How To Keep Headphones From Tangling

By Gina

Nowadays, most of us are unable to leave the house without our headphones, making them just as important as our phone chargers.

Unfortunately, they’re also the accessory that we mistreat the most. Whether it’s wrapping them up too tight or just carelessly throwing them in our bags, we often (unknowingly) reduce their lifespan. 

Too many of us are all too familiar with pulling our headphones out of pockets or bags, only to find that they’re a tangled mess.

Often when we frantically start pulling them apart, we only make the knots messier, and they become even harder to pull apart.

It’s the everyday equivalent of trying to detangle your lights each Christmas because you didn’t put them away properly the year before. 

Luckily, there are few handy hacks to make sure your headphones stay untangled, and make them easier to find in your bag. 

1. Make The Figure Eight 

This is probably the most popular way of putting your headphones away after using them. Instead of rolling your earphones up into a ball, loosely wrap the wires around your fingers so that they won’t get damaged or tangled. 

Firstly, start wrapping the cord around four of your fingers. Leave some of the wire spare so you can start wrapping it horizontally – your headphones should start resembling a bow tie or will look a bit like the number 8.

Once you’ve wrapped all the cord, you’re good to go. To unwrap, begin unravelling the horizontal twists, and soon your headphones will be free again!

2. Use Your Phone 

Another simple and quick way of preventing your headphones from becoming tangled is to use your phone. Simply wind the cable around your phone again and again.

When you get to the end of the cord, tuck the jack into the coils to prevent it from unravelling. Not only will this keep your earphones in one place, it will also make sure your phone doesn’t slip out of your pocket.

There is a downside to this method, however, and that is that you won’t be able to use your phone quickly whilst your earphones are wrapped around it.

That’s just something to keep in mind if you do use this method. 

3. Make The Cord Stronger 

This is another easy fix that won’t only stop your headphones from getting tangled, but should also help them last longer.

You will need some materials though, so grab some embroidery thread, a pair of scissors and a bit of free time. 

Start by making knots using the thread over the entire cable length – but be sure to avoid the microphone. You can even add more of a personal flair by using different colored threads to make a pattern.

Now that you’ve reinforced the cable with the thread, no matter how carelessly you throw your headphones into your bag, they shouldn’t get tangled or broken. 

4. Use A Binder Clip 

Binder clips have more uses than just securing a pile of papers together. This is another quick wrapping technique that serves a dual purpose. Grab a medium sized binder clip and your earphones.

Feed the cord through the metal clip until you get to the actual earphones – you want to leave this out. Proceed to wrap the cord around the prongs until there is no more cable left, and voilá – you’re done. 

You can also use the clip to help reduce the length of the cable by clipping it to your shirt or bag. This is particularly handy when taking a phone call. 

5. Use an Old Credit Card 

You don’t have to necessarily use an old credit card, even an expired loyalty card or a piece of cardboard will do. Just make sure you’re not using anything important. Next you’ll need a pair of scissors.

Cut the card into the shape of a sand-timer – keep the middle quite thick. Then punch two holes on either end of the card, and cut a small incision from the hole to the end of the card.

One hole will be for the earbuds and one will be for the jack. Once you have the earbuds secured in one of the holes, start wrapping the cord around the center of the card, over and over.

Once you’re at the end of the card, pull the jack through the other hole. Your head phones will stay secure until the next time you need them!

6. Alternate Wrapping

This is a pretty similar method as to how you would wrap larger cables (like laptop chargers). Wrap the cable around your fingers in alternate loops, making sure each loop is in a different direction.

Once you’re towards the end of the cable, wrap the remaining length over the bundle and weave out the ends. 

7. Use a Rubber/Elastic Band

Another simple method is to use a good old elastic band to secure your headphones. Firstly, use either the figure eight or alternate wrapping method to tidy away your headphones.

Once done, tie a rubber band over the headphones, or weave it through the loops to keep them secure. You’ll find your headphones will never come undone by themselves again! 

8. Double Fold and Knot 

This is probably one of the most simple of all the techniques and requires very little effort. Take the entire length of the headphones and fold the cables in half. Now repeat. Once that’s done, tie the cables into a knot. 

This is a pretty convenient technique, and it’s unlikely that your headphones will come undone once they’ve been tied up.

However, it may not be the best technique to use if you want to prolong the lifespan of your earphones. 

How to Untangle Your Headphone Cords

Often when our headphones are tangled, we are in a rush and don’t have time to sort them out. If you want to protect your headphones, it’s important to detangle them properly.

  • Spread your headphones on a flat surface – make sure they’re unplugged from your devices.
  • Find the audio jack and carefully follow the cord to the end of the nearest loop. If you have earphones be sure to locate the individual earbuds too.
  • Slowly begin to untangle by pulling the knots apart with your fingers (you may need to use a pen/pencil to help loosen tight knots).
  • Repeat until all knots are open and the cord is untangled.