The next time you find yourself listening to music with your favorite pair of earbuds, stop, pull them out, and give them a close look. If you’re in a similar position that I found myself right before writing this article, you’re going to be staring at some gnarly chunks of earwax and who knows whatever else.
I realized just how dirty my AirPods were when I got a sample of the up-coming Podwand cleaning kit. In hindsight, I don’t think my earbuds were fit for audio consumption but I can happily report that I (or, more accurately: Podwand) rectified the situation.
I’m a clean person. My sink is rarely ever full, I take the trash out regularly, I keep things picked up. Yet I realized that I haven’t been giving my earbuds a second thought. Once I noticed just how nasty they were (and had some painful flashbacks of childhood ear infections) I realized just how important it is to keep them clean.
Now, you might be tempted to just use q-tips. I gave some q-tips a try alongside Podwand, cleaning one bud with each. I noticed that the q-tips were doing a poor job getting all the gunk out and were leaving little fibers behind that I didn’t particularly want in my ears. I thought about rinsing the bud out in the sink but ++$100 earbuds and water don’t sound like a good combination.
But hey, in the modern economy, if there’s a pain or need there’s almost certainly a solution. And that’s how Podwand turned up at my doorstep.
Podwand promises to deliver the cleanest, clearest, and loudest AirPods. In my experience, Podwand did manage to revitalize my unsightly earbuds. There were no fibers left behind, ear wax was quickly removed, and the solution quickly evaporated. At the end of my cleaning session, my earbuds probably hadn’t been as clean since the first time I popped them into my ear.
Given that AirPods have become one of Apple’s most successful products, with over a hundred million sold and are selling tens of millions each year, Podwand scratches a serious itch. And just figure how people have other brands of earbuds. There may well be a billion or more pairs of earbuds floating around, with many of them in a desperate need of a clean.
Podwand can be used to clean other electronics as well, including smartphones and cameras. You can even clean e-cigarettes, including Juul e-cigs. Before typing this review up, I used my sample to scrub away some stubborn stains stuck between my keys. Worked like a charm. Podwand should be available in 7-11, Walgreens, Target and elsewhere by the end of the year.
In its own subtle ways, Podwand reminds me of the times we live in and the tremendous technological progress we’ve made. I get it, that sounds dramatic and I perhaps sound a bit crazy but think about it. At first glance, the Podwand looks very similar to a q-tip. However, the commonalities run only skin deep while the innovation runs much deeper.
The tip at the end of a q-tip is too rounded and the fibers aren’t good for ears. So why not get rid of the fibers and modify the tip? Meanwhile, earwax can be stubborn and sometimes force isn’t enough. Okay, why not use a solution that breaks down earwax, dust, and other particles but is still safe for electronics?
Somebody, at some point, sat down and thought all of this out. Their thought process might have started out a lot like mine when I was inspired to write this article. They probably noticed how dirty their earbuds were and decided to do something about it. (I did the same, except my ambitions were limited to writing a review, not inventing a new product.)
That somebody, by the way, is Fam Mirza, a well-known entrepreneur and product designer who has shipped over a million units of other products. Mirza approaches entrepreneurship by trying to find “gaps” in the market where new solutions can add value and maybe even make the world a better place.
At first glance, a humble cleaning product might not seem like the product that a branding maestro would latch onto. But many of the best brands aren’t all that sexy or necessarily revolutionary. Instead, they solve pains and make a difference in our daily lives.
And for Mirza specifically, it’s about making our lives easier. Mirza is aiming for Podwand to be available in gas stations and convenience stores nation-wide by the end of the year. Once they are widely available, everyone will be able to enjoy Podwand, restoring their earbuds to like new (or at least uber clean) condition.
At the very least, you won’t be questioning your life’s decisions when slipping buds into your ears.