Just bought a pair of headphones you love and want to keep them looking and sounding as good as new? Or perhaps you own a pair that could use a boost in the bass or treble departments. Maybe you have excellent earphones, but aren’t taking the proper steps to clean them. Whatever the case, you’ve come to the right place. These basic tips will help you get the most out of your headphones, ensuring they sound their best and remain in tip-top shape for years to come.
1. Be Careful With Your Cable
Perhaps the most important rule of headphone maintenance is: Mind the cable. Or rather, wind the cable. Looping the cable around a few fingers so that it follows its natural coil (and then storing it this way) will help avoid internal cable damage. Wadding a cable up will likely create kinks and breakage points over time, even if the outside of the cord appears undamaged.
For earphones, keeping the cable wound is about as simple as using the storage pouch that comes with most pairs—they’re usually designed to hold a cable that’s been coiled. For headphones, it can be a little trickier if they are large. If the cable is detachable—a huge plus, when comparing models while shopping—removing the cable and winding it up, then securing it with a twist tie or velcro wrap will go a long way toward prolonging its life. If you can’t remove the cable, winding it and tying it is still recommended, but leave some slack near the earcups, which will allow for better in-case storage, and also help prevent any tension at connection points.
Eventually, most cables will wither with repeated use—hence, replaceable cables offer a chance to extend the life of your purchase. Regardless, if you take care of the cable and resist the temptation to simply wad it up, it’ll likely function without fail for several years (and you’ll spend far fewer cumulative hours of your life detangling cords).
Note that this advice also applies to wireless and exercise-friendly headphones, though there’s a lot less cord to worry about. To avoid cord complications completely, consider a pair of truly wireless headphones.