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?

Related articles:
Do you have hearing problems?
Should you clean you ears?
Why is my hearing muffled?

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

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


Do you have hearing problems?

Are you one of the 4.2 million Australians who have hearing loss?

Are cotton buds a cleaning tool or a health hazard?

Why you should never use cotton buds to clean your ears ever again.

Five reasons you may have muffled hearing

Diminished hearing ability can have several causes.