How to Clean a Headphone Jack in 4 Easy Steps

Feb 15, 2020
We live in a digital world where mobile phones and other gadgets are becoming an integral part of our lives. We use our devices not only for communication but also for entertainment purposes.

However, playing mobile games with the sounds on or watching videos out loud may distract the person next to you. Fortunately, you can enjoy the sounds by yourself without disturbing anyone. You just need to have headphones.

However, you can only use your headphones if the headphone jack is clean. Fortunately, you can clean the socket without the help of a professional. But before we talk about how to clean the headphone jack, you need to know the purpose of this device.

How to Clean an Audio Jack

How to Clean a Headphone Jack in 4 Easy Steps

What Is a Headphone Jack?

What Is a Headphone JackA headphone jack, otherwise known as a phone connector, is an analog socket used for plugging earphones, headsets, and headphones. It comes in different sizes, depending on its use.

The 3.5 and 2.5 mm. jacks are for smartphones and dumbphones (an old cellphone). Meanwhile, the 6.3 mm. socket is for home theaters and stereos.

Different Uses of Headphone Jacks

We use headphone jacks to connect our headphones to our devices. That way, we can enjoy the music we play or the movies we watch. However, there are other purposes for phone connectors. Listed below are the different uses of headphone jacks:

  • For Video and Audio Output – These headphone jacks allow for clearer video and audio display. That way, you can watch TV shows or films clearly and without any hassle.
  • For Headsets and Hands-Free Sets – These phone connectors allow you to make a call or answer a call without picking up the phone, such as when you’re on the road.
  • For Audio Recording Purposes – These old school connectors are often plugged into cassette recorders so you can record your voice. Additionally, you can switch the power supply of your recorder if you are using a remote control.
  • For Personal Computers (PCs) with Sound Cards – The stereo 3.5 mm jacks for PCs have different purposes. You can use these connectors for the line in, line out, loudspeakers or headphones, and even microphone inputs.
  • For Musical Instruments – These audio jacks are used to help boost the sound of musical instruments. That way, the audience can hear the music clearly no matter how far they are from the stage.

Other uses of headphone jacks include connecting two devices, flash synchronization, and more.

How to Clean a Headphone Jack

Cleaning the headphone jack is easy. All you need is a cotton swab to clean the headphone socket of your phone. To do this, you need to follow these instructions on how to clean a headphone jack properly:

1. Turn off Your Phone

Turn off Your Phone

If you are using an iPhone, you need to press and hold the power button on the side of your mobile device. Swipe the “Slide to Power off” switch to turn off your phone.

However, if you are using an older version of the iPhone like the iPhone 5, the power button is at the top of the mobile phone. Repeat the same procedure to turn off your gadget.

2. Get a Q-Tip

Get a Q-Tip

Grit and dust buildup can cause problems with your headphone jack. Your phone can get stuck in a headphone mode or worse; it can cause headphone damage. To prevent these issues, you may use a  cotton swab to remove grit and dust buildup.

If your phone is an iPhone 7, you need to trim the top three-quarters of the cotton swab. That way, it can fit into the port of the device at the bottom of your phone.

3. Insert the Cotton Swab into the Jack

Insert the Cotton Swab into the Jack

When inserting the cotton swab, you need to do it gently. Otherwise, it may cause damage to your phone rather than fix it.

4. Twirl the Cotton Swab and then Remove It

Twirl the Cotton Swab and then Remove It

Once the cotton swab is in the jack, you need to rotate it within the port. Doing this will eliminate some grits and dust from the jack. However, you need to repeat this procedure several times until the socket is a hundred percent clean.

Other Ways to Properly Clean Your Headphone Jack

Clean Your Headphone Jack

Aside from cotton swabs, there are other ways to clean your jack. Listed below are a few tips on how to clean a headphone jack with other methods.

1. A Compressed Air Can

One way to clean your headphone jack is to use a can of compressed air. This tool blows out dust and particles in the jack. Hence, you do not need to insert any object to clean the socket.

Aside from cleaning the phone’s headset socket, you can also use it to clean fans and hard drives.3

2. Alcohol

Some people do not like this idea because they are afraid that it can damage the phone. But with proper care, you can use alcohol to remove dust and dirt from your headphone jack.

The process of cleaning the headphone socket with alcohol is almost the same as the cotton swab method. You need to cut the top three-quarters of the cotton swab so that it will fit in the jack. Wet the cotton swab with rubbing alcohol. Make sure that it is damp but not too soaked.

Stick it inside the jack and twist the cotton swab to wipe all sides of the port. Make sure to turn off your phone when cleaning the socket. Let the plug dry before turning on your phone to avoid malfunction.

3. Paper Clip

Like cotton swabs, paper clips do not have sharp edges. This means you can use it to remove large particles in your phone’s socket. To do this, you need to wrap the edge of the paper clip with a piece of tape after you unfold it. It makes it easier to remove all the unwanted particles inside the jack. However, you need to do this with caution because it can damage your mobile phone if done incorrectly.


Giving your phone the proper care and maintenance does not end with cleaning the screen or covering it with a phone case. The headphone jack should also be cleaned. That way, you can plug in your headphones without a problem.

However, you need to be careful when cleaning the phone socket. Knowing how to clean the headphone jack properly will keep all phone plug problems at bay.




Iron Horse Trading
Enable registration in settings - general