How to clean your headphones and improve sound quality

How to clean your headphones and improve sound quality

You can improve the quality of sound of your headphones if you know how to clean them. Headphones collect all sorts of gunk in their drivers over time and can lose their seal when the padding starts to fall apart. Cleaning your headphones will also improve their sound quality alongside lengthening the device’s lifespan so it is worth taking the time to do it.

Your headphones getting dirty is inevitable. As you use them every day, they will eventually develop debris and dust in every crevice, and even residual earwax can make its way into the cups, and unless you own a brightly colored design, you may not spot this.

However, it is there and this is why you need to take out time to clean your headphones because if you don’t, the sound quality will be negatively impacted. Residual dirt can block up the speaker and impede its ability to perform effectively.

Seeing how expensive headphones can be, you must take care as you clean them. Luckily, the process is very easy and only requires some household products and some TLC. In this post, you will be taken through the steps to follow in cleaning your earphone (both over-ear and on-ear), and provided with any necessary additional information you might need.

How to clean your headphones and improve sound quality

Items you would need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush (optional)
  • Dish soap (optional)

Before we continue, it is important to note that if your manufacturer offers independent cleaning advice, you should give priority to that first. Some headphones may require different treatments depending on the model and components.

The following steps should be taken to properly clean your headphones to improve sound quality

Unplug and switch off

Make sure to unplug your headphones or power them off if you’re using a wireless design. Safety first.

Extend the headband

On both sides, open up the headband as much as you can even if it’s more than the setting you would normally use. This is to help you see all the debris and dust that may have been trapped on the inside.

Remove the ear pads

You’re going to have to disassemble your headphones to give them a thorough clean. Remove the cushioned ear pads and set them aside. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when removing the ear pads.

Clean the headphone exterior

You can simply use a dampened microfiber cloth to wipe down the headband if you’re dealing with light, everyday debris, and dust. Run it along the exterior and interior of the band, and be careful not to allow excess water to get into the ear cup or other electrical components.

For heavier debris and dirt, you can first shift the dust in any crevices of the headband using a soft-bristled toothbrush, before you wipe it down with the cloth. Any manual toothbrush can be used to do this.

If the water alone is struggling to shift the grease and grime, you can use a tiny amount of soapy water to aid it. If you do this, ensure you wipe the soapy water away with a dampened cloth before proceeding to the next step.

Clean cups attached to the headband

To clean the exposed cups attached to the headband, you would have to be very careful, the speaker drivers are very delicate and excess water can easily damage them. Brush over the surface with a very lightly dampened microfiber cloth while holding the cups inverted so the moisture does not go down to the drivers.

It is important to take extra care with this step so as not to damage any components inside. Using liquid near audio components should be done with great care and caution to avoid permanent damage to internal components. You can use a cotton swab, isopropyl alcohol, and a lint-free cloth when cleaning audio components. They are tools you can invest in for proper cleaning and maintenance of audio gear.

It is also important to note the manufacturer’s instructions while taking this step. Headphones are of different designs and models and some may require a different treatment from others. To avoid damage, instructions and specifications from the manufacturer should be taken into account.

Clean the ear pads

The next step is to clean the ear pads. You’re going to want to disinfect the ear pads. You can do this using a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth. Wipe the surface down and be careful not to use too much alcohol or soak the material as that can damage the leather. Ensure you apply lightly. Cotton swabs can as well be used for difficult or awkward spots.

Leave to dry

After cleaning, drying comes next. You can dry the cups and headbands using a fresh microfiber cloth, soaking up as much residual water as you can. After this, set the headphone and the ear pads aside to air dry for as long as possible, several hours ideally.

Reassemble the parts

Once all the parts are dry, reassemble them and that’s all. Your headphones should sound and look as good as new ones.

How often should you clean your headphones? 

How often you clean your headphones will depend largely on how often you use them as well as what activities you engage in while using them. For example, someone who works out while wearing their headphones will likely need to clean them much more than someone who just enjoys sitting and listening to music with theirs.

You’re recommended to wipe down your headphones about once a week if you use them every day. However, if you exercise with your headphones, it is advisable that you clean and dries them after each workout. If your headphone is shared with others, you should also clean them between each user, this way you can prevent ear infections or irritations from spreading from one person to another.

Cleaning your devices should be a common habit, and aside from the benefits of having them work more efficiently, it also increases their life span and ensures they look as good as new all the time.

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