Clearing out the excess wax buildup in our ears is something we all do regularly as part of our normal hygienic routine. But are the Q-tips the best thing to use for this process? Well, no, they’re not. There are a variety of reasons to avoid these cotton swabs and replace them with some other methods of ear cleaning. And thankfully, there are a few easy home remedies, as well as some ear wax removal kits, that will make the process much safer on those delicate eardrums and canals.
What is Ear Wax?
Ear wax, known formally as cerumen, is created by the cells in the ear canal. It has a very important purpose as a self-cleaning agent for the insides of our ears. It does this by slowly moving away from the eardrum, collecting dead skin cells and dirt, and transporting them to the ear opening. From there, it dries up and flakes away, or is rinsed out as we shower.
Why are Cotton Swabs Bad for Your Ears?
If you’ve ever read the instructions on a box of Q-tips or generic cotton swabs, you’d have noticed they say right on there not to put them in your ears. There are a few reasons for this. First, if you push too hard, you could cause damage to your ear canal or puncture your eardrum. Though the damage will eventually heal, it could be quite painful.
Another reason to avoid cotton swabs is due to wax impaction. Your ears only produce wax in the outer third of the ear canal. As you try to clean out this wax, you will likely be pushing more of it in further, pressing it up against your eardrum. This could lead to wax impaction, which could require a doctor’s care to remedy.
Alternative Methods of Cleaning Wax Buildup
Though the majority of the ear wax produced leaves the ears on its own, there are some people who produce more of it than is necessary. This can lead to a heavy wax buildup in the ears. You can take a trip to your doctor to have it cleared out, or you could try one of these methods of ear wax removal at home.
The Oil and Irrigate Method
One method to clean out wax buildup is by using baby oil or olive oil. Warm it up and fill an eye dropper with your chosen oil. The put a few drops into the ear and leave it for a few minutes. Then take a bulb syringe, fill it with warm water, and gently squirt in the ear, washing out the oil and excess wax. You can do this twice a day for up to seven days if needed for heavy buildup.
For this method, all you need to do is fill an eye dropper with hydrogen peroxide. Then fill the ear canal with the peroxide and leave it for 5 minutes. You will likely feel and hear the bubbling as the peroxide reacts to the bacteria. Then flush it with water.
Ear Wax Removal Kits
If you prefer to go the more professional route, there are a number of ear wax removal kits available, which provide you with everything you need, plus the instructions to ensure the process is done correctly.
Earwax MD removal kit includes a clinically proven solution for dissolving earwax that is dermatologically tested to ensure it is safe for the skin. It should only require one or two doses to completely remove the waxy buildup.
All you need to do is lie on your side, fill your ear canal with the solution, then wait for it to work. The instructions say 10-15 minutes, but it may take up to an hour, depending on the thickness of the buildup.
To rinse, just use the included soft bulb to irrigate the ear canal. It may take a bit to rinse it completely, and sometimes you need to squirt the water a bit hard to really flush it out, but it works quite well for clearing out the blockage.
Squip Kyrosol Ear Wax Removal Kit
Squip Kyrosol kit includes everything you need for a proper ear cleaning. In the box are 10 pipettes that each contain a single dose of the wax dissolving solution, an earplug, an ear rinser, and a storage sleeve.
The process involves squeezing the contents of one pipette into your ear. If you can’t lay still for the 30 minutes it takes to work, then you can insert the earplug to hold the liquid in, which is quite convenient for those with little time to spare.
Then irrigate the ear with the ear rinser. This handy syringe has an Octoclear safe irrigation tip, which has a unique design that squirts the water out of three separate holes in the end. There is also special portals at this end that allow the water and wax to flow right out and into the sink below you.
Debrox Ear Wax Removal Aid
Debrox kit is one of the top brands recommended by doctors and pharmacists for ear wax removal. The solution contains Carbamide peroxide 6.5%, which creates the microfoam action that softens the earwax without irritating the skin.
The solution comes in a bottle with a thin tip that releases small drops into the ear, reducing the mess. There is also a bulb syringe included to clear out the solution and wax buildup quickly and easily. This product is safe enough to use twice a day for up to four days if the buildup is extra thick.
Etereauty 6-Piece Ear Wax Removal Kit
EtereautyEar Wax Removal Kit doesn’t contain any messy solutions or ear-rinsing bulbs. Instead, this storage box comes with six medical grade stainless steel tools to clean out your ear, itching and massaging the canal at the same time.
Five of the tools are dual-sided, so you have eleven different heads to choose from, including a few sizes of spoon curettes and spiral tips, plus one spring tip. To keep the tools clean, use alcohol or soap and water before and after each use.
The downside of these tools is that you need to be extra careful when inserting them into your ears to ensure you don’t damage the canal. But if used correctly, they can clear out any waxy buildup safely and effectively every time. If you’re unsure on how to use this ear wax removal kit, it might be best to let the professional do it for you.