Custom in-ear monitors are expensive pieces of equipment, and it’s important to keep them clean to ensure optimal performance. The outer shell of the IEM is easy enough to clean. You don’t need any special products. Just wipe it every so often with a slightly damp cloth, making sure you don’t get any water into the canal.

Cleaning the inside of the IEM is slightly more difficult. Here are a few different methods I’ve used.

Use the Cleaning Tool

Pretty much all custom in-ear monitor companies ship a small cleaning tool with their products. They’re great for basic cleaning, but most of the time they’re not long enough for deep cleaning (literally). They don’t go far enough into the canal.

Find a Paperclip

After talking about this issue with someone over at Future Sonics, they advised me to use a paperclip to get deeper into the IEM. I thought this was a great idea, but I decided to take it one step further. I took some double sided tape and wrapped a small piece around the paper clip. This solution was actually very effective in cleaning out excess earwax that was too deep for the stock cleaning tool to reach.

Get a Vacuum Cleaner

Two weeks ago, I decided to invest in a Jodi-Vac vacuum cleaner designed for hearing aids. I couldn’t find anything online about the product being used to clean in-ear monitors, but I figured I would give it a chance.

The cleaning needle is fairly long and reaches those hard to reach spots in IEMs. The filters on the unit are replaceable, so it should last a long time if you’re careful with it. At just over $100, the Jodi-Vac isn’t exactly cheap. On the other hand, it’s a small investment compared to custom in-ear monitors costing ten times more.

I also recommend placing your custom in-ear monitors in a dehumidifier jar every night before bed. Any moisture will be absorbed from the in-ear monitor, and it’s a small price to pay to prolong the life of your equipment.