Are you getting tired of dirt and sweat on your headphones? If you have been searching for the best easy ways to clean your headphone pads, you are at the right place. This article will show you how to clean headphone pads and restore audio quality.

Headphones have been around for quite some while now, and life feels incomplete without them. They are used for an enhanced listening experience by everyone worldwide to do all sorts of things; attend meetings, make calls, and listen to music.

However, all this use often results in the headphones getting blocked due to dirt or filling up with ear wax resulting in diminished sounds and unpleasing outlooks.

You can always use different items like a microfiber cloth, q tips, and rubbing alcohol to clean your headphones’ ear cups effectively.

Here are a few simple steps to effectively clean your headphones.

What Makes Cleaning Headphones Important?

Before we start talking about the process of cleaning your headphones, let’s focus on the importance of cleaning them regularly.

Good Hygiene

Headphone pads are dirt and sweat magnets and are likely to get dirty quickly within a day’s use. It is essential to clean them at least 3-4 times a week to prevent bacterial growth in your ears and on your headphones.

Listening Experience

If a headphone stays dirty for a long time, dirt and other particles will harden and block the tiny openings for the sound to pass through. Dirt and Wax build-up is a progressive issue for headset users as the sound quality keeps deteriorating until it is completely blocked.

Therefore, to increase your audio experience, you should try cleaning your headphones now and then.


Like anything in your house looks visually pleasing when it is clean, your headphones are no different. Dirty headphones will only make your friends and family not want to touch them, much less use them, and this would ultimately not be good for your impression.

Longer Lifespan

A clean headphone will last longer than a dirty one as it will develop fewer problems over time. It is reported that nearly half of the people have broken their earphones either because of careless handling or not cleaning them regularly.

Furthermore, cleaning your wireless headphones is likely to keep them appearing new and functional. Dust and Earwax build-up are the leading reasons why audio issues arise in earphones. Now that you know what benefits clean headphones carry, it is time to let you know how to clean your headphones and ear pods.

How Do You Clean Headphones with Pads?

Cleaning headphone pads does not require much effort, and you can easily do it at home without needing specialized equipment. Therefore, you can quickly improve your experience by following simple procedures to clean your headphones’ ear cups effectively.

Here are some of the best and easiest ways to clean headphones at home.

Wiping Immediately After Use

Wiping Immediately After Use

The easiest method of maintaining your headphones is immediately wiping them with a soft, damp cloth after each use. When you wear headphones, your ears produce more sweat, so even if you feel cleaning is unnecessary because your ears did not sweat, clean the ear pads using a soft cloth.

This will remove any sweat and dirt from the headphone pads and moisturize the leather pads.

Using Leather Conditioner

If you feel that the leather pads of your headphones have protruding bits of sweat and dust accumulated on them, you can use a special leather conditioner to clean them. Please keep in mind that you should use leather conditioners with proper care.

A leather conditioner is a perfect liquid for cleaning and polishing faux leather, which usually is the most common material for making headphone pads. You can also use a clean cloth with a little hand sanitiser afterwards to further disinfect.

Rubbing Alcohol Wipe


You may use rubbing alcohol wipes to clean the headphone’s leather pads. While they excellently remove sticky ear wax, they are just as efficient in sucking the moisture out of the soft leather leaving it completely dry, as they have isopropyl alcohol.

If the leather seems to be falling off the earphone pads, buying a new pair of removable earcups is best.

Using Household Cleaners

Even if you think a soapy water solution won’t be able to give you results as good as the methods mentioned above, it can quickly disinfect and clean headphones to return them to good shape. Use the mixture to wipe the ear tips gently and complete the cleaning process.

Furthering, a mild dish soap mixed with warm soapy water can be applied to a soft cloth and used as a wipe that’ll polish and clean the headphone pads simultaneously.

Alternatively, you can mix laundry detergent to create soapy water for your adjustable headband and a piece of soft cloth damped with a soap mixture for the cleaning process. However, keep in mind not to use excess water.

Once done, use a dry cloth to air dry completely and take proper care of your cleaning schedule, and you’ll retain your headphone’s sound quality forever.

Using Replacement Earphone Pads

If you feel that cleaning does not help improve the condition of the headphone pads or if the leather is torn and the foam inner is collecting all the dust, you can use a new pair of ear pads for your headphones.

If the sound quality does not improve, try cleaning the headphone jack.

How To Clean in-Ear Headphones (Ear Pods)?

Ear pods are often used as in-ear headphones for better mobility and more accessible storage. Since in-ear headphones usually cover your ears, they are the leading cause of moisture trapped inside your ear canal due to sweating and can contribute to ear infections, as reported by doctors over a decade.

The main reason these headphones become blocked is the earwax in your ears melts due to the added moisture. This ear wax makes its way to the ear tips from the inner ear canals and then deposits on the earphone pads’ mesh; combined with dust and moisture, the mesh ends up blocked.

Here are some methods you can use to clean your ear pods.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Since the main culprit is the ear wax that fills the gaps in the mesh, we can use Hydrogen Peroxide to dissolve it. To get started, put some drops onto the ear pods and gently wipe using a q tip.

Additionally, headphone pads can be cleaned using a piece of cloth dipped in the liquid.

Then, use a microfiber cloth to clean the ear pads thoroughly. Repeat until the pads’ sound is restored.

Cotton Swab and Hand Sanitizer

Cotton Swab and Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitiser also contains wax-dissolving elements that you can use to clean the audio Technica.

You can use cotton Swabs instead of q tips as they provide a better contact area for the hand sanitiser to be applied effectively, clear out the debris from the ear tips, and prevent an ear infection by killing all the bacteria.

Using A Soft Toothbrush & Warm Water

You can, most of the time, remove the dirt build-up using a soft toothbrush dipped in warm water. This is one of the best methods to remove all the dirt from ear pods.

You can also use rubbing alcohol with the toothbrush to rub away the build-up gently.

Afterwards, use a paper towel or a cloth to remove excess water from the headphones. Alternatively, you can air dry or leave the pads to dry completely.

Bonus: Store Them In a Silica Gel Case!

Storing the ear pod headphones in a silicone case can also help keep them clean for longer. Silicone cases can easily protect ear pods from outside elements such as dust and can be easily cleaned with the help of a soft cloth.


Why Do My Headphones Smell?

Your headphones may smell because of excessive ear wax or bacterial growth.

How To Clean Smelly Headphones?

You can use rubbing alcohol and q tips to clean your headphones and remove ear wax which causes them to smell.

Can I Use Wet Wipes To Clean My Headphones?

Yes, you can use a damp wipe to remove dirt and stains from your headphones.

How To Get Ear Wax Out Of Airpods Mesh?

Use rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol and q tips to gently rub and remove ear wax from your Airpods. However, ensure the moisture doesn’t go inside the Airpods as it may damage the internal components.


In the end, the abovementioned methods can quickly help an average person to clean their headphones or ear pods easily at home. If there is still some confusion, here is a content summary to review everything at a glance.

There are different ways to clean headphone pads. The course which we recommend to our readers is by using alcohol. However, before this method, you also need to clean the surface of your headphones. After removing the earpads, you can use a mild soap and brush to clean them.

Then soak them in water and mild detergent to remove the stain or dust. After cleaning the surface with gloves, dry it dry, and do not forget to wipe the surface with a soft cloth and then with a dry cloth. Then apply isopropyl on top of the headphone pads with a cotton ball (cotton buds) and allow it for a couple of minutes for deep cleaning.

Finally, wipe the rubbing alcohol off with a cotton ball and leave them to air dry for some time.

We hope this guide helped you clean your headphones effectively, feel free to get in touch for any suggestions or feedback.