Ear Wax

How to Get Rid of Ear Wax

Earwax is a natural substance that helps protect the ear and ear canal, sometimes it builds up, causing hearing difficulties or discomfort. Earwax can be cleaned from the ear, but take care not to damage any of the sensitive parts of the ear while doing so. This article should help you remove earwax safely and effectively, while steering you clear of some of the more dangerous and ill-advised methods

One safer method to remove ear wax is to use warmed oils such as baby oil, olive oil, or mineral oil, to name a few, or to use solutions of half white vinegar and half rubbing alcohol, to soften or remove the wax. If using oil, it should be warm, not hot, and only a few drops should be placed into the ear as you lay on your side. Let it sit inside the ear for a moment and then simply tilt your head to the opposite side to let it drain out onto a soft cloth. Clean water can then be used to flush away the rest of the wax deposits that might remain in the ear, and wipe the outside of the ear (not the ear canal) with a soft cloth after the procedure is complete.

 

  1. In a glass, mug, or saucepan, mix together 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of warm water. Mix until the salt is dissolved.
  2. 2

    Soak a cotton ball in the saline solution.

  3. 3

    Tilt the ear that’s suffering from earwax buildup up towards the sky. Your head should be tilted sideways. Do this while sitting down to make the application of the saline solution easier.

  4. 4

    Take the soaked cotton ball and squeeze some of the salt water into the ear. A few drops are more than enough; don’t drown your ear canal.

    • Wait for gravity to bring the saline solution down through the wax.
  5. 5

    Tilt your head the opposite way and wait for the salt water to drain out.

Method 3 of 6: Hydrogen Peroxide

  1. 1

    In a glass or mug, mix together equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide (3%). There are some stronger hydrogen peroxide solutions (6%+), but they may not be available OTC. Stick with 3% or lower.

  2. 2

    Soak a cotton ball in the peroxide solution.

  3. 3

    Tilt the ear that’s suffering from earwax buildup up towards the sky. Your head should be tilted sideways. Do this while sitting down to make the application of the solution easier.

  4. 4

    Take the soaked cotton ball and squeeze some of the peroxide solution into the ear. A few drops are more than enough.

    • Wait for gravity to bring the peroxide down through the wax. You should feel a tingling sensation as the bubbles fizzle in your ear.
  5. 5

    Tilt your head the opposite way and wait for the solution to drain out.

  1. 2

    Soak a cotton ball in the vinegar solution.

  2. 3

    Tilt the ear that’s suffering from earwax buildup up towards the sky. Your head should be tilted sideways. Do this while sitting down to make the application of the solution easier.

  3. 4

    Take the soaked cotton ball and squeeze some of the vinegar solution into the ear. A few drops are more than enough.

    • Wait for gravity to bring the vinegar down through the wax. You should feel a warming sensation as the alcohol hits the skin and dissolves.
  4. 5

    Tilt your head the opposite way and wait for any remaining solution to drain out, if necessary.

Method 5 of 6: Baby or Mineral Oil

  1. 1

    Apply baby oil or mineral oil directly into the ears. Fill a medicine dropper with your choice of drops.

  2. 2

    Tilt the ear that’s suffering from earwax buildup up towards the sky. Your head should be tilted sideways. Do this while sitting down to make the application of the solution easier.

  3. 3

    Squeeze two to five drops of the oil into the ear.

  4. 4

    Place a cotton ball into the ear to keep the oil from dripping right out again. Allow the oil to set for several minutes.

  5. 5

    Remove the cotton ball. Bend your head and allow the oil to drip from your ear.

  6. 6

    Use a saline spray or water at room temperature to flush out ear wax.

    • This can be used bi-weekly to help clean the canal and reverse the buildup of ear wax, although earwax is naturally protective and there’s no reason to use it every day.

Method 6 of 6: What Not To Do

  1. 1

    Don’t use Q-Tips for deep cleaning. Q-Tips can be used in the outer ear to remove superficial earwax, but don’t dig into the ear canal with a Q-Tip. The tissue in your ear canal is extremely delicate; it’s easy to introduce infections by smashing into any of the tissue near the tympanic membrane, or eardrum.

    • Another reason that doctors advice against using Q-Tips to remove substantial buildup in the ear is that you’re likely to push more earwax into the canal than you are likely to bring it out. If that’s the case, what’s the point in using a Q-Tip?
  2. 2

    Don’t use ear candles. Ear candling is when you place a cone-shaped device into the ear, light a candle on the far end of the spout, and let the pressure of the candle vacuum out the earwax. That’s the theory, at least. Ear candling doesn’t work, and is dangerous, for the following reasons:

    • Earwax is sticky. The pressure that it would take to “vacuum” earwax from the ear canal would be so great that it would unfortunately rupture your eardrum. This is because earwax is sticky and doesn’t move readily.
    • Ear candling can deposit candle-wax into your ear. Instead of taking earwax from your ear, candling can easily deposit candle-wax into your ear. That’s because you’re lighting a candle perilously close to your ear, on a device that funnels into your ear.
    • Ear candling can be dangerous. There are a host of medical problems waiting to happen as soon as you decide to use an ear candle:[3]
      • The air inside the ear can become so hot that it can burn the inner ear.
      • The candle can accidentally result in a fire if care is not taken.
      • The procedure may result in a perforated eardrum.