I have a pair of headphones that I use regularly, including while I'm working out. They're the kind of headphones that sit inside the ear (earbuds), so inevitably they'll get kind of gross after a couple uses. They have the removable rubber tips on them, but I don't think that helps keep everything out of the speaker part.

It's easy to wipe the occasional earwax out of the removable rubber tips, but for the inside parts where the speaker is I'm having trouble with making sure those are clean. Normally I'm able to clean any earwax that makes it through the rubber tip using a toothpick or a piece of paper that I've folded up, but I would actually like it to get sanitized when it's cleaned, since I use them while working out they could harbor some bacteria, and I would rather not get swimmer's ear from them.

Is there a better way I can be cleaning these kinds of headphones?


3 Answers 3


Try a q-tip (or the like) with some ammonia. Ammonia dissolves wax so it should work pretty well for cleaning the ear-wax from your earbuds.

  • +1. Ammonia is also what you should be using to clean your ears from wax, since Q-tips can puncture the eardrums [follow that up with a shower, to take all the gunk out after]. ( from the local ENT )
    – Shokhet
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 20:37
  • Do not put that in your ears though Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 20:15

You can use isopropyl alcohol (known as rubbing alcohol) or the sprays for cleaning LCD diplays.

  • Put very small amount of this liquid on a cotton pad (usually used for medical or cosmetic purposes).
  • Lay the cotton pad on flat surface and rub the opening of the headphones against it.

I think you should hold the headphones over the cotton piece, because if they are under it some alcohol mey leak when pressing the cotton and can go inside the earphones.

Instead of cotton pad you can use a towel the same way.


Since you have mentioned you have in-ear earphones, the way I'd do it is by removing the rubber buds first.

That gives you some space to work with and you can see where the earwax has accumulated.

Now you can use earbuds/cotton/toothpick, to clean the muck off it.

Put the buds back on after cleaning, and done!!

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