How to use a rubber bulb syringe for ears

Written by lynndee marooney
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How to use a rubber bulb syringe for ears
A bulb syringe is used to push a solution into the ear canal. (ear image by Connfetti from

While earwax, also known as cerumen, is necessary for ear function, an excessive build-up of earwax can be uncomfortable and can cause hearing loss. Rubber bulb syringes are commonly used to remove earwax from ears, and the procedure can be done at home. Before proceeding with using a rubber bulb syringe on your ear, see a doctor if you have any concerns about your ear or eardrum.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Bowls
  • Towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar
  • Baby oil
  • Eyedropper

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  1. 1

    Mix hydrogen peroxide and water together in a half-and-half solution in a bowl (for example, use a tablespoon of peroxide and a tablespoon of water). Use lukewarm water. A solution too warm or too cold can cause ear pain. Hydrogen peroxide at full strength can cause pain to a sensitive ear drum.

  2. 2

    Lie on your side and have a towel underneath your head. Your affected ear should be facing up. Fill the syringe with the hydrogen peroxide/water solution by squeezing the bulb with your fingers, dipping the tip into the solution and releasing your fingers (but don't drop the bulb). Insert the syringe into your ear canal. Do not push the syringe in deeply. Gently depress the syringe bulb to push the solution into the ear drum. Excess solution will flow out of the eardrum and onto the towel. Allow the solution to remain in the ear canal for five minutes to soften the wax. Hold the towel to your ear when you sit up.

  3. 3

    Fill a clean bowl with lukewarm water. Fill the bulb syringe with the water. Tilt the affected ear over a sink and insert the bulb syringe into your ear and flush with the plain water. Repeat a few times to flush the loosened wax from the ear canal.

  4. 4

    Look in the sink to see whether wax came out of your ears. If you do not see wax or you still feel wax, fill a clean bowl with a mixture of 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 1/2 cup white vinegar. Make sure the solution is lukewarm. Fill the syringe with the alcohol-and-white vinegar mixture and insert in your ear, with your ear facing the ceiling. Gently depress the syringe to push the solution into the ear. Allow the solution to sit for five minutes and rinse with warm water.

  5. 5

    Insert a few drops of baby oil into each ear with an eyedropper if you still have impacted wax in the ear drum. Repeat this for five days to allow the wax to soften and then repeat these steps.

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