The best ways to clear out earwax

How to clean your ears without harming them.

Best ways to remove earwax

You shouldn’t be worried about earwax – its job is to keep your ears healthy by preventing dust, dirt, bugs, bots and bobs from entering your ear canal, as well as protecting you from infection.

But occasionally, that gooey substance can build up to a point of bursting out your earholes. And when that happens, it may be time for a bit of a spritz.

You may have heard that cleaning your ears is a big no-no. Not true. You just have to know how and when to clean them without injuring the delicate ‘earcosystem’.

First, you should know that earwax is generated by special glands in your skin. And it’s not unhealthy, unless it’s brown, black, white or flaky. These are signs of some sort of infection. You should probably call your doctor if that’s what you see.

There’s an old saying: ‘The only thing you should use to clean your ears is your elbow’. But that would be difficult.

You actually clear your ear canals every day without you noticing. How? When you chew or move your jaw, you inadvertently move earwax from the canal to the opening, where it dries up and falls out of its own accord.

Cotton swabs, buds or the old ‘tissue-round-a-matchstick’ trick are also inadvisable. Pointy objects can rupture your eardrums and damage the small bones in your ears. Cotton swabs can also push wax further in, where it may harden and cause more problems.

Ear candles may be favoured among the more esoteric but putting anything inside your ear is a bad idea – especially something burning.

So how do you clean them?

Hydrogen peroxide, ear drops, mineral oils or saline solutions are the trick. While you can buy these pre-made from the chemist, you can pick up hydrogen peroxide at your supermarket. Simply pop a few drops in at night, lie on your side, let it seep in and the wax will soften and leak out when you turn over.

If that doesn’t work, go see your doctor.

How often do you clean your ears? Do you have any ear-cleaning tips for our members?


    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    3rd Aug 2018
    Don't use a paperclip, despite the nice rounded end, they can carry bacteria.
    4th Aug 2018
    All very good advise until you have hearing aids. Mine have two fine holes in each that constantly are blocked by earwax during the day when I wear them.
    5th Aug 2018
    For years I had the "cleanest ears" my doctor had ever seen. Then suddenly - wax packed in there and annoying deafness. The GP's tried to irrigate in - no good, and the pressure hurt. Off to ENT guy (ear, nose and throat) who removed it. He suggested I try various stuff from the chemist - none of it work. (My ear canals are "narrow and tortuous"). So - an appointment to see ENT every 6 months. In the meantime I use warm olive oil. BE CAREFUL about the warmth of the oil. I bought a small glass dropper bottle from the chemist and filled it with olive oil. I put the glass bottle in a small earthenware container, fill with hot water from the tap, wait for a few minutes to warm, then drop oil into ears. Leave for a few minutes each side. Even tho I still have to go to the ENT, he is happy as it helps when he gets the wax out.

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