How to remove earwax safely at home? Earwax is one of the body fluids that is commonly invisible and always forgotten until you place the tip of earbuds inside your ears. Well, it is not that pretty. It is a naturally produced substance that secures your ears from bacteria and other unwanted contaminants. It also acts as the ears’ lubricant. However, if you are very self-conscious about that, this article will show you the right ways of getting rid of earwax. First, you need to remember why the body produces ear wax:
- To prevent bacteria, germs, and dust from entering the inner part of the ears.
- To slow down the growth of bacteria in the ear canal.
- To decrease the risk of infection, irritation or damage to the inner ear.
- To protect the ears from irritation due to water such as when swimming.
Earwax is actually beneficial as it protects the ears, so why do you have to remove it? Of course, you only have to get rid of it when it is too much! An excess of ear wax can lead to the presence of bacteria. It can also affect hearing. So, what’s the right way to clean the ears? Should you use cotton swabs for cleaning your ears?
Cotton Swabs Can Cause Earwax Blockage
Earwax is a combination of cerumen to keep the skin in your ear moist. Even if it does not seem like it, ears are also designed to clean its own by pushing out the earwax from the canal.
Cotton swabs are one of the most popular options for cleaning the ears. Aside from being cheap, they are available in all supermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies. It is also easy to use, right? But, did you know that cotton swabs are actually not good for the ears?
When using cotton swabs, it interrupts the ears’ natural cleaning process which causes the ears to make more wax. Over time, as you have been using cotton swabs to clean your ears, earwax is pushed deeper into the canal and can cause a blockage that has to be removed by a doctor.
- Ear wax gets pushed deeper into the ear canals when cleaning with cotton swabs. This can lead to blockage and discomfort.
- Another reason for earwax blockage is the use of pointed objects such as hairpins to clean the outside part of the ear as the wax can also get pushed further inside. It is also dangerous as sharp objects may accidentally damage the eardrum!
- People who also often use earphones and people using hearing aids are more prone to earwax build-up.
Excessive earwax may also buildup because of the narrowing of the ear canal which results from some diseases of the bones, skin, connective tissue and other kinds of infection.
This buildup can cause annoyance, itching, discomfort, fullness feeling, partial hearing loss, and dizziness. It can cause irritation when there is an obstruction or impaction because of its accumulation in the deeper part of the ear canal. Some other signs of excessive earwax are noises in the ear and earache.
How to Use Cotton Swabs Correctly?
Cotton swabs can work effectively if you are doing it the right way:
- Insert the cotton swab inside your ear.
- SCRAPE around for ear wax.
- Remove the cotton swab and that’s all.
Even if seemed easy to clean your ears, it is still important to take extra care as the ears are very sensitive! You are also probably cleaning your ears wrong. You can get assistance from your physician or an ear specialist to get rid of earwax. There are also simple and natural remedies that can get rid of hardened earwax from the ears.
10 Best Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Earwax
Depending on how much earwax has been accumulated, you may need to repeat any of the treatments a few times. Reminder: do not try these remedies if you have a punctured eardrum. It is best to be treated by an ear specialist.
1. Salt Water
Saltwater is the most common treatment for removing hardened ear wax that can be done at home. It can soften the earwax buildup which makes it easier to remove.
Step 1: In one-half cup of warm water, mix a teaspoon of salt until the salt dissolves.
Step 2: Dip a cotton ball in the solution.
Step 3: Tilt your head toward the ceiling and squeeze the cotton ball gently to pour a few drops of salt water into your ear. Keep still in the same position for at least three minutes.
Step 4: Tilt your head on the opposite side to drain the saltwater out of your ear.
Step 5: Clean the outer part of the ear with a cloth to get rid of the softened earwax.
2. Baby Oil
Many people use baby oil to remove earwax using a cotton swab. Baby oil can also soften earwax and control its removal.
Step 1: If you have an ear dropper, it is better to use it. Fill it with baby oil.
Step 2: Tilt the ear toward the ceiling and put at three drops of baby oil inside the ear.
Step 3: Put a cotton ball at the opening of the ear to prevent the oozing of the oil. Leave it for few minutes.
Step 4: You can now remove the cotton ball and tilt your head in the opposite way to remove the oil.
Step 5: Clean the outer area of your ear with a clean cloth.
3. Warm Water
You can also use warm water to flush your ear which can help in getting rid of the earwax buildup easier. Just make sure to use filtered and clean water.
Step 1: Fill up a rubber-bulb syringe with warm water.
Step 2: Tilt your ear towards the ceiling and straighten the ear canal by pulling out the outer ear.
Step 3: Use the syringe with warm water to put a small amount of warm water into the ear canal. Leave it for a minute.
Step 4: Tilt your head to the other side to remove the water. Simply clean the excess water and earwax that came out from your ear with a clean cloth.
4. Rubbing Alcohol and Vinegar
This is one of the traditional remedies for removing hardened earwax from the ear. The mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol can dissolve the earwax. The vinegar can combat fungi and bacteria while the alcohol also acts as a drying agent and evaporates at a low temperature. The mixture can also prevent infection.
Step 1: Mix an equal amount of rubbing alcohol and vinegar.
Step 2: Dip a cotton ball in the solution.
Step 3: Tilt the ear towards the ceiling and squeeze the cotton ball to drop two or three of the solution into the ear. Leave it on for at least five minutes.
Step 4: Tilt your head to the other side to remove the water as well as the earwax melted from the outer ear.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide
Another great and effective way to eliminate earwax buildup is hydrogen peroxide. It has effervescent properties that can get rid of earwax as well as other remains from the ear easily.
Step 1: Mix equal amounts of water and hydrogen peroxide (3%).
Step 2: Get an ear dropper and fill it up with the solution.
Step 3: Tilt your affected ear and put a few drops of the solution into the ear. Leave it on for a few minutes.
Step 4: Tilt your head to the other side to remove the solution along with the melted earwax. Clean the outer part of your ear with a clean cloth.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda has a lot of uses and one of them is removing excess earwax. Water mixed with 10% of baking soda can soften earwax buildup.
Step 1: In two teaspoons of water, mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
Step 2: Tilt the affected ear towards the ceiling and use a dropper to pour a few drops of the solution into the ear. Let it sit for ten minutes.
Step 3: Using a rubber-bulb syringe, put warm water gently into your ear.
Step 4: Tilt your head to the other side to remove the solution as well as the softened earwax. Clean the outer part of the ear with a cloth.
Another effective solution for removing earwax buildup is glycerin. It has moisturizing and lubricating properties which can aid in softening hard earwax.
Step 1: Tilt the affected ear towards the ceiling. With the use of dropper, put four drops of glycerin into the ear.
Step 2: Place a cotton ball at the opening of the ear. Leave it like that for a few hours.
Step 3: Put the cotton ball away and flush warm water gently into the ear.
Step 4: Drain out the water by tilting your head to the other side. Clean and dry the outer part of the ear with a clean towel.
8. Olive Oil
Olive oil is also used traditionally for softening hardened earwax in order to remove it easily. It also has antiseptic properties which can reduce the risk of any infection.
Step 1: Warm-up enough amount of olive oil.
Step 2: Tilt the affected ear towards the ceiling. Fill the dropper and put three up to four drops of olive oil into the ear. Let it sit for ten minutes.
Step 3: After ten minutes, tilt your head to the opposite side to remove oil as well as the dissolved earwax. Clean the outer part of the ear.
Aside from olive oil, mustard oil is also effective for softening hardened earwax!
9. Almond Oil
Almond oil is also used for treating hardened earwax. It acts as a lubricant and can soften the earwax to make it easy to remove it from your ears.
Step 1: Fill up an ear dropper with warm almond oil.
Step 2: Tilt the ear towards the ceiling and put five drops of almond oil in the ear.
Step 3: Let it sit for at least ten minutes to let the oil soften the wax.
Step 4: Put a tissue over the ear and tilt in the opposite direction in order to remove the oil as well as dissolved wax.
Step 5: Clean the outer part of the ear with a clean and soft cloth.
10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One of the common causes of excessive earwax is the lack of omega-3 fatty acids. You can take omega-3 supplements or eat foods that are rich in omega-3 such as salmon, walnuts, avocado, sardines, cod liver oil, and mackerel.
Prevent Excess Earwax Buildup
Here are some tips on how to prevent excessive buildup of earwax.
- When taking a shower, run some water into your ear to keep it moist. This can prevent building up of earwax and also prevents the earwax from getting dry.
- Avoid using any pointy objects inside your ears as it can cause infections when the wax is pushed deeper.
- Do not use cold water when draining out excess water.
- Do not insert cotton swabs into the ear canal. Simply remove the exposed ear wax at the opening in order to avoid pushing the ear wax deeper.
- As much as possible, do not use candle ear wax remover. Ear candles can be dangerous as you have to hold the lighted candle close to your ear!
- Make sure that your body is getting enough omega-3 acids which are not only good for the health but also important to stop the earwax problem.
- Do not use HOT oil inside the ears as it can burn the skin can cause an ear infection.
- Lessen the consumption of dairy products.
- After using the home remedies mentioned above and the problem still persists, consult a doctor.
Earwax is a helpful part of the body’s defenses. It lubricates, cleans and protects the ear canals by trapping the dirt. It also slows down the growth of bacteria. However, if the blockage of earwax becomes a problem, simply try the remedies above or consult your doctor.