Although you can buy kits over-the-counter to remove ear wax build-up, you can also effectively remove ear wax using simple items you may have on hand already. There are two levels of ear wax removal: the hard-core method for deeper ear wax that will take around half an hour, or the light method for small amounts of ear wax and for when you are in a hurry. Do not attempt to use this method--or any other home ear wax removal method--if you suffer from a perforated ear drum or have an ear infection. For those who have healthy ear drums and would like to get rid of excessive ear wax, read on.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide solution
- Dropper or small container with a lip
- Cotton swabs
Set aside 30 minutes of time in which you can be undisturbed.
Place a towel flat over a pillow or wherever you will lie down.
Pour hydrogen peroxide into the container you will use, either the dropper or the small container with a lip.
Turn your head to the side so that it is parallel with the ground. While hovering your head over the towel (to catch any potential drops of liquid), either squirt or pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into the ear that is on top. If using a dropper, be sure to hold the dropper ABOVE the ear and allow the drops to drop in. (DO NOT put the tip of the dropper into the ear.) Keep your head level with the ground so that the liquid will be captured in your ear canal. This will be uncomfortable. The liquid will feel cold. At room temperature, it is much cooler than your body temperature. When the liquid flows against your eardrum, you will feel a short jolt of discomfort. This is normal and will quickly pass.
Lower your head onto the towel and rest, keeping your head tilted. This will feel weird--sounds are blocked in the treated ear, and the liquid is still cold. However, remain peaceful and calm. Rest your head. Try to stay still for 10 to 15 minutes. After the first minute or so (perhaps sooner, depending on the amount of ear wax you have to clear out), you will feel and hear bubbling in the treated ear. It will tickle. It will itch. It will feel annoying, and you will probably want to shake the liquid out of your ear and stop the treatment. As long as you do not feel pain, however, continue the treatment, lying peacefully and waiting--until the bubbling stops. Again, this will take 10 to 15 minutes. You may find that the bubbling is so extreme that you will need to add a bit more peroxide. If so, continue to add a few drops to keep the level of liquid in your ear.
When the bubbling has stopped, turn your head quickly to the other side, flipping over. You will feel the liquid drain out onto the towel. You may find bits of wax on the towel, or you may not. Shake your head a bit to make sure all the liquid has flowed out of your ear.
Repeat Steps 1 to 6 for the other ear.
Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into the cap of the peroxide container for a quick fix for visible ear wax
Dip one tip of a cotton swab into the peroxide in the cap to moisten it.
Apply this moistened tip to the outside of the ear and circle it gently around the outside of the ear canal (the visible part), being careful not to go further into the ear canal. Pushing into the ear canal can be dangerous, and it can further impact wax.
Repeat Steps 1 to 3 for the other ear, using multiple cotton swabs if necessary.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure the hydrogen peroxide you are going to use is no stronger than a 3 per cent solution (this is the normal H2O2 that is sold in drugstores).
- Ears are delicate. Be careful when working with them.
- If using the "Quick and Easy" method, be careful not to put the cotton swab any deeper in the ear canal than you can actually see. Never allow a swab or anything else to push into the ear canal.
- If this method does not clear out the wax build-up in your ears, you may want to visit an ear, nose and throat physician.