It’s a no brainer that earwax is gross.  What isn’t such a no brainer is how to get rid of it.  You’ve probably used Q-tips all your life, but you know that’s not how you’re supposed to do it.  How do you really rid your ears of wax?  And how do you properly clean them?

Between the Ear and the Scalp

Your outer ear is more often than not exposed to the same types of conditions as your hair and scalp.  Thus, it is usually subjected to the same greasy build-up as those areas.  This greasy build-up is more properly known as sebum.  To get rid of sebum, take a wet and soapy washcloth and lightly scrub the perimeter of your outer ear.  If you see a waxy substance on the washcloth, wash it off and go back over the ear until no more wax comes off on the cloth.

The Outer Ear Canals

The outer ear canals can trap dirt, sebum and earwax in its curves and folds.  A great way to clean the outer ear canals is to use a damp washcloth in the shower, following the ears’ curves.  You may also wish to use a Q-tip or cotton swab here.  The outer ear canal is the ONLY place where a Q-tip should be used for cleaning.

The Inner Ear

Never use household objects to clean the inner ear.  These include (but of course aren’t limited to) toothpicks and paperclips.  Q-tips and cotton swabs are also off limits, of course.  This is because these objects will push ear wax deeper into your ear.

Safe inner ear cleaning can only come from the purchase of a cleanser for the ear.  This is usually in the form of a liquid.  To apply an inner ear cleanser, you will usually be required to lay down with the affected ear pointing upwards.  Then you will apply a few drops of the cleanser to that ear.  After a few minutes you will sit up and allow the cleanser and wax to drain.  Some cleaning systems also come with a separate syringe for dropping clean water into the ear.

If you have a serious earwax build-up, you may need to contact a health professional.

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