Learn how to keep earplugs clean without reducing their efficiency.
Despite their many benefits, earplugs get dirty fast, and constantly replacing them can be costly.
You can wash them to prolong their lives, but you risk damage if you don’t do it correctly.
Luckily, you only need to follow a few guidelines to thoroughly clean your earplugs, which you’ll find below along with valuable tips.
How to Clean Foam Earplugs
To clean foam earplugs, follow these steps:
- Fill a ceramic bowl with a diluted solution of half lukewarm water and half hydrogen peroxide or liquid soap.
- Dip the foam earplugs in the mixture and squeeze them a few times to absorb the solution. If you’re using a hydrogen peroxide solution, use gloves to protect your hands.
- Let the earplugs soak into the mixture for about 45 minutes. Squeeze them regularly to remove stubborn earwax and dirt from deeper inside the foam.
- Rinse the earplugs in clean water.
- Let the earplugs air dry.Inserting wet earplugs into your ears can lead to infections. Make sure the earplugs are completely dry before using them.
Foam earplugs lose elasticity over time. Wash them once and see how they behave, but replace them if they become uncomfortable. You can use a white noise app to test their performance after washing and see if they still block out noise.
How to Clean Pre-Molded Earplugs
- If your earplugs feature a plastic filter, remove the earplug tips from the filter before cleaning them. To do so, squeeze the earplug tips around the filter until it pops up, as shown in this video tutorial.
- Clean the earplug tips thoroughly using a diluted solution of half lukewarm water and half hydrogen peroxide.
- Wipe the earplugs and let them air dry completely.
- While the tips are drying, clean the edges of the filter with a sterile wipe.
- Reattach the earplug tips to the plastic filter.
How to Clean Moldable Earplugs
The only way to clean moldable earplugs is to wipe off earwax carefully using a sterile wipe or cotton swab to avoid deforming them.
These earplugs generally look like wax or silicone flat discs and, depending on the type, might require you to heat and mold them into a shape that fits your ear canal. Washing them will likely make them lose their shape and elasticity.
How to Clean Electronic Earplugs
Cleaning electronic earplugs is just like cleaning regular earbuds. Simply follow these steps:
- Remove the earplug tips and clean them using a diluted solution of half lukewarm water and half hydrogen peroxide.
- Wipe away any leftover debris with a dry, clean cloth. You can also wipe the electronic earplugs’ casing for good measure.
- Let the earplug tips air dry completely before reattaching them to the main unit.
Earplug Maintenance Tips: Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Earplugs
Properly caring for your earplugs extends their life and prevents dirt from making its way to your ear canals. Follow these do’s and don’ts for best results:
When Should You Replace Your Earplugs?
Even if you care for your earplugs and clean them thoroughly, they won’t last forever. Ideally, you should grab a new pair whenever your earplugs lose shape or effectiveness. Here are some general guidelines:
- Replace foam earplugs every 5 uses or so, especially if they lose their firmness or no longer re-expand to their original size when inserted.
- Replace pre-molded earplugs if they noticeably lose their shape, preferably every few months, or every 2-4 weeks if you use them daily.
- Replace moldable earplugs every 4-5 uses.
- Replace electronic earplug tips as soon as they lose their shape or accumulate too much debris, ideally every few weeks or months.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How often should you wash earplugs?
- Can dirty earplugs cause ear infections?
- How do you clean dirty earmuffs?
How often should you wash earplugs?
You should wash earplugs whenever they are visibly dirty or every few days. If you use them rarely, clean them after every use to prevent bacteria from building up in the case. At a minimum, use a clean cloth to wipe dirt from earplugs after every use.
Can dirty earplugs cause ear infections?
Yes, dirty earplugs can cause ear infections, which may lead to tinnitus, vertigo, and even hearing loss. That’s why it’s important to clean earplugs thoroughly, inspect them before every use, and replace them when they become ineffective.
How do you clean dirty earmuffs?
You can clean earmuffs as you would clean any headphones. Wipe the exterior of the earmuffs and the cushions with a cloth dampened in a cleaning solution. However, be careful never to immerse the earmuffs in water or wet the foam inserts.