Perhaps the most popular Apple product over the last year has been the AirPods wireless headphones. These headphones have been selling out almost as quickly as Apple gets them in stock.
Unfortunately, the $159 price tag is a bit of a pill to swallow, especially if you end up leaving the AirPods in the pocket of your favorite jeans. It’s time do laundry; you forget they are in there, and into the washing machine they go. Before you know it, you think it’s too late, and the AirPods could be ruined.
Are AirPods waterproof?
Before going over the different ways to help make sure that your AirPods are unharmed, let’s take a look at some precautions to take. First and foremost, you should know that there is no water indicator on these headphones, and there is no official water resistant rating.
This means that Apple does not acknowledge this product to be waterproof. Therefore, if you end up washing them, there is no easy way to tell how bad the damage is.
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Write down the Serial Number
One precaution that will come in handy is taking note of the serial number. You should do this for all of your tech products, as it’s needed for Apple to replace the charging case.
Locate the serial number on the underside of the AirPods case lid.
Another option is to follow these steps on your iPhone:
- Go to Settings
- Tap General
- Tap About
- Scroll down and select AirPods
This screen shows the serial number for your product.
If you have the original packaging or receipt, you can find the serial number next to the barcode or on the original receipt and invoice.
From here you will either want to take a screenshot, copy that number down to Notes, or keep it stored somewhere else.
With AirPods 2nd generation, each AirPod also has its own serial number, printed on the AirPod itself.
- If you need to send your AirPods or charging case in for service, refer to the primary serial number, printed on the case lid or on the packaging or receipt
- You don’t need to provide Apple Support the serial numbers on the AirPods themselves
What to do if they get wet?
Alright, so back to our original scenario. You’ve put your favorite jeans in the wash, while unknowingly leaving your AirPods in a pocket. The washing cycle completes, and your AirPods fall out while transferring laundry to the dryer.
Your first reaction is going to be devastation, as you likely think that your favorite headphones are done-zo. Before throwing them away and heading to buy another set, there are a few steps.
This situation actually happened to me. Although I didn’t leave the AirPods in the washing machine for the entire duration. My AirPods were left in the washer for about 15 minutes before I realized what happened.
After I stormed downstairs and retrieved them, I proceeded to grab a dry cotton swap and paper towel. Then I removed the AirPods from the charging case and started drying off everything that I could.
Do NOT plug them in within the first 12 hours after being submerged, as you may mess up the electrics inside the case. Instead, leave them out to dry overnight, after you have removed all of the water.
Try Silica Gel for wet Airpods
Chances are, you would think that a suggestion would be to use a bag of rice. However, there has been some debate about whether rice really removes the water from electronic devices.
Staying away from the argument in general, we are going to suggest using a chemical desiccant (drying agent) like silica gel packets.
These are the little bags that are usually shipped with electronic devices and are designed to absorb any moisture.
If you don’t have any of these sitting in your home, you can get pick up a pack of 20 from Amazon for just $8 with Prime shipping. You can also head to your local Walmart and see if there are any available in the store.
You will want to put your AirPods and case in a Ziploc bag with a few of these Silica Gel packets and leave them there for a day or two. If everything all goes to plan, you will be able to remove your AirPods, and everything will work properly.
Assuming the worst
So you have already run through the steps above and your, AirPods are still not functioning correctly. Since Apple does not offer AppleCare on the AirPods, you may feel like things can’t get any worse and will have to fork out another $159.
But if you take the AirPods and case to your local Apple store, you can still get these replaced individually. The case itself is priced at $69 from Apple, while each AirPod is $69 if defective.
If the AirPods are not under warranty, then it will be cheaper to buy a new set. If they are still under warranty, and you need to replace one of the AirPods, then you should be able to do so for no cost.
It’s probably a good idea to not mention that your headphones went through the washer, as Apple won’t replace these under warranty.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.