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Seriously, clean your AirPods right now

Ask anyone who uses them, and they'll probably tell you that Apple's AirPods are some of the most convenient headphones around. They're small, travel-friendly, and extremely simple to use. Typically, all you need to do to start using them is take them out of their case and put them in your ears. They should connect automatically, and you're on your way.

But when you use something as often as you presumably use your AirPods, it tends to accumulate dirt, whether from your ears or dust from chilling in your bag or on the table. Luckily it's very simple to clean your AirPods and their charging case to make sure they remain in like-new shape.Here's everything you need to know about cleaning your AirPods.

How to clean your AirPods

It's actually quite simple to keep your AirPods clean. According to Apple, using a "soft, dry, lint-free cloth" to wipe them down will do the trick, but that's not going to work for everyone. Check out how dirty the AirPods are before you get to work. Is there visible gunk in the AirPods' grilles on either side? Do you see waxy buildup on the white parts? You're going to need a little more oomph than a plain old dry cloth to tackle that.

First, take a dry cotton swab and clean the mesh openings as you would your ear – very gently. Make sure to remove any sort of debris you may see with a clean brush if you have one handy. 9To5Mac suggests using a flosser pick and microfiber cloth to really get in there and be thorough, using the flosser pick to "break up and remove tough to reach spots" where dirt (or earwax) is hiding. You could use a toothpick or paper clip wrapped with a tissue, alternatively, according to the publication.

Be sure not to get any liquid in any openings on the AirPods or the charging case, Apple warns. Neither product is waterproof or water resistant, so a drop of water or excessive moisture could spell the beginning of the end for your beloved listening devices. With that said, you could potentially use a tiny bit of water already dripped onto your cloth or cleaning materials, being careful not to drip it on your AirPods or case itself – this is hardly enough water to be damaging, and you may need the extra nudge to get some dirt to budge.

If for some reason your AirPods do get too wet, even if it's just from excessive sweat from your daily workout, use a microfiber cloth to wipe them down. Alternatively, you can air out any moisture that may have gotten into your AirPods case by storing it upside down with the lid open.

Why should you clean your AirPods?

Well, it's hygienic, for one. Waxy buildup and debris can accumulate in the tiny speaker grilles of the AirPods themselves. A buildup of dirt, gunk, and earwax is not only pretty gross, but it can impede the way your AirPods function. The potentially waxy grossness found inside your AirPods if it slips in can cause the audio quality to deteriorate, and you may even find that too much dirt keeps them from working at all if they get too bad.

Plus, returning them to your AirPods charging case practically encased in grime and other dirt will just make things nasty in the future. Cleaning them is just a good idea overall – even if you don't use them often. When you're sticking something into your ear on a regular basis, it's just a safe bet to make sure you're keeping said item clean.

How often should you clean your AirPods?

This is going to come down to exercising your own judgment. You’re the expert on how much you use them, so this can go by a case-by-case basis. If you use them daily, a weekly cleaning should suffice. If you’re someone who sees a lot of earwax buildup, you may opt for every few days, especially if you’re reaching to pull the AirPods out of your ear and seeing them covered in the yellow gunk. It’s not always necessary to clean them every day, but doing so definitely can’t hurt if you just want to keep them as pristine as possible.

If you clean your AirPods regularly going forward, you can ensure they’ll serve you as long as you’re interested in using them – or at least until Apple comes out with something better, of course. You never know what that company has up its sleeve.