How to Clean Headphone Ear Wax

Head phones and ear bud headphones are great for keeping whatever you are listening to in and the rest of the world out. They are also great at collecting ear wax, which is not so wonderful. Earphones caked with ear wax are not only likely to horrify your friends and co-workers, but the wax can interfere with the sound quality. Not to worry. Removing headphone wax is not difficult. Even the most well-loved—and well coated—ear buds can be cleaned. Cleaning ear buds and headphones may involve a little bit of trial and error, so always start with the most gentle method first 1.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Examine your headphones or ear buds to see of they have any sort of removable covers. If they do, gently remove them. Wash them in warm water and a few squirts of de-greasing dish soap or a sprinkle of baby detergent. Both products are specifically formulated to break up biological matter. Rinse the covers thoroughly and allow then to dry completely before putting them back on the headphones or ear buds.

How to Remove Ear Wax

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Wipe down your headphones or ear buds with the kind of alcohol-soaked moist towelettes you find in first aid kits. This will remove any germs or bacteria that may have collected. Dry with a soft cloth.

Pry out any visible ear wax that has collected in the speaker holes of your headphones with a toothpick. Be extremely careful not to poke the wax farther into the headphones or ear buds.

How to Use an Ear Wax Cleaning Kit

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Apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration or less) to a toothbrush and gently brush the wax on your headphones or ear buds. Let them sit for 5 minutes while the bubbling action loosens the wax. Wipe it away with an alcohol-soaked towelette.

Coat a cotton swab in mineral oil and lightly dab at the wax. Oil dissolves oil, which is why mineral oil is recommended for use in peoples’ ears. Once it has softened, wipe it away with an alcohol-soaked moist towelette.


Contact your headphone or ear bud manufacturer to see if they offer a kit designed specifically to clean their products. Many do.


Never put earphones or ear buds into the washing machine or dishwasher.