If your ears tend to produce a lot of earwax, weekly or monthly cleaning might be a necessary step to fending off earwax impaction, tinnitus, interference with your hearing or hearing aids, and other problems. Although you should always contact a hearing healthcare professional for cases of severe earwax impaction (or whenever you suspect another health risks like an ear infection), it’s easy, safe and affordable to practice simple earwax softening and removal methods right at home. Talk with your hearing healthcare provider to discuss which options are ideal for your ear health issues.
Some prefer to keep it simple by purchasing over-the-counter earwax softening drops that contain carbamide peroxide, but you can make your own drops using simple, gentle ingredients:
- A water/salt (saline) solution
- Lukewarm water plus one to two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, olive oil, glycerin, vinegar/rubbing alcohol or baby oil
The right way to use earwax removal drops
You can simply pour the solution into your ear, but most people find it more effective and less messy to load the solution into a syringe or eye drop applicator. Once you’re ready to use the drops, follow these tips for the best results:
- Your ear canal should be as vertical as possible, so tilt your head to the side or lie down.
- When you apply the drops, don’t insert the applicator into your ear – keep it a few inches away.
- Recruit a helper to make sure you’re getting the solution into your ear.
- If you’re using hydrogen peroxide, fizzing and popping is normal. When it stops, it’s also a good sign you’ve left the solution in long enough.
- Leave the solution in for five to 10 minutes.
- Prepare a bowl or cotton balls to catch the drainage from your ear as you slowly lift you head back up.
- Leaning over a sink or container, flush out any remaining loosened wax with a syringe full of warm water.
Repeat only as necessary
These solutions and methods are safe, gentle ways to remove excess earwax, but remember that earwax is your body’s key cleaning agent, so removing too much of it can harm your ear health. For significant buildup, use drops no more than twice a day for up to five days, and for severe earwax problems or plugs, see your hearing healthcare professional for safe, effective removal.