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How to Safely Clean Your Ears at Home: Solutions and Remedies

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Earwax is a natural part of the body’s ability to defend itself and is considered helpful in many ways. It works to clean and lubricate your ear canal. It performs these integral tasks by trapping dirt and slowing the growth of bacteria in your ears. So if earwax is important, before we consider how to clean earwax at home, why is it that we have to clean our ears in the first place?


Well technically, earwax is such a normal and helpful part of your body, that you don’t actually have to clean it. However, many of us find earwax irritating. The irritation revolves around the itchiness sometimes caused by earwax, which leads us to use cotton swabs or q-tips to clean our ears. 


So if cleaning ears though not necessary is a norm, how often should you clean your ears then? Can you damage your ears by cleaning them too often? Are there any drawbacks to cleaning your ears too often? What is the best way to clean earwax? These are some of the questions which we will look to answer in this article, hence keep reading this word to word. 


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How Often Should You Clean Your Ears?

Though most people never actually have to clean their years, some people produce more earwax than others, which means they have to clean the outer ears more often. As a practice, you should clean your ears on a regular basis. The accumulation of earwax in your ears can cause various symptoms such as ear pain, plugged sensation, hearing loss, ear odour and even discharge. Hence as a rule of thumb, you should seek professional ear cleaning once every six months. 


So is cleaning your ears every day ok? Well, you are recommended to clean your ears on a regular basis, if this means every day, then sure. However, what is important is the technique that you use to clean your ears. You may be one of those people who use a cotton swab to clean your ears every day. Well did you know cotton swabs are actually not recommended by medical experts?


It is more than enough to clear your ears for earwax once a week or once every two weeks or even a month or two. What you should check on a regular basis is the build-up of earwax. You can do this by gently wiping the inside of your outer ear with a damp cloth. If you notice a lot of earwax or have a plugged sensation or irritation, it would be good to clean the earwax with a tissue twirl. In fact, it is more recommended than a cotton bud. Simply twirl the end of a tissue and use that. 


Cotton buds when used on a regular basis can damage your inner ear and can cause further injuries. Remember, earwax is a good thing and you don’t have to clean your ear of earwax every day. Hence, if you are making it a practice to clean your ear every day using a cotton bud, you should think otherwise.  


Though you may think that a cotton swab (bud) or better known as a Q-Tip would be harmless when used to clean your ears, the truth is, they can actually be quite dangerous. Once again, medical experts warn against the use of cotton swabs to clean your ears. 


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How to Clean Your Earwax Naturally

Since cotton buds though more popular are not as safe as you would think, you may be wondering of better ways to clean your ears. After all, tissue twirls may not be as effective as cotton swabs in removing earwax. So how do you clean earwax naturally? 


In order to clean earwax naturally, you would need to soften the wax in your ears. You can use an eyedropper to apply a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin or hydrogen peroxide into your ear canal. This will work to soften the wax inside your ears. After a day or two, once the wax has had time to soften, you would want to use a rubber bulb syringe and gently squirt warm water into your ear canal. Simply squirt the water, allow it to irrigate and then tip your head on the side and allow the water to drain out. This will in essence flush the earwax from your ears. Once done, simply dry your outer ear with a towel or hand-held dryer. 


Now we know, the use of cotton swabs would be so much easier. However, this is something that you can do on a monthly basis and still expect your ears to be clean. As mentioned prior, you can use a damp cloth to check the inside of your ears for build-up of earwax. If you notice a build-up of earwax, you can then opt for the natural method we have discussed herewith, which should help resolve any irritation you would be facing due to the build-up of earwax. 


Though the natural process can be somewhat more complicated and rather troublesome compared to simply using a cotton swab, it is by far safer and more effective to use the natural method as discussed herewith. 


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Other Ways to Remove Earwax at Home

We have already discussed two methods to removing earwax, one using cotton swabs which is not medically recommended; and two, using the natural method which is considered safer. So apart from these, are there any other ways to remove earwax at home?


One of the more popular means to clean your ears at home uses over-the-counter ear cleaning drops. These drops basically mimic the natural method which we discussed earlier, however, boasts faster results.


You would simply have to lay sideways and rest in a manner that the ear that you are trying to clean is facing up. Simply add the drops as directed and allow the solution to sit in your ear for about five minutes. This enables sufficient time for the liquid to soak and soften the earwax. Unlike having to wait an entire day to two with the natural method, using over-the-counter ear cleaning drops is much faster. Once you have allowed the solution to soak in and soften the earwax, simply grab a tissue and sit upright and allow the liquid to come out of the ear, along with the earwax that it managed to loosen. 


If you are looking for faster results, then this method would work the best in providing you with the satisfaction of knowing that you have clean ears, further ensuring safety. 


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How to Remove Hard Earwax

The dangers of cotton swabs are heightened when you are dealing with hard earwax. You may be tempted to simply clean your ears with a cotton swab, however, the hard earwax could get lodged further into your ear, causing earwax blockage. 


Hence when you are dealing with hard earwax, the best thing to do is to simply soften the earwax using a few drops of water. You can use a cotton ball to simply place a few drops of water into your outer ear opening, which will allow some water to drip in. You can also use a rubber bulb syringe to squirt a small amount of water, straight into your ear canal. 


Whatever you do, please avoid the temptation to clean your ears using cotton swabs and once you have allowed the earwax to soften, rely on either the natural method or over-the-counter ear cleaning drops to clean your ears. 


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What to Use Instead of Q-Tips to Clean Ears

People find the weirdest stuff to use instead of Q-Tips (cotton swabs), like keys and hairpins, to clean their ears. Obvious to state, this is something that is not in any way shape or form recommended and you should never use sharp and odd objects to clean earwax. In fact, Q-Tips as mentioned repeated within this article is not something that you should consider. 


Though you may be tempted to rely on the old Q-Tip to clean your ears, you should really think otherwise. So if you do think otherwise, what exactly do you use other than Q-Tips? Just use a washcloth or a tissue twirl. Or as already mentioned within this article, you can opt for the natural method or over-the-counter ear drops to clean your ears. 


Do not use small or pointy objects instead of cotton swabs, this is very dangerous and you could end up causing serious damage to your ears. 


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How to Clean Your Ears in the Shower

The shower is the best place to actually clean your ears. Now when we speak of ears, though earwax and the ear canal is what is usually the area of discussion, you do have to clean the rest of the ear. This is why, a shower is the best time to clean ears, including the outer ear and behind the ears. 


Simply use some gentle soap and warm water to wipe down the outer ear. You can use a washcloth for this. At the same time, you should remember to clean behind the ears because the fold can be a breeding ground for dead skin. 


You can also use the shower as a good time to clean the ear canal, especially if it feels full. Further to the natural method of cleaning earwax and the over-the-counter ear cleaning drops, you can also regularly flush out earwax in the shower. Simply allow the water to drip into your ear canal and flush it out after a few seconds. Though this method is not as effective at cleaning earwax, when performed regularly, the earwax is less likely to harden and would be easier to clean.


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How to Remove Earwax Blockage Fast

Earwax blockage is caused by the excessive build-up of earwax which usually hardens and causes both irritation and the sensation of being plugged. Earwax blockage can be caused by using Q-Tips, which would push the hardened earwax to be lodged further inside the ear canal. 


For serious cases of earwax blockage, you would have to consult a doctor who would look in your ear with a special instrument that lights and magnifies your inner ear. Using this instrument, the doctor would be able to diagnose the severity of the earwax blockage. Based on the diagnosis, you can opt for treatment which includes the removal of excess wax using a small curved instrument or by using suction. Your doctor would be able to flush out the wax, using various techniques such as water picks or by using a rubber bulb syringe filled with warm water. 


There are some other techniques as discuss within this article which works well to remove earwax blockage. The fastest remedy to clear earwax blockage is over-the-counter ear cleaning drops. Otherwise, you can also consider using natural oil, which would also work to clear earwax blockage, however, the natural oil will take a little longer (a day or two).


Many people also try a technique called ear candling which is not recommended as a treatment for earwax blockage. This is a form of alternative medicine, which doesn’t have proof of success on the basis of research conducted. Hence as a word of warning, you may want to steer clear of ear candling. We say this with good at heart, for ear candling can cause injuries such as burns and can lead to ear canal obstructions and even perforations. 


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Tips for Ear Cleaning at Home

When it comes to cleaning your ears, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Hence remember these tips when you consider cleaning earwax and your ear canal. 


  • Avoid using small objects such as bobby pins and keys to clean your ears. Small objects can cause injury and can be dangerous.
  • Though tempted, avoid using cotton swabs. Although they look harmless and perfect for the job, cotton swabs are too small to be safely used inside the ear and can cause serious damage to your ear. 
  • Avoid the alternative technique of ear candling, for it could cause more harm than good. 
  • Do check for earwax build-up on a regular basis and clean your ears regularly or as often as you would find necessary. 
  • Use irrigation to clean your ears by flushing out the earwax with a soft rubber bulb and warm water.
  • If you have hardened wax in your ear, use an oil such as mineral oil, baby oil, coconut oil or olive oil to soften the earwax.
  • Hydrogen peroxide works well in removing earwax. Use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Tilt your head to a side and drip 5 to 10 drops of hydrogen peroxide into your ear. Hold the tilted position for about five minutes to allow the earwax to get penetrated. Repeat this every day for 3 to 14 days for the best results. 
  • Use a wax softener or over-the-counter ear cleaning drops to effectively clean earwax on a regular basis. 
  • Don’t overthink earwax. Unless you are irritated or feel plugged or full, this usually means you do not have earwax build-up in your ears. 
  • Do clean your ears properly, both the inside and the outside.
  • If you have excessive build-up or overarching symptoms including pain, consult a professional. 


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Now You Know, How to Clean Your Ears at Home

With everything said and done, though you may not have known otherwise, now you know that cotton swabs are not the best way to go about safely cleaning your ears. Though you may be inclined to assume they are safe, there are obvious drawbacks of using cotton swabs and some real dangers, which is why medical experts do not recommend them. 


We hope reading this word to word has helped you understand the best methods to clean your ear. We hope that it has shed some light on your ear hygiene and you are more aware of what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. 


As mentioned prior, if you are experiencing serious symptoms of earwax build-up or excessive irritation and pain or even loss of hearing, it is best to consult a professional for diagnosis. 


This article is a general guideline on the safest means to clean your ears.


We hope you found this article useful and that you enjoyed reading this word to word.


Happy Cleaning!

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