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Airpods aren’t waterproof – What to do if they get wet

Immediate steps to take when your AirPods get wet
Last Updated on September 2, 2023
Airpods aren't waterproof
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AirPods have become widely popular wireless earbuds, valued for their portability, ease of use, and Apple device integration. However, one key limitation is that AirPods are not waterproof or water-resistant. Exposure to liquids can easily damage these delicate electronics. But there are steps you can take to salvage wet AirPods and potentially recover their functionality. 

This article will cover immediate actions, cleaning methods, diagnostics, repair options, and prevention tips for AirPods that suffer water damage.

Immediate actions when your AirPods get wet

If your AirPods or AirPods Pro find themselves submerged in water, perhaps due to a washing machine mishap or a sweaty workout, immediate action is crucial. Here’s what you need to do:

Remove from water and disconnect

Firstly, remove your AirPods from the water source as quickly as possible. Once they’re out, unpair them from your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings to cut off the power flow. This is a vital step in preventing further damage.

Dry them carefully

Use a lint-free cloth to gently dab away any visible moisture from the AirPods and the charging case. Avoid rubbing as it can push water further into the insides. If you have AirPods Max, pay special attention to the mesh fabric, as it can retain water.

Hold off on charging

It might be tempting to check if they still work by placing them in their charging case, but resist the urge. Charging wet AirPods can lead to a short circuit. Keep the lid of the charging case open to allow moisture to evaporate.

Additional steps for wet AirPods

Use desiccants

Place your AirPods and the charging case in a bag with silica gel packets. These desiccants can help absorb remaining moisture.

Check your warranty

While AirPods aren’t covered for water damage under the standard warranty, it’s worth checking your specific coverage. Some credit card companies offer additional protection for electronics.

Wait it out

Patience is key. Allow your AirPods to dry completely before attempting to charge them or check their functionality.

By acting swiftly and following these guidelines, you increase the chances of your AirPods surviving a watery ordeal. Keep in mind that water damage is generally not covered under warranty, so it’s best to exercise caution around water in the first place.

Effective cleaning methods to dry your wet AirPods

After you’ve taken immediate action to remove excess moisture, the next step is to ensure that your AirPods are thoroughly dry. Here are some tried-and-true methods to expedite the drying process:

The rice bowl method

Place your AirPods in a bowl or bag filled with dry rice. Rice is known for its moisture-absorbing properties and can help draw out residual moisture. This method is particularly useful if your AirPods model is one of the older generations without any ingress protection.

Utilize air circulation

Lay your AirPods on a paper towel and position them near a fan. The air circulation will help evaporate any lingering moisture. Make sure to pat them dry with a microfiber cloth before placing them near the fan.

Moisture absorber packets

You often find these small packets in shoe boxes or with new electronics. Place one of these moisture absorber packets in a bag with your AirPods to help soak up any remaining dampness.

Gentle air drying

If you have a hair dryer with a low warm setting, you can use it to lightly air dry your AirPods. Be cautious not to use high heat, as it can damage the components, especially the MagSafe charging case if you have third-generation AirPods.

Sunlight exposure

Place your AirPods in bright but indirect sunlight for about 30 minutes. The UV rays not only help in drying, but also kill bacteria. However, avoid prolonged exposure to intense sunlight, as it can be harmful.

What to avoid

It’s crucial to know what not to do when your AirPods get wet. Avoid exposing them to more moisture, such as taking them into the shower, sauna, or steam room.

Moreover, steer clear of using them during activities that involve a lot of sweat. If you have AppleCare, note that water damage is typically not covered, so it’s best to exercise caution.

By following these guidelines, you can increase the likelihood of your AirPods surviving an accidental splash of water, laundry mishap, or even a brief tap under the faucet.

Always remember, prevention is better than cure, so try to keep your AirPods away from water-prone situations whenever possible.

Conduct diagnostics and function checks

Once AirPods seem dry on the surface, do the following:

  • Re-pair to an iPhone and conduct battery and microphone diagnostics in Settings.
  • Check that tapping activates playback controls.
  • Inspect for debris obstructing speaker mesh or microphone holes.
  • Verify charging light activates when placed in the case.

This will reveal any issues with charging, batteries, touch controls, or audio input/output. Make notes on malfunctions to inform repair decisions.

When to repair vs. Replace wet AirPods

If diagnostics uncover dysfunction:

  • Case issues like charging can be affordably repaired by replacing just the case.
  • Single AirPod repairs may be worthwhile if just one side is damaged.
  • Whole unit replacements are preferable if both AirPods are non-functional.

Compare repair costs to the price of new AirPods if questioning replacement value. Protective Airpods waterproof cases can also be purchased as a protective measure in case they ever come in contact with liquids.

Prevention tips to avoid water damage

While accidents may happen, you can proactively avoid wet AirPod situations by:

Using Airpods waterproof case 

Invest in a waterproof carrying case for your AirPods when not in use. This will protect them against rain, water splashes or accidental drops in water.

Wear a lanyard/strap

Attach your AirPods case to a lanyard or strap around your neck or wrist when using them. This way they are less likely to fall into any liquids.

Use a skin/wrap

Purchase a waterproof vinyl skin or wrap and apply it around your AirPod case for extra water protection.

Insulate the charging port

Use a silicone cover or waterproof tape to seal and insulate the charging port on the case from moisture.

Avoid wearing near water

Refrain from wearing AirPods near sinks, pools, beaches, or other wet environments where they could fall in. Opt for waterproof headphones instead when swimming or doing water sports.

Get insurance

Consider investing in an insurance plan that covers accidental damage in case your AirPods do suffer any kind of water damage down the line.

Handle with care

Be cautious and attentive when handling your AirPods case around water sources. Never submerge them or place them somewhere they could fall in.

With some preventive measures and extra care, you can enjoy your AirPods while minimizing the risk of exposure to water damage.


While AirPods and water don’t mix well, quick action, smart diagnostics, and suitable repairs can bring drowned earbuds back to life. Follow these best practices to give your AirPods the best chance if ever exposed to water and minimize risky situations in the future through prevention.

Maria is a contributer to PC Guide, highly-interested in productivity and AI tools, and ensuring the inclusion of detailed product info and coverage across versus pieces.