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The Ultimate IEM Cleaning Guide

neon clean sign
Neon clean sign

Rich Sydney knows a thing or to about IEM care and maintenance being the on-site service man at ClearTune Monitors and having previously been maintenance manager at JH Audio here’s his guide to cleaning IEMs

For those that prefer video you can see Rich’s guide on JH Audio’s you tube channel

In a time when you are going to great measures to keep everything clean, there is no reason to be putting a dirty in-ear monitor into you or your artist’s ears! Here are some simple steps and basic maintenance tips for you to help keep your IEMs clean and working properly for years to come. 

After Show Care

After use, the IEMs and cable should be cleaned and dried before being put back into the case. Wax buildup and moisture are the two biggest things that can cause issues with the monitors. Keeping the ear pieces clean and dry will keep the IEMs in their best working condition.  

To begin cleaning the IEMs, wipe down the outside of the pieces with a soft towel or microfiber rag and a bit of rubbing alcohol. I personally like to use the individually wrapped alcohol pads. These are available at any Walmart, CVS/ Walgreens or other local store that sells health related goods. The alcohol will break up and clean any wax or dirt that has built up on the shell and also help evaporate any excess moisture on the IEM. Periodically, also remove the cable and clean the socket. The socket area is a prime spot for corrosion to occur due to excessive sweat. If this area is left unattended, over time the corrosion will build up and ruin the socket and possibly the cable. Damage due to corrosion is not under warranty.  

You can clean the cable the same as the outer shells of the ear pieces. A soft towel and rubbing alcohol will help remove sweat and keep the cable lasting. The clear cables can eventually turn green. It is a natural process that occurs when the wires are repeatedly exposed to sweat. This “greening” of the wire will not affect the sound or quality of the cable.

Clean Ear Wax From The Sound Bores

IEM Cleaning Tools
IEM Cleaning tools

To better maintain the inside of the IEMs, you can use the loop styled end of the supplied cleaning tool. This will help you reach any wax or dirt build up in the shallow part of the canal. We do not advise inserting any foreign, non-approved object down the canals. There are soft tubes inside the ear that carries the sound and several filters that are used to regulate driver output. If one of those tubes or filters are punctured, it will affect the sound quality. 

For deeper cleaning, we recommend using a Jodi Vac. It is essentially a small vacuum cleaner with a dull “needle” type end on it. This can be safely and gently inserted into the IEMs to help remove deeper wax. Never insert any kind of liquid or other cleaning agents into the IEM. 

Lastly, if the monitors are being used in a situation where moisture or sweat are a big factor, never put the IEMs directly back into the case. Let them air out and dry for a bit. When you do put them back into the case, try to also include a small dehumidifier or silica packet. This will help draw moisture away from the drivers and out of the canal.

The only thing I would add to Rich’s cleaning routine is testing and measuring your IEMs to identify any issues early. Make sure you have plenty of IEM cleaning products for your next tour.


  • What Size MiEMi-m™ should I choose?

The m7 is a 7mm(0.25″) Ø adapter and will fit Isemcon and other similar size measurement mics and the m8 is an 8mm Ø adapter and will fit Audix TM1’s, most Earthworks, and other similar size measurement mics.

  • What do I need to test in ear monitors with MiEMi-m

You’ll need a measurement mic, a soundcard with 2 discrete inputs, an FFT analyzer app like SMAART from Rational Acoustics(Smaart can be added to bundles) or Open Sound Meter, the app should be able to store traces for comparison.

  • Can I measure generic IEM’s with MiEMi-m™?

Generic’s can be measure just fine with the foam or rubber tips still on the shells.

  • Is MiEMi-m™ the same as an IEC711 Ear Simulator?

Although MiEMi™ is designed to closely follow that standard MiEMi™ is not certified or calibrated. Therefore different mics may give different results. MiEMi-m™ is designed to be a cost effective way allow you to compare the state of a pair of in ear monitors from day to day rather than give an absolute frequency response.

Isn’t it about time you started checking your in ears? Visit the store and buy yours now

Still unsure if MiEMi-m™ can help you? Contact us and we’ll try and answer your queries.

What is MiEMi-m™?

MiEMi-m™ (pronounced Mimi), is a small 35mm high by 25mm wide adapter that sits on the end of a standard size measurement mic and allows you to measure frequency traces of custom fit & generic in ear monitors. MiEMi-m™ is the tool that’s currently missing from your audio toolbox. Being the serious serious monitor engineer you are, you should testing your bands IEMs at regular intervals the same way you’d check any one of the 100s of other products you use each day, incorporating it into your daily cleaning routine. What cleaning routine you say? Check this post for a how to on cleaning your in ear monitors.

MiEMi-m™/iSEMcon EMX7150 Plus Kit

The idea behind MiEMi-m™ is to add a new level of functionality to the tools most audio people already own. MiEMi-m™ shares its DNA with lab standard occluded ear simulators and measures pretty closely to them. Unlike other IEM testing tools it won’t cost you anywhere near as much so it won’t break your bank if you lose it or or drop it on tour, in fact our MIEMi-m/EMX 7150 plus kit allows you to do system tuning/calibration, SPL measurements & in ear monitor testing all for less than the cost of the closest alternative.

MiEMi-m™ is currently made in 2 sizes which fits the most popular measurement/reference microphones – 7mm(0.25″) & 8mm. We currently offer 3 kits to suite most budgets all with the option to add SmaartV9 if you don’t already own it.

Testing 1, 2

By using MiEMi-m™ to capture traces of your IEM’s at a point in time where they work perfectly, you’ll have a trace you can compare to further down the line. If there’s a change you’ll be able to see it and identify any errors, If your artists all use the same model you’ll be able to compare between models and see how close the individual sets are. Sometimes it’s sufficient to have a trace of only the one side or type to compare others to sometimes you might want to take a trace of L & R of every single IEM. To find out how to test IEM’s with MiEMi™ click here.

Trace showing working IEM vs IEM with bad mid driver
Frequency trace shows fully working IEM vs IEM with bad mid ranger driver

MiEMi™ is designed to be used with the tools you already carry, a measurement mic, an RTA, so it doesn’t require a huge reinvestment to make it work. It sits on the end of your measurement mic and interfaces your in ear monitors to your RTA.

Although MiEMi™ can give you a good idea of the frequency response of your IEM’s it’s designed to work with many different microphones. This means different mics will give slightly different responses, our experience with it is that the differences are from 4-5Khz up. What it can do is give you a very usable reference trace that you can use from day to day to see if everything is working correctly. It will also help you precisely set IEM’s with adjustable bass controls.

Isn’t it about time you started checking your in ear monitors?

Visit the store and buy yours now


Still unsure if MiEMi™ can help you? Contact us and find out more.