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What are Safe Ways to Remove Ear Wax?

Michael Pollick
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There is an old saying that suggests putting nothing in your ears smaller than your elbow. In other words, no one should use anything mechanical to remove ear wax or any other obstruction from the deepest part of the ear canal. Even the manufacturers of cotton swabs emphasize the danger of using their products to remove ear wax deposits. There are times when one needs to remove ear wax safely, however, especially when it affects one's hearing or may lead to an infection.

To remove ear wax safely, some suggest using warmed oils such as baby oil, mineral oil or olive oil to soften the ear wax. A few drops of warmed, but not hot, oil should be placed carefully in the ear canal as the patient lies on his or her side. The oil should be allowed to remain in the ear canal for a few seconds to literally melt the ear wax. To remove ear wax after the oil has been applied, the patient should lean his or head to one side and allow the oil to flow out naturally into a clean cloth. A supply of clean water can then be squirted into the ear to remove ear wax deposits that may remain.

Another way to remove ear wax safely is to use ear drops specifically formulated to soften excessive wax. These ear drops are usually sold in the pharmacy section of a department or grocery store, along with other ear care products for swimmer's ear and general earaches. Apply these ear drops according to the directions on the box. In general, a solution is dropped into the ear canal to soften and liquefy excess ear wax. After a few minutes, the solution is allowed to drain out of the ear naturally. Some products that remove ear wax may include a rubberized bulb for flushing out residue.

Some experts suggest that the safest way to remove ear wax is not to remove it at all. The body produces ear wax for a reason - to trap outside dirt and other contaminants before they can reach the vulnerable workings of the inner ear. While some may find this waxy substance unappealing, it is not always wise to remove ear wax strictly for aesthetics. Using a cotton swab to remove ear wax in the ear canal can lead to compaction of the wax or puncture of the ear drum.

Conventional thinking nowadays is to remove ear wax only when it becomes excessive or compromises hearing. Discolored or excessive ear wax may be a sign of a larger problem, so you may need to plan a visit to your personal physician for a more thorough exam. Meanwhile, avoid using anything mechanical to remove ear wax, such as a paper clip, cotton swab or car key. A deep itch in the ear canal can often be relieved by plugging your nose and blowing air through the Eustachian tubes. Excessive ear wax buildup can become a serious problem, so seek medical attention if these home remedies do not bring relief.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to The Health Board, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon991775 — On Jul 17, 2015

Thanks to everyone for sharing their tips. Recently I have been using the soft foam earplugs and have noticed wax when removing them. I am beginning to believe it pushes wax deeper into the ear canal when inserting them.

I have used peroxide on and off for years, as a preventive measure. If overused, it would dry out my wax buildup leaving a hard, not soft, plug of wax. Warm water with a Water Pic had no effect when this happened, the doctor had to use the small wire loop to remove the buildup that particular time.

Recently, I used a couple drops of mineral oil (left in for a day) to help soften the hard wax for removal. That worked, but to state the obvious, everyone is different. Good luck!

By anon359671 — On Dec 19, 2013

A few years ago, my brother tried to clean his ear out with a bobby pin and he quickly ended up perforating his eardrum. Man, you should've heard him scream. He ended up in the hospital emergency room, was given a prescription to prevent an infection, and was still in extreme pain for over a week. It took almost two more months and a couple of doctor appointments before it healed. Even worse, he still has reduced hearing in that ear. He swears he will never ever stick anything in his ears again.

Yep, seems to me it that it's probably a lot easier to just go to the doctor in the first place, since if you try something foolish and it goes wrong you'll probably end up there anyway -- and possibly in great pain with a permanent loss of hearing.

So now that I have a wax blockage myself, I called the doctor for an appointment and was told it would only be in three weeks! I don't think I can wait that long (and just the thought of waiting that long is already starting to drive me crazy), so I'm going to try a few simple remedies in the meantime. I don't really expect them to work, but in view of what happened to my brother, I'm definitely *not* sticking anything pokey into my ear!

So anyway, I just tried out the vinegar and alcohol drops solution recommended for swimmer's ear. It's supposed to soften the wax and also prevent infection. It burned way too much, so I rinsed it out, and after adding about the same amount of water to the solution, it felt much better and not irritating at all. I let it sit for about ten minutes before letting it drain. I had to wiggle my ear and tug on it a bit to help it along.

It didn't really seem to have any effect at first. I was quite disappointed, but after an hour or so it seemed quite a bit better -- I'd say maybe by about 30 percent or so. After another hour or so, my hearing improved even more, maybe to around 50 percent, I'd estimate. Hey! It actually seems to be working, albeit very slowly. So I guess I'll wait a bit and then try it again a few hours from now.

I'm starting to get the feeling that this may require a bit of patience. I've read that it could take the wax a few days or even a week to loosen and clear out. I'm now going to try mixing a few drops of warm baby oil in with my solution, and let it work for maybe an hour or so, following up with a gentle warm water rinse in the shower. I'll try that for a day or two, since it can't really do any harm, and will probably help to loosen up the wax for when the doc eventually sees me anyway.

If that fails, who knows? Maybe I'll try the half peroxide/half water mix as a last resort, again followed by a warm rinse in the shower. But if that still doesn't do it, I guess I'll just have to wait to see the doctor! No bobby pins and perforated eardrums for me, thanks. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

By anon341950 — On Jul 16, 2013

This is not a remedy, but a warning. Don't use a cotton swab or a bobby pin to remove earwax. The only instrument for this procedure is a curette. Also, ear candling is very dangerous. Your skin can be burned, candle wax can go inside your ear and overall, it is quite foolish.

Some people suggested colloidal silver, but I say don't use it. Silver has no purpose in the body. It's not an essential mineral, there is no evidence proving this is an antibiotic and it does not do anything. Silver can also cause health problems.

By anon337702 — On Jun 07, 2013

My ear was blocked for two or three days, so I used some ear drops to clean the excess wax, but after putting the ear drops in, my ear was completely blocked. If I am not wrong, after a few minutes, it should flow out naturally. Please help. My ear has been completely blocked for four hours. Is this normal?

By anon328812 — On Apr 05, 2013

I wanted to read this article just to see if it contained the information that saved my hearing. It didn't!

I do not use liquid in my ears as that just seems to aggravate the condition. After years of tinnitus and various ear pains, I found that the ear candle from the health food store was the best as removing ear wax buildup from my ears. It also stops the tinnitus the ENT said was due to nerve damage.

If you can't use liquid, or you just aren't getting the relief you are looking for, try an ear candle.

By anon325669 — On Mar 17, 2013

I use about three drops of hydrogen peroxide, let sit for two minutes, then take a toy squirt gun filled with warm water. It breaks up the earwax and flushes it out.

By anon318971 — On Feb 10, 2013

Don't use neat hydrogen peroxide. My mother used neat hydrogen peroxide in my ears when I was a kid. The sounds were funny, hearing the bubbling, until one day she did it and I jumped up screaming with pain. It had literally burned through my eardrum. As a teen, I failed the army medical, with both eardrums perforated. I say don't use straight hydrogen peroxide!

By anon310112 — On Dec 20, 2012

Like many, I found this site and was thrilled that warm olive oil was offered as a solution. I found enough endorsements on other sites to convince me, so I warmed some oil, put it in a pipette and put three drops into my left ear. Immediately I lost my hearing in that ear completely, and it has not returned. Furthermore, when I emptied the ear, only a tiny amount of oil came out and no wax at all. I am terrified something has become stuck in there.

Folks, please just save yourselves a lot of trouble and go to a doctor right away.

By anon305360 — On Nov 26, 2012

It just feels good rinsing your ears with water, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and or other liquids because not only you are removing ear wax, but also bacteria and so forth.

By anon290944 — On Sep 11, 2012

I just had an ear clogged after a shower, and thought it was water. I tried every method I know to get the water out and nothing. Turns out, I must have loosened a ball of wax (gross, I know) inside my ear somewhere and it was obstructing my eardrum. I went out and bought that Debrox Ear Wax removal kit.

I was skeptical, but I put ten drops in my ear, left it for a few minutes, then drained it. The fluid looked a little discolored and yellowish. I put ten more drops in my ear and let it sit for about six minutes. Then I let it run out, and my ear was still completely clogged. Then, I used the little green bulb that came in the kit with some warm water in the sink. When I say I was shocked by what I flushed out of my ear, I am not exaggerating in the least. I squirted warm water up into my ear and rinsed it for a few minutes and several large deposits of wax came out. When I was done, I did the same thing with my other ear and the same result. I am kind of grossed out by how much wax was built up in my ears, but now I can hear every little sound clearly! I am amazed.

I have suffered from Swimmers Ear and ear infections since I was a kid and I think this just may be the solution. Debrox works like a freaking champ. As someone who is skeptical about any medication or over the counter drug stuff, I definitely have to recommend this stuff. Wow.

By anon279044 — On Jul 10, 2012

Check out Earvana. I got them online.

By anon278220 — On Jul 05, 2012

I woke up with a blocked ear and it has been bugging me throughout the whole day! After all the stress of searching on the internet for a solution, I still don't know what to do!

I was thinking of hydrogen peroxide but apparently it's harmful. I do not want to see a doctor because I don't want to spend any unnecessary cash on a problem that can be accomplished in the comfort of my home. Please help. I don't want to be at risk of damaging my ears! Will doing nothing and waiting eventually get rid of the wax?

By anon262960 — On Apr 22, 2012

Has anyone tried the Wax Vac? How did it work?

By carmellow18 — On Feb 22, 2012

I have tried everything and am so frustrated! About four days ago, I woke up and couldn't hear out of my right ear. I got online and saw people say that hydrogen peroxide works and olive oil. I have been trying both things with no success at all.

I went to the doctor yesterday and she told me it was from allergies (which I never knew I had) and told me to get Claritin and Debrox Earwax removal from the store and put that in my ear four times daily. I did it 4 times yesterday and four times today and still have been doing hydrogen peroxide and olive oil as well, with no success or improvement.

I also have got a sock of mine filled it half full with uncooked rice and put it in the microwave for a minute and rested my bad ear on it (supposed to melt the wax and get it to seep out). I've done this a few times as well and nothing.

My doctor doesn't want to see me back for two weeks and she told me I should be able to hear in a day or two (tomorrow will be two days) from when I saw her. I can't live two weeks with no hearing in my right ear and a loud ringing noise that gives me a constant headache and no sleep. What else can I try as a home remedy? Please help. I'm miserable.

By anon239341 — On Jan 08, 2012

Wow. My 27 year old son couldn't hear out of one ear because of wax build up. It's Sunday, and he went to the emergency walk-in, but no one was available to help him. I looked up "how to remove earwax" and came onto this site. The peroxide and warm water wash really works, and quickly too.

Within 10 minutes, he washed out two huge 1/4" or more chunks of wax. He can hear again, and it was pain free to flush with the peroxide. He left it in for two minutes, and flushed with the blue ball type syringe of warm water. Bingo! Awesome! Thanks!

The blue ball syringe came with "physicians choice" ear wax removal system. That did not work.

By anon207398 — On Aug 19, 2011

After going to the ENT doctorm he said I had water in my ear and he sucked out tiny mushrooms that had started growing. He told me to flush my ears with 50-50 alcohol and white vinegar. He said do not flush with water. I've had no problems since and I do this frequently since I have had a problem with wax build up for over 40 years.

By anon184584 — On Jun 08, 2011

I always and only use a small medicine syringe and slightly less than hot water, head tilted to the side over a sink. It always works to remove the gunk without fear of puncture. Usually about two minutes a side, and clear! Besides the cost of the syringe, it's a lot less costly than a doctor visit.

By anon181835 — On May 31, 2011

I tried the Debrox route and it just doesn't work. Thanks to everyone for the info on peroxide and oil. I'm going to try the peroxide first.

And - @ 36 - don't comment on something you know nothing about. Just because the "authorities" haven't researched colloidal silver, and thereby debunk it to maintain their billion-dollar monopoly on "health care" doesn't mean it's junk. The dentist told me I needed a root canal - I took colloidal silver and didn't need a root canal after that. I've also used it for many other ailments - an infested eye, deep cuts, sore throat, ear infection, bladder infection - and have been wonderfully pleased with the results each time.

The best way to take it is make it yourself and go slow. Too much can cause a healing crisis. But I swear by colloidal silver.

By anon177950 — On May 19, 2011

can i use hydrogen peroxide for my four year old baby to remove wax from his ears?

By anon176865 — On May 16, 2011

Called elephant ears! It's a squirt bottle that has a nozzle that goes in the ear and you fill the bottle with warm water and some H2O2 and just squirt away till all the wax comes out!

By anon173573 — On May 07, 2011

Always use mineral oil for a few days before you get your ear syringed, it will prevent possible complete compacted blockage from wax getting 'stuck' in your ear (like i had). Oil just helps it flush cleanly.

By anon172945 — On May 05, 2011

I actually just went to the doctor this week to get my ears flushed. I couldn't hear out of my right hear very well for a few years after getting water in it. My left ear went almost completely deaf a few weeks ago after a head cold. So, I was pretty deaf.

I tried using Dembrox, for four days as indicated on the bottle directions, and my left ear ended up being worse. So I decided to just have a professional do it. They put hydrogen peroxide drops in both ears, then used a syringe to (quite forcefully) stream water into my ears. It took about five minutes of flushing on each ear for them to come clean. The doctor said I had quite long wax plugs in there. After being deaf for so long, at least in one ear, I could almost painfully hear everything. The slightest rustle. After a few days I am starting to get used to it, though the doctor said my right eardrum was a bit "beat up" but would heal. He suggested mineral oil so this wouldn't happen again, and of course never using Q-tips as that would just pack it in more.

Anyway, his suggestion is why I looked up using oil in the future and as this was so recent I thought I'd share my story. My hearing feels quite miraculous to me.

By anon170898 — On Apr 28, 2011

@55: I came to this site to learn about ringing in the ears and came across your comment. There is a U.S. patent for the aids silver treatment, Newspaper articles (bloomberg, CNBC, and the times as well as others),two U.N. rulings, Testimony from Merck Scientists,two Two U.S. Supreme court hearings and a pending third, and U.S. government documents that show to the contrary. Can you back up with documentation to the contrary?

I have literally just started research about the topic as a hobby. I would appreciate any feedback. I am amazingly curious about this.

By anon165360 — On Apr 04, 2011

my husband recently went for a hearing test to get a hearing aid, only to discover that the problem was wax build up. we are going to try the olive oil tonight.

By anon162599 — On Mar 24, 2011

@53: You should get your ear checked. i had the popping thing in my ear and had it checked and found out that my eardrum perforated. putting liquid in your ears is not bad, when and only when that liquid is either clean water (Let the professionals deal with this one) or an ear drop. we should take care of our ears, really.

By anon159074 — On Mar 10, 2011

@55 - No one is successfully treating AIDS or HIV with silver. There is *no* science backing it up.

By anon157958 — On Mar 05, 2011

@36: Collodial silver is 5 thousand years old and they are now treating aids patients with it, and succeeding, OK?

By anon156904 — On Feb 28, 2011

Okay here's my problem. I usually don't get a lot of ear wax. But recently, about two weeks ago, i used a Qtip and i guess i must have backed some earwax deep, causing my left ear to clog up and pop, and affecting my hearing as well.

Now I'm completely deaf in my right ear! It's been like that for years. So I've always had this fear of putting liquid, water especially, in my ear! I'm so scared that maybe liquid will get stuck in my ear and ill just be completely deaf! I don't think my ears are good with draining.

So i was wondering if i put hydrogen peroxide in my ear, will it dissolve quickly if i put like one or two drops in? Will i have that completely deaf feeling? How many times of flushing it out will i hear again?

How long is the process? or Should i have a professional do it since i never did this before?

Is there any alternatives instead of liquid! I really hate liquid in my ear. I really freak out! Is liquid the best form to get backed up ear wax out?

By anon149808 — On Feb 05, 2011

Here's how I got the compacted wax out of my ear. I woke up this morning feeling like my hearing was a little foggy so I did the stupid thing by trying to get the ear wax out with a q-tip, which obviously just made it so much worse by pushing the wax back! I couldn't hear at all out of that ear and it was very frustrating. I tried the warm water mixed with peroxide but all that did was fizz with no results.

So I went to the store and bought vegetable oil. I heated it up (you want it pretty hot, but not so it burns you), dipped a cotton ball in it and put that in my ear while I was lying down. I let the soaked cotton ball sit in there for a couple minutes, took it out, then lay on my other side with a paper towel to catch the drained oil. I then used a spray bottle- the kind you can buy at walmart in the travel section, on the setting where it sprays in a steady jet stream, to spray hot water into my ear canal.

I had a friend do this. so she just pulled open my ear and we did it over a trash can. She sprayed many times and it made some crackling noises until eventually I could suddenly hear. She then looked into my ear and saw two big chunks of ear wax sitting near the outside of the canal. so she used a q-tip to just gently get them out. It worked so well! As well as when I've had to go to the doctor in the past!

You may have to do this process a couple times. We did, but eventually it got the wax out and now I can hear perfectly! Hope this helps!

By anon147113 — On Jan 28, 2011

oh my goodness. Last night I had the worst sleep of my life due to what I assumed was excessive wax buildup after trying to clean them with Q-tips last night. So I saw you could use olive oil. Only having canola oil, I tried it anyway. I left it in for about five minutes, and then used q-tips to remove the remaining wax. Oh my gosh, it only took 10 minutes and I can hear again and I have no more pressure!

By anon133335 — On Dec 10, 2010

@26 Be careful with tea tree oil around ears and nose. Tea tree oil is a solvent. Solvents are known to be ototoxic. Using tea tree oil on a baby's ear is nuts and could cause vestibular damage. This is inner ear damage causing permanent dizziness, nausea and balance disorders.

I used tea tree oil in a neti pot for sinus infection and now I suffer miserably from vestibular damage.

By anon132730 — On Dec 08, 2010

After having some serious nasal congestion, I went to visit my primary care physician. He looked into my ears and proclaimed, "Oh my god do you have a lot of ear wax!" He told me to buy the over the counter debrox. Although I was fairly shocked by his lack of professionalism, I immediately ran to the nearest drug store to buy the solution. I placed 5-10 drops in each ear then waited a while. I then tilted my head to see if anything came out. Nothing came out, so I decided to take a shower, and still nothing came out. When I fell asleep, I started feeling worse, more stuffiness in my ear than before. I decided to try again. I repeated the procedure, but this time I bought a syringe to squirt in water. Nothing came out again. Then I tried one last time, but nope. nil. Each time I tried, the ear stuffiness/pressure got worse and worse, my hearing got worse too. It was extremely frustrating. I was up in the middle of the night, looking online, trying to find solutions to alleviate some of the pressure and discomfort to no avail.

I decided to make an appointment with the ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor. I went in and the nurse practitioner took a look, and he then took a curette, a metal instrument with a tiny loop on the end. He began to dig out the wax. It was so simple, I was in shock. As he started digging, big chunks of wax simply dropped out of my ear. Each time, the pressure subsided greatly. There was one large piece left that was stuck, so he went and got an instrument that used water pressure and basically shot it out of my ear. He then used alcohol to get out the last bit of water. I cannot tell you how amazing it felt after he dislodged all of that wax out of my ear. It's basically like 32 years of build up. Not only do I feel like I can hear again, or rather for the first time in a long time, the pressure has completely released. It is an incredible feeling. The practitioner said that it must have been caused by years of using q-tips and the ends of bobby pins to try to dig it out. He said that it should come out naturally and never put anything in my ear, that it can be also very dangerous and can cause major build up.

So, the lesson is: do not bother with over the counter remedies. Go straight to a professional, pay the copay, and they will get all of that years of wax buildup out of your ear. It will feel amazing. Trust me, you will be able to hear clearly once again.

By anon125240 — On Nov 08, 2010

Well I've read a lot of good/bad/and weird advice so far, but none that will help me. I am a chronic sufferer of tonsillitis and ear infections/pain. Thankfully, not so much in recent years.

My problem is that I cannot stand to have any type of liquid put into my ears. So, as you can imagine, as relieving as the results were, I hated having my ears flushed be the doctor. I had chronic and severe ear infections growing up and had to have tubes put in twice. I was told that my ears did not drain properly. (for ex. if water got stuck in my ear it would sometimes be three days before laying in bed and then suddenly feel like a little dam bust and warm sensation as the water and wax finally drained.)

Once the ENT used a long metal utensil with a very tiny looped hole at the end to basically rotate and collect the wax in a ball. It was very painful to me. Although even I was amazed at the size. The nurse at the time even commented, "oh, did she get a wad of cotton stuck in there?". He said, "No, that's all wax!".

For the record, I have had ENT's tell me to never use Q-tips because they compact the wax but I tell them not to worry because I hate Q-tips and having stuff put in my ears.

So, anyone have any suggestions for removing wax buildup due to poor drainage that doesn't involve liquids? Mine tends to always be dark brown to practically black the further down it is. Yes, I know this is not normal, but I also do not have medical insurance to pay for doctors to professionally remove it.

By anon124734 — On Nov 07, 2010

Perhaps my body produces an excessive amount of ear wax, but I've been having problems with backed up ear wax for years. Every now and again I will rub an ear subconsciously and shift some wax in my inner ear, resulting in a blockage which reduces hearing. Anyone who's ever experienced this can attest to how annoying it is.

I once had a blockage lasting so long, I went to the clinic and had a doctor flush my ear out with a water pik. While he was there he recommended the hydrogen peroxide trick. You can also try warm oil, but that seems to take longer. I usually do this: 1)Soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and wedge it into the external opening of the ear. 2)Tilt head to the side and squeeze cotton ball so hydrogen peroxide seeps into ear. Then wait a few minutes. 3)Now flush your ear out with water from the faucet or shower.

Note: if you have an empty bottle of contact solution (with the small nozzle on the end), you can fill with water or H202 for easy flushing.

By anon123195 — On Oct 31, 2010

I once couldn't hear for about six months in my left ear, then suddenly when I yawned my ear popped and I could hear again. I kind of forgot I was partially deaf in my left ear. But now it's happened again after about a year, and my advice is to just leave it and let it heal itself.

Or if you really want to get rid of it straight away you should soak cotton wool in warm olive oil and leave it in your ear overnight. My grandma used to do that to me when I was younger and had lots of ear aches.

By anon113690 — On Sep 25, 2010

I have seen two types of syringes when getting my ears flushed at the doctor. One syringe has a flexible plastic tube on the end which is inserted in your ear. The other is a big, scary-looking metal thing that goes directly in your ear.

Many doctors prefer the big, metal syringe as its tip flares rapidly and won't go too far into the ear canal. Once when getting my ears flushed with the metal type of syringe, it's seal broke and the syringe rammed in to my ear. Because the tip is so large, it didn't do any serious damage but it sure hurt like hell.

This won't happen with the plastic tube syringe. If you are getting you ears flushed with a metal syringe, I'd suggest getting the doctor to test it a couple of times by squirting it with high pressure in to the sink before sticking it in your head!

Doctors used to use a wire loop to pull out softened wax. I always preferred this procedure to the flushing but you don't see it much anymore due to the increased risk of damage.

Still, using oil over a period of time is the best, safest way to get rid of excess wax.

By anon109449 — On Sep 07, 2010

don't pay the $12.00 for those kits. it's a joke.

Hydrogen peroxide and warm water.

By anon104370 — On Aug 16, 2010

This isn't a remedy but a warning for a specific situation.

I used to take care of a man with Alzheimer's Disease, and at one point his ears became badly plugged. He was always fractious when out in public so his poor wife tried to take care of the problem herself, using one of those home remedies.

Unfortunately, the fluid made a crackling noise which frightened the man so badly he punched his wife and broke her nose. Don't try using home remedies on a person who has impaired mental faculties.

By anon103349 — On Aug 12, 2010

The safest, cheapest and best way is using olive oil. You can heat up the oil a little bit. I usually let the oil sit in my ear a few minutes then do the other ear. It's a slow process but it does work. Do it daily and most of it will come out within a month. I suggest keep on doing it on a daily basis if you find you will get a build up or ear wax.

By anon103017 — On Aug 10, 2010

I went to the doctor and she asked how my hearing was. I said just fine, and she informed me that I had quite a bit of ear wax in my left ear. Went and bought the Debrox. I've used it three times so far, each time about 10 drops and followed by a warm water rinse, not doing anything. I keep getting more plugged and actually feel full in my ear. What is next?

By anon91094 — On Jun 19, 2010

Thank you to comment number 38! I am 35, and in the past five years have twice had to have my doctor syringe my ears. The way my ears fill up, I spend weeks at a time only being able to hear properly out of one ear. The water pik sounded like it would behave just like the syringing the doctor does, so I bought one today and tried it. It worked!

I bought the version that has 10 settings. I used very warm, but not hot water. The first two tanks of water I used the lowest setting, and no wax came out. On the third tank of water, I adjusted the setting to 2 (out of 10), and it definitely felt strong. Do not go higher than that!

Very shortly, small bits of ugly wax started dropping into the sink. The key is to then be patient. It's hard to believe how much wax can be in there! After half a tank, suddenly everything got louder, and even the feel of the water changed. I stopped there, again able to hear, and the headache pressure I'd been under for days gone! It felt almost exactly like the syringing from the Doctor! What a relief. Again, definitely do not go above the low setting, and I'd still use the first two tanks at the absolutely lowest setting just to get things warmed up too.

Having had the ears syringed by the doctor in the past helped too, because the feelings you get from the method are very similar.

By anon89812 — On Jun 12, 2010

use a water pick on the lowest setting with warm water. tilt your head toward the sink. May take 1 or 2 tank fulls of water. Keep the setting low.

This worked for my son last Christmas. He is 28 and had severe ear wax.

By anon86268 — On May 24, 2010

I just had a clogged ear for about four days. You can place 5 to 10 ear drops into your ear. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. (Make sure the tip of the bottle does not enter your ear canal!) Then pump it out with a ear syringe. Any pharmacy should have it. Extra wax and ear drops should still be in there so rinse your ear out with warm water. Not hot!

By anon83227 — On May 10, 2010

Someone here recommended colloidal silver along with some other junk - just thought I mentioned that if someone recommends colloidal silver, you should start becoming very suspicious of them, because colloidal silver has absolutely zero scientifically proven medicinal benefits. None. It's not a "natural antibiotic," it's garbage. Look it up.

By anon79536 — On Apr 23, 2010

I've had this clogged right ears for 10 days now due to colds. Is it safe to pour a drop of baby oil in it? I figured that the mucus may be dried already and it's kind of hard to get rid of it.

I've already tired chewing gum almost every day and yawning more often than the normal, but still it doesn't work. What should i do?

I don't feel any pain in my ears though, but i can feel the pressure. What should i do? Do you have any safe suggestions?

Is pouring baby oil in my ears safe?

By anon77897 — On Apr 15, 2010

I always use hydrogen peroxide when my ears get clogged. If it's water or wax build up, it fixes the problem right away. However, if you have an ear infection, it will just make the pain worse. That's how I always know if I have an ear infection or not. Works every time.

By stephdepp86 — On Apr 04, 2010

I've had this problem as long as I can remember and I hate it. I had it so bad once, I was partially deaf for a week, and had to go to the doctor in the end to have my ear syringed.

I tried that hopi candle treatment once, cause that's supposed to help, but I can't afford to keep going to the spa to get that done all the time. I try and use this stuff from the chemist that you spray in your ear, but i don't think that works either, really. I don't know what else to try?

By anon73867 — On Mar 29, 2010

I just came back from the doctor's after having my ears irrigated. I have spent the last five days feeling miserable due to impacted ear wax. I used warm water flushing, then Debrox and flushing. Needless to say it really didn't help me. Maybe I was being impatient but I was really tired of not being able to hear, having a headache, and being just plain miserable.

I did not want to go as I don't have health insurance but it was well worth the money I spent to have relief.

I asked the doc what solution he was using. It was 1/2 hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 water. The process did make me dizzy but it was worth the relief! It was a little painful but I think it was because I had already irritated my ear canals.

I did ask if there was any way I could prevent this again and unfortunately there isn't. The doc said that I could use a solution of vinegar and water or hydrogen peroxide and water to flush my ears every now and again but that I needed to be careful.

Hope this helps anyone else.

By anon71713 — On Mar 19, 2010

Hey am super happy, because i can hear clearly again. i warmed up the baby oil and i put it in my ear but it didn't work so i got the hot water. with this tube i squirted into the ear with a lot of pressure. little pieces of wax came out and then i got all disappointed because i felt the same but in the end it worked.

By anon71365 — On Mar 18, 2010

by Wade: I once went man overboard with my ears one day. Took a shower, and water got in my ear or maybe it was both ears. I think just my right one. I tried alcohol and it got worse. I was going mad!

So I drove to CVS for answers and said it was pretty darn bad. The lady there directed me to an open clinic where they had me lie on my side for about five minutes with hydrogen peroxide put in my ear. After five or so minutes (whatever it was), she came back and had this huge syringe looking thing, only with a bigger hole.

She used it with pretty warm water and shot it in there at a rate that was a little uncomfortable while I held this thing that fit under my ear to collect the water.

My answer: do this for your ear before a shower. put some hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the ear for about five minutes or so, then take a shower and have the water rush in there to kick the softened wax out. It will come out in chunks. Please make sure you do not have the shower pressure too high. Stand away from the water stream far enough or change the shower head setting so you do not apply too much pressure or you may cause pain even after the ear is clean.

By anon68336 — On Mar 02, 2010

Folks, please don't put cotton buds, hair clips, or anything "physical" down your ear to get rid of wax.

They can push it further down the ear canal, compact it (like pushing snow with a broom!), you can even pierce the ear drum, do that...and you will know pain!

O.K., you may have done this in the past, but you've got away with it -- don't keep spinning the cotton bud chamber, one day it won't click, it'll go off.

Even the 'bulbs' that are given with some of the drops are not necessarily a good thing -- the water might be too hot, squirt too hard, douche before the wax is soft enough. Pain probably, almost certainly infection.

See a physician. Or a practical nurse. They can look and advise, and remove if need be.

By anon66062 — On Feb 17, 2010

If you are suffering from an earache, try putting a couple of drops of colloidal silver in each ear twice a day. I have done it morning and evening. This is essentially an all natural antibiotic.

Then, during the day, mix one tablespoon of olive oil in a dropper bottle with 14 drops of tea tree oil. Warm the mixture in a cup of hot water, not too hot, and place a couple of drops in each ear, then, take smaller pieces of cotton ball with a wee bit of water on the side you stick in the ear and leave for at least an hour. Do this two times a day.

After work, do it again and clean out ear wax if built up. Otherwise, continue until your ear infection clears up. this is a great remedy for babies with ear infections.

By amypollick — On Feb 15, 2010

No. 26: Be careful! This is probably not ear wax. It may very well be your Eustachian tubes swollen from the cold and pressing on your ear. You need to see a doctor, who can check your ears and perhaps give you either a strong decongestant to reduce the pressure or an antibiotic, in case you have an ear infection.

By anon65752 — On Feb 15, 2010

I got a bad cold and my left ear clogged up, deep within my inner ear. It's a horrible feeling, it's been this way for five days, and it's driving me out of my damn mind.

I tried pouring warm water with a few drops of peroxide in it about five times and it didn't work. I'm at my wit's end and I'm about to lose it. I guess I'm going to try and get some baby oil and one of those bulb syringes. I would pour battery acid in there if I thought it would help.

By anon64853 — On Feb 09, 2010

When I take out my ear plugs they always have wax on them!

I use q-tips for the outside of my ear and a washcloth for closer to the inside.

By anon62488 — On Jan 26, 2010

My ears always have wax in them. I've used Q tips my entire life and now they seem to get more and more stopped up. I can feel the wax in my ear but I can't get it to come out. It's very annoying.

By anon61046 — On Jan 18, 2010

My ear has been clogged up for the past couple of days now. I just read this article after doing some research.

I put a drop of oregano oil (only oil I had at the moment) in my ear and let it soak in for about five minutes. Then I used one of these

to repeatedly squirt warm water into my ear, and after about the fourth squirt I could hear again!

I didn't see a huge ball of earwax or anything come out of my ear, but whatever was in there is definitely out now.

I hope this will help someone.

By anon60004 — On Jan 11, 2010

I have one right now. any other suggestions?

By anon57849 — On Dec 28, 2009

I have ear infections. I am feeling that a small piece of insect is going up and down in my ear point. what is this? when i consulted the doctor, he wrote some medicine including ear drops. But the problem is not solved. what shall i do?

By anon57047 — On Dec 19, 2009

As for me, I just use straight hydrogen peroxide and pour in in and leave it until the bubbling stops and then tilt my head so it will run out.

It's been working for me and I hear better afterwards. Not sure if this is the way you are supposed to do it but it works for me and I am open to other ideas also.

By swordfish — On Dec 05, 2009

Why does it sound like wind rushing through my ears from the inside which has been happening for nearly a week now continuously? This is without any water entering my ears. Is there any way to stop it?

By anon52095 — On Nov 11, 2009

Or you could just use a stinkin' cotton swab! :)

By anon44205 — On Sep 05, 2009

Use soft baby cotton swabs that have been dipped in baby oil. Do not push the swab way down inside because that is very stupid and can puncture the ear drum or hurt you. Just gently go around the inside of your ear cleaning the entrance to the canal of the inner ear. You will be amazed at how much red wax and dirt comes out. Leave the rest behind for protection of the inner ear. Note: if you don't clean your ears periodically you cannot hear the fine sounds like "S" and people's words will sound like they are talking with a handicap, when really it's your hearing being blocked from wax build up.

By anon40503 — On Aug 09, 2009

What I do is take hair oil, put it in my ear, let it be there for the whole night and then after one day and a half or two days I put in a cotton swab and it comes out easily.

By anon29852 — On Apr 09, 2009

I am a kid with this problem, and I need a safe but painfree way to remove this ear wax in my ear. Even my dad says it has affected my hearing. I would rather not go to the doctor and get it removed bc my dad said he had to do that once and it is very painful. He tried sticking a bobby pin in there to try to wedge in beside it or underneath it, but it still didn't budge and it hurt quite a lot. So does this really work or is this just another remedy that doesn't?

-sincerely, stopped up

By anon27641 — On Mar 03, 2009

First of all, (My4kids1717 & anyone else who reads this) *never* put *anything* into anyone’s ears into which “tubes” have been surgically placed or on which surgery has been performed, or if you have had or suspect you have unhealed injury or eardrum damage, without your doctor’s approval to do so. And *always* follow your doctor’s instructions for care of your ears.

Any opening in the eardrum, such as “tubes” creates a direct pathway for germs to enter the inner ear & potentially can cause serious infection, which can even become life-threatening in rare cases.

Moist, warm, & dark are the ideal conditions for proliferation of the organisms responsible for otitis externa (inflammation of the outer ear, also known as “swimmer’s ear”). Prevention is the key. Do not allow your ears or those of your children to become a happy home for swimmer’s ear germs.

Decades ago (years before I became a registered nurse) my cousin, a medical technologist & professional water ballet instructor, told me about a very inexpensive, simple, & effective way to prevent swimmers' ear. This is much easier than it sounds):

1) Keep water from getting into your ears:

If you are prone to swimmer’s ear infections, do not swim, bathe, or shower without using watertight earplugs to keep water out of your ears. (But, do not put ear plugs into your ears if they already have water in them.) Remove the earplugs as soon as you are out of the water. Then follow steps 2 & 3 below. Don’t wait because moisture in your ears facilitates an ideal environment for growth of the organisms that cause swimmer’s ear.

2) Get the water out of your ears:

After swimming or any activity that causes water to enter the ears, such as bathing or showering, as soon as you get out of the water, tilt your head to one side so that your ears are horizontal for a minute or two. Grasp your lower ear (the one on the bottom, closest to the floor) & gently pull it out from your head (down toward the floor) & toward the top of your head to straighten the ear canal. Let any water in your ear drain out. Tilt your head to the other side & repeat for the other ear.

Chemically discourage germs that cause swimmer’s ear:

3) Again, tilt your head to the side so that your ears are horizontal. Use a dropper to put a generous amount of a solution of half household white vinegar & half rubbing alcohol (70% to 99% on the label) into your upper ear & stay in that position for a minute or two. You should be able to feel the solution drain down into your ear until it feels full. Before you raise your head to a vertical position, gently place a cotton ball in the ear into which you put the solution. Tilt your head to the other side & repeat this procedure for the other ear. Leave the cotton balls in your ear for about 30 to 60 minutes to keep the solution in your ears & to catch it as it drains out.

The acidity of the vinegar discourages the growth of bacteria & fungi, the organisms that cause swimmer’s ear, which cannot survive in an acid environment. Rubbing alcohol is an antiseptic, & also promotes dryness inside the ear canal which discourages the growth of the organisms that cause swimmer’s ear.

Some recommend adding hydrogen peroxide to the solution, & some don’t. Peroxide releases oxygen which discourages growth of anaerobic organisms which cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment. Peroxide has also been shown to cause mild damage to tissue in open wounds. However, many doctors do use hydrogen peroxide for care of certain types of wounds because the expected benefits outweigh the risks. Never use hydrogen peroxide for this purpose that is not labeled “U.S.P.” (United States Pharmacopoeia), & “for topical use”, or that is stronger than 3% according to the active ingredients list on label. If you want to add peroxide to your vinegar & alcohol ear solution, adding an amount that is only 1/2 or less of the volume of either the vinegar or of the alcohol might be wise. In other words, use an amount of peroxide equal to 1/5 or less of the total volume of your ear solution.

For example:

2 ounces of white vinegar

+ 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol

+ 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide U.S.P.

The above steps will help prevent swimmer’s ear by decreasing the moisture level in your ears and by changing the pH to mildly acid which is “unfriendly” for otitis externa germs. These measures do not target the “dark” or “warm”, but I’m sure you would agree that it is not practical to run around with flashlights shining into your ears & wearing ice cubes for ear decorations.

Final note: If you have significant ear pain that does not resolve on its own in a day or two, or that is getting worse, do not hesitate to stop the above treatment and immediately consult with your health care provider.

By My4kids1717 — On Feb 16, 2009

My son is 10 months old and already has tubes in his ears. I believe he has another ear infection and was wondering if it was safe to put olive oil in his ears with the tubes??

By pvtexmex — On Jan 06, 2009

I did this just today, so I am sure that it works and it is safe. I went to a pharmacy and bought a rubber bulb-type syringe for less than two dollars. I filled it with lukewarm water, put the tip of the syringe about half-way into my ear and injected a gentle but steady stream of water. The wax plug came out on the second bulb-full of water. If you insert swabs or hard objects into your ear, you risk impacting the wax--in other words pressing it even deeper into the ear and making it more difficult to remove.

By anon23543 — On Dec 28, 2008

Please do not insert any object into the ear as you will damage your ears, even Hydrogen Peroxide may cause long term issues. A syringe with warm water or special wax dissolving solution would be fine. I have seen many damaged ears in my time as a doctor to give this advise.

By anon19558 — On Oct 14, 2008

Just mix 1-part Hydrogen Peroxide with 2 parts warm water in a bowl. Get a squeezable bulb type syringe from the drug store and just discharge it forcibly into the ear until the offending plug of wax comes out back into the bowl.

It may take 5 or 6 times.

By anon18080 — On Sep 14, 2008

I was having the worst ear problem for 2 whole days. I tried the swimmers ear stuff, bc usually that works, but not this time bc my wax build up was so awful. I saw trying to use a bobby pin and even though I thought that would hurt, it did the trick! I felt a pop and I could hear again :)

By anon16539 — On Aug 08, 2008

The VA does not recommend using hydrogen peroxide because it deteriorates tissue in the ear. Makes sense to me

By anon9326 — On Mar 03, 2008

H2O2 all the way....my mom taught me that trick. The bubbles feel funny, but you'll be able to hear the wind rushing by your ears after you're finished. Even if you didn't have a problem with wax in the first place.

By malena — On Jan 20, 2008

You don't have to buy those expensive ear drop products at the drug store. An inexpensive bottle of hydrogen peroxide will do it too. Just lay on one side and have someone pour less than a cap full in the ear. You'll hear it bubbling up as it does the work. Flip sides and repeat with the other ear.

I've also used hair clips, I find the flat bendy kinds work best, but bobby pins will also do it. You just have to be careful not to go too deep!

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to The Health Board, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
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