What are the Best Methods of Home Ear Wax Removal?

A.E. Freeman

Under normal circumstances, wax in the ear provides a layer of protection against dirt, germs, and other foreign objects. In some cases, though, ear wax builds up, which can make hearing difficult and lead to pain in the ear. If ear wax buildup is a problem, there are several methods of home ear wax removal, such as irrigation and using drops. As long as the methods of wax removal are performed properly, they are generally safe and effective.

A bulb syringe, which can be used to clean out the ear.
A bulb syringe, which can be used to clean out the ear.

One common home ear wax removal method is to place drops in the affected ear. A person can use baby or mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide, or glycerin to help soften and break up the excess ear wax. He should place two or three drops in the ear twice a day for no more than five days.

A few drops of hydrogen peroxide is usually effective in breaking up ear wax.
A few drops of hydrogen peroxide is usually effective in breaking up ear wax.

After a person applies the drops to the ear for a few days, a warm shower may be all she needs to rinse away the excess, softened ear wax. In some instances, she may need to irrigate the ear to fully remove the remaining ear wax. This method of home ear wax removal involves filling a syringe with water. The tip of the syringe is inserted near the ear wax and a stream of water is gently squirted at the wax.

A person should keep his head upright while irrigating his ear and tug on the tip of the ear to align the ear canal. After irrigating, he should tilt his head to one side so that the water and any loosened wax drain away. It's important that a person uses body-temperature water when irrigating his ear. Water that's too hot or too cold can make a person dizzy when squirted into the ear.

After irrigating, the ear needs to be dried to prevent infection or irritation. It can be dried using a hair dryer on a low heat setting. A few drops of alcohol placed into the ear should also help it to dry.

If those methods of home ear wax removal do not get rid of the excess wax, a person may need to purchase an over-the-counter ear wax removal system, which usually consists of an ear wax remover solution and a bulb syringe. In some cases, home ear wax removal may not be effective at all, and a person will need to make an appointment to see her doctor. A doctor may use suction to get the ear wax out or use a special device designed to scoop out the wax.

In extreme cases, a doctor will need to tend to ear wax removal.
In extreme cases, a doctor will need to tend to ear wax removal.

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Discussion Comments


I've had to have impacted ear wax removal a couple of times and it's not a lot of fun. It's extremely annoying to have one ear feel blocked and it can get really painful as well.

I've tried cleaning my ears at home, but it never seems to work. Fortunately, I managed to swing my insurance so that I can get regular checkups on my ears and that helps a lot more.


@umbra21 - That's not the worst thing people can do. Those ear candle things are still around and I've even seen them in legitimate drug stores, for sale at the counter, even though they don't do any good and can really harm people.

You basically put the candle in your ear and light it and it draws the "impurities" out of your ear.

It almost sounds like something someone came up with on a dare, but people actually think it will act as an ear wax cleaner and stop them from getting ear infections. Of course, putting hot wax in your ear does nothing except make you susceptible to burns.


The thing you should not do is use cotton buds to clean out your ears. All they really do is push the wax in deeper so that it's more difficult to get out and they can end up blocking your ear.

In fact, if you are prone to your ears getting blocked with wax (and unfortunately, some people are) I would even just go and see an audiologist and get them to show you exactly what you should be doing to unblock your ears.

People can easily give themselves an infection if they mess around with water and oil and everything and don't know how to use it properly. If nothing else, I would get proper ear wax removal products rather than using home remedies.

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