Even waterproof earbuds can sometimes fall into the sink, get lost in the washing machine, or fall into a drink. Because earbuds are prone to sliding out of your ears, this can happen to just about anyone.
But there’s good news. Even if your earbuds have been through the washing machine, you may be able to fix them. I’ve learned through years of experience that fixing earbuds can be simple. It’s easy to dry the components and get them working like new again.
But how? How do you get water out of your earbuds, and how do you fix them after they have been submerged? Below, we’ll look at the process for repairing your wet earbuds, what not to do with them, and even how to avoid getting them wet in the first place.
What NOT to Do with Your Wet Earbuds
Before you start trying to get water out of your wet earbuds, it’s important to know what NOT to do. Any of these methods could lead to further damage.
- DO NOT use a hairdryer, microwave, or oven to try to dry your earbuds out. The extreme heat from these devices can lead to further damage. A hairdryer at even the lowest temperature could damage the delicate electronics. Microwaving your earbuds could cause serious issues, including personal injury. In the oven, your earbuds might melt.
- DO NOT use your earbuds. If they are wet, dry them out before trying to use them. Use the tips below to remove water from your earbuds to avoid damaging them further.
Repairing Wet Earbuds
So you’ve removed your earbuds from the water. You’ve got them laid out and ready to repair. What do you do?
Start by removing all of the attachable pieces from your earbuds. This includes clips, tip sleeves, and more. Strip the earbuds down to just the main plastic housing. The other parts aren’t electronic, so you can dry them with a paper towel.
Next, take the following steps.
- Shake the earbuds gently. Shaking can help remove excess water. The less water left near the drivers and delicate electronics, the better.
- Take the earbuds apart. To get the inner parts dry, you’ll need to expose them. Most earbuds can be gently pulled apart along the obvious seams, but some will require a knife or other small, flat tool to pry them open.
- Blow excess water out. Once the parts are exposed, blow gently on the parts to get the excess water out. It may seem strange to blow the water away with your mouth, but it’s safer than using a hairdryer, canned air, or another type of blowing implement. You can use a soft cloth or paper towel to soak up the water, but it may not be as effective.
- Soak earbuds in distilled water. Distilled or de-ionized water is safe for electronics. It won’t damage your headphones any further. At this point, you can soak your headphones in de-ionized water to make sure all of the regular water is gone. When they are done soaking for a few moments, shake them out to remove all of the excess water.
- Dry the components. At this point, you should blow on your earbuds, wipe them out, or take any other steps to dry them out. Again, do NOT use a hairdryer, oven, or microwave to help with this process.
- Put them in Rice. Don’t put your earbuds back together just yet. Instead, drop them (with their component exposed) into a bag or cup of rice. The rice will do the rest of the drying work, leaving your earbuds dry. Leave them in the rice for about 48 hours.
After taking these steps, you can put the earbuds back together carefully. Make sure the pieces snap back together securely. Most of the time, this process will result in your earbuds performing normally again.
How to Get Water Out of Apple AirPods?
Apple AirPods are extremely delicate. Though they are some of the best wireless earbuds on the market right now, they are made to be serviceable only through Apple.
This means that attempting to open your Airpods can be extremely damaging. Apple glues the AirPods together from the inside, meaning that attempting to open them can cause irreversible damage to the internal parts.
Additionally, Apple won’t help you if the AirPods are opened. Even if your AirPods are under warranty, they won’t fix them or replace them if you’ve opened them up.
For this reason, it’s better if you don’t attempt to open them up. AirPods rarely survive water damage and attempting to fix them may be a waste of time. Even if they are repairable, opening them can void the warranty and make them a pain to replace.
What Do I Do About Water-Damaged AirPods?
The best thing you can do when your AirPods have been damaged is to take them to the Apple store. Even if they aren’t under warranty any longer, Apple may offer to repair or replace them at a discount.
If your AirPods are still under warranty, you can easily get them replaced here. Simply take the damaged AirPods to your nearest Apple store. If there isn’t an Apple store close by, you can open a ticket and ship them back to the manufacturer. This might take longer, but it’s a valid method of getting your AirPods replaced.
Do Most Wet Earbuds Survive?
Most earbuds can survive being accidentally submerged in water. There are a few factors that determine exactly how likely your earbuds are to be good as new after getting wet.
- Were your earbuds on when they got wet? If your earbuds were actively playing music when they got wet, it’s unlikely that they will work properly again. The active circuits on the inside of the earbud will be damaged, making them unusable.
- How long were they submerged? How long were your earbuds underwater? If they were quickly dropped into the water and then removed, there is a better chance of saving them. If they were underwater for several minutes (or put through a washing machine), they are less likely to be repairable.
- Did you act quickly? If you acted quickly, your earbuds may be safe. This means rescuing them from the water quickly and following the procedures to dry them out as soon as possible.
- Have you tried all the options listed above? Most wet earbuds can be saved with the options listed above. Apple Airpods or extremely damaged earbuds may not be salvageable despite these options. However, they work for most wet and water-damaged earbuds.
How to Avoid Getting Your Earbuds Wet
A pair of sturdy, waterproof earbuds may eliminate your fears. However, if that isn’t an option, there is more you can do.
First, avoid using your earbuds in situations where you are near water. Don’t wear them in the shower, to the pool, or even while washing dishes.
Second, make sure that you always put them back in their case. Don’t ever put your earbuds in your pocket, as it’s easy to forget they are there and send them through the washing machine. Keeping track of your earbuds is one of the best ways to avoid unnecessary damage.
If you’re going to be working at your desk or laptop while wearing your earbuds, make sure to use covered drinking containers. Instead of an open cup, use a reusable bottle or a cup with a lid. If they accidentally fall out, they won’t fall into your drink.
Finally, don’t attempt to wash your headphones with water. You can use cotton swabs, soft cloths, and other cleaning implements to get your earbuds clean. Make sure to keep them away from large amounts of water during the cleaning process.
Your earbuds may not be damaged beyond repair if they get wet. Take steps to dry them out using the methods listed above. Never try to microwave your earbuds or use a hairdryer to dry them faster. Likewise, don’t try to disassemble your Apple AirPods, as it will only lead to further damage. If you act quickly, you can restore your earbuds and have them sounding like new again!
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