LG’s Tone+ Free earbuds have been available in South Korea for almost a year, but the tech giant has announced today (opens in new tab) that it’s bringing its self-cleaning earbuds to the US in July. The Tone+ Free true wireless earbuds are being rolled out with two models across European and American markets next month, according to LG. The HBS-FN6 and HBS-FN4 models both have clear and high-quality Meridian audio, but it’s inside the charging case of the more premium HBS-FN6 that you’ll find LG’s solution to earbud germs.
That’s right, LG’s Tone+ Free earbuds come with UVnano cleaning technology in the charging case, which promises to kill 99.9% of bacteria from the silicone ear gel and inner mesh of your earbuds.
According to LG, “studies have shown that earbuds can harbor more bacteria than a kitchen cutting board, leading to potential ear infections.” It never hurts to disinfect your phone, glasses, or anything else that you use regularly outside of the house, but the timing of LG’s newest release will be a welcome arrival to the coronavirus-conscious. “LG’s slim charging case keeps listeners’ ears cleaner by eliminating 99.9 percent of E. coli and S. aureus”.
The case also promises an hour of listening after only five minutes of charge, which is pretty impressive for even the best headphones (opens in new tab) on the market. Both HBS-FN6 and HBS-FN4 Tone+ Free models promise “protection against splashing water, rain and perspiration while working out.” They’ll also feature touch commands which allow you to pause, play, skip past songs, rewind, and turn the volume up and down without having to use your phone - great for workouts.
How to clean your earbuds, without UV
If you’re questioning the phrase ‘self-cleaning’, we’re right there with you. Although UV light is an effective way of killing germs and bacteria, LG’s new case won’t remove dirt, debris, or earwax from your earbuds. That’s still on you, we’re afraid. But LG’s newest release does raise an important point about the hygiene of your earbuds. After all, if something’s sitting in your ears every day you certainly don't want it to be carrying any nasties. If you’re looking at your Apple Airpods Pro (opens in new tab) with disgust, here’s how you can clean them.
To clean your earbuds you’ll need a rubbing alcohol wipe. You may have a few of these lying around for grocery store runs or sanitizing injuries, but if not you’ll find them in most drugstores. Wiping your earbuds thoroughly with an alcohol wipe will sanitize in a few seconds, and because it’s alcohol it should dissolve just as quickly.
There are also some hard-to-reach places which need attention. We’re talking the ear tips and mesh itself, where earwax and grime can become lodged after use. Use a cotton bud or toothpick to remove anything you see lurking, but remove from the earbud itself if you’re going to wash, as you don’t want to cause any damage.
To find out where else germs could be lurking, check out our guide on how to deep clean your home (opens in new tab) and how to clean your mattress to help it last longer (opens in new tab).