Another great trick which I only discovered tonight is to soak the difficult earbud in 90% concentrated rubbing alcohol for several minutes (the longer the better). First I tried gently brushing the mesh within the bud as I learned here. That proved only somewhat beneficial in terms of removing some of the surface wax. I then tested the bud but it was virtually unimproved. Next I tried taking a Q-Tip dabbed in 90% rubbing alcohol. That removed even more wax as noticed by the Q-Tip swab itself and by the waxy residue that accumulated around the inner edges of the bud but again, there was only a slight improvement. After that I tried dabbing the toothbrush head in 90% rubbing alcohol and vigorously scrubbing the bud. Again, that was only a minor improvement. The power of deductive reasoning told me that alcohol is clearly needed but the question as to the method needed to remove the ultra thin layer of wax that had accumulated deep within the mess itself remained. Since I have four pairs of Apple buds, two of which work perfectly, I had nothing to lose so I soaked the problem right ear bud in alcohol. The exact process I used is simply. First, get a VERY shallow saucer or other dish that will enable you to ONLY soak the tip of the bud where the mesh is soaking but only the mesh. In my case I lucked out in that my ex-wife bought tiny little square saucers with the initial of my last name etched on the inside bottom. The dish was PERFECT because it was not only shallow and square but was very small (about 3.5 - 4 inches square). Also, the dish was mostly flat however the edges of the dish were raised slightly and sculpted thereby creating a perfect place for the cord to rest which allowed me to perfectly position the bud into the alcohol (i.e. a 90 degree angle to the bottom of the dish). As a result, and the important thing to achieve, is that only the immediate mesh was soaking and not the entire earbud. After about 20 minutes of soak time I removed the bud from the dish then vigorously shook the earbud using a downward flicking motion similar to what you'd do if trying to force the mercury in a non-digital thermometer to the bottom. By using said motion it forces any remaining alcohol out and avoids contact with the functioning parts within the bud. It should be noted that it's best to use 90% concentration rubbing alcohol or higher because isopropyl alcohol evaporates almost instantly and, as such, should any alcohol run down into the functional components of the bud it will not cause any damage. But all that said, the ultimate solution that returned my earbuds to new condition was the blowing/sucking method.
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