How to clean your headphone jack

You keep your phone or mp3 player in your pocket, where lint lives. Of course your headphone jack is going to get a little gnarly if your phone stays in your pocket and then you shove your jack into that little lint catcher!

You'll know your receiver jack has gotten dirty or damaged from this kind of use if the sound quality has noticeably dipped, or if there's an ongoing connectivity issue.

How do you fix this or clean your headphone jack?

In the same way that there's more than one way to milk a one legged cow (#gadgetimpactpun), there's a few ways that work when it comes to cleaning the headphone input. The most popular is using compressed air, next is the DIY micro lint roller, and finally the cotton swab. source

The cotton swab is a good trick to hold on to just to do routine maintenance. ​

Compressed Air

These things aren't just for turning upside down and spraying your friends with, you can actually get some real work done with them when used properly!

And it's pretty straight forward, just point the nozzle at the receiver or headphone jack, and spray away to get rid of all the nasties that were taking up residence in there. Viola! A clean receiver!​

DIY Micro Lint Roller​

If your inner Martha Stewart is flaring up, or that compressed air didn't do the trick, you can always DIY a cool micro lint roller out of a paper clip and some scotch tape.

First, straighten the paper clip out so it can easily go into the jack. Then wrap the tape around the end of the straight paperclip, except with the sticky side up. This might take you a few tries before you get it tight enough so that it won't fall off, but once it's on there tight and snug you'll be ready for the fun part.

Make sure the tape is wrapped as tight as possible, so that you can actually get it in the receiver.

Next just imagine you're bobbing for apples instead of rolling your shirt. Don't mash the paperclip in, just push it around and let it grab whatever it grabs. You might be surprised how much this thing pulls out of your seemingly clean headphone jack. 

Cotton Swab​

This one is a last ditch effort, as the part of the cotton swab that we're going to use can do some damage if you're not super careful with it.

​First, you're going to get your cotton swab, then you'll clip the cotton ball off of one tips of the cotton swab. Try to fray the end that you've just cut, so that it doesn't mess up the inside of the headphone jack.

If you need to, add a bit of rubbing alcohol to the ​frayed cut end, and clean away!


There are a few site's that recommend these methods below as useful ways to clean your headphone receiver. Except that they're not.

These two options could seriously damage your phone, and make the damage much more expensive to fix correctly. So please don't do them.​


Repeatedly Inserting Male End of Headphones

Cory H.

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