I find it impossible to hide my disgust when someone offers me their earbuds to listen to a song. You might as well be asking me to share a spoon. Like it or not, your wireless earbuds are probably filthy and could use a deep cleaning, which Belkin is now making relatively painless with a new cleaning kit designed specifically for AirPods.
This is far from the first product designed to make cleaning earbuds easier and less stomach churning. Just last year, we brought you news of a tiny desktop washing machine that promised to make cleaning earbuds as easy as doing a load of laundry. But based on the thousands of Kickstarter comments for the Cardlax Airpods Washer, it not only failed to deliver on its lofty promises, but also failed to deliver product to all of its backers. And that’s the tricky part of finding a product to help clean delicate electronics: you don’t want to damage them in the process.
Belkin is not only a respected brand name when it comes to consumer electronics; it’s also the brand that Apple itself uses when installing screen protectors for iPhone owners at Apple Stores. So we’re inclined to trust its approach to cleaning AirPods more than what random brands with unpronounceable names on Amazon are proposing.
Belkin has shared a tutorial video on how the AirPods Cleaning Kit works, and it seems simple enough. Users first apply two drops of an earwax softener to the areas they want to clean and then wait 60 seconds for it to work its magic. The softener is then poured out onto an included microfiber cloth, before a cleaning brush is used to scrub those same dirty areas for 30 seconds. The last step is to use a glob of slime, which Belkin refers to as a “Cleaning Gel,” to dab off the remaining bits of now loosened earwax and dirt for another 30 seconds. If the earbuds aren’t clean, the process can be repeated again and again until the earwax softener is all used up.
The $15 kit is promised to be “simple, safe, and easy to use.” It supposedly “restores acoustic performance” without damaging the headphones, although Belkin specifies it’s only compatible with the AirPods 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation models. If you attempt to use it on the AirPods Pro, you do so at your own risk, but those tend to only see wax build up on their silicone ear tips, which are already easy to pop off and clean.