Do Earbuds Work After being washed? (And how to fix)


Earbuds are one of the best inventions in recent years. We have all been through the extra hassle that handsfree get tangled all up in our pockets, and are extremely difficult to maintain. earbuds are literally cord-less, making them one of the best pocket accessories. Not only that, but most earbuds look extremely good. Plus, they don’t take too much space, and the user connects through Bluetooth. 

Sometimes earbuds get lost in our pants, where they may get washed up in the washing machine. Otherwise, rain is also a factor. In such cases, it is important to know if your earbuds are water-proof. This article will answer the long-asked question of whether earbuds work after being washed or not.

Without further ado, let us begin: 

Types of earbuds

With the explosion in the market of earbuds, there are countless different variants available on the market right now. There are AirPods from Apple, MPOW earbuds, Sony WF-1000XM3 & so on. Almost every mobile accessory brand is making earbuds nowadays. With so many people getting their earbuds washed; many companies have even started making waterproof earbuds. We will now be categorizing the earbuds into two categories:

Non-water-resistant earbuds

Most of the earbuds from 2017, 2018, and early 2019 are non-waterproof. This means that they are not designed to work under water. No matter the density of water, even a simple splash may damage these kinds of earbuds. A great example of the early earphones is the original Apple AirPods. Though they were designed to be durable, there was and is no guarantee that they will survive a water test.

But regardless of the fact, even the earliest earbuds have been designed to outlast a little sweat. Most earbuds are coated with a special material that makes them resistant to sweat and a little liquid. This is why so many people hit the gym while wearing these buds. 

Water-resistant earbuds

Water-resistant earbuds are the earbuds of the newer generations. They usually come with an IP or IPX rating on their box. Their ratings work very similarly to mobile phone IP ratings. IPX6 means that these earbuds can survive heavy sprays of water under high pressure. IPX5 can survive a water jet spray.

Do note that just because they are water-resistant, it doesn’t mean that they are water-proof. Even though they have been tested at high pressures of water, it still doesn’t mean that water will not damage them in the long run.

Do earbuds work after being washed?

This brings us back to the question: do earbuds work after being washed? The answer is much more complex than you may have thought. We had to discuss the two types of earbuds for a reason, after all.
Here are some questions that will help you check if your earbuds will work after being washed:

Are earbuds water-resistant?

Are the earbuds that you are using water-resistant? You can usually check the box of the earbuds purchase to see if you can see an IP/IPX rating somewhere. Most modern earbuds do come with an IP/IPX rating.

If there is no IP/IPX rating on the box, most of the chances are that your earbuds will not work after being washed. This is because the water pressure inside the washing machine is quite strong. The average coating layer to protect earbuds from sweat will not work in this case.

If your earbuds are water-resistant, the chances of IPX6 rated water-resistant earbuds will have a better chance of surviving than an IPX5 rated water-resistant earbuds. 

Method for washing

The methods for washing the earbuds are also a very big factor in determining whether these earbuds will work after getting washed or not. For example, if you wash these earbuds by hand, the probability of them surviving are much higher than say – these are getting washed in the washing machine.

Plus, even if your earbuds are water-resistant, drowning them in deep levels of water for prolonged periods of time will damage them and eventually cause them to stop working altogether. Which brings us to the next question.

Strength/Deepness of water

The deeper the earbuds are in the water, the less likely they are to survive, as we previously discussed. Water always exhibits pressure on objects that are drowned in it. Everything does, as a matter of fact, exhibit pressure, even air.

This is why you hear the saying that a continuous stream can break even the strongest of the rocks. The deeper you go in the water, the pressure exhibit on you will get stronger. Earbuds may have become durable, but they are still tiny pieces of technology.

The layer that is helping them resist water only works until a certain pressure level. As soon as the pressure level increases above a threshold, the resistance will not be able to protect your earbuds. Non-water-resistant earbuds may not even be able to survive a little splash of water. 

“My earbuds got washed; what do I do?”

If somehow, your earbuds did get washed, there are a number of things that you can do. Follow the previous questions, and you might be able to reach an answer faster.

Here are some things you can actually try:

Dry the earbuds

Use a hairdryer, or a towel to quickly dry your earbuds up. Be sure not to apply too much pressure or heat, or you might end up damaging your earbuds. No matter what happens, do not use an oven to dry your earbuds up. It will explode. 

Some other ways of drying the earbuds are similar to how you would dry a normal smartphone: drop them in a pack of rice, and let them stay in there overnight. When you wake up in the morning, carefully dust off the earbuds, and boot them up. They should be good to go. 

Wait before turning them on

No matter what, do not turn on a wet electrical device. Because water conducts electricity, your device is guaranteed to get electrocuted if you turn them on while they are still wet. Before turning on your earbuds, carefully dry them. 

Dangers of wet earbuds

Wet earbuds can be quite dangerous. This is because electric components go haywire when they are introduced to water. If you try to insert wet earbuds into your ears and turn them on, there is a chance of them short-circuiting, and possibly even exploding. 

Since ears are very sensitive, and prone to damage, the slightest of an explosion can cause them to get damaged. Ear muscles and bones – like the hammer – are extremely weak & damage to them can cause temporary loss of hearing. In worse cases, the damage done to the ears may not even be reverted.

So, no matter what you do, do not turn on wet earbuds, or even plug them into charging while they are wet. 

Earbuds most likely to survive washing machines

There are quite a few earbuds that are most likely to survive washing machines, so we will not go specifically into products. We will only mention the fact that water-resistant earbuds are the most likely to survive washing machines. Especially IPX6 rated earbuds are the most likely. This is because washing machines have quite a strong water pressure, and no normal pods can survive an attack like that.

If you are looking for the earbuds that are the best candidates for surviving washing machines, here are some examples:

Geekee G550

Geekee G550 is one of the most popular True Wireless earbuds on Amazon. They are also really high-rated and are about a quarter of the price of the AirPods.

Gekee G550 are rated at IPX6, and should be able to survive a washing machine test, though we have not tried it ourselves. There are reviews on Amazon that do state these earbuds have survived such a test, but we can’t make a claim. 

Ralyin M9 TWS

Ralyin TWS earbuds look a little unique, and might not be the best earbuds on the list, but they are cheaper than anything else on the list.

Ralyin TWS is rated at a rating of IPX4, so we are not entirely sure if they can survive a washing machine test. But they should be able to survive a gym test or a really sweaty hands test. 

Sony WF-SP700N/L

Sony’s new splash-proof earbuds are designed for the gym. These look extremely gorgeous and will definitely last a while. Sony has always been good at making quality products, and most of their products do offer some sort of water resistance – up to an extent.

We do expect Sony WF-SP700N/L to come out of the washing machine alive. 

Conclusion

We have listed almost any to everything that you would need to educate yourself on water & earbuds, and how water-proof earbuds can potentially save you tens, if not hundreds of dollars of technology. 

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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