use toothpaste for cleaning earbuds and headphone cables?

  • Take off the ear pads and place them on a flat surface, such as a table top
  • Use an old toothbrush to scrub away any dirt or grime 
  • If there are stubborn stains, use a bit of dish soap in warm water 
  • Rinse with cold water until the soap is gone from your headphones 
  • Place back onto the headband and let dry overnight before using again!
  • If you prefer to use electronics cleaner, make sure it’s safe for plastics or read up on its ingredients first! You may need to do some trial and error testing before you find one that works best for your headphones’ material type (iPod cases can be tricky!)
  • Avoid placing too much pressure when rubbing your headphone case – this could cause cracks/damage over time 
  • Keep in mind that not all electronic cleaners will work well with certain materials; test out different products by spraying them onto an inconspicuous spot on your headphones first! This way, if something goes wrong like discoloration or cracking of plastic, you have less risk involved because it was only done to a small part of the product instead of ruining everything at once.

What Happens to Your Headphones If You Don’t Clean Them?

Every time you clean your headphones, the tiny dust particles and oils you remove from them disappear into thin air, never to be seen again. You may think that it’s not important to clean your headphones since they don’t touch dirty things, but let’s take a closer look… When you sweat with an unclean pair of headphones on, those sweat-borne bacteria transfer over to the open spots where your headphone cushions meet. This is where dirt and germs accumulate – and can’t actually be cleaned out. So now when you wear them for hours at a time (we all do), these microscopic organisms are transmitting themselves directly onto your earlobes.

Mould may also grow if there is moisture present in the headphones. It’s not so much the dirt and germs that will get you sick, but rather it’s the molds!

Moulds like to grow in warm, moist environments. This is exactly what happens when you leave your headphones sitting around without cleaning them.

The longer they’re left; the more moisture will build up inside of them. This leads to mould and bacteria that can be really hard to get rid off.

Does Hygiene Affect Your Earpads and Headphones?

The ear pads and cushions of your headphones can also harbour a lot of germs – even if you just wash them with soap, water and dry them off. That’s because these items are made from foam that easily absorbs liquids. And most importantly: they come in direct contact to the skin on your ears.

Is Sound Affected by Dirty Headphones?

At this point in time, yes. Headphones that are not clean can create distortion and unpleasant sounds when audio is played over them. This includes the rolling sounds of an electric skateboard and static from a cell phone. Vacuum-sealing your headphones or getting them regularly cleaned will help maintain their condition to provide you with the best sound possible on a regular basis.

How To Clean Headphones

Cleaning Earpads

  • Faux leather
  • Velour
  • Fabric
  • Geniune leather

How to clean VELOUR and FABRIC earpads?

Velour and fabric ear pads should be hand washed as soon as possible with soap, water, and cold rinse.

  • Fill a sink or bucket with room temperature water, add mild detergent  (like dish soap) to the surface of the water -Swish your ears around in soapy solution for about 30 seconds (or until they look clean) and then rinse -Gently squeeze any excess water out of your earpads with one hand, while you use the other to gently pat them dry
  • Lay flat on a towel or cloth surface until completely dried. Avoid drying in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time (e.g., don’t leave them outside or in the car)
  • If you’re not able to wash your ear pads right away, use this process as a solution: Fill up a bathtub with lukewarm water and dish soap. Swish around for 30 seconds or until they look clean. Rinse them under cold running water (with one hand), while patting dry (with the other). Finally, lay flat on a towel or cloth surface until completely dried.
  • If you’re really in need of an emergency solution for your dirty ear pads: fill up a sink with water and dish soap. Swish around for 30 seconds (or until they look clean) and then rinse under cold running water. Pat dry as much as possible and lay flat on a towel or cloth surface until completely dry.

How to clean GENUINE LEATHER earpads?

If your ear pads are genuine leather, please only use a damp microfiber cloth with water in order to gently rub the surfaces (don’t get them too wet). Avoid using any cleaning chemicals like alcohol or acetone.

How to Clean the Headphones on Your Helmet?

Clean your headphones by wiping them down with a damp cloth and mild soap, like dish washing liquid.  If they’re really dirty (e.g., if you’ve been sweating in them), it may be necessary to soak the cushions in soapy water and then scrub them with a toothbrush to get all the dirt and grime out. Rinse in clean water, allow the cushions to air dry for at least 24 hours before using again, and finally seal with lemon oil or hair spray

How to Clean Your Stinky Headphones?

If you have smelly headphones – even if they’re not that dirty – you can try the following steps to clean them:

  • Fill a bucket or other large container with lukewarm water and add in some detergent  (like dish soap) until it’s about as thick as whole milk. Then, put your headphones into this solution for at least 15 minutes (or 20 if they’re extra dirty).
  • Once you remove the headphones, they may still have a bit of leftover dirt and grime on them. To get this off, take your damp microfiber cloth with water in order to gently rub or wipe surfaces (don’t get them too wet). Avoid using any cleaning chemicals like alcohol or acetone.
  • Rinse the ear pads until all soap residue is gone – then let air dry for at least 24 hours before use again. You can also seal with lemon oil or hair spray after drying if desired!

How long should I soak my foam headphone pads?

If you’re soaking your ears in soapy water but not scrubbing them yet: 20 minutes minimum, up to 30 minutes maximum.

If your earpads are genuine leather, please only use a damp microfiber cloth with water in order to gently rub the surfaces (don’t get them too wet). Avoid using any cleaning chemicals like alcohol or acetone. If you’re not sure what material your earpads are made of, please contact us for assistance.

How do I remove the yellow stains on my headphones?

If you’re using lemon oil or hair spray to seal after drying: Lemon oil and hair spray can help make plastic look like new again!  Simply take a small amount of either product (lemon oil or hair spray) and rub it into the earpads with your hands. Work in a circular motion to cover all of the surfaces (including bends).

If you’re not using lemon oil or hair spray: Use a damp microfiber cloth with water in order to gently scrub off any visible stains on plastic surfaces. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this could cause the plastic to scratch.

How do I remove the yellow stains on my faux leather headphone pads?

If you’re using lemon oil or hair spray to seal after drying: Lemon oil and hair spray can help make synthetic materials like fake leather look new again!  Simply take a small amount of either product (lemon oil or hair spray) and rub it into the earpads with your hands. Work in a circular motion to cover all of the surfaces (including bends).

If you’re not using lemon oil or hair spray: Use a damp microfiber cloth with water in order to gently scrub off any visible stains on synthetic materials like fake leather. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this could cause the synthetic material to scratch.

How do I remove the yellow stains on my genuine leather headphone pads?

If you’re using lemon oil or hair spray to seal after drying: Lemon oil and hair spray can help make real animal skins look new again!  Simply take a small amount of either product (lemon oil or hair spray) and rub it into the earpads with your hands. Work in a circular motion to cover all of the surfaces (including bends).

If you’re not using lemon oil or hair spray: Use a damp microfiber cloth with water in order to gently scrub off any visible stains on real animal skins. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this could cause the animal skin to scratch.

How to Clean Headphone’s Frame step by step?

If your frame is made of metal or a hard plastic, simply use an all-purpose household cleaner and gently scrub the surface with a microfiber cloth. Rinse off any water afterwards if you used soap!

After you finish cleaning earpads, it’s time to clean the frame of your headphones.

A lot goes on behind closed doors even when we’re not using them! When removing dirty ear pads from a set of wireless or wired headphone frames, often there’s dirt around the outside and some might have found their way into driver chambers in back. Never touch electric components with hands that are wet as this can cause damage or puncture membranes which would then need replacing – if they don’t break first due to water contact (not good). With care and an anti-static brush head for wiping away any stubborn bits left over after brushing air through the drivers’ area this shouldn’t be too much trouble at all; take precautionary measures before.

Let us go step by step.

  1. If dirt is forming a ring around your ear cups, use a toothbrush to scrape it away from the driver.
  2. Wipe away any dirt with the bristles of a small brush.
  3. Detail the outside of your headphone frames with a small brush and some soapy water.
  4. Dip your toothbrush into dish soap, then carefully scrub away any dirt on the inside rim of your ear cups.
  5. Use an anti-static cloth to wipe down all surfaces before replacing earpads or connecting wires again.

How to Clean a Headphone Jack?

Clean the jack with a cotton swab or toothpick dipped in rubbing alcohol

If any dirt, lint, hair, etc. is blocking your headphone jack and prevents you from inserting a cord into it then this step could be for you.  Take either a clean cotton swab or small piece of tissue paper to gently swipe away any visible dirt.  Do this repeatedly until no more dirt is seen and it’s looking clean again.

If you cannot see any visible dirt on the surface of your headphone jack, then maybe there’s lint or hair that has found its way into the small opening near the body of your headphones (near where chords are connected). If so, use a toothpick to carefully pick out any lint or hair that’s blocking your headphone jack.  Do this repeatedly until no more dirt is seen and it’s looking clean again.

If you’re still having trouble, then try taking off the back of your headphones (if possible) to get at the inside of them and clean any areas that you may not be able to get at from the outside.

How To Protect Them from Getting Dirty?

Dirt is a common environmental pollutant that has damaging effects on biological surfaces. The following are some ways to protect them from getting dirty:

  • Place each pair inside a clear plastic bag, which will keep it clean and prevent the dirt from being sewn into the fabric.
  • After spending time outside, wash your shoes with water and soap before wearing them again. This removes everything they saw while they were out in the environment. Be sure to also scrub the soles of your shoes for maximum impact-they’re most visible part of your shoe!
  • Avoid going back to heavily trafficked areas (i.e., grassy fields after a soccer game). 
  • Avoid going off bland walking surfaces to walk on dirt, grass or gravel.

Use carrying case to store headphones

If you are of the thinking individuals that want to have one place for everything, then a carrying case can be extremely helpful. It’s been proven time and again just how much a simple movement of position in our homes can save energy because there is no longer an obstacle against the door. Similarly, storing all of your electronic items in one spot on top of each other will save room and some clutter as well.

In addition When you stop using headphones, it’s important to keep them in a closed case. This will help prevent dust from accumulating on the headphones and protect against sun damage which can eventually cause cracking or other deterioration of the fabric earpads.

Sucking moisture with Silica gel

We all know that headphones can get dirty and smelly. That’s why you should use silica gel to keep them dry!

When it comes time for a listening session, just store your earphones in the carrying case with some large cotton balls or small pieces of fleece lining- not only will they absorb any stray moisture but also make sure no dirt gets inside while protecting against hearing loss from high sound pressure levels. If you’re looking for something more permanent, there are waterproof Bluetooth models available as well which protect without sacrificing on audio quality.

Don’t Damage Your Headphones When Cleaning:

  • Let’s face it: headphones always seem to get dirty when they are in your pocket or bag. To make sure there is no head scratching, you might want to try these quick tricks for cleaning them effectively and without any damage. 
  • You don’t have to worry about damaging the glass with messy soaps, just use a gentle hand and some liquid cleaners like water.
  • Your curiosity will quickly turn into a cringe-worthy discovery. When you’re in public places, keep your hands to yourself and give the headphones of those around you space.
  • If you have luxurious leather headphones, don’t use aggressive cleaning solutions. Try gentle soaps or special cleaners for the dirt that’s stuck in there if soap doesn’t work to your satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Can I Use to Clean Headphones?

For those of you who like to keep your headphones in perfect condition, there are a few steps that I recommend. Firstly, use warm soapy water and brush over the surface with a damp towel for regular maintenance. If you also want to disinfect them using Q-tips or cleaning alcohol (at least 70% solution). Be careful though as it may cause discoloration on some models.

How do you clean ear wax out of headphones?

1) Clean the earbuds with cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol to remove any skin, wax, dirt or other gunk. This will also disinfect them.
2) Remove the earbuds from the headphone jack on your device then patiently blow the excess debris out of them using a straw if necessary.
3) Put some alcohol into a small bowl and place all of your headphones into it for 2-5 minutes to wash away any remaining residue from inside of them. Once it has been soaked in enough, simply pour out most of the alcohol and allow everything to dry overnight before putting your headphones back together again.
4) If there is still debris left in between their sensitive electronics parts you can either dab at it with some rubbing alcohol or use a cotton swab with goo gone to carefully remove the residue.

How do you clean the inside of your headphones?

Step 1. Brush off any debris on the outside of your headphones with a dry brush, and gently comb out any tangles in the cords.
Step 2. Fill a bowl or basin full of lukewarm water (or very hot water that has been not quite boiled) and add in one cup of white vinegar. Let it soak for five minutes before removing from the water to avoid any vinegar residue on your device and pat all surfaces down with a damp cloth to remove excess liquid soap trails from cleaning solution rings around ear pads or areas where phones touch metal parts (if applicable).
Step 3. Leave them soaking for thirty minutes before you proceed to next steps; shaking them every ten minutes if you plan on leaving them overnight.

Written by James

James is a multimedia engineer and tech expert who loves to relax and enjoy music at its highest quality. He is on an endless quest to find the ultimate headphones to rule them all, sharing his findings in guides and reviews.

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