Here's how to tackle gunk and grime on your beloved earbuds and electronics once and for all

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Your ultimate cleaning kit is here. (Photo: Amazon)
Your ultimate cleaning kit is here. (Photo: Amazon)

For many of us, our earbuds have become a natural extension of our bodies — particularly so as we work from home. We use them to listen to music while we get ready for the day, take calls as we work, and peruse the latest podcasts as we prep dinner, so they always seem to be near us or secured inside us. And, let's face it, that constant use can lead to some seriously yucky buildup.

Between makeup, earwax, everyday dust and dirt, and myriad other particles, these things get grimy. If you're not quite sure how to tackle the gunk, look no further. This viral TikTok video (with over 130,000 likes!) shows how to tackle the task (and probably excavate some schmutz you didn't even realize was gumming up the works). First, get your hands on the right supplies: The AirSquares earbud cleaning putty and PurePort Multi-Tool Kit. Then follow this step-by-step guide and have your audio accessories shipshape in minutes (if not seconds).

AirPod shown being pressed against a square of earbud cleaning putty and the gunk that comes out.
What's that? Having trouble hearing? Here's your quick fix. (Photo: Amazon)

Let's start with the AirSquares putty. It'll effortlessly remove a lot of the buildup (and save you from endlessly poking around with a toothpick). Here's how it works: Simply tear off a square of putty and press it against the part of your buds that goes into your ear canal, and any other small holes your model may have. It will mold to fit into the small crevices and, when you pull it out an unmentionable amount of gunk may follow. Repeat this on both buds, then discard the putty (and accompanying filth).

"If you're the kind of person who finds a morbid satisfaction in emptying a vacuum cleaner or using a pore-cleaning nose strip, you'll love these!" admitted one five-star reviewer. Another savvy shopper suggests, "Even though they say it comes with 12 squares, you don't need a full square to clean [your AirPods], so you can pull a piece off or reuse a square with a side you haven't used!"

$12 at Amazon

6-pronged cleaning tool with microfiber cloth and spray nearby.
Use these micro brushes to sweep out debris from charging ports. (Photo: Amazon)

Next, use the Pure Port Multi-Tool Kit to clean and repair electronic inputs, cables and connectors on all your devices. If your devices seem to have stopped taking a charge reliably or you get the dreaded warning that the cable you have been using forever is all of a sudden "unsupported," this gadget may be the trick to fixing that. With its six tools in one, you can clear dust, lint, oils and more from lightning ports and repair oxidation and other hindrances on plug-in smartphone accessories.

One happy customer urges: "If you’re on the fence JUST DO IT. Sure it’s a premium price but you get what you paid for. I have a dozen cables and lightning accessories/adapters, and this got the job done. Not only did the headache of inconsistent charging go away but my HDMI adapter now works flawlessly." Another reports: "The guy at repair shop quoted me $130 to replace the port, so I've literally saved over $100."

$30 at Amazon

Start the new year off strong and leave the bum-accessory battle behind you. These two products will revive your nearly lifeless smartphone accessories and give you an all around smoother, more enjoyable experience.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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