How to Fix Water-Damaged Headphones Safely & Effectively

All it takes is one misfortune to find yourself with water-damaged headphones — or worse, headphones wholly submerged in water. How can you restore and repair your beloved headphones if an accident ever strikes? The answer doesn’t have to be expensive.

Today, we’ll explore how you can bring those beloved headphones back to working condition, even after they’ve been temporally incapacitated by the ravages of water damage. With the proper knowledge and safety measures, you can restore and repair headphones submerged in water in no time.

So whether you accidentally got caught in the rain or left your headphones feeling the burn of liquid destruction, there’s no need to panic—we’ve compiled all the information you need to recover water-damaged headphones. From separating components and letting them dry to treating circuitry—let’s uncover the best tips and tricks to fix headphones damaged by water.

Steps to dry a wet headphone and repair it from water damage

If your headphones have gotten wet, don’t fret – with some work, you can restore water-damaged headphones. Here’s how:

  • Disassemble the headphone to facilitate drying, and wipe all internal parts with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Dilute the water inside the headphones with distilled water, then shake the headphones to remove any excess. Use a towel, soft cloth, or microfiber to remove droplets, dirt, oils, and sweat built up on the headphones.
  • To reduce drying time, store the headphones in a small container with a bag of desiccant, preferably one containing silica gel. Alternatively, use dry uncooked rice as a desiccant. Even without silica gel, you can use the uncooked rice method to repair water-damaged headphones by placing them in an airtight container or bag together with the rice.
  • Drying headphones exposed to moisture can be a long-drawn process that requires patience. If the headphones cannot be disassembled, the drying process can last up to seven days for proper drying.
  • Use a spray lubricant for water like WD-40

Disassemble the headphones

Removing headphones can be daunting, but it is necessary to completely remove water from the inside. There is no single approach to dismantling the headphones or earbuds; this will depend on the make and model:

  • Expertise: You may need a specialized set of tools to remove your headphones effectively.
  • Research: Spend some time researching the make and model, so you understand its complications better.
  • Careful: Take time to dismantle each part properly; this is a delicate process.

Dilute the corrosive water inside the headphones with distilled water

Distilled water—characterized by its purer and tasteless nature—undergoes rigorous purification processes, making it the go-to choice for diluting the water lodged in earbuds/headsets. This process yields multiple advantages:

  • No short circuits—short circuits are not a thread due to distilled water’s absent electrical conductivity.
  • Degradation of metal surfaces—reduced due to lack of corrosive properties
  • Subsidence of device’s fluid circuits—diminish with its unadulterated compositions

Overall, this purification process ensures the long-term health of these delicate audio devices.

To minimize the damage created by the sweat, impurities, and chemicals inside the water that your headphones are exposed to, rinse the headphones with distilled water to ensure complete cleaning. This ensures that all dirt, chemicals, and other pollutants don’t compromise the device’s performance.

Now that the headphones are disassembled and the components diluted with distilled water, the drying process begins.

Dry headphones exposed to water

Air-drying wet headphones using a blow-dryer is a slow and unreliable way to bring water-damaged headphones back to life. However, the best ways to dry your wet headphones and prevent permanent damage is to:

  • Wipe away any visible moisture on the surface of your headphones using a microfiber cloth or towel.
  • Store the headphones in an airtight container or bag with dry uncooked rice or silica gel as a desiccant and leave them there for 48 hours.
  • Place the headphones near the dehumidifier
  • Wait** patiently while the dehumidifier *absorbs* the water inside the headphones.
  • Once all the moisture has been removed, ensure your headphones are completely dry before using.

What not to do when fixing headphones or earbuds damaged by water

Water damage to headphones or earbuds can be seemingly debilitating, often leading people to make impulsive but ineffective choices when attempting to resolve the issue.

To avoid further damaging the device, one must be mindful of some do’s and don’ts–never expose submerged headphones to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures; ensure they are entirely dry before turning on; and stay away from humid areas.

Furthermore, don’t use a microwave oven, a blow dryer, or any other heating method–to accelerant the drying process; this could result in irreparable damage.

Don’t expose submerged headphones to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures

Leaving headphones in extreme temperatures—be it freezing (below 32˚F or 0˚C) or hot—can cause harmful effects. Here are some of the potential damages:

  • UV rays from direct sunlight can degrade the material of the headphones.
  • Sudden drastically changes in temperature can cause the solder connections to crack or the main electronics to fail.

Headphone users should always be mindful of not leaving their precious headphones in unfavorable conditions.

Ensure Headphones are Completely Dry Before Turning them On

It is essential to ensure that the headphones are completely dry prior to turning them on. Failure to do so can result in damage to the electric components of the device, as well as cause corrosion, short circuit, and other physical issues.

Ensuring headphones are completely dry before turning them on is essential—otherwise, damage to the electric components and physical issues, such as corrosion and short circuits, could occur.

To ensure proper precaution:

  • Make sure the headphones are dry
  • Do not plug them into audio devices or power sources
  • Wait until necessary fixes are applied

It may be tempting to forgo these precautions, but investing in safety is paramount; failure to do so can result in unfortunate consequences. Thus, make sure the headphones are flawlessly dry before turning them on to avoid any regrettable mishaps.

Keep Away from Humid Areas

Don’t leave the headphones in the bathroom or in humid areas. Humidity can damage headphones and even cause them to stop working—so it’s essential to keep them away from humid areas.

Generally, anything over 50% humidity can slowly cause damage, including corrosion on internal parts.

Maintaining headphones and helping them work like new can be achieved with proper care and storage. Here are some tips to ensure lasting quality:

  • Store them in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight—to avoid condensation.
  • Don’t let your headphones in the car, as the heat build-up can cause damage.
  • Most importantly, never forget your earphones in your jeans’ pockets during laundry day!

Never Use a Microwave Oven or blow dryer to dry out the headphones

Never attempt to use a microwave oven or blow dryer—these devices are not designed to be used on electronic parts. They can easily damage the delicate interior wiring and plastic components.

When you put the headphones inside the microwave oven, the battery will likely explode, the electronic components can be ruined, the plastic parts can be melted, heat can damage the delicate wiring within, and if that’s not enough, the headphones won’t dry out.

To safely dry out headphones following wet exposure, one should follow our advice in the how to fix water-damaged headphones section.

Fixing Water-Damaged Earbuds

Many TWS earbuds and sports headphones come with a waterproof membrane that protects against short-term liquid contact. The IP rating is the label defining the level of water protection, with the highest number displaying the highest protection. At times, the score can reach such pinnacle heights that the manufacturers even guarantee protection against water immersion up to 6 feet depth:

Thus far, it’s possible that water exposure hasn’t caused permanent damage to your earbuds. Nevertheless, you still need to take the necessary precautions to restore your headphones.

Unlike regular-size headphones, most earbuds cannot be disassembled, but that doesn’t mean it requires a different procedure for water damage repair.

As with any headphone repair, the primary procedure for repairing water-damaged earbuds is as follows:

  • Quickly handle the audio device with the holes in the mesh pointing downwards.
  • Vigorously shake to remove any liquid.
  • Place the headphones and water-absorbent material, like silica gel or rice, in a airtight container and allow to dry.
  • Utilize a dehumidifier to aid in the drying process.
  • Test the device once done and replace it as necessary.

Best Prevention Tactics to Keep Headphones Safe from Water

Water damage can be an alarming issue for audio devices like headphones—it can destroy delicate components and render them unusable. To avoid water damaging your headphones, you should employ these methods:

  • Store headphones in an airtight container
  • Water-eject feature for Apple headphones
  • Always keep headphones in a dry place
  • Prioritize waterproof or water-resistant headphones

With these precautions, your headphones will be protected from water damage for a long time. Let’s dive deeper into the specifics of each prevention measure.

Store the headphones in an airtight and waterproof case

Headphones should be stored in airtight and waterproof cases, such as hard plastic, rubber, or PU leather case–to prevent moisture damage. Furthermore, by storing headphones in an impermeable case, the audio quality of the headphones can be maintained over time.

Water Eject feature for Apple headphones

Apple headphones generally come with a water-eject feature that helps eject liquid from inside the device by generating low-frequency vibrations. If the earphones get splashed, or water seeps inside, this feature helps protect the delicate internal components from short-circuiting.

To fix water-damaged AirPods, apple users have an ace up their sleeves: the water-eject feature.

To activate Water-eject on AirPods, follow the instructions:

  • Download the Shortcuts Gallery app on your iPhone
  • Pair your AirPods with your phone
  • Search for the Water Eject button to expel the water and tap on it

Always keep headphones in a dry place

Headphones are sensitive electronic products and must be protected from moisture at all times. To do so—especially in humid areas—you can employ several tactics.

These may include: avoiding hot and steamy areas such as bathrooms, saunas, and pools; using Bluetooth headphones in areas with low humidity; and storing headphones in a dry spot after use.

Additionally, keep headphone parts free from liquid or condensation to ensure longevity. Taking these few precautions can preserve your headphones from unwanted moisture damage.

Prioritize waterproof or water-resistant headphones

If you are in scenarios where you need to listen to music while exposed to the elements, investing in a pair of waterproof or water-resistant headphones is the best way to protect then from water damage.

FAQ about fixing headphones submerged in water

Can you repair a water damaged headphone, and how?

Yes, it is possible to fix water-damaged headphones—though it is not an easy or short process—requiring patience and know-how.

Below are some general steps to follow in the process:

  • Unplug the headphones from any source.
  • Let the headphones air-dry for a few days.
  • Open up the casing and remove the wet components.
  • Carefully inspect for water damage and corrosion.
  • If any electronics need replacing, order new parts.
  • Carefully clean and dry the new parts.
  • Reassemble the headphone and test the new parts.
  • Give the headphones a final check for any deep residual moisture.

If done correctly, these steps should restore your headphones and provide clear, audible quality once more.

What to do if your headphones fall in the water?

If your headphones fall in water, it can be a devastating event—but not all hope is lost! Whether you’re talking about regular-size headphones, Bluetooth earphones, or water-resistant sports headphones, how you should handle the situation is as follows:

  1. Turn off and unplug your headphones (also don’t charge them)
  2. Assess the situation by answering yourself to these questions:
    • What headphone model do you have?
    • Are they protected from water? If so, what does the protection entail?
    • What body of water did your headphones fall into? Was it a pool, lake, glass of water, or sink?
  3. Take action!

If the headphones aren’t water-resistant, clean them carefully with a soft, damp cloth and put them in a plastic bag with uncooked rice. Do not put the headphones near a heat source, as this could cause damage.

Depending on the water to which the headphones are now exposed, the following methods could be used:

  • Chlorinated or salt water: You must use distilled water to rinse the headphones immediately after exposure. Do not dry the headphones before rinsing; they will stay damp, allowing the salt or chlorine to remain and potentially corrode internal components.
  • Freshwater: If the water is not chlorinated or salty, lightly dry it with a soft cloth and allow it to dry completely with the uncooked rice method.

Inspect the headphones for signs of corrosion or damage and contact the manufacturer for assistance if necessary.

These steps can help save your headphones from water damage!


Although water-damaged headphones may seem hopelessly damaged, these towering issues don’t always require stark measures. As we learned in this article, one can restore headphones effectively and safely with our techniques.

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