7 Cleaning Products to Avoid AirPod Degradation

7 Cleaning Products to Avoid AirPod Degradation

AirPods are not just a significant investment; they’re a daily convenience for millions by seamlessly integrating audio entertainment and communication into our lives. However, the more we use them the more dirty they get from earwax, debris, and dust so it’s crucial we clean and take care of them. 

While it’s important to keep your AirPods clean to ensure optimal performance and hygiene, not all cleaning products are safe to use on them. In fact, certain commonly used cleaners can actually cause more harm than good, leading to degradation over time. In this blog, we’ll discuss products to avoid and a safer alternative that will ensure your AirPods last longer.

7 Cleaning Products to Avoid

Here are the 7 cleaning-specific products known to contain harmful ingredients that you should avoid using on your AirPods:

1. Rubbing Alcohol

You may have been told that alcohol is safe to use on your AirPods for cleaning and disinfecting but you may have missed the crucial information of what concentration to use. While Apple approves the use of 70% isopropyl alcohol or 75% ethyl alcohol wipes for external surfaces, higher-concentration alcohols like rubbing alcohol (90% concentration or higher) should be avoided. This high-strength alcohol can make the plastic of your AirPods brittle and prone to cracking. For more details on Apple's recommended cleaning practices, visit their official guide.

This is due to alcohol’s propensity to strip away the plasticizers in the material. Plasticizers are additives that give plastic its flexibility and durability. When this is removed, the plastic can lose its integrity and lead to cracks and breaks under stress.

2. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

One can easily mistakenly use Clorox disinfecting wipes due to their convenience for quick cleaning, but the bleach-based formula is way too harsh for the delicate materials of AirPods. 

The primary concern with such wipes is that bleach and other harsh chemicals in these wipes can damage surface materials, leading to discoloration and corrosion of metal components, such as the nickel in the stainless steel acoustic mesh, which could impair sound quality and durability if corroded. For more information on what other metals can be corroded by bleach, refer to Stanford’s fact sheet.

3. Hand Sanitizers

Most often a go-to for disinfecting our hands and using it on certain belongings one can easily make the mistake of using it for disinfecting their AirPods. Similar to using rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers can also have high concentrations of alcohol that can be detrimental and degrade your AirPods by making them brittle. 

4. Windex Glass Cleaner

One of the key ingredients that stop us from using Windex glass cleaners on our AirPods is ammonia. Ammonia can strip away the water-repellent protective coating on the surfaces of your AirPods leaving it vulnerable by wearing down its water-resistant capabilities and therefore increasing its chances of moisture damage.

5. Aerosol Spray Cleaners

Another tempting product is aerosol spray cleaners because we use them all the time to clean fabrics, windows, floors, and our kitchens, why don’t we use them on our AirPods? Because the propellants and moisture can corrode and damage internal workings. 

The chemical compositions of aerosol cleaners contain a variety of cleaning agents designed for general purpose or specialized cleaning such as for glass and metals. These chemicals can be too harsh and abrasive for the delicate materials used in electronics and, therefore can cause surface damage or internal corrosion leading to short-circuit of your AirPods.

6. All-Purpose Surface Cleaners

The name ‘All-purpose’ might seem like these cleaners are a universal solution for every cleaning need. However, when it comes to sensitive devices such as our AirPods, this label can be deceiving.

All-purpose surface cleaners contain a mix of harsh chemicals designed for tough stains and grease but can damage both the external and internal components of AirPods. Common ingredients might include solvents, detergents, and other chemicals that are too aggressive for the delicate materials used in AirPods.

7. Baby Wipes

While baby wipes are formulated to be gentle enough for a baby’s skin you would think they’ll be gentle enough to clean your electronic devices like your AirPods. We may have thought wrong. Most baby wipes contain moisturizers, fragrances, and other chemicals intended to protect and soothe the skin. But when used on electronics, these additives can leave a residue that attracts dust and grime which can build up over time.

The most known danger with baby wipes is that we tend to forget that the moisture in them is enough to seep into the internal components and potentially render them unusable. This is especially the case if you continuously use baby wipes to clean your AirPods.

Hybuds Pen: A Safer Non-Chemical Cleaning Alternative

After exploring cleaning products that should be avoided to safeguard your AirPods from degrading here is one that doesn’t involve chemicals or abrasive features. We recommend our very own Hybuds Pen as a stellar option, specifically designed for the maintenance of earbud headphones such as your delicate AirPods. Unlike harsh chemicals that degrade plastic and metal, the Hybuds Pen is a physical tool that has compact 3-in-1 features. This includes a metal tip end used for precisely getting rid of debris and earwax in your speaker mesh and brush to get rid of loose flakey contaminants around the case and surface of your AirPods. 

It only takes a few seconds to use to clean out your AirPods and doesn’t require refillment with a chemical solution.


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