Cotton swabs such as Q-TIPS® have been around since the 1920s and have been the standard solution for getting rid of pesky earwax ever since. However, cotton swabs are not actually a particularly safe method for cleaning your ears. The use of cotton swabs can cause irritation, eardrum damage, and further wax buildup in the ear. In addition, cotton swabs cause the wax to be pushed deeper into the ear canal, which forces all the wax to collect closer to the eardrum, often resulting in injury or damage to the ear. Ears are capable of cleaning themselves, and earwax serves an essential purpose to the body, so cleaning your ears too often is not necessarily the best course of action. But if you do choose to clean your ears due to wax buildup or itchiness, then you should know the safest ways to do it. Here’s a guide for how to really clean your ears with no more cotton swabs.
The first alternative to using cotton swabs is ear curettes. Ear curettes are little plastic scoops that safely remove wax from the ear canal. You can purchase curettes with a variety of different tips that work for different types of wax. For example, if you have softer, more excessive wax, you can use a curette for that specific wax type. On the other hand, if you have wax that is tougher to remove, you can use a curette designed to dislodge impacted wax easily. There is even a selection of curettes that come with a built-in viewing light, enabling you to see the wax you are trying to remove, which makes the ear-cleaning process so much more efficient. Ear curettes are a safe and comfortable solution that will have you tossing out all your Q-tips and trading them in for these fantastic ear cleaners.
The next way to clean your ears safely is with hydrogen peroxide. This solution is perfect for removing stubborn wax that doesn’t seem to want to come out. For this method, all you have to do is mix a little bit of water with some hydrogen peroxide and use a dropper to place a little inside the ear canal. Once you’ve placed the hydrogen peroxide into your ear, lay on the opposite side of your head for a few minutes to let the peroxide do its magic. After a couple of minutes have passed, you can sit back up and let the peroxide drain from your ear. You will want to use a towel or tissue of some kind to catch the mixture as it leaves your ear canal.
Earwax drops are another effective solution for cleaning your ears without Q-tips. These drops help to soften wax that has built-up in the ear to make it easier to remove. Many earwax drops will foam when they make contact with the skin, which is part of what helps to dislodge the wax in the ear. When applying the drops, you will need to lay on your side and place five or more (depending on instructions) drops into the ear you wish to clean. Similar to the hydrogen peroxide method, you will leave the drops in your ear for several minutes, then drain the liquid out after using a towel or washcloth.
Another way to clean your ears is with a bulb syringe. You can use this method paired with the hydrogen peroxide or earwax drop method, or you can use it by itself. If you choose to pair it with one of the previously mentioned methods, you will want to use the bulb syringe a day or two after the other method. If you choose to use the bulb syringe by itself, you will need to drip warm water into the ear gently. Make sure the water is warm but not so hot that it will burn or cause irritation. Avoid using cold water, as it is less likely to loosen the wax. Let the water sit for a few minutes, then tilt your head to drain the water from your ear.
Tissue or Washcloth
One of the most straightforward ways to safely clean your ears is with a tissue or washcloth. You will just need your index finger and a washcloth or tissue to do this. Cover your finger with the cloth or tissue, and carefully insert it into the ear without entering the ear canal. You don’t want to go too deep, as that will cause the same problem as a cotton swab would. Only remove the wax that is in the outermost part of your ear. It’s also helpful to use this method after taking a shower, as the water helps to loosen and soften the earwax. Once you have finished, pat your ear dry, dispose of the tissue, or wash the towel you used to remove the wax.
Another method for cleaning your ears is using mineral oil. Again, this method is very similar to that of the hydrogen peroxide and earwax drops methods. You will need to take a few drops of mineral oil and place them into the affected ear and wait several minutes for the oil to loosen up the earwax. Once the appropriate amount of time has passed, tilt your head so the oil can leave the ear canal. This will allow the wax to exit the ear safely. Clean your ear afterward with a towel.
The last way to clean your ears safely is by going to a medical professional. This particular solution is best to use if you have tried other methods first and still cannot seem to find relief from your earwax buildup. If you notice pain, have muffled hearing, or are experiencing an infection of some kind, it is best to seek the help of a medical professional. A medical professional will be able to advise you on the best possible treatment that will help you safely clean your ears.
Now that you’ve reviewed our guide on how to really clean your ears with no cotton swabs, you can find an effective solution to your wax buildup today! American Hospital Supply carries a wide selection of ear curettes that will help you remove earwax from your ears safely and comfortably.