Home / Gadgets / Frugal Gadget Trick: How To Clean & Reuse Your Shure Headphone Foam Sleeves

Frugal Gadget Trick: How To Clean & Reuse Your Shure Headphone Foam Sleeves

Some of the best earphones I’ve ever owned are my Shure SLC3 in-ear monitors. They sound great, they’re sonically equalized flat and they’re durable. The only downside is that they’re expensive. I will put those to the test and compare them to expensive consumer grade headphones like Dr. Dre Beats any day.


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In the past, these types of headphones were mainly used by musicians as in-ear monitors for when they were on stage. They would use the in-ear monitors in place of stage wedge monitor speakers on the floor. That way they could get a personal mix, exactly what they wanted to hear from the band. They are intended to isolate the sound and keep exterior sound out, loud items like bands, audiences etc.

One of the downsides about owning these headphones is the foam sleeves that you put in your ears, they get gross after awhile. And you are supposed to replace them. After a few times wearing them, they get discolored by dirt and ear wax, and they look just plain gross.

The problem is that these foam sleeves aren’t cheap. A pack of 5 pair of these can easily cost your $15. These are just pieces of foam with a piece of plastic in side, and it costs more than $1 per sleeve!

One day, after replacing the sleeve, I left the old pair in my pocket when I was washing my pants. When they came out of the washer, they looked brand new. This was a wonderful surprise. So I decided to start saving the foam sleeves as I used them.

Steps To Make Your In-Ear Foam Sleeves Like They’re New

  • Take your nasty old foam sleeves and put them in a clean sock.
  • Take that sock and tie a knot in the top. This will keep the foam sleeves inside the sock during the washing process.
  • Run a load of laundry, on cold, just like you normally would, using detergent.
  • Once the load of laundry is done, remove the sock and untie the knot. The sleeves look new now don’t they?
  • Set the foam sleeves out for 24 hours or until they’ve air-dried.

In my experience, I’ve found that this can be done about three, sometimes four times until you need to buy new ones. In my opinion, if you aren’t washing your foam ear sleeves, it’s like wearing a brand new pair of socks and just throwing them away. Save yourself some money and try this at home.

Matt Hancock is a musician and writer. More how-to articles like this can be found at his website Build Fix Make.

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