How To Clean Your Dirty Headphones?

How To Clean Your Dirty Headphones?


Open-ear headphones mean nothing blocks your ear canal, so you don’t need to worry about how to keep your headphones clean, or worry about getting an ear infection from dirty headphones.

If you have ever had an ear infection from using in-ear headphones you'll know how important clean headphones and headphone hygiene is, but there is another solution Samvek open-ear headphones. Nothing blocking your ear canal means better ear cleanliness and a more comfortable way to enjoy music.

Read on to discover how dirty your earbuds can get and how bone conduction technology, means you never have to spend time cleaning your earbuds again!


In 2018, 8.4 million people in Great Britain utilised noise-cancelling headphones, while a further 1.4 million used sport-specific headphones, and an estimated 6.7 million people used wireless headphones/earphones. The numbers grow year to year which proves we’re a nation that loves headphones.

Earbuds, earphones, headphones are an essential part of our lives, they make it possible for us to listen to music, podcasts or take a call literally anywhere, and more importantly, they make public transportation and the gym *just* that bit more bearable.



You’re probably able to see remnants of ear wax, or if you’ve never taken the time to clean them, chances are you’re seeing a lot of earwax. Earwax in headphones doesn’t look great but it’s mostly harmless. While your ears are full of earwax, they’re also full of dead skin cells and a lot of bacteria, all of which will stick to your earplugs.

The real problem with earbuds is that their wet, sticky surfaces are perfect for bacteria to multiply and grow. A recent study found that earbuds can harbour 119,186 colony-forming units of bacteria.

When you wear headphones, it’s difficult for the air in your ears to circulate and the temperature in the ear rises sharply and bacteria on the surface of the headphones multiply quickly. Studies have shown that bacteria in your ears increase 11  times when you put headphones on as opposed to when they’re out.

The narrow part of your ear, at the entrance to your ear canal, is the best place for bacteria and dirt to hide, causing ear inflammation and infection. In addition, the earbuds can get bacteria through contact with other objects. Think about how many surfaces your earbuds have contact with every day and how much bacteria you pick up and transfer into your ears yourself by doing this.


There are two kinds of potential problems.

1. Sharing Earbuds With Others.

People who like to share headphones with others are usually just helping a friend out or sharing a new music/podcast love. The action of sharing enables the exchange of staphylococcus (a type of skin bacteria) in someone's ear. We get used to our own skin bacteria and those we have close skin-to-skin contact with but if a new strain of staphylococcus gets into a wound or hair follicle, it can cause serious skin infections and other problems.

2. Wearing Earbuds For Sport.

Earbuds absorb heat and moisture in the ears which makes them the perfect greenhouse for all bacteria to grow. If you wear headphones after swimming or while working out, you may increase the risk of ear infections, ear mites, pustules, or otitis media, an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation (redness and swelling) and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.


If the headset is used frequently, it’s recommended to clean and disinfect the headset with 75% alcohol every week. When disinfecting, make sure that all waxy residue is cleaned off completely, then use a disinfecting spray or topical alcohol and wipe the earbuds with a cotton ball.

After using the headset try to remember to wipe on a regular basis, particularly if you’ve sweat during use and make sure you dry them completely. Don’t forget the cords (if applicable to your headset) and store in a clean and dry environment. Keeping your headphones as yours and not lending them to others is also key to good hygiene. The more ears that your buds are put into, the more chance of infection there is.


Hygiene is a dilemma that all in-ear and semi in-ear headphones face together. If you try to find a solution within this market segment you’ll inevitably fail as the design itself assures it. Sticking something in your ear for long periods of time means your hygiene has to be perfect and you need to regularly follow an elaborate cleaning process otherwise, there is always a risk of ear infection from dirty headphones.

So... you could step a little out of the traditional in-ear headphones market and be introduced to an innovative form of design that will completely change your listening experience.


Born with a mission to provide professional sport headphones that have uncompromised quality, Samvek headphones avoid in-ear dirt and bacteria no matter how sweaty you are. Using bone conduction technology sound is transmitted through your cheekbones to your eardrum leaving your ear canal completely open. Not only is this more hygienic it also allows you to hear your surroundings which is great for safety, especially when running or cycling, and means you can hear your teammates or chat to your friends whilst still hearing your own music.

Open-ear headphones like ours assure you that your inner ear is going to remain clean and healthy. Find the right pair for you here and discover a better way to listen and look after your ears.


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