One thing that all earbud users can agree on is that earwax is a nuisance. While it serves a vital function for your ear health, it does no favors for your favorite pair of buds. For some reason, it seems that wireless earbuds collect more wax than their wired counterparts.
That means cleaning them should be a regular task—unless you don’t mind living like Shrek. However, keeping your earbuds clean isn’t as easy as it sounds. Getting into the nooks and crannies can be challenging, time-consuming, and gross.
Now, there is a tiny washing machine that you can put your AirPods in to keep them clean. Yes, this is a real product.
Imagine having to wash all of your clothes by hand. That’s basically unheard of today thanks to washing machines. That’s what the team behind the Cardlax envisions for its earbud washer. The small device even looks like a top-loading washing machine.
Upon opening the lid, users will find a soft brush that they can use to get large chunks of debris off their headphones. Once the washer is powered on, the brush rotates to make cleaning a breeze. The interior consists of a round makeup sponge that spins and tumbles the earbuds.
Users spray the inside of the washer with an anti-bacterial spray or rubbing alcohol and then place their earbuds inside. Then, after it’s powered on, the device spins them around to clean off any remaining dirt and grime. The company claims that the washer makes earbuds sound better by removing earwax and oily substances. Of course, how noticeable the change is likely depends on how dirty your buds were in the first place.
The Cardlax washer itself is powered by a USB-C cable, which is a nice touch for such a simple gadget.
While the team behind the mini washer is clearly targeting AirPods users with this product, it also claims that the device is compatible with “99 percent” of all wireless earbuds.
Based on the Cardlax washer’s specs and the team’s Kickstarter video, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of magic cleaning power. It’s likely that you could achieve similar results in roughly the same amount of time using something like a Q-tip and cleaning cloth.
That being said, the allure of the tiny washing machine is certainly interesting. It seems like something that would make a good gift for someone that enjoys desk trinkets or random gadgets that are also slightly useful.
That being said, support for the Cardlax is strong. The washer’s Kickstarter page quickly surpassed its $5,000 funding goal. At the time of this writing, it is just under $54,000. Nearly 1,300 backers have contributed to the campaign.
If you find yourself with a pair of nasty earbuds that need a deep clean, perhaps the Cardlax is worth a look. Otherwise, it’s at least entertaining to watch the tiny washer do it’s thing.