How to Clean Your Ears: 7 Things to Keep in Mind - Hear More Associates


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Your ears are very sensitive, so you should take care when cleaning them. Wax, produced by your ears to keep them clean, is naturally soft and doesn’t need to be removed. If you feel like you need to clean your ears, however, consider the following four tips:

1. Don’t Use Cotton Swabs Inside Your Ears

Cotton swabs aren’t an excellent way to clean your ears because they can scratch your ear canal, as well as push earwax further down. They can also damage delicate ear skin. Many people mistake earwax for dirt and use a cotton swab to clean their ears, leading to infection. Cleaning your ears should not be painful!

2. Use a Proper Earwax Removal Tool

If your ears get clogged with earwax, avoid using cotton swabs to clean them. Instead, use a proper earwax removal tool. These come with a curved, plastic tip at the end of a handle and look like a dental pick. The curved tip fits inside your ear, and you scrape the earwax off with the pick.

3. Don’t Use Ear Drops

Over-the-counter ear drops can help unclog your ears, but you should use them with caution. If you have excess ear wax, use ear drops to soften it, then use an ear wax tool to remove it. If you experience pain while using the ear drops or in the day after, see a doctor because it could be a sign of an infection.

4. Don’t Put Anything Into Your Ear

Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear. Never put cotton swabs, tampons, cigarettes, or anything else into your ears. Some people think the ear canal is connected to the throat and nose, which wrongfully leads them to believe that they can clean their ears by inserting objects. It’s imperative to avoid putting anything into your ears because this can cause permanent damage.

5. Use Wax Removal Drops Only as a Last Resort

Wax removal drops are similar to ear drops, but they are much stronger. You should use these only if you have excess earwax. Some people use wax removal drops at home, but it is wiser to use them at the doctor’s office.

6. Don’t Use Salt Water To Clean Your Ears

Many people turn to saltwater to clean their ears. Saltwater can help dissolve earwax, but the salt can also hurt delicate ear skin. Saltwater is best used for flushing out the outer ear canal and reducing infection.

If you still feel like your ears don’t feel clean, you can always use a non-alcoholic ear drop. Though this method might not be as effective as cleaning your ears with a proper earwax removal tool, it won’t cause irritation. These can be purchased at most pharmacies.

7. Be Cautious with Petroleum Jelly

When you clean your ears with a cotton swab, be careful not to push the swab too far into your ear canal, as this can push earwax further into your ears. If you need to use anything to soften the earwax, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly. Don’t use petroleum jelly more than once a week, as it can clog your ear.


Ears are very sensitive and require careful maintenance. If you’re unsure about cleaning your ears, it’s best to consult a doctor. The above tips should be used as guidelines, but they are not intended as a cure-all.

Hear More Associates is Greater Boston’s Most Trusted Hearing Care Specialists, caring for patients throughout Lexington and Greater Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. We aim to help patients address and prevent early signs of hearing loss before the situation worsens. We’re the experts, but we’re on your side to help you make the most informed and intelligent decision, explaining everything and helping you make the right decision. If you’re looking for a hearing specialist in Massachusetts, we’ve got you covered. Schedule an appointment now. 

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