There is so much information available on internet that sometimes it is confusing to actually know what is right and what is wrong for us. Cleaning your ear wax is one of those things which is constantly debated about.
Should we clean or do we let it be?
It is quite confusing because ear wax is a substance that is naturally produced by our bodies and is actually something that will keep accumulating again and again. Sometimes you will need to remove it when there is a lot of deposit of the ear wax and you have discomfort while hearing.
Should You Clean Your Ears?
The main question that bugs most of us is whether we should or not clean our ears. While conventional wisdom points to the direction of the ear buds, a lot of people think that poking ear buds inside your ears will in fact end up doing more harm than good. Doctors say that ears are self-cleaning but using foreign objects inside your ear might end up damaging your ears or even cause dryness and itching. However, if you are having discomfort inside your ears or difficulty in hearing, you should definitely be needing to clean your ears, but you will need to be very gentle about it.
When is it required to remove the earwax?
Sometimes, ear wax may start accumulating inside your ears and it will lead to a condition known as blocked ear canal. This will cause difficulty in hearing and you will need to use follow some simple steps to clean your ears. In the section below, you will find some home remedies that will help get rid of the ear wax in a painless and non-invasive way.
As ear wax build-up is a natural process, it takes place in everybody’s ears. But for some people the ear wax build-up is a little more and they might experience discomfort.
Another very common cause of frequent ear wax build-up is using ear phones. Ear phones prevent the wax from naturally coming out of the ears and hence cause the ear to produce more ear wax. Also, this might lead to a blockage.
So how do you know that you have a blockage? Besides the tell-tale symptom of not being able to hear clearly, here are some other symptoms you might experience due to ear wax:
- Sudden or partial hearing loss: When you suddenly experience a decrease in your hearing and also there is much lesser clarity in your hearing, before panicking, just make sure that your ears are clean.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a sudden buzzing and ringing in the ear sometimes also accompanied by pain
- Earache: A feeling of fullness in your ear and also slight pain is an indication that you may be having a blocked ear.
Why Q Tips are Harmful?
A lot of us love the feeling of Q-tips or ear buds inside our ears. Most of us might actually be using them as an everyday cleansing tool. But many doctors advise that this is counter-productive and might actually be dangerous to your ears.
The Q-tips are actually meant to clean only the outer parts of the ear and not inside it as most of us do. When you take the swab inside your ear, you might end up pushing the wax further inside the ears and causing much more damage.
Ear wax is naturally created by our body to stop insects and other foreign objects from entering our ear. If you put in Q tips, you risk removing this wax and sometimes it can even be pushed inside and cause more pain. So, try as far as possible not to use Q tips to clean your ears.
Instead try the remedies below to understand more about what you need to do in order to remove ear wax from your ears.
Home Remedies for Removing Ear Wax:
1. Hydrogen Peroxide
Things you need: Ear drops that have hydrogen peroxide as a major constituent
- Lie down on your side and put the instructed number of ear drops inside the affected ear.
- Let the drops remain in your ear for a few moments and sit up after five minutes.
- Blot out any excess liquid that comes out of your ear.
- Repeat the process with the next ear too.
How it works: Eardrops with hydrogen peroxide work to soften the ear wax and hence it makes it easier to remove them
Tip: As far as possible, do not stick foreign objects inside your ear because you may end up damaging your ear. Make sure you follow the prescribed dosage.
2. Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol Solution
Things you need: Rubbing alcohol and white vinegar (syringe to put the solution inside your ear)
- Mix equal parts of both vinegar and rubbing alcohol together.
- For ease of use, take ½ cup of each of the ingredients to make your solution.
- Take a syringe and gently push the solution inside the affected ear.
- Make sure to use only gentle and steady flow and not sudden pressure inside your ear.
- Keep your ears in that position for some time and then wash off your ear with clean water
How it works: The rubbing alcohol and vinegar mixture are very good to soften the ear wax inside the ears and once they are softened, you can easily remove it
Tip: When putting the solution inside your ear, be very careful not to push in a lot. A steady, gentle flow should be good.
3. Salt Water
Things you need: ½ teaspoon of salt, warm water, cotton ball
- Mix the salt in warm water and dip the cotton ball in it.
- Now gently squeeze the salt water from the cotton ball inside your ear and let it go into the affected ear.
- Lay still for about five minutes and then tilt you ear in the opposite direction.
- Now let the saline water flow out of your ear.
- Use a clean and soft cloth to remove the wax from your ears.
How it works: The combination of salt and water act as a wonderful way to soften the ear wax. Over time you can easily remove the softened ear wax
Tip: Take care not to use hot water because this might end up damaging your ear
Things you need: Glycerin that is easily available in any pharmacy, cotton ball and a dropper
- Take a few drops of glycerin inside the dropper and gently put a few drops inside your ear.
- Take the cotton ball and block the opening of the ear where you put in the glycerin.
- Now flush some warm water into that ear and let the water drain out from the ear.
- Use a hair dryer to gently dry your wet ear
How it works: The glycerin is a moisturizing and softening agent that will help make the ear wax soft and thus help in its easy removal
Tip: Do not put more than five drops of glycerin inside your ear as too much might make hearing a little troublesome
5. Warm Water
Things you need: Warm water, syringe
- Fill the syringe with warm water and tilt your head to the side.
- Now use the syringe to fill up your ear with the warm water and let it remain there for a minute.
- Now tilt your head to the other side and clean the ear wax away from the ear.
How it works: The warm water acts as a way to soften the ear wax and hence helps in easy removal
Tip: While using the syringe make sure you do not suddenly flush a lot of water into your ear. It might pain
6. Olive Oil
Things you need: Warm olive oil, a dropper
- Take the warm olive oil and use the dropper to put in a few drops in the affected ear.
- Allow it to settle for a few minutes and then remove the ear wax gently with the help of Q tips.
How it works: Olive oil has softening and anti-septic properties that will help the ear wax to come out easily
Tip: When you are using the Q tips to take out the softened ear wax, make sure that you only use it on the outer ear and do not poke the inside of the ears
7. Baking Soda
Things you need: One spoon of baking soda and a bowl with some water
- Mix ¼ spoon of baking soda in a bowl of water and make a solution out of it.
- Now tilt your head and put in a few drops of baking soda into the affected ear and sit still for about 5 minutes.
- Now tilt the ear in the opposite direction and let the excess water drain out.
How it works: Like all the above remedies, baking soda too is an excellent way to make the ear wax soft and once it has softened, it can be easily removes
Tip: Make sure to use a soft cloth while cleaning out the excess ear waz
8. Baby Oil
Things you need: A dropper and a teaspoon of baby oil
- Use the dropper to put in some baby oil inside your ear.
- Make sure you tilt your ear and let the oil go in.
- Let it remain in your ear for some time and then tilt the ear to the other side.
- Now wash off with warm water
How it works: The best thing about baby oil is the fact that it is very mild and gentle and can help to soften the ear wax for easy removal
Tip: Do not put in more than 3 drops of baby oil. Too much oil will not help and might end up making you uncomfortable.
9. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Things you need: Omega- 3 fatty acid capsules
- Having foods that are rich in Omega 2-fatty acids like avocados, sardines and salmons will help increase the level of the good fatty acids in your body.
- You can also have cod liver oil capsules to increase the intake of good fats.
How it works: The increase in the production of ear wax is caused due to the deficiency of Omega 3-fatty acids. Increasing the intake will help prevent excessive ear wax
Tip: If you are not able to source food that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, you can also have the capsules. They are equally good
10. Almond Oil
Things you need: Dropper, almond oil at room temperature
- Tilt your affected ear and put a few drops of almond oil inside the ear.
- Let it stay for about 15 minutes and then tilt the ear in the opposite direction for the oil to come out.
- Now take a Q tip and gently prod out the ear wax from the ears
How it works: Almond oil is a natural lubricant that will help the hardened wax to come out of the ear easily
Tip: Almond oil can be easily bought from the market. Or you can also make some from almonds at home. The latter is a tedious process, so buying it would be your best bet
11. Coconut Oil
Things you need: A small microwave proof bowl, some virgin coconut oil
- Take a dropper and drip some warm coconut oil into your ear.
- Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes and then wash off with warm water.
- The wax will gently slide out of your ear
How it works: The coconut oil just like almond oil too acts as a softener and lubricant and helps to ease out the hardened wax from the ear
Tip: Always use virgin coconut oil as it will work best with the wax and help to remove it easily
12. Tea Tree Oil
Things you need: A dropper and a teaspoon of tea tree oil
- Tilt the affected ear and put in a few drops of tea tree oil enough to partially fill the ear canal.
- Now let it sit for about five minutes and at the same time massage the base of the ear canal to ease out the hardened wax.
- Now after five minutes tilt your ear to the other side and remove the wax.
- Use a soft cloth or Q tips to remove the loose wax
How it works: tea tree oil is an antiseptic as well as a lubricant that helps to remove the ear wax from inside the ear
Tip: You can use any type of tea tree oil available in the market
Things you need: Garlic pods, coconut oil or olive oil
- Heat the coconut oil or olive oil and put a few properly crushed garlic pods in the oil.
- Let the oil and garlic pod mixture cool down to room temperature.
- After the mixture has cooled, strain it in a small bottle and put two or three drops of this strained oil inside your affected ear
How it works: When garlic pods are mixed with some kind of oil and used regularly, it will help to reduce the ear wax formation and also loosen the hard wax
Tip: Make sure you cool down the oil completely and strain it before putting it in your ear. Debris might hurt the insides of your ear.
Ear Wax Removal Kits
If you are not too sure about using the above home remedies to get rid of ear wax, you can also use ear wax removal kits that are easily available in the market. However, you should proceed with extreme caution when you are using these kits because some of them might look easy to use but they might end up being dangerous to your ears.
Remember, you are not an expert and if you would really want your ears in a much better state, go to a medical professional. He or she will be able to guide you in a much better way.
How Often Should You Clean Your Ears?
Cleaning ears is not really necessary because our ears have a self-cleaning mechanism. Having said that, sometimes the wax accumulates and that might prevent you from hearing properly. As such, you might require to use the methods listed above to thoroughly clean your ears.
You can clean your outer ears almost every day, but refrain from sticking anything sharp or even Q tips inside your ear as far as possible. If you have an ear wax build-up you should visit your doctor for the safest possible removal.
When to Seek Medical Attention?
Sometimes ear wax can prevent you from hearing properly and might even cause ringing or buzzing noises inside the ear. Coupled with this, headaches and earaches are a cause of concern. If you are experiencing all these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical attention.
Taking care of your ear is not that hard, but remember, you should always try and not stick anything foreign inside your ear. This will prevent any damage to your ears.