How to Clean a Headphone Jack

Whether it’s dirt, dust, or pocket lint, it’s not uncommon for headphone jacks on iPods and phones to become clogged or dirty. Unfortunately, there’s not really a foolproof way to prevent your headphone jack from becoming dirty. You can, however, use the steps and methods laid out below to clean out the debris. Make sure your device is powered off when you try all of these methods.

Note: Be extremely careful and very gentle, so that you do not damage your headphone jack.


Step 1
Perhaps the easiest way to get dust and other debris out of a headphone jack is to purchase a can of compressed air to get the job done. By spraying air into the jack, you will hopefully be able to dislodge any of junk lodged in your device. Compressed air is used to clean dusty computer parts, so it will likely be more than capable of cleaning your headphone jack.

Step 2
If you don’t have time to run out and buy a can of compressed air, or if you don’t want to spend money on fixing the problem, there are a few home remedies you can try. The first of these is the Q-tip method.

Find a dry Q-tip—preferably a less fluffy one that won’t disintegrate in your device—and insert it into your headphone jack. Spin it around gently, being sure not to push too hard into the device. If this method isn’t effective, get the Q-tip lightly damp with rubbing alcohol and try again. Just make sure not to use too much rubbing alcohol, as it could result in damage to your device.

Step 3
Finally, make sure you are taking preventative steps to keep your device from becoming dirty again too quickly. Make sure no lint or dirt is in your pockets when you are carrying around a phone or mp3 player, and consider cleaning your headphone connector with rubbing alcohol every once in awhile as well.

It’s a fact of life that headphone jacks tend to become dirty. Luckily, you don’t have to let these issues ruin your devices. Use the above steps to dislodge debris and clean out dust from your headphone jack.