When most of us think of cleaning our ears, our minds automatically jump to cotton buds. As it happens, this could be causing more damage to your ear health than it does promoting cleanliness.

It isn’t all that surprising once considered. When you push the tip of the bud into your ear, it may collect small strands of wax, but it in fact forces most of it deeper into the canal, where it rests against your eardrum and inhibits the vibrations that allow you to hear. And for those who like to get really deep when ‘cleaning’, you hold the risk of puncturing your ear drum, which is not only extremely painful, but also liable to affect your hearing long term.

Your ears are natural self-cleaners, but in this blog, we explore how it is actually healthy to maintain a level of wax, and safer methods of cleaning than by using cotton buds.


It is very unsightly, but having earwax inside your ear actually keeps your canal lubricated and prevents bugs or fungus from taking up shop inside. However, if you do not want it collecting around the outside of your ears (which is also unsightly for those around you), a very effective method of cleaning is simply placing a tissue over your little finger and run it around your ear. Generally, your finger will be too large to push any earwax deeper into your canal. For the best results, do this after showering, as the warm water will have left the wax softened, making it easier to remove.

Olive Oil

To think something used in preparing food could help you clean yourself might be a little hard at first, but olive oil actually has multiple productive uses. Adding a small amount of olive oil into your ear (two or three drops max) will further soften your earwax and make it work its way out. This is usually a very effective method leaving you with the need to do so only once a week.

Hydrogen Peroxide

If you haven’t come across hydrogen peroxide before, the name might make you nervous putting it inside your ear. Don’t worry, it won’t seep in and melt your brain. After a brief fizzing for 10 to 15 minutes, tilt your head into a sink, and the solution will drain out with the previously lodged wax from your ear.

Ear Drops

Similar to drops for your eyes, several drops exist to remove earwax that are available over the counter. They also work towards softening the wax in order for it to be removed by tissue.

Specialised Tools

We all have ears, and we all have the desire to keep them as clean as possible. For decades, innovation in this particular field has been less than stellar (hence our dependence on cotton buds), but finally there has been work done in creating specialised tools for cleaning your ears safely. The new device gently rotates inside your ear to loosen up the wax, rather than forcing it further down your canal. To further ensure your safety, it also comes with a preventative safety cap, which makes it incapable of being inserted too far into your ear.

Consult a Professional

Have you been using cotton buds for a long time? Is your ear canal feeling rather blocked up with wax? Chances are you might have pushed down your earwax so far that it is damaging your hearing. To safely remove this build up, book an appointment with your general practitioner or Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, who will utilise industry-backed equipmentto give you a more thorough cleaning.