How to unblock ear wax

Updated February 21, 2017

Excess earwax can cause discomfort to the point of pain, severe earaches and hearing problems. It is important to know how to clear earwax to prevent damage to the eardrum. You can use an over-the-counter earwax removal kit, glycerine, baby oil or mineral oil to soften built up wax. It is best to distract a child while allowing the wax softener to work. Set up a place for the child to lie down and watch a film or listen to music or a story. An adult can to use the same process to loosen excess earwax.

Prepare an area to work on your child's ear. Set out the material that you intend to use to loosen the wax, such as the carbamide peroxide bottle, glycerine or baby oil and rubber ear syringe.

Have your child lie on his side and place his head on a pillow. Explain to the child that you are putting drops of liquid in his ear. Tell him that it will feel funny and itchy but it is important that he lies still.

Place a few drops of the was softener into the ear canal. Keep the tip of the bottle or syringe outside the canal. You may need to hold the outer ear to get a good view of the canal entrance.

Repeat the process of using the wax softener twice a day for only four or five days. If your child has a problem lying still for a few minutes, place a cotton ball into the ear to keep the liquid softener within the canal for a while.

Fill the rubber ear syringe with lukewarm water when you believe the wax has been softened. You should notice wax visible at the opening of the ear canal that is soft to the touch. Have your child lie down and have her hold a washcloth to dab her neck if the water runs out of her ear. Using gentle pressure, release the water into her ear. Ask her to lie still for a few minutes while distracting her as before.

Squeeze all the air from the syringe. Gently place the tip of the ear syringe at the opening of the ear canal, and slowly release the bulb. The syringe will suction the water and earwax from the ear. Squirt the watery debris onto a tissue or paper towel.

Prepare the liquid wax softener that you intend to use. Set a cotton ball out with the ear syringe.

Pull the side of your ear out and carefully insert the bottle top, dropper or syringe into the outer portion of the canal.

Tip your head toward your opposite shoulder, and release the softener with gentle pressure. Keep your head tilted or lie with your opposite ear on a pillow for a few minutes as you allow the softener to work. Be prepared for an itchy feeling as the softener works. The commercial carbamide peroxide has a slight bubbling effect, so it may feel uncomfortable.

Place the cotton ball in your ear for a few minutes if you are unable to take the time to lie down. Repeat twice a day for no more than three or four days.

Flush out your ear after the fifth day with warm water. Fill the rubber ear syringe with warm water and gently release it into the ear canal. Hold a washcloth near your ear to catch any excess water. Release all the air from the syringe. Place the tip into the ear canal opening and slowly, gently suction out the water and wax debris. After the bulk of the material is removed from your ear, you can lie with that ear pressed to the washcloth for a few minutes, as water may still trickle out.


Remind your child to keep all implements, including cotton swabs, out of the ear at all times. View an illustration of the parts of the ear to better understand the location of the eardrum. Use this as a science lesson with your child as she learns the parts of the ear that you are taking care of.


Do not try to clean the ears with hairpins or cotton swabs, as the wax can be pushed further into the ear canal.

Things You'll Need

  • Earwax removal kit with carbamide peroxide
  • Baby oil, glycerine or mineral oil
  • Soft rubber bulb ear syringe
  • Cotton balls
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About the Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for various websites. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.