Did You Accidentally Wash Your AirPods? Act Fast and Do This to (Hopefully!) Save Them

updated May 25, 2023
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someone picking up earbuds from table

If I were to round up all the essential items that I use on a daily basis, my AirPods would take one of the top spots on the list. I use them so regularly that I’ve sometimes forgotten they were even in my ear. (A huge, scary surprise when heading into the shower.)

While I do love my AirPods, I really hate how easy it is to lose them — and not to mention the gunk that they collect. Luckily, cleaning your AirPods is easy enough, but finding them is a different story.

I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent searching through blankets and bags and retracing my steps, only to discover that they were with me all along, often right in my pocket. It can be difficult to track wireless earbuds down, and sometimes, realizing that they were missing in the first place can happen at an extremely unfortunate time: Like right after you’ve started (or finished) a load of laundry with them in it.

So what do you do if you accidentally wash your AirPods? Can they be salvaged? My solution to wet AirPods — and any small, handheld electronic item really — is always the same thing: I stick it in a bag of rice.

Are AirPods Waterproof?

I must admit that I’ve washed my AirPods not once but three times in the last couple of years. The unfortunate thing is that AirPods aren’t waterproof. Even the newer generations of AirPods are only water- and sweat-resistant, meaning they can handle a little bit of water damage, but they aren’t completely protected.

What to Do if You Accidentally Washed Your AirPods

Immediately after wiping off my AirPods with a cloth, I will throw them into a handy snack-size Ziploc bag of rice I keep around (right now, it’s in the junk drawer of my kitchen). I leave them there for at least 24 hours before attempting to turn them on.

Each time, they’ve miraculously worked with no clear issues. I think I may be lucky, seeing as though they aren’t waterproof. This made me curious to see what others on the internet did when they were in the same predicament.

Whether you accidentally threw them into the washing machine or dropped them into a glass of water, many users on the r/AirPods Reddit thread had similar feelings about rice as I did. “Rice, rice, rice. It’s a magical and wonderful solution,” said one commenter.

Other Solutions for Washed AirPods

Other users have suggested using silica gel packets, the ones you often get with packages. With that in mind, you can start collecting those from incoming packages or you can simply purchase them in bulk online.

If all else fails — or you’re not comfortable trying any of these ideas out — it may be best to reach out to Apple support directly for some assistance. Check to see what your warranty is and if you are still under AppleCare+, too.

With AppleCare+, you get hardware coverage and tech support and pay a lower cost to replace damaged devices. For instance, a replacement earbud is $29 and the case is $29 across all types of AirPods under AppleCare+. It’s not free, but it’s better than buying a completely new one for more than $100, especially if you only damaged one part of it. You can see the breakdown of prices on Apple’s website for more details to determine what’s best for you.