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How To Clean Headphone Muffs In 2023 [In Record-Time]

Today’s guide will reveal all my secrets on how to clean headphone muffs in record time.

And I want to clarify this from the very beginning:

This is NOT any other “headphone hygiene” generic guide.

I will cover all the different methods to clear away dirt and dust from your favorite music device.

But you’ll also see your daily habits, which makes your headphones full of a stint in the first place.

So, if you want to improve your headphone performance and comfort, you’ll love this updated guide.

How To Clean Headphone Pads: Step-By-Step

Clean Earpads Youtube Screenshot visuals
Credits: Bitwit

Before we begin:

Cleaning headphone muffs is more delicate than cleaning other parts like driver units or ear tips. This is because your device’s leather or foam earpads can tear easily.

So, proceed with the steps gently, or else you’ll have to spend money uselessly on new ear pads.

Let’s begin:

Things You Will Need:

  • Small clean cloth
  • Rubbing Alcohol or hand sanitizer
  • Cotton bud in Alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Some soap and warm water

Steps You Need To Follow:


  • Step #1:

    Remove the ear pads from your device and wipe down the muffs with a small cloth soaked in soap and water. Use some paper towels to wipe dry the ear pads completely.
  • Step #2:

    Gently wipe the outer portion of the ear pads with a small cloth dampened with hand sanitizer.
  • Step #3:

    Clean the crevices and nooks of your headphone muffs with a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • Step #4:

    Apply hand sanitizer over the left and right sides of the foam mesh surface. Rub gently. Don’t be harsh. This will disinfect your ear pads against bacteria and dislodge any dirt deposited in the mesh.
  • Step #5:

    Keep your ear pads on paper towels so that they dry completely before you reattach them with your headset.

Also Read: Top 3 Sweatproof Headphones You Can Buy

You can also apply leather conditioners to ensure better hygiene. And you are done! But what are the benefits of cleaning sweaty headphones?

Benefits of Headphone Hygiene
Let’s find out!

  • Protect your ears from infection. Yes, you heard it right! If you clean your headphones and earbuds regularly, you can prevent the growth of staphylococcus, common bacteria found in overused wearables. Soap and water are the best weapons to defeat them.
  • Transform your old headphones into new ones! Now, when I say new, I mean “new look”. And you will get this feeling often when you clean other household appliances and your favorite wearables. The glossy shine in-ear pads after the cleaning will smell comfortable to you!
  • Let your headphones last longer: Proper cleaning and storage look simple and ordinary. But they can save a ton of money and help your appliances last longer. Good hygiene is a pathway to mindfulness as well!

Also Read: Can You Go Bald Wearing Headphones [Test Results Are Out!]

That sounds amazing! But how can I clean my favorite earbuds?

You can, and it has a lot to do with hydrogen peroxide. Don’t worry, you don’t have to revisit the Chemistry lab 🙂

Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile household cleaning material effective against bacteria, viruses, and yeasts.

You will find this cleaning agent easily in the pharmacy or departmental stores near you. Now, let’s dive into the steps:

Simple Steps To Clean In-Ears

Clean Earphones
Let’s start with step #1

  • Remove the ear tips from your earphones and wipe them with the help of a soft cloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide.
  • Gently rub the mesh screens of your earbuds with a soft cloth dampened with hydrogen peroxide and remove ear wax and the obvious dirt or debris collected there.
  • Set aside the earbuds to let the hydrogen peroxide soak into them completely. This will help soften the hardened wax, which you couldn’t clean in the earlier step.
  • Now, you will need a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use it to gently scrub down your buds with a special focus on the mesh screen to remove all types of debris blocking the holes of your earbuds.
  • Wipe dry your earbuds with some paper towel and let them dry completely.
  • Put the ear tips back into your headphones, and you’re all set!

My Headphones Have Leather Ear Pads. What Should I Do?

Clean Leather Earpads
Don’t worry!

Have a chill pill, audiophile! You need to do only two little things just once or sometimes twice in a calendar year. Just follow along:

  • Apply a little leather conditioner on a soft cloth and then massage the leather pads smoothly. After it is done, let the pads fully dry before using them again. This helps the leather pads to fully absorb the conditioner and prevent catching moisture easily.
  • Store your headphones in a cool and non-humid place since leather can get cracked if exposed directly to sunlight.

That Means, My Velour Earpads Can’t Be Cleaned, Right?

Of course, not. Just the steps are different.

First, clean your velour muffs with a lint roller. Then wash your pads with the water-detergent mix using a paper towel (or cloth) smoothly.

Follow these steps regularly, and your ear pads will have no oil or fluff to irritate you.

Also Read: Top 10 Open-Back Headphones You Can’t Miss! [Updated]

My Headphones Stink Like Crap. What Can I Do?

How To Remove Smell From Headphones
I have a solution!

Use a handkerchief to cover your nose. No smell, no stink.

Just kidding 🙂

Here is what you should do to remove headphone muff odor:

Solution #1: Disinfect Your Ears!

Wait…we were talking about headgear, right? From where do my ears come into the picture?

Allow me to explain:

Ear wax is the most common issue affecting the loudness of your device. If your ear canal produces excessive oil, the wax can get stuck inside the earmuffs.

This explains why cleaning your ears is important to remove foul smells. Here is how to do it:

There are plenty of ways to safely clean your ears, but using an effective ear wax remover is the easiest. Such removers can clean your wax in great detail.

Solution #2: Use A Hand Sanitizer!

Use a hand sanitizer
Is it worth it?

Again, hand sanitizers! I have been hearing this for over a year now. Do they help?

Yes, they do. But mind you, you need to clean your ears first. This is because the #1 reason for your smelly headset is excessive ear wax deposits.

You have already removed that horrible wax from your ears. Now, we need to clean your device from the past wax collected there.

Follow this quick tutorial:

  • Remove the earmuffs from your device and take a small clean cloth.
  • Dampen the clean cloth with lukewarm soapy water.
  • Wipe your muffs with that dampened cloth.
  • Leave the headphone pads to air dry completely.

But where is the hand sanitizer here? Hey, pesky writer, you are always confused and can’t organize anything properly.

My dad would have said this. Anyway, here is the main part:

  • Take another piece of small cloth and moisten it with hand sanitizer.
  • Carefully wipe your fully-dried ear pads with that moistened cloth.

Now, the pesky writer has explained the process!

Solution #3: Use Silica Gel!

Another jargon! What the…

Keep calm and follow along. Don’t lose your mind!

Silica Gel has a lot of practical uses. It can absorb moisture effectively and help in controlling the local humidity level to a great extent.

You can easily buy silica gel packets at a local hardware store or through virtual hypermarkets. Here is how these packets look:

Sillicone Gel Packets
Silicone Gel Packets

OK, I bought Silica Gel Packets. What’s Next?

When not using your headset muffs, place the packets inside the ear pads. Do this regularly to remove the bad smells.

How Often Should I Clean My Headphones?

How Often Should You Clean Your Headphones
How Often?

There isn’t a definite answer to this. And it has a lot to do with your usage pattern.

If you are an all-day user, you must clean your muffs more often. Here are the details:

Easy Guide

Category #1: Daily User

  • Use a clean microfiber cloth and wipe your headphone muffs to remove daily dust and sweat.
  • Dip another clean cloth in Isopropyl alcohol and wipe your pads again. This step is guaranteed to make your pads free from harmful germs.

Mind you, I have asked you to use a microfiber cloth for a reason. They are proven to clean different surfaces in no time!

Easy Guide

Category #2: Weekly User

  • Like daily users, you must wipe your headset muffs using a microfiber cloth.
  • As an additional step, moisten the surface you are trying to clean with a few drops of water.
  • To remove accumulated wax on headphone holes, use cotton buds or Q-tips.

Don’t forget to clean your ears, and you will be good to go!

Easy Guide

Category #3: Casual User

  • Dampen a microfiber cloth with isopropyl alcohol or soap water (water should be lukewarm) and wipe off the dirt from your headset muffs.
  • Use a dry towel to wipe dry the headphone pads.


When I say casual user, I mean who uses headphones once in a blue moon. They might have been gifted this device, but they still don’t love it!

Whenever you find such a person, give them a good audiophile dose! We need more members in our community 😉

Cool Bonus Tips For An Amazing Headphone Hygiene!

Bonus Tips on Headphone Hygiene
Let’s get them now!

  • Store your headphones in a clean and dry place when you are not using them. If you have a bag to store them in, that would be awesome! Leaving them in the open can make them dusty again.
  • Start using headphone sweat covers to say goodbye to all your sweat worries! They are washable and replaceable and reduce skin irritation to a large extent.
  • If you have leather headphones, heads up! You need to use leather polish after every few months. And never get them wet. Ok?
  • If you have wired headphones, untangle them whenever possible. Tangled wires have a high chance of breaking.
  • Replace worn-out parts of your audio device as soon as you notice it. Using defective parts for a long time can do more harm than good.
  • Always clean your headphone jack connector when you start cleaning your device as per the usage pattern discussed earlier.

Time To Answer Your FAQs!

How Much Time We Should Use Headphones every day?

Don’t listen to headphones for more than an hour in a single session. As regards volume, you can safely follow the 60/60 rule and listen at 60% volume for 60 minutes a day.

If you want to listen for more hours, lower your volume. Your ears will thank you for it!

How Do You Keep Your Headphones Fresh?

There is a 3-step guide for this:

1. Only buy headphones with replaceable pads and headbands.
2. Stock your replaceable pads and change your muffs every 3-6 months.
3. Wash your headphone pads as per the process described above.

Why Do My Earbuds Stink?

The reason for smelly headphones, earbuds, and IEMs is the same. Prolonged exposure to dirt, ear wax, and moisture makes your device a breeding ground for bacteria, causing that horrible odor.

Why is Leather Conditioner Important While Cleaning Muffs?

Using a leather conditioner offers many benefits, some of which we discussed earlier. They prevent cracking in headset pads and help them stay as fresh as new. It prevents the pad material from being moldy, improving its overall lifespan.

Are Headphone Muffs Machine Washable?

Sorry, but they are not. To clean headphone pads, you need to use a disinfectant and cloth as per the steps mentioned earlier.

Final Words On How To Clean Headphone Muffs

Here ends my actionable headphone hygiene tutorial. We hope our guide on How To Clean Headphone Muffs is helpful.

Now, I would like to hear from you.

Which bonus tip will you follow first? Will you start using headphones with sweat covers or untangled wired headphones?

Let me know by leaving a comment below now.

About the Author

how to clean headphone muffs

Rach Wellard

Rach Wellard is the driving force behind Sound & Solitude. Her mission is to help you discover the profound impact of sound in your daily life and to explore the beauty of solitude. With a deep passion for the connection between soundscapes and emotions, she brings a unique blend of expertise and personal dedication to our platform.

Rach understands that every individual's auditory journey is unique, and she’s here to guide you every step of the way. As a devoted audiophile, Rach’s discerning ear carefully selects the most exceptional products that align with your desires for Sound or Solitude. In a world filled with noise and chaos, Sound & Solitude serves as your sanctuary.

Rach’s journey as an autistic individual with a heightened sensitivity to sound fuels our commitment to creating an inclusive space where everyone can find solace while enjoying the meaningful sounds in their lives. Her understanding of diverse sensory needs enables us to offer personalized recommendations and insights, ensuring that your chosen audio equipment not only meets technical criteria but also resonates with your unique sensory preferences. And if you simply seek the best sound possible, Rach has you covered.

At Sound & Solitude, authenticity is our foundation. We provide unbiased reviews and comparisons because you deserve nothing but the truth. Our reviews are meticulously crafted, drawing upon Rach’s deep understanding of audio technology and the human experience in the Sound and Solitude realms. Whether you're searching for noise-cancelling headphones to immerse yourself in music or seeking a gaming headset that transports you to virtual worlds, you can rely on our reviews and personally tested comparisons to find the best equipment for your specific needs. Explore our carefully curated content, from the latest wireless audio advancements to tips for creating your ideal auditory retreat.

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