How To Clean and Store Your Earplugs

Sure, you can buy disposable earplugs.

They work. They can save your sleep just as well as more expensive, more substantial earplugs.

Fact is, if you wear them every day and throw them away, you’re eventually going to need to buy some more. 

A sample price is $10.49 for 18 pairs at CVS.

Then you’ll need to buy some more after that. 

On and on. Box after box. If you get them in that 18 pack, that might be 1 1/2 boxes of earplugs per month.

Day after day, if you’re going to work the night shift long-term.

Money may or may not be a problem for you, but maybe you want to make sure you don’t run out of earplugs. Running out for whatever reason could spell a day or night of not sleeping well.

Of course, you don’t want ear infections. You don’t want to wear the same plugs day after day without cleaning them. That’s a highly probable path leading to an ear infection, though earwax does offer some protection. It’s best to help the defense when you can, no matter where in your body.

The good news is cleaning your earplugs (whether they’re disposable or non-disposable) is easy. 

All you have to do is follow a few important principles, and you can use the same disposable earplug for, I don’t know, years. 

The plastic may get a little strange looking from this system. It depends on the type of plastic the earplug is made of, but they’ll still work.

The key is to clean them early enough, so they have a chance to dry.

A not-yet-dry earplug is unpleasant.

Cleaning earplugs is simple.

Use either isopropyl alcohol or soap and water—both work. Agitate the earplug gently under the running water by making a cup out of your hand and pouring a little rubbing alcohol in it. The friction and the liquid will dislodge the earwax and other material that gets on used earplugs.

You can also use an alcohol wipe, just as if you were cleaning a stethoscope. The typical disposable earplug surface is porous, but it works as well.

The key to the process is letting the earplugs dry. You can use a paper towel, as in the illustration or even a clean cloth towel. If you live in a dry climate, this may not be a problem. They’ll dry in less than an hour if you’ve squeezed the water or cleaning fluid out completely.

You can find a small, clean plastic box and keep them in that, or you can even use the paper container as in the photo illustration. You’ll store them in a drawer. You don’t want them rolling off of the nightstand onto the floor. If your nightstand or dresser drawer is jam-packed, make a little room in there so you can find them. You can also use an envelope.

Cleaning and reusing them takes seconds once you have a system. Saving a little money isn’t the only advantage and it’s not the most important advantage. You’ll never run out of them. Every night shift you work will be a success, at least from the standpoint of being resistant to waking up from noise.


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