When it comes to the ear cleaning, finding the right method can be a challenge. But the ear is amazing in that it cleans itself. Crazy, right? However, there are some of us that have problems with wax build-up, either from work, having to wear earplugs or from an excessive amount of wax production. Either way this build up of wax and debris can cause major problems, from hearing loss to infections. So how do you clean it out safely? This is a very good question. Let’s go over five tips when it comes to cleaning your ears at home.

1. Never insert cotton swabs into the canal

Yes Q-tips or cotton swabs may seem like the perfect tool to use when it comes to cleaning your ears, but this is far from the truth. These little tools are far better used for make-up applications or cleaning out a wound on your knee than cleaning your ears. Why? Even though this may seem like the perfect size to fit into your ear, it can push the wax and debris you are trying to clean out further down your ear canal, causing a worse impaction and possibly puncturing your eardrum.

2. Wipe the area with your towel after a shower

After a shower is the best time to clean your ears. Why? The wax is more pliable due to the moisture and humidity of the shower. Using your towel, wipe the outside of your ear with your finger. This will enable you to safely remove dirt, debris and wax from the outer part of the ear that your canal has already pushed out. As the saying goes, nothing smaller than your elbow should go in your ear.

3. Show caution with over-the-counter treatments

Over-the-counter ear cleaners can be useful and helpful to some; however, great caution should be observed when using these because if utilized incorrectly or even too often they could cause serious damage to the ear canal. Whenever deciding to use and over-the-counter cleaner, consult your hearing health provider on which one would be best and how to properly use it.

4. Show caution with mineral oil

Many swear by the use of mineral oil to clean the ear. For some it works wonderfully and for others, not as much, so please use caution when deciding on whether or not to use this treatment to clean your ears. It is advised that you consult your hearing provider on how to properly administer and use this form of ear cleaning.

5. Leave the tough cleaning to your professional

Water irrigation is one method people attempt at home when clearing a blockage. This method of ear cleaning sends water into your ear to clean it out. Please be sure to consult your hearing care provider prior to using this method for cleaning your ears to ensure you know how to properly administer this method to not cause any damage.

If you feel that you have a problem with wax build-up see your hearing health professional for help. They will be able to advise you and show you how to clean your ears properly and safely and will be able to help with any other future problems or questions you may have when it comes to cleaning your ears.