Last week we talked about long-term earplug use and some of the risks it carries. If you do choose to use foam earplugs over a long period of time, such as when sleeping, keeping them clean is important.

Bacteria thrive in moist, warm environments, such as foam that’s in an ear. Over time, the bacteria from the earplugs could cause an ear infection or inflammation.

If you’re using disposable earplugs, the type you get from a drugstore, the surefire way to ensure that your earplugs aren’t dirty is to dispose of each pair after use. They simply aren’t meant for long-term use. Follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding disposal. Cleaning chemicals that you may use can be difficult to get completely out of the foam and so cause ear irritation when inserted back into the ear.

For reusable earplugs, remove dirt and stuck-on earwax by soaking them in a small dish of hydrogen peroxide. Remove any debris that you can see on the surface, then rinse thoroughly under cold water. Dry by pressing gently between two towels, then leave to air dry completely before using.


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