February 20, 2020

Your earbuds are gross & full of germs


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By Jordyn Cormier From Care2

You care about what you put into your mouth, right? You also probably wouldn’t put just any old thing in your nose or eyes. So shouldn’t you have the same discretion when it comes to what you put into your ears? Probably.

And yet, the majority of us stuff our grimy old earbuds, caked with dirt and wax, into our ears without a second thought! Seriously, go grab your old earbuds right now, if you have them.

…I’ll wait…

Okay, now really look at them. Is there grime in the mesh? Look at the cracks in the plastic, likely black with dirt? But a little dirt isn’t the real issue. The bad news is that our earbuds are loaded with nastiness. Here’s what you’re likely to find on yours.

Woman choose music during flight


After bouncing around in your pocket, car or bags, dust, lint and dirt collect on earbuds and fuel the growth of bacteria and fungi. When they go back in your ears, it only makes matters worse. When the dirt gets caked in earwax, it gives bacteria and fungus a safe environment in which to thrive and propagate.

Studies have shown that using dirty earbuds can increase the bacteria in your ear by 11 fold—ew!

While your dirty earbuds are unlikely to make you sick, especially if you’re not in a weakened immune state, filling your ears with bacteria and fungi definitely isn’t ideal.

“Bacteria such as staph aureus or pseudomonas, as well as fungus such as aspergillus, can cause outer ear infections if these germs are on the earbud and then the earbud is placed into the ear,” according to otolaryngologist Erich Voigt.

You can get ear infections, like swimmer’s ear, from wearing dirty buds for extended periods of time, particularly if any of your ear skin is inflamed or broken. People with inflammatory skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, should be particularly careful and a little more hygienic when it comes to their earbuds.

But for the rest of us, it’s not all that dangerous… just disgusting.

Tired fitness woman sweating taking a break listening to music on phone after difficult training. Young woman listening to music with earbuds


There is no set standard, but if they’re looking grimy, give them a little scrub every few weeks or months.

All you have to do is take a cotton swab dipped in a little isopropyl alcohol, and clean out those gritty areas. Go ahead, try not to be grossed out by the amount of dirt you find!

For more on this story go to: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/your-earbuds-are-gross-full-of-germs.html

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