Originally Posted by akerman
cotton sticks =)
Cotton swabs should never go in your ear, it even says so on the package. A LOT of people who clean there ears with cottons swabs end of getting compacted ear wax which has to be removed by a health care professional.
I clean my ears in the shower, the outside part and let the water from the shower wash some of the soapy water into the ear canal, then about once a week I put hydrogen peroxide in each ear for a couple of minutes and then flush it out with warm water.
You can also get ear wax removal kits (murine brand for example) at any drug store. These are good if you have some built up wax but not at all neccessary for maintenance.
As for cleaning foams, I've had the best luck with washing them in very hot plain water, drying them part way with a hair dryer on low setting and then setting them somewhere slightly warm (top of computer case for example) until they are COMPLETELY dry. Since my ears are fairly clean I usually get 4-6 weeks out of a new pair of foam tips, and then another 2-3 weeks after I wash them.