This cheap Apple AirPods cleaning kit might be more useful than you realize

a pair of airpods with their charging case
(Image credit: Maurizio Pesce)

Belkin has released a kit that will help you to tackle the grossest thing about using your AirPods: the ear wax build-up.

The apparently simple and safe-to-use equipment will enable you to remove the wax and other dirt that has accumulated on your favorite earbuds, and Belkin claims its tools will restore them to their former glory in terms of both appearance and audio performance so you don't have to be embarrassed by them anymore.

Belkin’s AirPods Cleaning Kit is compatible with the base models of Apple’s AirPods: the Apple AirPods, Apple AirPods 2, and Apple AirPods 3, and it comes with four components. There’s ear wax softener, cleaning gel, a microfiber cloth, and a cleaning brush to help you clear the gunk from your earbuds’ ports.

Currently, the kit is only available in the US at Belkin’s official store, for $14.99 (around £12.50 / AU$22), but we’d expect Belkin to launch it in other regions in the not-too-distant future. Is this something we should all be rushing out to buy though?

Analysis: do you really need to clean your earbuds? 

We would all admit that our earbuds need the occasional wipe, but do you actually need a full-on kit to clean them? Well, as much as it sounds like one of those unnecessary add-ons that stores try to upsell you, Belkin’s Airpods cleaning kit might be more vital than you think.

Whether you use a dedicated kit, or one that you’ve assembled yourself using a brush, some cotton buds, and some kind of safe-to-use cleaning solution, we should all be cleaning our earbuds regularly – that that's especially true if they're an expensive pair of the best earbuds out there that you don't plan to replace regularly. 

From a performance perspective, the build-up of grime can actually cause your earbuds to sound more muffled and less powerful than they were out-the-box. By clearing out the ports you can restore your earbuds’ audio quality, though you will need to be careful that you don’t damage the buds. We recommend avoiding metal tools, and if you use substances like alcohol to help speed up your cleaning then use it sparingly, as liquid getting inside the buds might cause more problems than it solves.

Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds on green surface

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds won't be the best-sounding earbuds forever if you forget to clean them (Image credit: Shutterstock / inframe36x24)

Performance issues aside, it’s important to clear your earbuds every so often (about once a week) to help keep your ears healthy too. 

While most of us think nothing of popping in a pair of earbuds, you’re putting a foreign object inside your body. And just as you wouldn’t want to use a dirty knife or fork to eat food, you shouldn’t insert dirty earbuds into your ears.

Because of this, it’s generally advised that you should give your earbuds a clean – even just a careful rub with an alcohol wipe – roughly once a week if you want to reduce your chances of getting an ear infection. And if you’re using a pair of the best workout earbuds and building up a sweat, then you might want to give them a clean more frequently. 

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.