The AirPods Pro are such an amazing accessory for your Apple devices. They work so seamlessly between iPhone, iPad, iMac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, so you can take calls, enjoy music, listen to your favorite podcasts, (or even tune out your co-workers or the noisiest members of your household). 


To keep your AirPods Pros looking and lasting their very best, it’s important to clean them regularly. And if you’re reading this article and thinking “Uh-oh, I’ve never cleaned my AirPods even once,” don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.


First of all, your AirPods Pro are probably dirtier than you think. Most of us know that our phones pick up a lot of bacteria throughout the day as we put them down on counters, desks, restaurant tables, etc. Your AirPods Pro can also gather bacteria from your daily use. Whether it’s moving the charging case from your gym bag to your desk or your kitchen counters, the case comes into contact with a lot of different surfaces, many of which are crawling with germs or bacteria.


Then, you have the actual AirPod buds themselves. The silicon tips are great for making a tight seal around your ear, so you have superior audio quality. However, those silicon tips aren’t that breathable. If you’ve worn your AirPods Pro during a spin class or an outdoor run on a hot day, you know how sweaty they can get. Plus they’re exposed to things like make-up, hair products, sunscreen, bug spray, moisturizers, and dirt and debris from the world around you. 


Then, there’s the oil from your fingers as you tap the stem to change tracks or just picking up and holding the AirPods Pro case. If you have a nice premium leather case like the ones from Pad and Quill, that can go a very long way to protecting your AirPods Pro case from most things it encounters. However, regular cleaning of the AirPods and their case is still important.


Often, the phrases “water resistant” and “waterproof” get used interchangeably. This can lead to a false sense of confidence in using water to clean a product. AirPods Pro are water resistant with a rating of IPX4 under IEC Standard 60529. Translating those random letters and numbers into normal language: if you sweat while you wear your AirPods Pro during a workout, you should be fine. But you certainly should not submerge them in water, and never use them in the shower or in a chlorine-filled swimming pool. And the case has no water resistance at all. This is why you should be careful and follow proper steps when cleaning your AirPods Pro earbuds and case.


For AirPods Pro, Apple has certain recommendations for cleaning on their support page:

  • Don’t run AirPods or AirPods Pro under water.
  • Use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
  • If your AirPods or AirPods Pro are exposed to anything that might cause stains or other damage—for example, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, perfumes, solvents, detergents, acids, or acidic foods, insect repellent, sunscreen, oil, or hair dye:
    • Wipe them clean with a cloth slightly dampened with fresh water and dry with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
    • Allow them to completely dry before placing them in the charging case.
    • Do not attempt to use them until they're completely dry.
  • Make sure not to get any liquid in the openings.
  • Clean the microphone and speaker meshes with a dry cotton swab.
  • Don't use sharp objects or abrasive materials to clean your AirPods or AirPods Pro.


For regularly, weekly cleanings, it’s safe for you to use a disinfecting wipe, so long as you’re careful around the charging port, and the mesh speaker cover of your AirPods Pro (normally, the mesh is covered by the silicon ear tip). When selecting a disinfecting wipe, this is what Apple recommends on their support page:


“Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or EarPods. Don’t use on the speaker mesh of your AirPods, AirPods Pro, and EarPods. Don’t use on the knit mesh canopy and ear cushions of your AirPods Max. Don't use products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don’t submerge your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or EarPods in any cleaning agents.”


Wipes are great for a quick clean. But when the time comes for a deeper clean of your AirPods Pro and the charging case, you’ll need to tackle each of those with a different technique. Let’s first break down how to clean your AirPods Pro earbuds. Then, we’ll talk about how to properly clean the charging case.


Step 1 - Cleaning the Silicone Tips

This is definitely the easiest part of the whole process. The silicone tips of the AirPods Pro are the most forgiving and the least sensitive part to clean. While the tips are still attached to the ear bud, gently roll your first two fingers and thumb over the silicon tips, pulling them away from the body of the airpod. Once the tip is pulled out into a cup-like shape, you can pull and twist from the base of the “cup” to fully detach the tips.


Once the cups are detached, you can run the tips under a gentle stream of water and rub clean with a lint-free cloth. Place them upright to dry. When it’s time to reattach them, note the tips are oval shaped. Align the ovals and press until they click into place.


Apple only recommends using a lint-free cloth to clean the AirPods Pro. But, sometimes, a cloth won’t fit into the nooks and crannies. We have successfully used a cotton swab (Q-tip) dipped in a small amount of water (don’t add chemical cleaners to the water) to gently clean the inside and underside of the cup. If you decide to try this, do NOT attempt to push the cotton swab through the silicon tip because there is a thin screen at the base, and pushing on it could damage the tips. 


Step 2 - Cleaning the Buds

Use a lint-free cloth to wipe down the stems and bulbs of your AirPods Pro. After the dirt and debris is removed, you can use a 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, as long as you avoid all openings on the ear buds. The mesh covering the microphone and speakers (the black parts on the AirPod Pros) can be cleaned using a DRY cotton swab. You definitely do not want to use water or wipes on or near the mesh because it could damage your AirPods. Do not use soap or harsh chemical cleaners.

Step 3 - Cleaning the Case

Use a 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe and a lint-free microfiber cloth to clean the exterior of the case, but avoid using the wipe near the charging port (this is the most vulnerable spot on the case’s exterior to become damaged when you clean). You can use a soft-bristled brush (like an unused make-up brush or special electronics cleaning brush) to sweep out any debris around the port. You can use a microfiber cloth or soft-bristled brush to clean the inside lid of the case. Do NOT use any kind of liquid on the interior of the case where the AirPods Pro stems rest because you could damage the charging connectors.



Other Notes


Whenever your AirPods are exposed to water (most commonly sweat), it’s important to make sure they’re completely dry before you put them into the case. You can use the above steps to safely clean your AirPods Pro and the case whenever you think they need it. It might be worthwhile to ask Siri to remind you once a month to give everything a quick wipe down using the steps above. Just remember, any time you are done cleaning your AirPods Pro, make sure everything is completely dry before you put the AirPods back into the case. 


If you want to add a bit of style and extra protection to your AirPods Pro case, the Little Brief AirPods Pro case from Pad and Quill is one of their most popular choices. A case for your AirPods Pro also adds protection against cosmetic scratches. 


Keep up with your cleaning routine and your AirPods Pro will stay looking their best for as long as you have them. Following the steps we’ve outlined for you will help ensure you clean them in the safest way possible.