How to Clean Headphones the Right Way

How to Clean Headphones the Right Way
How to Clean Headphones the Right Way

Your headphones travel with you from work to the gym, accumulating bacteria along the way. Put them straight on your ears without ever cleaning them and, well, you can see the problem. Though they’re not as well-known for amassing bacteria as your sweaty workout gear, we’re guessing your headphones could use a scrub (yep—even if you’re the only one who uses them). Here’s how to do it, with tips courtesy of Anna Moseley, the cleaning and organization expert behind

How to Clean Headphones

1. Strip them down.
If possible, remove the soft over-ear cushions and any cords that can be disconnected from the main band.

2. Disinfect the ear cushions.
Since you’re dealing with electronics, the less moisture you add, the better. That’s why Moseley recommends using cleaning wipes rather than a watery solution. But not just any ol’ antibacterial wipes will do. Be sure to grab ones with hydrogen peroxide. “If you just go and buy Clorox wipes at Target, those don’t really clean anything—they just move the bacteria around,” she says. “But hydrogen peroxide wipes are what hospitals use.” Grab a wipe and gently clean the pads, being especially careful not to apply too much pressure since the material can be very thin, Moseley says.

3. Wipe down the headband.
Use the wipes to clean the wrap-around headband, too. This can help get rid of sweat smells if you wear them to the gym, Moseley says.

4. Release debris with a toothbrush.
Reach for a designated cleaning toothbrush to scrub away anything grimy that’s built up on the headphones. Then, go over the spot with the cleaning wipe once more.

5. Put them back together.
Allow each piece to dry completely before reassembling.

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