IEMs, or in-ear monitors, are earbud-like devices that provide excellent sound quality and isolation. They are expensive and can be pocket-draining if you have to replace them frequently. If you want them to have a long life, you have to be careful when storing IEMs.
The proper way to store IEMs is to clean them after use, wrap the cable loosely, and store them in the case they came in. This will help protect them from damage and keep them clean. It also keeps them away from extreme temperatures and humidity, which can damage them over time.
This article answers common questions people have about storing IEMs, as well as how to keep yours safe from damage. Here’s how to make the most out of your IEMs.
How Do You Store IEMs?
Storing IEMs is not difficult at all. You only need a few cleaning and wrapping supplies, and most importantly, a carrying case.
Follow this 6-step procedure to store your IEMs:
- Gently remove your IEMs from your ears.
- Clean the IEMs properly before storage.
- Make sure the case is clean.
- Wrap the cable loosely and put it in the case.
- Put silicon gel packs in the case.
- Find a safe spot to put your case.
1. Remove Your IEMs Gently From Your Ears
Removing your IEMs gently from your ears is all too easy, but you may be doing it wrong out of habit.
First of all, yanking the cables will only damage the inner wires of your IEMs and bring down their expected lifetime.
Do this instead:
- First, grip the IEM shell.
- Roll the IEM towards the opposite direction you inserted it.
- Slowly remove the earpiece without touching the cable
Here is a Youtube video on how to remove IEMs:
2. Clean the IEMs Properly Before Storage
Unlike earbuds that rest on the pinna (outer ear), IEMs send sound directly into your ear canal. In the process, they get into contact with more wax as compared to earbuds.
For this reason, IEMs need to be properly cleaned before storage. This is especially true for custom IEMs.
Here’s what you’ll need to clean those:
- A soft towel, microfiber cloth, or alcohol wipes
- Alcohol or vinegar
- Brushes and loops
- An ear monitor vacuum
How To Properly Clean Custom IEMs
- Make sure your hands are clean.
- Wet your cleaning cloth with a bit of alcohol or vinegar
- Gently wipe the cables and tips. This will remove wax, moisture, and dirt.
- Use a loop and a brush to remove the dirt from the earpieces and other parts that are hard to reach.
- Use an ear monitor vacuum to remove any remnant wax or dirt.
- Leave them out to dry for a bit before storing them.
IEMs should be cleaned after use. Months of ear wax and moisture build-up could cause blockage and lead to poor audio quality. Cleaning your IEMs every time you use them also keeps debris from making its way to the drivers.
Watch this video for a step-by-step guide:
3. Make Sure the IEM Case Is Clean
You will be doing your IEMs no good if you take your time to perfectly clean them, only to store them in a dirty case. If they absorb the dirt in the case, it’s safe to say that you have done almost nothing. Make sure both your IEMs and case are perfectly clean.
IEM cases vary in size, shape, material, and functionality. Some are made of aluminum, plastic, rubber, or a combination of different materials.
Before you rub any alcohol on it, check with the manufacturer’s guide to see if they have a specific cleaning procedure.
Generally, a microfibre cloth dipped in some alcohol rub or alcohol swabs are good options to clean your case. Wipe the inside and the outside casing. Good IEM cases are dustproof and waterproof, meaning that they will absorb less dirt.
4. Wrap the Cable Loosely and Put It in the Case
IEM cables are arguably the most delicate part of IEMs, and handling them recklessly will eventually damage the entire device. You should store your cables neatly to avoid tangling.
Wrap them nice and loose around 2-3 fingers, depending on the size of the case. Don’t put too much stress on the cables.
The over-under wire wrapping method is usually the way to go. It prevents twists from forming on the cable and ensures that you have an easy time removing the IEMs when you use them next.
- Place the connector on your palm.
- Using two fingers, twist the cable over, then under itself.
- Keep alternating the twists over and under till you wrap the entire cable.
- Remove the IEM from your fingers and put them in your casing.
The over-under wire-wrapping technique also ensures your cables stay intact without unfolding.
This allows them to fit nicely in the case. Here’s a video guide on this technique:
5. Put Silicon Gel Packs in the Case
Silicon gel is a desiccant that absorbs moisture from its surroundings. If you live in very humid areas, silicon packs are essential for storing your IEMs. Put a small amount of silica gel in the IEM case.
This helps absorb excess moisture from your IEMs and keeps them dry.
Once silicon packs turn pink, they’re saturated, and it’s time to replace them. Remember, Silicon gels are reusable, you can dry them in the sun, and they’ll be good for recycling. After a heavy workout, clean your IEMs, add a silicone gel pack (or two).
6. Find a Safe Spot To Put Your Case
After storing your IEM in your case, the last step is to find a safe spot to keep it. Look inside your house or office and identify a safe, secure spot. It could be a hidden compartment in your desk drawer, a bag, or somewhere on the shelf. Find a place you’re least likely to forget.
Avoid placing IEMs in the direct sunlight, as it makes them overheat. Also, ensure that they’re not going to fall off the edge of the surface. Lastly, find a special spot for the case if it’s not waterproof.
How Long Do IEMs Last?
This is a question many people ask, and the answer will vary depending on the type of IEMs that you’re using.
IEMs can last anywhere from a few months to a few years.
The lifespan of IEMs depends on how often you use them and how well you take care of them. If you use custom-made IEMs, they will likely last for a long time. Generic size IEMs may not last as long.
It is also important to note that using IEMs can sometimes cause ear fatigue. If you are experiencing this, it is best to take a break from using them for a while. This will help to keep your ears healthy and decrease the likelihood of long-term damage.
Things To Avoid When Storing Your IEMs
Now that we are aware of what to do to store our IEMs properly. Here is a list of what you should avoid when storing your IEMs.
- Don’t wrap your IEM around any gadgets, phones, iPods, and so on. This stresses the cables and wears them out gradually.
- Don’t pull on the cable while removing them.
- Don’t wrap the wires too tight.
- Don’t twist the wires around your fingers. Instead, use the over-under wire method to avoid bends.
Storing your IEMs properly increases their lifespan and maintains a quality sound output. Handle your IEMs with care and clean them after every use, or risk wax build-up that will affect sound quality.
If it helps, you can also dry clean from time to time. This will help you get the best performance for months to come.