Wondering How to Clean an AirPods Case? Here’s Your Guide.

March 19, 2023 • Devin Partida


Wondering how to clean AirPods cases? They’re pretty tough, but that pearly white shell doesn’t stay fresh for long without some care. It’s part of knowing how to get the most out of your iPhone. Here’s everything you need to know.

Why Should You Clean Your AirPods Case?

AirPods – including the more advanced AirPods Pro (recently released in their second generation) – are some of Apple’s most impressive inventions from the last few years. The Cupertino-based company didn’t invent the wireless headphone or the wireless earbud, but their in-house beam-forming laboratories and strategic acquisition of audio rivals mean their products stand out in the crowded Bluetooth headphone market. The reviews and sales figures indicate a pleasing combination of form and function from Apple.

They’re so convenient, in fact, that you’ll probably find yourself taking them everywhere – and that means potentially dropping them, splashing them, and generally getting them scuffed and dirty.

What NOT to Do

Let’s get two warnings out of the way right now:

  • Water: Do not submerge your AirPods or your AirPods case underwater, or hold it under running water, no matter how many YouTube torture tests you watch. These products offer only an extremely limited amount of sweat resistance and moisture resistance, so don’t push your luck too far.
  • Chemicals: Also, be sure not to use any harsh chemicals – or any chemicals, really – on your AirPods or AirPods Pro headphones or case. Only use dry, lint-free, non-abrasive cloths to wipe down these products before or after use. If you’re careful, you can use a lightly damp cloth, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

How to Clean AirPods Case (And Your AirPods)

We recommend working your way from the outside in. Try the following steps. At most, you’ll need the following:

  • A microfiber cloth
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • A cotton swab

Here’s what to do:

1. Exterior of the Case and Headphones

Unplug the charging case from any power sources. Wipe down the exterior with your dry microfiber cloth to get rid of any smudges and loose dirt. If there are any stubborn spots, lightly dampen the cloth with isopropyl alcohol and try again.

Repeat this process with the headphones themselves. Take special care around the grilles and openings for the microphones and speakers – they won’t tolerate an excess of moisture. If your cloth is dampened, make sure it’s only lightly dampened to remove any stuck-on dirt or earwax from these areas.

2. Interior of the Case

Open the AirPods or AirPods Pro case and repeat the procedure with your dry cloth. There shouldn’t be any stubborn grime in here, but if there is, break out the isopropyl alcohol again, only use even less on the cloth than you did in step one.

Note: The “stalks” of the AirPods or AirPods Pro are the components that house the charging contacts. If you find your headphones aren’t charging reliably, make sure the ends are clean of any stuck-on crud.

If there’s anything visible at the bottom of the case’s charging ports – where the charging contacts are – you can use a cotton swab to free it. Lightly (lightly!) dampen it with isopropyl alcohol if it won’t budge.

3. Charging Port

If the Lightning charging port has any visible debris, you can use a dry, clean brush with stiff bristles. A toothbrush dedicated to this purpose would do nicely. You can also use the toothbrush inside the case to free any dirt or dust you can see.

4. Always Air Dry

Any time you use isopropyl alcohol to wipe down your AirPods or AirPods case, give it time to dry before you resume normal usage. This will only take about 15 minutes, but don’t rush it.

What About Using Disinfectant?

These days, most of us are hyper-aware of bacteria and viruses on the surfaces we touch throughout the day. Can you use disinfectant on an AirPods or AirPods Pro case?

The answer is yes. According to Apple, 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes are safe to use on the exterior surfaces of your headphones and the case. Avoid prolonged contact with any of the speaker or microphone grilles.

Now You Know How to Clean AirPods Cases

We’re sure you’re enjoying your AirPods, and now you know how to get the longest possible life out of them. A regular cleaning will keep them looking new and prevent any dirt or grime from interfering with their functionality. Now it’s time to get back to the jams!