4 Quick & Easy Hacks to Straighten Out Headphone Wires

Headphones with twisted and curled cord
Headphones with twisted and curled cord

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Got your headphones’ cord twisted, curled, and deformed? These tips will help you get it straightened out quickly and keep it that way.

So you’ve been wearing your headphones a lot lately, but you noticed that the cord is in a weird curly shape, making it shorter than usual.

But as you try to straighten out the cord, it pulls itself back to the twisty mess you found it in. And, let’s be honest, having that curly mess in the cord is not the visual you’d like to see when wearing your headphones in public.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can straighten out your headphones’ cord and keep it that way. Let’s dive right in.

How to Straighten Out Your Headphone Cord?

Unstraight headphone cords are usually caused by two things: twists and tangles.

Cord twists happen as a result of natural daily use. As you spin and rotate your headphones, the cord also rotates—which in turn builds tension. The cord will then collapse to relieve that tension, resulting in curls, bends, and other deformities.

Headphones with twisted cords on top of the table
Headphones with twisted cords on top of the table

On the other hand, your headphones cord may look deformed or curled when you just got them untangled or if they have been coiled too tightly.

Curled headphone cord as a result of detangling
Curled headphone cord as a result of detangling
If you have a coiled/tangled cord, read our guide on how to untangle headphones cord instead.

Whichever’s the case, there are a few hacks you can try to straighten out your headphones’ cord. Let’s go through each of them!

Avoid using heat-inducing tools like a heat gun, hair dryer, or iron to straighten out any cable. Heat can melt PCV and nylon, which are the most common materials for your headphones cable’s outer jacket. This, in turn, exposes the cable’s internal wiring to damage.

Run your fingers across the twisted cord

The most common way to quickly fix a twisted headphones’ cord is by using your fingers. This should be fairly easy – here’s how you can do it:

  1. Grab the cord between your thumb and index finger.

    Holding headphone cord firmly
    Holding headphone cord firmly
  2. Keeping a mildly firm grip, slowly and thoroughly pass the cord through your fingers, moving from the base of your headphones to the end where the jack is.

    Passing through the cord using fingers to untwist
    Passing through the cord using fingers to untwist
  3. Repeating this process 2-3 times should significantly untwist your headphone cord.
If using only your fingers didn’t do the trick, try wrapping a small spring around the cord and running the twisted parts through it.

Hang your headphones freely

The next method you can try, is hanging your headphones freely to let the cable un-twist itself. Here’s how:

  1. Hold the plug end of your headphones’ cable.
    If you have big headphones, you can hold them by the headband instead to avoid straining the cable.

    Holding the headphones by the headband
    Holding the headphones by the headband
  2. Let the other end of the cable hang freely in the air.

    Headphone cord hanging freely in the air
    Headphone cord hanging freely in the air
  3. Wait for your headphones to start spinning, or use your hands to create momentum, which will un-twist the cable.
  4. Once the spinning slows down, gently run your fingers along the cable to help complete the un-twisting process.

    Run your fingers along the cable to untwist
    Run your fingers along the cable to untwist

Set the headphones’ cord straight using a weight

This method works best after you’ve initially un-twisted and straightened your headphones’ cord as much as possible, but still notice some curling or deformation.

In that case, you can use a slightly heavy object to get your headphones’ cord back to its original shape. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Hang your headphones from a higher point. It can be anything like a banister, coat hanger, doorknob, or towel rail.

    Headphones hanging
    Headphones hanging
  2. Attach a slightly heavy object near the plug using adhesive tape, a binder clip, or a piece of rope.

    Earbuds case placed at the headphones plug to add weight.
    Earbuds case attached to the headphones plug to add weight.
  3. Leave your headphones hanging with the weight for 24-48 hours to see results.
During this process, try not to attach the weight to the metal bit as it may bend the plug. However, you can attach the weight to the ‘handle’ part, which is just above the metal bit.

Depending on the thickness and sturdiness of your headphones’ cable, you can adjust the object you use to weigh it down.

Keep in mind that the keyword here is slightly weighted. You’re also working with gravity, so use just enough weight to avoid pulling down the cable with too much force.

Lay the headphones’ cord on a flat surface

If you don’t have a place to hang your headphones for the method above, you can still straighten out your headphones’ cord on a flat surface like a table or on the floor. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lay your headphones on a flat surface, and keep the cord as straight as possible.

    Headphones on a flat surface
    Headphones on a flat surface
  2. Put a book or other slightly weighted objects on the plug end of the cord. This will keep the cord from curling and twisting.
    If you’re doing this to a pair of earbuds or IEMs, add another book to hold the earpieces in place.

    Book weighing down on the headphones to keep the form
    Book weighing down on the headphones to keep the form
  3. Wait for about 48 hours, and you should get a fully straightened-out cord.
Since this method takes a while to show results, you might want to use a free space. This is so that you don’t accidentally knock over the objects that keep it straight.

Why Should You Keep Your Headphone Cord Straight?

The cable is neatly braided
The cable is neatly braided

Some people might have no issue living with twisted headphones’ cords. As long as they can plug the headphones’ jack into their phone and wear it comfortably, all is good.

However, there are valid safety and longevity reasons why you should prevent your cords from getting twisted too badly.

For one, when the twists build up too much or too often, they damage the cable’s outer jacket.

As a result, this exposes the internal wiring, which can lead to the breakage of the internal wiring. Additionally, the exposed copper wire also comes with a risk of short circuits.

If you suspect that your headphones are shorted due to the severe twists, read our guide on how to fix a short in headphones.

Eventually, all of the above damages will cause your headphones to have sound issues, require repair, or be rendered flat-out broken. In that case, you should probably consider getting a pair of tangle-free earbuds as replacements.

But if you decide to stick to conventional headphones (not tangle-free ones), we’ve compiled some tips to prevent your headphones’ cords from twisting.

If your headphones have a detachable cable, it may be tempting to avoid twists and curls by getting a new and better-quality replacement. But before buying one, check out our article on whether or not expensive headphone cords are worth it.

How to Prevent Cords From Twisting and Curling

Twists that aren’t immediately taken care of can cause unwanted things to happen to your cord. So, to prevent them from building up and causing trouble, here are several things you can do:

Store your headphones properly

Close look at the LTGEM Hard Headphone Case (From: Amazon)
Close look at the LTGEM Hard Headphone Case (From: Amazon)

Having dedicated storage for your headphones when you’re not using them can go a long way in preserving their lifespan.

When you use your headphones on the go, keeping them in a dedicated case or carry bag is the safest storage method.

Being inside a case or bag means there’s not much room for your headphones to toss around. In addition, some of them also come with designated slots that keep your cords safe from twists.

When your headphones’ cord doesn’t have too much room to move, there’s less possibility of them getting twists and tangles.

On the other hand, if you use your headphones in a relatively static setup, like on your desktop PC or with a mixer set, consider having a dedicated place to store them.

Accessories like headphones stand or desk hook can ensure that the twisted cord can stretch out while they’re not in use – as long as you let the cord hang freely.

if you’d rather not buy a headphones stand or desk hook, you can simply hang your headphones by the headband on the corner of your monitor. Just ensure that they face the same direction every time you hang them there.

Coil headphones the right way

Coiling your headphones’ cord properly before storing them also helps to prevent kinks. Most of us coil our cords around our hands, twisting the cord with every single turn, as demonstrated by the London School of Sound in the gif below.

This method is incorrect as each coil creates a twist in the cord, which becomes apparent when you unfold it.

Instead, try the ‘over-under’ method, which is commonly used by backstage production crews worldwide. Here’s how:

  1. Start with the end of the cord in one hand, then slide your other hand a little way down the cord and make the first coil.
  2. For the next coil, twist your hand so your palm is facing outwards. Grab the cord with your palm in that position. Then as you’re bringing the cord up to coil it, twist your palm back inwards.
  3. Continue alternating both steps until you completely wrap the cord.

The great thing about the over-under method is that every initial coil is countered by the loop you make with your twisted palm. As a result, there’s no tension building up in the cord, and when unwrapping it, no twists are present.

Try not to coil your headphones’ cord too tightly. It will cause it to bend out of its natural range of motion – leading to tension build-up and wiring breakage.

Be mindful of your headphones usage

The curling or twisting of headphones’ cords is often a result of natural everyday use. Throughout the day, we’re constantly adjusting the position or orientation of our headphones.

Perhaps we’ll set them down if we have to step away from our desks, then put them back on again. As we do this, we sometimes accidentally turn them in the process, leading to twists in the cable.

Turning them anywhere between 0-360° is enough to set off the twisting effect on the cords, especially if it happens all the time.

If you have a somewhat consistent situation when using your headphones (e.g., on a desk with your computer or at a studio), try building a habit of always storing them in the same position and facing the same way.

But if you’re using your headphones on the go, your best bet is to be extra cautious about how you’re handling and storing your headphones, with the tips mentioned in the previous sections.

As an extra measure, you can also install small tubes along your headphones’ cord to prevent them from getting twisted. You can also wrap some yarn along the cords to get the same result, but with a unique aesthetic as a plus point.


After reading this guide, you should know how to straighten your headphones’ cord and keep them safe from nasty twists buildups. The next time you put your headphones on, just remember that the slightest movements can lead to a twisted mess.

Once you build up the habit of keeping your headphones in the same orientation and letting the cord unfurl after each use, you can potentially have a longer-lasting pair. As a bonus, you’ll also get fewer headaches from untwisting headphones.

Do you know other tips for keeping the headphones’ cord twist-free? Let us know in the comments!

💬 Conversation: 9 comments

  1. This was very helpful and greatly appreciated, but I think the warning against the use of all heating elements goes overboard. The linked source reveals the melting points of all types of both PVC and Nylon to be far above the kind of heat a household hairdryer can generate. In fact, hairdryer temps (roughly 30-60ºC) almost perfectly line up with the “mold temperatures” of those materials – that is, the temp at which they are most pliable – which is kinda the goal, isn’t it?

    Obviously that doesn’t mean we should all go out broiling our cables in unventilated closets. A hairdryer won’t melt or cause permanent damage to any cable of even halfway-decent quality, but any time you apply heat to plastic there’s a substantial risk of breathing in noxious and possibly deadly gases.

    So I guess I was hoping that this article would be a little more honest with me that 1) yeah, heating up your cables works, but 2) it comes with risks, and 3) here’s some tips on how to proceed safely. Thanks for hearing me out – these quibbles aside, I love what you’re doing here!

  2. How about flat with Y shaped cable? Mine is sony xb550ap, i bought it around 2021 and use it properly, and lately that thing is tangled, it’s looks like a tied up rubber fettuccine, it’s really annoying me.

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