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Olive Oil for Removing Ear Wax

Updated March 23, 2017

While ear wax is useful in the body, too much can cause problems. However, ear wax removal is a delicate process, with some risk of damaging the inner ear. Common tools like cotton swabs are especially risky because they can puncture the ear drum, causing permanent damage. Other traditional home earwax removal methods like using hair pins or anything else that you must stick inside the ear canal are not recommended by the American Hearing Research Foundation. Fortunately, olive oil is an approved treatment for excess wax.

The Oil

The olive oil used must be clean and free of bacteria. The oil must be 100 per cent olive oil, free of herbs or other additives. Herbs can stick to the ear canal and cause infection eventually. Oils that contain peppers or even garlic may provoke an unwanted sensation in the ear. However, buying speciality or extra virgin olive oil is not necessary. Just be sure to keep the oil you use for your ears separate from the oil you use for cooking; this will keep the oil free of bacteria and cooking debris.

The Procedure

Lay on your side. Straighten the ear canal by pulling the ear up and out. Put two to three drops of olive oil into your ear. Lay there for two minutes then roll over onto a towel to let the oil leak out. Repeat on the second ear. Perform this procedure once a week or periodically to keep the level of wax in your ears under control. For ears that are blocked by wax, the University of Nottingham Health Services recommends that you perform this treatment nightly for two weeks to loosen the wax. After that, see a doctor to have the ear cleaned out professionally or inspected to ensure that no other problems exist.

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About the Author

Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.