How to Remove Earwax: Effective Methods and Tips


Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced by the glands in our ear canal. It plays a crucial role in protecting our ears from dust, bacteria, and other foreign particles. However, sometimes earwax can build up and cause discomfort or even temporary hearing loss. In this article, we will explore effective methods and tips on how to remove earwax safely and efficiently.

Understanding Earwax Buildup

Earwax buildup, also known as impacted earwax, occurs when the wax accumulates in the ear canal and hardens. This can happen due to various factors, including:

  • Excessive production of earwax
  • Narrow or twisted ear canals
  • Using cotton swabs or other objects to clean the ears, which can push the wax deeper
  • Wearing hearing aids or earplugs regularly

When earwax builds up, it can cause symptoms such as earache, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), temporary hearing loss, dizziness, or a feeling of fullness in the ear. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to address the issue promptly.

Safe Methods to Remove Earwax

While it is tempting to reach for a cotton swab to clean your ears, it is important to note that inserting anything into your ear canal can be risky and may push the wax deeper, potentially causing more harm than good. Instead, consider the following safe methods to remove earwax:

1. Over-the-Counter Ear Drops

Over-the-counter ear drops are a common and effective method to soften and loosen earwax. These drops usually contain hydrogen peroxide, saline solution, or mineral oil. Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully and administer the drops into your ear canal. Allow the drops to sit for a few minutes, and then tilt your head to let the liquid drain out. Gently clean the outer ear with a clean cloth or tissue.

2. Warm Water Rinse

A warm water rinse can help flush out excess earwax. Fill a rubber bulb syringe with lukewarm water (body temperature) and gently squirt the water into your ear canal. Tilt your head to allow the water to drain out, and then dry your outer ear with a clean towel. It is important to note that this method should not be used if you have a perforated eardrum or a history of ear infections.

3. Ear Irrigation by a Healthcare Professional

If home remedies do not provide relief, it may be necessary to seek professional help. A healthcare professional, such as an ear, nose, and throat specialist or a nurse, can perform ear irrigation. This procedure involves using a syringe filled with warm water or saline solution to flush out the earwax. It is a safe and effective method when performed by a trained professional.

Tips for Preventing Earwax Buildup

Prevention is key when it comes to earwax buildup. By following these simple tips, you can reduce the likelihood of excessive wax accumulation:

  • Avoid inserting objects into your ears, including cotton swabs or hairpins.
  • Use earplugs or cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly when swimming to prevent water from entering the ear canal.
  • Keep your ears dry and clean by gently wiping the outer ear with a clean cloth.
  • If you wear hearing aids, clean them regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Consider using earwax softening drops once a month to prevent wax from hardening.

Q&A: Common Questions About Earwax Removal

1. Can I use cotton swabs to clean my ears?

No, it is not recommended to use cotton swabs or any other objects to clean your ears. They can push the wax deeper into the ear canal and potentially cause damage to the eardrum.

2. How often should I clean my ears?

It is generally not necessary to clean your ears regularly. The ear is self-cleaning, and earwax will usually migrate out of the ear canal naturally. However, if you experience symptoms of earwax buildup, you can use the methods mentioned above to remove it safely.

3. Is ear candling a safe method to remove earwax?

No, ear candling is not a safe or effective method to remove earwax. It involves placing a hollow candle in the ear canal and lighting it, with the belief that the heat creates a vacuum to draw out the wax. However, there is no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness, and it can cause burns, eardrum perforation, or even candle wax residue in the ear.

4. Can earwax cause permanent hearing loss?

Earwax buildup can cause temporary hearing loss, but it is unlikely to cause permanent hearing loss. However, if you experience persistent hearing loss or other concerning symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation.

5. When should I seek medical help for earwax removal?

If home remedies do not provide relief or if you experience severe symptoms such as severe pain, bleeding, or sudden hearing loss, it is recommended to seek medical help. A healthcare professional can safely remove the earwax and address any underlying issues.


Earwax buildup can be uncomfortable and affect our hearing temporarily. However, with the right methods and precautions, it can be safely removed. Avoid using cotton swabs or other objects to clean your ears, and instead opt for over-the-counter ear drops or warm water rinses. If home remedies do not work, consult a healthcare professional for assistance. Remember to take preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of excessive earwax accumulation. By following these tips, you can maintain healthy ears and prevent discomfort caused by earwax buildup.



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