Cleaning Guide: How to Get Ear Wax Out of AirPods and Other Headphones

Cleaning Guide: How to Get Ear Wax Out of AirPods and Other Headphones. AirPods and other wireless headphones are susceptible to earwax buildup, which can muffle sound quality and even damage the internal components over time. Removing earwax from these devices requires a delicate approach, as acids, sharp objects, and soapy water can potentially cause skin irritation or compromise water resistance.

This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to clean earwax out of AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and other headphones safely and effectively. It will cover techniques for deep cleaning the earbuds, cases, and cushions without damaging the audio hardware.

Device Overview (Cleaning Guide: How to Get Ear Wax Out of AirPods and Other Headphones)

OtoSet® is the first FDA-cleared automated ear cleaning device that combines irrigation and micro-suction to remove impacted earwax. Its key features include:

  • Pre-treatment drops to soften wax
  • Safe and efficient earwax removal procedure
  • Post-treatment drops to clear any remaining water 

Other professional options include Memorial Hearing’s Earigator™ system, which removes excess wax in 3-5 minutes per ear using:

  • Self-contained temperature control
  • Precise pressure controls
  • Faster wax removal than traditional methods 

For at-home cleaning, the AirSquares Earbud Cleaning Putty can help manage wax buildup from frequent headphone/earbud use. However, excessive wax accumulation may require professional removal to avoid discomfort or hearing issues.

How It Works

Cleaning Guide: How to Get Ear Wax Out of AirPods and Other Headphones

The OtoSet® device streamlines the earwax removal process, providing a quick, safe, effective, and mess-free procedure. Here’s how it works:

  1. Pre-Treatment Drops: A pre-treatment solution is applied to soften and loosen the impacted earwax, making it easier to remove.
  2. Automated Irrigation and Suction: The device then combines gentle irrigation and micro-suction to dislodge and remove the softened earwax. This automated process ensures a thorough cleaning without the need for manual probing or discomfort.
  3. Post-Treatment Drops: After the earwax has been removed, a post-treatment solution is applied to clear any remaining water or debris from the ear canal.

This automated approach not only enhances patient comfort but also allows healthcare professionals to treat more patients by reducing the overall procedure time. The OtoSet® system streamlines the earwax removal process, making it more efficient and consistent compared to traditional methods.

Traditional MethodsOtoSet® System
Manual probing and syringingAutomated irrigation and suction
Longer procedure timesReduced procedure times
Potential for discomfortEnhanced patient comfort
Inconsistent resultsConsistent and thorough cleaning

By combining pre-treatment solutions, automated irrigation and suction, and post-treatment drops, the OtoSet® device offers a comprehensive and efficient solution for safe earwax removal .

Safety and Effectiveness

Cleaning Guide: How to Get Ear Wax Out of AirPods and Other Headphones

Ear wax removal should only be performed by trained professionals, as improper techniques like using cotton swabs or ear candling can potentially damage the delicate structures of the ear. Dr. Srour utilizes three main methods for safe and effective ear wax removal: Cleaning Guide: How to Get Ear Wax Out of AirPods and Other Headphones.

  1. Manual Removal Using Instruments: This involves carefully extracting impacted ear wax with specialized tools under proper visualization.
  2. Irrigation with Warm Water: Gentle flushing of the ear canal with warm water helps dislodge and remove softened ear wax.
  3. Microsuction/Ear Vacuuming: A specialized suction device is used to safely remove ear wax without the need for invasive instruments.

The Earigator system, offered by Memorial Hearing, is a prime example of a safe and comfortable ear wax removal solution. It utilizes precise pressure controls and temperature regulation to efficiently clear excess ear wax buildup in just 3-5 minutes per ear. This advanced technology ensures a thorough cleaning while minimizing discomfort or potential harm to the ear canal.

Traditional MethodsEarigator™ System
Potential for discomfortSafe and comfortable
Longer procedure timesRapid 3-5 minute treatment
Inconsistent resultsConsistent and thorough cleaning
Increased risk of ear injuryMinimized risk with precise controls 2

By leveraging the expertise of trained professionals and employing advanced techniques like the Earigator, individuals can safely and effectively remove ear wax buildup, ensuring optimal ear health and hearing function.

Professional Use

Professional ear cleaning services are offered by Dr. Jennifer Srour at EarSpa and Your Home Audiologist locations. These services, known as cerumen management, aim to remove excessive earwax buildup that can cause hearing loss, ringing in the ears, ear pain, and other issues.

Common symptoms indicating the need for professional ear cleaning include:

  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Ear fullness or discomfort
  • Dark, visible earwax 

Hearing aids and headphones can contribute to earwax buildup by obstructing the natural exit path of wax.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

Ear cleaning services are typically not covered by insurance and are considered an out-of-pocket expense. The cost can range from:

For insured individuals, the copay can range from tens of dollars to hundred of dollars in the U.S. However, insurance companies and Medicare generally do not cover ear wax removal or professional ear cleanings unless deemed medically necessary, with some exceptions for Medicare Advantage plans.

CareCredit financing can be used to pay for ear wax removal and other hearing health needs at providers within the CareCredit network.

There’re studios in major cities which also offers in-home visits for ear cleaning services.

Pricing and Availability

For at-home earwax removal, over-the-counter kits are available at a relatively affordable cost. These kits typically range from Tens of dollar and can be purchased from drugstores or online retailers. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when using these products, as they should not be used on children or individuals with ear tubes or other ear conditions.

While these kits offer a convenient and cost-effective solution for managing mild earwax buildup, they are not recommended for everyone. Individuals with the following conditions should seek professional assistance:

  • Children
  • Ear tubes or other ear conditions
  • Excessive or impacted earwax
  • History of ear surgery or trauma 

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience any discomfort, pain, or hearing issues related to earwax buildup. Attempting to remove impacted earwax at home can potentially lead to further complications or damage to the delicate structures of the ear .


Maintaining clean and properly functioning AirPods or headphones is essential for optimal audio experience and preventing potential damage. While at-home earwax removal kits offer a convenient solution for mild buildup, seeking professional assistance is recommended for excessive or impacted earwax. Trained professionals employ advanced techniques and specialized equipment to ensure safe and thorough earwax removal, minimizing discomfort and potential harm.

Ultimately, prioritizing ear health and addressing earwax buildup promptly can help avoid complications such as hearing loss, tinnitus, or ear discomfort. By following the guidance of healthcare professionals and utilizing appropriate cleaning methods, individuals can enjoy clear sound quality and maintain the longevity of their audio devices.


How can I clean earwax from my AirPods effectively?

To remove earwax from your AirPods, Apple suggests using a dry cotton swab and a soft-bristled brush to gently clean the microphone and speaker meshes. If you own AirPods Pro, you can detach the ear tips and wash them with just water, ensuring you do not use soap or other cleaning substances.

Is it safe to use hydrogen peroxide to clean AirPods?

No, you should not use bleach or hydrogen peroxide on your AirPods. It’s important to keep moisture away from any openings and to avoid immersing your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or EarPods in any liquid cleaning solutions.

What is the recommended method to remove earwax from earbud cases?

To clean a silicone or plastic earbud case, follow these steps:

  1. First, take out the earbuds and use a dry, clean microfiber cloth to wipe the exterior and interior of the case.
  2. Next, carefully wipe the case with a cloth dampened with alcohol.
  3. Finally, allow the case to dry completely before using it again.

How do I use the water eject feature on AirPods?

To access the water eject feature for AirPods, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Water Eject Shortcuts Gallery page on your mobile browser.
  2. Navigate and select ‘Get Shortcut’ twice, then choose ‘Add Shortcut’.
  3. Open the Shortcuts app on your iOS or iPadOS device.
  4. Tap on ‘Water Eject’, then ‘Start’, and select the desired intensity level.
  5. Water should begin to expel from your AirPods. Repeat this process until no more water comes out.
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Sophia Davis

My initial goal to shield my daughter from the danger of having ear phone constantly has evolved into a commitment to share my findings with wildest community possible to know sharing different knowledge and expert on audio technologies. As the risk of exposure continues to grow, numerous methods technology exist to safeguard ourselves. Knowledge is power, the more you know the better you become.

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