How to clean your AirPods case

AirPods case next to a cleaning cloth and earbuds.
(Image credit: Future)

Your AirPods case likely follows you wherever you go which means knowing how to clean your AirPods case is pretty important. Living in your pocket or bag all day, as well as storing earbuds at other times means that delightfully crisp white case can end up pretty dirty.

If you’re struggling to know how best to clean your AirPods case, so that your best AirPods stay as good as new, we’re here to help. We’ll show you some key tips on how to make that case look shiny once more so you won’t feel uncomfortable showing it off to all and sundry. These tips apply to both the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 as well as the older AirPods 2nd gen – when it comes to case cleaning, the process is the same. Here’s what to do.

Steps for how to clean your AirPods case

  • Use a soft, dry and lint-free cloth or micofiber cloth to clean the case.
  • Use a drop of isopropyl alcohol on the cloth for stubborn stains.
  • Use a cotton swab or bud to tidy things up

Step by step guide

Use a soft and lint-free cloth

(Image: © Future)

Start out by simply using a cloth across the surface of the AirPods case. Any kind of soft and lint-free cloth will suffice. I favor a microfiber cloth as you can wash them afterwards, but the cloth you use to clean your screens will work well too. Remove any loose debris by using the cloth.

Make sure there isn’t anything abrasive on the cloth which could scratch the case.

Use a drop of isopropyl alcohol

For more stubborn stains or debris, add a drop of isopropyl alcohol to your cloth. Don’t use too much. Crucially, never get any liquid inside the charging ports as it could permanently damage the case. Instead, just add a couple of drops to your cloth and wipe it across the case to clear any awkward marks. 

Make sure the isopropyl alcohol is 70%. If that sounds confusing, you’re looking for good old-fashioned rubbing alcohol which doesn’t cost much and is available in most stores. 

Tidy up with a cotton swab

(Image: © Future)

Once you’ve cleaned the outside of the case, use a cotton swab or soft-bristled toothbrush to clean up the insides. Even a pastry brush will do a good job here. Just steer clear of anything harsh, sharp, or abrasive that could damage your lovely case. Don’t use any liquid here either but gently wipe the charging ports and metal contacts to tidy things up nicely – lint on the charging ports can be a reason why your AirPods won't work, since it means the buds aren't charging, but you don't realise it.

How to clean your AirPods case FAQ

Can I use compressed air on my AirPods case?

Compressed air is a little miracle worker when it comes to cleaning tech and a canister only costs a few bucks. Buy one and you can use it to spray over the charging ports of your AirPods or the case connections. Make sure to use short, sharp bursts rather than anything too long to ensure it works well.

Should I ever use water on my AirPods case?

No! At most, use a tiny drop or two of isopropyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol on a cloth, but never pour water on your AirPods case. If you do use rubbing alcohol, leave the case to completely dry before you consider using it again.

How can I prevent dirt on my AirPods case?

It’s not really possible to keep your AirPods case in pristine condition. Sure, don’t throw it in a muddy puddle or smear chocolate over it, but life means it’ll get a little dirty from time to time. For one thing, you’re storing your earbuds in the case and by being in your ear, they’ll accumulate earwax over time. There’s nothing to be ashamed about here, but you can stay on top of with some regular light cleaning! And consult our guide on how to clean AirPods to make sure the earwax doesn't built up.

How to clean your AirPods case: Final Thoughts

When you’ve just bought some of the best wireless earbuds, you want to keep them in great condition. We also have insight on how to clean AirPods themselves or what to do if you need to find a lost AirPods case. Without your case working in tip-top order, you won’t be able to charge and then listen to your AirPods. That’s why it’s a smart idea to keep it well-maintained and cleaned regularly. 

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Jennifer Allen

Jennifer is a roving tech freelancer with over 10 years experience. Having graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies, and later with a diploma from Staffordshire University with a post graduate diploma in Computer Games Design, she's written for a huge number of publications, including T3, FitandWell, Top Ten Reviews, Eurogamer, NME and many more. 

Her main areas of interest are all things B2B, smart technology, wearables, speakers, headphones, and anything gaming related, and you'll find her writing everything from product reviews to buying guides and hunting down the latest coupon codes to save you money. In her spare time, she enjoys the cinema, walking, and attempting to train her pet guinea pigs. She is yet to succeed.