I Washed My AirPods Accidentally: What to Do?

Can Your AirPods Survive the Laundry Spin?

I washed my AirPods accidentally

I washed my AirPods, will they still work? Can Apple AirPods be washed? I washed my AirPods, how do I fix them? I washed my AirPods case accidentally, now what to do? Well, these are only some examples of queries we receive from AirPods users who accidentally washed their AirPods in the washing machine. Therefore, we know the sinking feeling of discovering your most-loved AirPods soaked in the laundry. 

Well, let’s face the fact that AirPods are not waterproof. Even water-resistant AirPods models cannot withstand water submersion. But not all is lost if your AirPods got washed; we are here to help. In this post, we will discuss what to do if your AirPods or AirPods Pro or AirPods case got washed in water. Read further to know more.

What Are the Risks Associated With AirPods Getting Washed?

As already mentioned earlier, AirPods are not waterproof. Therefore, they should not be washed, used in the shower, or be worn while swimming. Even water- and sweat-resistant AirPods models such as the AirPods Pro and AirPods (3rd generation) can malfunction if exposed to a significant amount of water. 

Also, it doesn’t matter if you washed your AirPods accidentally with or without their charging case, as the AirPods’ charging case is also not waterproof or water-resistant.

Risks Associated With AirPods Getting Washed
Risks Associated With AirPods Getting Washed

Here’s a list of risks associated with washing AirPods:

1. Circuitry Damage

The functionality of your AirPods and their charging case is governed by a complex circuitry of electronic components. This intricate circuitry network is responsible for everything from activating Siri to playing your favorite songs to enabling the AirPods case to charge your AirPods, ensuring the seamless operation of your AirPods.

However, even a small amount of water can cause significant damage to this delicate circuitry. The water found in washing machines, in particular, contains minerals and salts, which can act as conductors of electricity. This can potentially lead to a short circuit within your AirPods.

While your AirPods might seem to function perfectly after being exposed to water, problems may arise over time. The microscopic size of the electronic components within your AirPods’ circuitry can make them challenging to dry thoroughly, leaving them more susceptible to corrosion over time.

2. Rapid Battery Drainage/Battery Failure

Every pair of AirPods contains a small yet powerful lithium-ion battery. However, these batteries aren’t designed to withstand water exposure. Consequently, when your AirPods undergo a washing cycle, they risk getting exposed to water, which can lead to several problems, such as rapid battery drainage or battery failure. 

Moreover, in some cases, water damage can also lead to short circuits within the AirPods’ battery, resulting in battery leakage or overheating. 

3. Poor Sound Quality

Your AirPods’ speakers are extremely sensitive to water. Therefore, if water enters the speaker grills, you may hear buzzing or squeaking noise from your AirPods

Water can damage the diaphragm of your AirPods’ speakers, affecting their vibration and resulting in audio distortion. 

Your washing machine’s detergent-based water can also block your speakers’ grills. This can reduce the clarity and volume of the sound.

It’s important to note that water may not only affect the AirPods’ speaker diaphragms and grills but also their built-in microphones. Detergent water can affect the microphones’ sensitivity, resulting in muffled or distant-sounding voices during phone calls and recordings.

4. Connection Issues

Water can also impact the Bluetooth connection between your AirPods and device. This can lead to issues, such as complete disconnection, intermittent audio, and reduce connectivity range. 

What to Do If I Washed My AirPods?

If you find out that your AirPods got washed and dried in the washing machine, DON’T PANIC! Instead, act immediately and take the following measures to ensure your AirPods are safe and working properly:

Step 1: Remove Them From the Washing Machine Immediately

The longer your AirPods stay in the washing machine and get exposed to water, the more they will get damaged. Therefore, remove your AirPods immediately from the washing machine as soon as you realize they are in there. 

If your AirPods are inside their charging case, remove them from the charging case immediately to prevent the case from charging them (and resulting in short circuit).

Remove Them From the Washing Machine Immediately
Remove Them From the Washing Machine Immediately

Step 2: Dry Them First; Avoid Testing Them Instantly

Please note that you should avoid testing your AirPods’ functionalities if they are wet to avoid further damage or short circuit. Whether you have dropped AirPods in a water bucket or accidentally washed them in the washing machine, allow them to dry first.

Use a dry, soft, and lint-free cloth to dry your AirPods. Avoid using a hair dryer as it can lead to further damage. If your AirPods were submerged for a longer period, or you feel water is still trapped inside the AirPods circuitry, leave them to dry on a table overnight or place them in a jar containing silica gel packs or rice for about 24-48 hours. 

A Reddit user says:

If you have washed your AirPods, rice them for a day. You’d be surprised.

Step 3: Test Their Functionality Once They Are Dry

Once you are sure your AirPods are completely dry, test their functionality to ensure they are working properly. Look for signs of audio distortion, battery drainage, connectivity issues, or any type of physical damage. 

Step 4: Get in Touch With Apple Support

If you have tried all the drying and wiping techniques but your AirPods are still not working, we highly recommend contacting Apple support for professional assistance. 

Get in Touch With Apple Support
Get in Touch With Apple Support

Apple’s 1-year warranty does not provide coverage for water damage. However, if you have purchased the AppleCare+ protection plan, you may be able to get your AirPods repaired or replaced for a $29 service fee. 

Also, it doesn’t matter if you washed your AirPods accidentally with or without their charging case, as the AirPods’ charging case is also not waterproof or water-resistant. 

The MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods (3rd generation), Lightning Charging Case for AirPods (3rd generation), and MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are designed with water and sweat resistance, allowing them to withstand light exposure to moisture. However, it’s important to note that they are not completely waterproof or sweatproof, so it’s best to avoid submerging them in water or exposing them to excessive sweat. 

How to Test If Your AirPods Are Still Working After Being Washed?

Once you have thoroughly dried your AirPods, we recommend testing their following functions:

1. Audio Quality

To check the functionality of your AirPods’ speakers, connect them to your device and play your favorite podcast or music. Watch out for any changes in audio quality, such as low volume, distortion, squeaking, or muffling. 

2. Automatic Ear Detection

Enable automatic ear detection for AirPods. Wear your AirPods in both ears and start playing audio. Then remove one AirPod. The audio playback should pause automatically. If it does not, there might be an issue. 

If the automatic ear detection feature is working fine, disable it once, and enable it again. Then repeat the entire cycle to ensure there’s no functionality issue. 

Automatic Ear Detection

3. Battery Life 

Next, charge your AirPods (and their case if you also accidentally washed the AirPod case) and check for any charging issues. 

If you do not notice any charging issues, allow your AirPods to charge completely and monitor their battery life. If the AirPods’ battery is draining quickly, it may be damaged. 

4. Connectivity

When it comes to your AirPods’ functionality, Bluetooth connection cannot be ignored. Therefore, connect your AirPods with different compatible Bluetooth devices and assess the connectivity speed, range, and ease. 

If you notice any connectivity issue, lag, or reduction in range, water damage may have affected the Bluetooth connection. 

5. Microphone Functionality

We also recommend testing the functionality of the AirPods’ built-in microphone by recording a voice memo or making a call. Then assess the audio to check for distortion, audio cuts, distant audio, etc., to gauge water damage. 

6. Physical Controls

Lastly, test the physical controls of your AirPods. If you are using AirPods (1st or 2nd generation), check the controls by double tapping at the top of their stem. 

If you are using AirPods (3rd generation) or AirPods Pro (1st or 2nd generation), check the controls by pressing the force sensors/touch controls on the AirPods’ stem. 

How Water-Resistant Are Different AirPods Models?

Various models of AirPods feature distinct degrees of water-resistance, each constructed to deter the infiltration of water that could harm the intricate internal mechanisms.

The effectiveness of such safeguards is commonly evaluated via an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. Many devices deemed waterproof carry an IPX7 rating as an industry standard, for instance.

Here’s a quick summary of different AirPods models and their IPX ratings:

AirPods ModelIPX Rating
AirPods (1st Generation)No official IPX rating; not certified for dust, sweat or water resistance
AirPods (2nd Generation)No official IPX rating; not certified for dust, sweat or water resistance
AirPods (3rd Generation)IPX4; resistant to water splashes from different directions
AirPods Pro IPX4; resistant to water splashes from different directions
AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)IPX4; resistant to water splashes from different directions
AirPods MaxNo official IPX rating; not certified for dust, sweat or water resistance

Final Thoughts

The next time you find your AirPods soaked in your washing machine’s detergent water; don’t panic. First things first, remove them from the water immediately. Then follow the steps discussed in our blog to bring your AirPods back to life. 

As you have already seen above, AirPods are not waterproof. Even though some AirPods models are sweat- and water-resistant; they aren’t equipped to handle water submersion.

We hope you found our blog on the washed AirPods not working topic useful. If you have any followup comments or questions, please feel free to post them in the Comments section below.

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