Note: Do not try to clean your ears on your own if you have a hole or a tube in your eardrum. Also, if your symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Everything in the body has a purpose and earwax is no exception. Earwax is important to the health of the outer ear canal, as it provides protection, lubrication and antibacterial properties.
Your ears produce earwax constantly, so that there is the right amount in your ear canals. However, sometimes wax can accumulate excessively, resulting in a blocked ear canal.
When earwax or gunk builds up in your ears, they can feel plugged up and it may even affect your hearing.
Other symptoms are aching in the affected ear, fullness or ringing in the ear, an unpleasant odor coming from the ear, dizziness and even a cough. Excess buildup dirt, bacteria, and other debris in the ear can increase the risk of infection, which can cause pain in the middle ear, fluid drainage and impaired hearing.
People who use hearing aids or ear plugs as well as older people and people with developmental disabilities are more likely to develop excess earwax.
Usually, earwax works its way out of the ear naturally through chewing and other jaw motions, but you need to safely remove earwax from the outer ear.
Here are the top 10 ways to clean your ears safely at home.
1. Saline Water
Saline water is used in ear syringing, a method commonly used to clean ears at home. A saline solution can also be used effectively without a syringe. It helps soften the accumulated wax, making it easy to get rid of.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in ½ cup of warm water.
- Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution, tilt your ear toward the ceiling and squeeze a few drops into the ear.
- Hold your head in that position for 5 minutes.
- Tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow the saline water to drain out.
- Clean the outer part of your ear with a clean cloth to remove the softened wax.
Note: The saline solution should be at body temperature to prevent dizziness.
2. Boiled Warm Water
You can simply use clean and purified warm water to drain the ears of earwax. Water is very gentle to your ears and can help dislodge the wax.
Be sure the water is purified to reduce the risk of bacteria causing more harm inside the ears.
- Boil a little water and allow it to cool down to room temperature.
- Fill a dropper with the water.
- Tilt your head toward the ceiling and put drops of the warm water directly inside the ear.
- Allow it to sit for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Tilt your head in the opposite direction to drain the water from the ear.
- Use cotton balls to clean out the dislodged earwax and other particles.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another very common method for cleaning out your ears.
It will soften the wax and its effervescent action, which may cause fizzing or popping sounds, will help bring the wax closer to the outer surface for easy removal.
- Mix equal amounts of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide.
- Fill a dropper with the solution.
- Using the dropper, put the solution into your ear while keeping it tilted toward the ceiling.
- Wait 5 to 10 minutes or until the fizzing sound stops.
- Tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow the solution to run out.
- Use a clean cloth to remove any residue you find near the outer part of the ear.
- Use this remedy no more than once a week.
Note: Do not use hydrogen peroxide if you have a perforated eardrum or a history of ear problems.
4. Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol
Another effective method to clean wax out of your ears is using a mixture of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. While the vinegar helps dissolve the earwax and prevents the buildup of bacteria inside the ears, rubbing alcohol dries up the liquid that might be left in the ears.
- Mix white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in equal amounts.
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution.
- Squeeze a few drops of the solution into the ear while keeping it tilted toward the ceiling.
- After 3 to 5 minutes, tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow the solution to drain out along with the earwax.
- Using another cotton ball, remove any residual gunk from the outer ear.
Glycerin is also effective in getting rid of earwax. It will help soften the earwax, so that it can be easily taken out of the ear.
- Keep the affected ear titled toward the ceiling.
- Using a dropper, put a few drops of glycerin into the ear.
- Allow it to sit for 5 minutes by placing a cotton ball in the ear opening.
- Take out the cotton ball and tilt your ear in the opposite direction to allow the liquid to drain out.
- Clean out the softened wax using a soft cloth or cotton ball.
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil also works as a simple and readily available wax-softening agent. This oil will help get rid of wax without affecting your ears negatively.
Using olive oil means you do not have to worry about dryness or irritation, as the oil will coat the sensitive skin in your ear and protect it.
- Pour a few drops of lukewarm olive oil into your ear.
- Cover the opening of the ear with a cotton ball.
- Lay on your side, with your covered ear facing upward for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cotton ball and tilt your head in the opposite direction to drain out the extra oil.
- Clean the ear opening with a soft cloth.
Instead of olive oil, you can also use mineral oil or almond oil.