Earphones are one of the most popular audio devices for listening to audio, but often suffer from tangled cables from poor storage. Wrapping them tightly, leaving them tangled, or not handling them with care puts your earphones at risk of permanent damage. Plus, untangling the mess of tangled earphone cables can be overly tedious and annoying, especially if it’s a persistent issue.
How do I store earphones tangle-free without damaging them? Earphones/earbuds can be stored safely and tangle-free by coiling them correctly, using various objects to wrap them around, having a way of holding them together once coiled properly, and/or keeping them in a protective case.
In this article, we’ll consider 7 techniques to keep your wired earphones tangle-free (and damage-free) when stored to help increase their longevity and decrease your frustration. The 7 techniques are as follows:
- Use The 8-Fold Method
- Store Them In Tin Cases
- Craft An Earphone Holder From A Hard Card
- Use A Binder Clip
- Wrap Them Around Your Phone
- Use The Over-Under Coiling Method
- Use A Velcro Or An Adhesive Fabric Tape
The key is to make sure that you don’t wrap your earphones in random ways, instead follow some tried-and-tested methods to keep them functioning properly. At the same time, it’s important to store them at a proper place where the sensitive cords don’t get roughly pulled and don’t lie under any unnecessary weight. A handful of tips and folding techniques can come in handy in getting rid of the hassle of untangling them every time you want to work or listen to music.
A Note On Wireless Earphones
Before we get started, I should mention the obvious. Perhaps the best way to avoid tangling earphone wires to eliminate them completely.
Apple was the first big company to start the trend of discontinuation of the headphone jack in their products. To keep up with the market, many headphone companies now offer wireless and true wireless earphones.
Wireless earphones connect to audio devices wirelessly though the two earpieces are connected physically.
The Sony WI-SP600N (link to check the price on Amazon) is an example of a pair of wireless earphones.
True wireless earphones connect wirelessly to audio devices and are made up of two completely separate earpieces.
The TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 (link to check the price on Amazon) is an example of true wireless earphones.
The Sony WI-SP600N and TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 are both featured in My New Microphone’s Top 5 Best Noise Cancelling Earphones Under $100.
Wireless earphones are much less likely to get tangled as there is far less cable to be concerned with. True wireless, on the other hand, cannot get tangle and even come with their own storage/charging cases for easy and safe storage.
So if you’re frustrated with chronically tangled earphones and your audio device(s) can connect wirelessly (typically via Bluetooth), then opting for a pair of true wireless earphones can solve your issues.
That being said, if you’re set on keeping your wired earphones and want to store them tangle/damage-free, please continue on!
Related My New Microphone articles:
• How Do Wireless Headphones Work? + Bluetooth & True Wireless
• An In-Depth Look Into How Headphone Cables Carry Audio
Use The 8-Fold Method
Making the 8-fold loop is a common technique of storing your earphones tangle-free. The idea is to fold the cable into a figure-8 shape. Begin by folding the two earbuds between your palm and thumb, further wrapping the remaining cord around your fingers until no more than 2 inches of the earphone cables are left.
Slide the folded cable out of your hand and use your thumb and index finger to hold it in the middle. Use the rest of the cord to wrap around the section you are holding until you get a firm 8-shaped earphone cable. Once you make a figure-8 loop of the cable, you can store your earphones in a bag, a box or even your pocket without getting them tangled.
Store Them In Tin Cases
Apart from storing treats and small items around the house, tin cases can store earbuds, too, while keeping them tangle-free. Wrap the earphones appropriately and place them inside the tin case.
Even if you throw them inside a bag and carry it along, the earphones are likely to remain untangled and will undoubtedly be protected from most practical potential damage. The other stuff inside your bag won’t crush or damage the earphones as tin is durable and can easily withstand wear and tear.
The famed Altoids Peppermints tin can (link to check the price on Amazon) is an excellent example of such storage.
Craft An Earphone Holder From A Hard Card
If you have an old or expired card (a credit/bank card-style card preferably without personal information), you can turn it into a one-of-a-kind earphone holder. This is a cost-effective way to store earphones tangle-free without causing damage to them.
Make two holes in one of the short ends of the card according to the size of the earbuds. Cut a line from the holes to the card’s outer edge. This will be used for sliding the earphones and their cable into the hole.
Make a smaller hole in the opposite end of the card, sized right to insert the earbud plug. Cut a thin channel from the card’s bottom edge to the hole for the plug.
Wrap the rest of the cable around the card when storing the earphones away.
Use A Binder Clip
A binder clip and an easy wrapping technique can make sure you never have tangles on the cords of your earbuds.
The idea is to wrap the length of the earphone cord around the centre part of the binder clip. Some smaller clips will even allow the earpieces to fit snuggly at the far end of the clip. Once fitted properly, the binder clip can be clipped to a desk, within a bag or even on clothing for storage/transport.
Wrap Them Around Your Phone
Using your phone to keep those cords tangle-free is a perfect option for those who don’t want to manage a lot of tying, looping and twisting. Wrap the cable around your phone, ensuring the ends are tucked beneath the bulk. It’s best to unplug the earphones when doing so to remove any strain on the cable and headphone jack.
It surely is very handy, but some find this method a little inconvenient as it increases the width of the phone and it may not fit in one’s pocket. However, there’s a simple solution to the same – wrap the cord around the length of your phone instead.
Use The Over-Under Coiling Method
The over-under technique of wrapping cables is essential in the world of broadcast and live entertainment. It’s an effective way of storing cables tangle-free and makes it easy to use them the next time they’re required. This same technique can be used with earphones (it’s how I cable pretty much every – out of habit – except power cables).
We often tend to follow the coil of the earphone cable to wrap them, and this ends up tangling them as each coil is likely to leave a twist. The over-under Coiling method works wonders in preventing this tangling.
To learn this technique, hold the end of the cable in your non-dominant hand. Grab the cable with your dominant hand, palms facing outward, and thumb pointed down. Bring your hand upward so that your palm faces inward and tumb point up, and make the first loop. Follow this process until the cable is wrapped. Notice how you put a slight twist in the cable each time you loop it.
Once learned, it’s easy to simply twist the relatively small earphone cable between your fingers during each loop. The extravagant movements described above are useful for learned (and for cabling 150-foot XLRs after a sporting event) but aren’t necessary with earphone cables.
Use A Velcro Or An Adhesive Fabric Tape
Another great way to keep your earphone cables tangle-free is to employ Velcro tape or any other adhesive fabric tape at home. A tiny strip of Velcro or adhesive tape will suffice to get the task done – all you need to do is wrap it around the neck of the earbud jack while leaving a certain length of the Velcro. Next, wrap the cable in a circular motion and use the remaining length of the Velcro to hold it in place.