How to Clean Bose Headphones? Step By Step Guide!

Cleaning your Bose headphones is an essential routine to maintain their performance and longevity. First, remove any detachable parts such as ear pads or cords. Use a soft, dry cloth to very gently scrub and wipe away any surface dust or dirt. For stubborn debris, try using a soft brush or toothbrush. Remember to always avoid harsh chemicals or excessive water which could damage your headphones.

Secondly, for more intricate parts, use a cotton swab lightly dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This method is especially effective for removing oily residues or grime. But always ensure that the swab is not soaking wet to avoid excess liquid from infiltrating the headphones. After cleaning with alcohol, always allow your headphones ample time to air dry before using them again.

Lastly, the case of your headphones may also require attention. Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe excess liquid and debris from down the exterior. For charging contacts, employ a dry toothbrush to remove any dust or dirt. Ensure that the case is completely dry before putting your headphones back. Following this step-by-step guide will help keep your Bose headphones clean and functional.

Why Do We Need To Clean Our Headphones?

Headphones, just like any other personal device, accumulate dust, dirt, sweat, and oil from our skin and environment. Over time, these contaminants can impair the sound quality of your Bose headphones and, more importantly, lead to bacterial growth, potentially causing skin irritations or infections.

Moreover, regular cleaning enhances the longevity of your headphones. Grime and dust can damage delicate parts of your device, leading to lower performance or even complete failure over time. Regular maintenance will help keep them working optimally for longer.

Lastly, cleaning your headphones is a great opportunity to inspect them for any potential issues. Regular maintenance allows you to spot problems early, such as wear and tear on the cord or structural damage that could compromise sound quality or user comfort. This proactive approach can save you time and money in the long run.

Cleaning In-ear Bose Headphones

In-ear Bose headphones require special care due to their close contact with the ear canal. Firstly, remove the ear tips and gently clean them with a mild soap or headphone cleaner. Ensure to rinse thoroughly and let them dry completely before reattaching.

Next, clean the earbuds themselves. Use a soft, dry cloth for the exterior and a cotton swab slightly dipped in isopropyl alcohol for the nooks and crannies. Remember to let the earbuds dry completely before using them again to avoid damage.

Lastly, if there’s any debris in the or debris dry earbud tips’ holes, use a toothbrush or a soft brush. However, be careful not to push the debris further into the earbud. Cleaning your in-ear Bose headphones regularly will not only improve their performance but also maintain hygiene.

Cleaning and Charging Contacts on the Case

The case is not just a holder for your headphones but also the charging base. It’s important to keep the charging contacts clean to ensure efficient power transfer. For this purpose, use a dry toothbrush or a soft brush to very gently scrub the mesh to clean the contacts. This will remove any dust or debris that could interfere with the charging process.

After brushing, use a cotton swab slightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol to disinfect mesh surface and remove any stubborn grime. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure or use too much alcohol to prevent damage.

Finally, wipe the case’s exterior using a microfiber cloth. If there are stubborn stains, you may dampen the soft cloth or tissue just slightly with mild soap or a headphone cleaner. Once done, ensure the case is completely dry before placing your headphones inside.

Cleaning On-ear Bose Headphones

On-ear Bose headphones feature larger ear pads which can accumulate sweat and oil. Begin cleaning them by removing these pads, if possible. Then, clean them with a slightly damp microfiber cloth and mild soap or headphone cleaner. Make sure to rinse and dry them thoroughly before reattachment.

For the headphones themselves, use a soft, dry cloth for the outer surfaces. For smaller, intricate areas, a cotton swab lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol works wonders. Just like with other devices, always ensure they are dry before using them again.

Lastly, pay attention to the headband. This area often gets overlooked but can accumulate sweat excess moisture and dirt. Use a microfiber cloth with mild soap or cleaner, ensuring it’s properly dried afterwards.


Here is a list of the basic tools you need to clean your Bose headphones properly:

  • Microfiber Soft Cloth: This cloth is ideal for cleaning the surfaces of your headphones. Its soft texture prevents scratches and effectively traps dust and dirt.
  • Cotton Swabs: They are perfect for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and intricate parts of your headphones. When dipped in isopropyl alcohol, they become a powerful tool for removing stubborn grime.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: It serves as a disinfectant and an effective cleaner for oil and sticky residues. Always remember to use it sparingly to avoid damage.
  • Compressed Air: It can be used to blow away dust and debris from the mesh grills or tiny crevices of your headphones.
  • Toothbrush or Soft Brush: They can be used for cleaning the charging contacts on the case or for gently brushing away debris from your ear tips.
  • Mild Soap or Headphone Cleaner: It is ideal for cleaning ear pads or cases. Remember to rinse thoroughly to remove any residual soap or cleaner.

Headphone Storage Tips

Proper storage of your headphones can minimize the need for frequent cleaning and extend their lifespan. Always store your headphones in a clean, dry case to protect them from dust and moisture. Avoid wrapping the cord tightly around the headphones as this can cause damage over time. Instead, gently coil the cord or use a cord wrap. Lastly, avoid exposing your headphones to extreme temperatures, as this can damage the battery and other components.


In conclusion, proper cleaning and maintenance of your Bose headphones is vital for their performance, longevity, and your personal hygiene. Using simple tools like a microfiber cloth, cotton swabs, isopropyl alcohol, compressed air, a toothbrush or soft brush, and mild soap or headphone cleaner, you can effectively clean your headphones. Always remember to store them properly to reduce the frequency of cleaning and potential damage. Finally, never attempt to clean your headphones by putting them in a washing machine or exposing them to excess water or harsh chemicals.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can you wash Bose headphones in the washing machine?

No, you should never wash your Bose headphones in a washing machine. Doing so will likely damage the electronic components and potentially ruin your headphones. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to prevent any unnecessary damage.

How often should I clean my Bose headphones?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use your headphones. If you use them daily, a quick clean once a week and a more thorough clean once a month is recommended. If you use them less frequently, cleaning them thoroughly every couple of months should suffice.

Can I use baby wipes or makeup wipes to clean my Bose headphones?

While baby wipes or makeup wipes might seem like a convenient option, they are not recommended for cleaning headphones. These wipes often contain moisturizers and other chemicals that can leave a residue on your headphones or potentially damage them. It’s best to stick to a microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol.

What should I do if I get my Bose headphones wet?

If your headphones get wet, immediately turn them off and remove any batteries if possible. Dry them gently with a towel and leave them in a dry, warm place to air out. Do not use a hairdryer or other heat source as this can damage the internal components. If they were exposed to a lot of water, it’s best to take them to a professional for a check-up.

Can I clean my Bose headphones with vinegar?

While vinegar is a great cleaning agent for many things, it’s not recommended for electronics like headphones. It’s too acidic and can damage the protective coatings on your headphones or cause corrosion on metal parts. Stick with isopropyl alcohol which evaporates quickly and leaves no residue.

Is it safe to share my headphones with others?

While it’s technically safe to share headphones, it can also transfer ear wax, skin cells, and bacteria between users. If you must share your headphones, clean them thoroughly before and after each use. It’s always a good idea to have personal headphones for hygiene purposes.

Can I use bleach or other heavy-duty cleaners on my headphones?

No, never use bleach or any other harsh cleaners on your headphones. These substances can damage the materials your headphones are made of, especially the delicate electronic components inside. Always use mild cleaning agents like isopropyl alcohol, and always ensure the headphones are dry before using them again.

  1. Cleaning your headset – Bose: This is an official guide from Bose on how to clean their headphones. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to clean the cushions using a solution of water and mild detergent.
  2. How to Clean Bose Headphones? Step By Step Guide! – Audioviser: This blog post provides a detailed guide on cleaning Bose headphones. It suggests using rubbing alcohol and emphasizes that the cleaning item should not be wet.
  3. Cleaning ear tips and mesh grilles – QuietComfort® 20 – Bose: This is another official guide from Bose, specifically for cleaning the ear tips and mesh grilles of the QuietComfort 20 model.
  4. How To Clean Headphones (Apple, Bose, In-Ear & Over-…) – Headphone Critics: This guide provides cleaning instructions for various types of headphones, including Bose. It suggests using a cotton swab dipped in a small amount of rubbing alcohol.
  5. Cleaning your Sleepbuds and charging case – This guide from Bose provides instructions on how to clean Sleepbuds and their charging case.
  6. how to clean bose headphones – This guide suggests using a soft cloth dipped in soapy water to clean the outer side of ear cups in over-ear Bose headphones.
  7. Cleaning Bose Aviation Headset X and A20 – This guide provides instructions on how to clean the Bose Aviation Headset X and A20 models.
  8. How to fix problems with Bose QuietComfort 35 II – SoundGuys: This guide not only provides solutions to common problems with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II but also includes instructions on how to clean them.
  9. How To Clean Bose Headphones – The Easiest Way – YouTube: This video tutorial provides a visual guide on how to clean Bose headphones.
  10. How To Clean Over Ear Headphones Bose QC35 | How to… – YouTube: This video tutorial provides a step-by-step guide on how to clean over-ear Bose QC35 headphones.