AirPods in the Washing Machine: What to Do to Save Them?

Mobile Accessories

It is convenient to shove your AirPods inside your pocket after streaming on the go. However, chances are you forget that they are in your clothes, and your AirPods end up in the washing machine. If that is now the case, should you prepare to buy AirPods alternatives, or can your soaking wet AirPods be saved? Let’s find out.

AirPods soaked in the washing machine may or may not be saved
Image by Ryan Mcguire from Pixabay


Inside This Article

  1. Are Your Apple AirPods Waterproof?
  2. What to Do If Your AirPods Went Through a Washing Machine
    1. Wipe and Air Dry Your AirPods
    2. Dry Using Silica Gel Packs
    3. Use AppleCare+ Plan for Replacement or Repair
  3. What You Shouldn’t Do If Your AirPods Got Washed
    1. Immediately Charging and Wearing Them
    2. Trying the Rice Grain Hack
    3. Blow-Drying Them
  4. Tips to Avoid Getting the AirPods Destroyed in the Washer


Are Your Apple AirPods Waterproof?

The AirPods aren't designed to be used underwater
Image by Prateek Shah from Pixabay

For sure, the said scenario made you first rethink whether your Airpods are impact-resistant and waterproof or not. After all, these aspects may determine the survivability of the audio accessory in the washer.

The AirPods can withstand a 10ft drop, so you can be relieved that there is a high chance they have survived the tumble motion inside the washing machine. What you must be concerned more about is the submersion in water. Basic AirPods do not resist water at all. They are not waterproof (totally withstanding any moisture or wetness) nor water-resistant (withstanding moisture or wetness but only to a certain degree).

That might not be the case with the IPX4-rated AirPods Pro, though. Having the IPX4 water-resistance rating means your accessory can tolerate splashes of water. Still, the said rating is subpar for top-of-the-line wireless earbuds. That does not make your AirPods Pro suitable for underwater use like the water-resistant headphones made for swimming.

With all these said, there is no surefire way to conclude both AirPods versions can still make it when soaked or washed inside the washing machine. You still need to save them and double-check whether they will still work or not.


What to Do If Your AirPods Went Through a Washing Machine

Without further ado, here are the things you should do when your AirPods have gone through a washing machine.

1. Wipe and Air Dry Your AirPods

After taking your AirPods out of the washing machine, wipe them first. For this, use a piece of cloth that does not have many protruding fibers. That is because the fibers may get inside or scratch your AirPods. Once you have the cleaning cloth, wipe the AirPods gently to avoid damaging your audio accessory. If there are tiny spaces the cloth needs to get into, try swapping the cloth with Q-tips. This way, you can also wipe moisture on the hard-to-reach parts of the AirPods.

Once done wiping, it is time to air dry your AirPods. Leave them in an area that is not cold to speed up the natural drying process. Make sure that the parts that need thorough drying are facing up and not down on the surface. Drying may take a day or more, depending on the ambient temperature.


2. Dry Using Silica Gel Packs

Silica gel can dry your AirPods that got soaked in the washing machine
Image by Ann San from Pixabay

Air drying is the typical way to get water out of your AirPods that got soaked inside a washing machine. But there is an alternative, perfect if you are not too confident that the air has dried the moisture completely.

The method mainly requires silica gel packs, the packets with crystal-like contents you usually find inside a box of new shoes or perishable snacks. All you need to do is put your moist AirPods inside a transparent plastic pouch with the silica gel packets. Silica gel can dry your AirPods faster than the air, so the latter may already be dry in a day.


3. Use AppleCare+ Plan for Replacement or Repair

You can get AirPods replacement or repair via Apple Care+
Photo by quentin touvard on Unsplash

If the AirPods and/or its case are already water-damaged beyond their original warranty period and you have been paying for the two-year AppleCare+ protection plan, there is still hope. The said plan not only extends the AirPods’ warranty; it makes it easy for you to handle accidental damage. Through it, you can get your AirPods replaced or repaired by Apple without paying the expensive out-of-warranty fees. Out of the two actions, though, the replacement might be more enticing because you no longer need to wait for repairs.

If you prefer the former, AppleCare+ lets you request a replacement for up to two instances (one per year within the two-year coverage). You need to pay a $29 replacement fee (plus applicable tax), which may or may not save you a bit of money when compared to serious repairs. But as mentioned, the incident should indeed be accidental so you can benefit from the plan. Luckily, AirPods that got soaked in the washing machine unintentionally may be considered by Apple; it is even the example scenario shown by the teaser video on the Apple Care+ for headphones page.

If you still want the latter, mail your AirPods and case to Apple or bring them personally to the Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider for repair. Also, check the terms on the Apple Care+ page to know what else to expect regarding the plan.


What You Shouldn’t Do If Your AirPods Got Washed

If there are dos, there are also don’ts to know when AirPods get soaked in the washing machine. Here they are:

1. Immediately Charging and Wearing Them

Putting your audio accessories back in their charging case is a way to know if they still work. However, only do that when you are sure that your AirPods that have gone through the washing machine are already dry. Powering wet AirPods from the charging case can cause short-circuits, ultimately dooming your audio accessories.


2. Trying the Rice Grain Hack

The rice grain hack is a risky solution for drying AirPods
Photo by Matthew Lakeland on Unsplash

You might have found the rice grain hack in other troubleshooting guides for water-logged gadgets. That is because the hack may work. It is done by transferring the AirPods that got soaked in the washing machine into a bowl of rice grains. Then, the accessories might successfully dry after a few hours. However, that isn’t always the case. The powdery substance from the grains could go inside the small crevices of your AirPods and cause further damage. Thus, the hack is something better avoided.


3. Blow-Drying Them

Blow-drying might push the droplets further inside the AirPods. And there is another reason why it is not advisable: hot and strong air. Hot and strong air from the blow dryer can damage the delicate components inside your AirPods. While that may be controllable in some dryers, it is still better to avoid using it.


Tips to Avoid Getting the AirPods Destroyed in the Washer

Got your AirPods to work after being soaked inside the washing machine, or had them replaced? The next step is to prevent the scenario from occurring again. Thus, here are some tips for doing so:

1. Always check pockets before loading clothes in the washer.
2. Make it a habit to put unused AirPods inside the case because the latter may prevent further water damage.
3. Buy water-resistant AirPods cases or case covers.


Keep Your AirPods Safe and Dry

Many Apple fans have been waiting for AirPods with better water resistance. But while Apple isn’t on to that yet, keep your AirPods or AirPods Pro safe and dry. Bear in mind the tips and troubleshooting methods here. This way, you can prolong the service life of your AirPods or save them when they end up in the washing machine again.