It’s extremely important to protect your hearing, but it’s equally important to look after your earplugs. By following some simple cleaning techniques and tips, you’ll be able to easily reusable your earplugs without risk of ear infections.
How to clean pre-molded earplugs
Pre-molded, or non-moldable earplugs, will need to be cleaned a certain way. These earplugs are typically made from soft silicone and are already in their proper form. You don’t need to heat these up to mold them (we’ll cover those earplugs later).
An example of pre-molded earplugs would be the Softvox V1 earplugs. These plugs retain their shape and can easily be washed without ruining their effectiveness.
Wash the earplugs in non-chlorinated water after each use
For a deeper clean, you can wash these types of earplugs in warm, soapy water. Simply fill a bowl with warm water and add a mild soap (such as dish soap) and let the plugs sit in the water for a few minutes
If they’re quite dirty, you can use your fingers or a clean toothbrush to gently scrub the earplugs to remove ear wax and dirt
Once finished, rinse them with cold water to remove any remaining dirt or soap
Give them time to fully dry before reusing them, either air dry completely or dry them off with a towel. Air dry is preferred
Once they are dry, put them straight into their case
Extra tips for pre-molded earplugs:
In addition to making sure your earplugs are cleaned properly, here are some extra maintenance to help keep your earplugs clean and effective for a long time:
Make sure your ears are clean before using earplugs. Whatever dirt or grime that are in your ears will simply transfer to the plugs.
Always store your earplugs in a small case or container. These helps limit the amount of dirt and dust that can accumulate on the plugs between uses.
Never share earplugs with anyone.
Don’t put wet or dirty earplugs back into their case. This can help bacteria grow.
Of course, even reusable earplugs cannot last forever. If you take good care of your earplugs, they could potentially last 2-4 weeks before needing to be thrown out. You should also wash them appropriately after each use.
There is some advice online about putting your earplugs through your washing machine. However, this isn’t recommended. Simply cleaning them in warm, soapy water is much more effective.
How to clean moldable earplugs
Moldable earplugs are typically made of wax, silicone putty, or any other material that first needs to be manipulated before you can use it. An example of a moldable ear plug would be the Putty Buddies soft silicone earplugs (great earplugs for swimming, too). These come in flat disc shapes and need to be molded before they can be used.
These earplugs are usually required to be heated up in hot water, cooled slightly, and then molded to fit your ear. Because of this process, you can typically get a great seal and custom fit with these types of earplugs.
However, due to their material, wax or silicone putty earplugs can be tough to keep clean, and won’t last as long as pre-molded earplugs. Washing silicone putty is not recommended due to the material. This means keeping your earplugs clean is vital.
Wash your hands before touching your moldable earplugs, even after they are molded
Once these earplugs become dirty, it can be virtually impossible to remove the dirt or grime from this type of material. That’s why it’s best to handle these earplugs as little as possible.
Once you take the earplugs out of your ears, put them directly into their case
Extra tips for moldable earplugs:
Clean your ears before using these earplugs.
Tie back any long or lose hair when molding these earplugs to your ear, otherwise your hair can get stuck in the sticky material.
Always keep your earplugs in their carrying case. You don’t want to set them down somewhere and get them in contact with dirt and germs.
Even though they cannot be cleaned, don’t be discouraged from using soft wax ear plugs! They are great in certain situations, such as swimming.
How to clean disposable ear plugs
Unfortunately, you cannot clean disposable ear plugs. These types of plugs are usually a soft foam and their material cannot be washed.
If you require earplugs frequently, buying reusable earplugs are probably the most cost effective, also depending on what you need them for. However if you need earplugs every once in awhile, disposable earplugs can be a great fit.
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