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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.

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