Ears naturally make wax, but if the amount is too much, it can interfere with hearing, become a nuisance, and increase the risk of local infections. Many people use a cotton swab to clean their ears, but this can push the wax into the ear canal, causing an even bigger problem. A good way to resolve the issue is with hydrogen peroxide. If you take the necessary precautions, cleaning your ears with hydrogen peroxide is a safe and efficient measure.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing for Cleaning
Step 1. Go to the doctor before doing a homemade ear cleaning
Humans need to manufacture wax - it has the function of protecting the ears from fungus and bacteria. It's rare to have a large amount to the point of needing removal, but if you have an earache, a clogged feeling, pressure, or hearing loss, see a doctor to find out if the problem is caused by excess wax or something else..
- Ear wax removal is done more safely by healthcare professionals.
- Using hydrogen peroxide can damage your ears if the problem is not wax buildup.
- If the doctor allows, you can do the home cleaning with hydrogen peroxide. Ask for an indication of the best products to do everything right.
Step 2. Purchase an ear cleaning kit
Pharmacies usually sell an ear wax removal kit for home use. These kits typically contain a wax softener made up of a milder version of hydrogen peroxide. A disposable syringe for irrigation or other accessories needed for cleaning can also be included in the kit.
Step 3. Gather the material
It is possible to use products you already have at home. Cleaning can take 30 to 45 minutes, so grab everything you're going to use and have the following materials ready before you start:
- An oil to soften the wax, such as mineral oil, baby oil, olive oil, or glycerin.
- Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide solution, which can be found in most pharmacies.
Hydrogen peroxide must be diluted - use an option with a volume of 10 or less
- Two medium sized bowls.
- An eyedropper.
- An irrigation syringe with rubber bulb.
- A clean towel.
Step 4. Heat the oil and hydrogen peroxide
It can be uncomfortable to put a cold liquid in the ear, so warm up oil and hydrogen peroxide before using them. Fill the two bowls with hot water and place the hydrogen peroxide bottle in one and the oil bottle in the other. Leave them in hot water for a few minutes to warm up. Another option is to put the oil and hydrogen peroxide into smaller bowls and leave them in hot water.
Test the temperature of liquids on the skin of your hand before placing them in your ear. They should be warm and not too hot
Method 2 of 3: Performing the procedure
Step 1. Stand in the correct position
Turn your head to the side leaving the ear you want to clean first facing up. Place a clean towel under your head or shoulder on the side of the ear that will be sanitized (whichever is most convenient) so that the liquid drains onto the towel.
Step 2. Soften the ear wax with the oil
Take some of the warm oil with an eyedropper and drop two drops into the ear. Allow the oil to act with the ear facing up for approximately 3 minutes.
Do not push the dropper into the ear canal. Gently place the tip in your ear and let the drop drip down into your eardrum
Step 3. Add warm hydrogen peroxide
Take a few drops of hydrogen peroxide with the dropper and gently drop them into the same ear. Let it act for ten minutes.
You may feel the solution bubble or tickle and itch, which is a sign that the hydrogen peroxide is working. You may also hear some crackling
Step 4. Remove wax with warm water
When this time has passed and the sensation is gone, flush the ear with warm water using a rubber bulb syringe. Turn the ear being washed over a sink and hold the rubber bulb syringe at a 45° angle, gently splashing the warm water into the ear canal. Pull the ear up and back with your free hand - this makes the ear canal straight and helps the water penetrate better.
Step 5. Allow all the water to drain
Let the water, oil and hydrogen peroxide come out of the ear over the sink or on a towel. You will see the wax coming out in liquid form. Pull the ear up and back to ease the process and then wait for the water to drain completely.
Step 6. Gently dry your ear
Dry the ear with a towel. You can also use a hair dryer on minimum or cold temperature.
Step 7. Wash the other ear
Repeat the entire procedure on the other ear. Heat the hydrogen peroxide and oil again if they have cooled down.
Step 8. Perform the procedure the required number of times
You may need to repeat it several times to get the wax completely softened. Try this for a few days at a time, but see your doctor if your symptoms don't improve after these attempts.
- Once the ear is clean, start cleaning it once a month.
- If excess wax is a constant problem (and the only one), you can use the oil to soften the wax weekly. Put two or three drops into each ear and rinse with warm water. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used weekly.
Step 9. Use hydrogen peroxide every week if you are suffering from “swimmer's ear”
Also known as otitis externa, this is an inflammation of the outer ear (the part anterior to the eardrum) that many people who swim tend to have. If the problem has been diagnosed by a doctor before, an occasional cleansing with hydrogen peroxide can help prevent infection.
Another idea is to try putting two or three drops of oil in each ear before going swimming, as a protective measure
Method 3 of 3: Using Hydrogen Peroxide Safely
Step 1. Add baby oil or mineral oil to hydrogen peroxide if you have sensitive skin
This product can attack sensitive people, leaving the skin very dry and causing irritation if you are prone to rashes and allergic reactions. If hydrogen peroxide dries out the ear canal, try adding a few drops of mineral or baby oil to the solution. If this measure does not help, choose another method of cleaning.
Use only warm water or a saline solution instead. Make a mixture of water and salt by dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of boiling water
Step 2. See a doctor if any symptoms of infection develop
Do not try to clean your ear with hydrogen peroxide if it is infected. See your doctor for a diagnosis and proper treatment - you may need to take antibiotics, depending on the cause of the infection.
- Inflammation in the ears shows signs such as pain (especially when lying down), decreased hearing and discharge. It is still possible to feel a feeling of blockage or pressure in the ear and even a fever.
- Pay attention to the symptoms of a possible infection in your child, noticing if he is crying too much or pulling his ears, if he is having difficulty sleeping, problems hearing and reacting to sound stimuli, fever above 38 °C, loss of balance, if you're not eating right or if you're complaining of headaches.
Step 3. Keep your ears clean and dry if your eardrum is punctured
If you have had a perforated eardrum, do not put any fluid in your ear. Suspicious signs are pain or pressure in the ear that only increases followed by momentary relief, discharge and hearing loss. Go to the doctor immediately as a perforated eardrum usually heals on its own, but surgical repair may be necessary. In the meantime, keep your ears clean and dry.
You should not use hydrogen peroxide if you have had a tympanostomy. Some children who have frequent ear infections (recurrent ear infections) need surgery to implant tiny cylinders known as ventilation tubes in the eardrum. Do not use hydrogen peroxide if this is the case
- Clean your ears after taking a warm shower, as the wax softens at this time.
- Do not use hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ear drops simultaneously, as hydrogen peroxide interferes with the action of the antibiotic. Allow at least half an hour between them.
- If hydrogen peroxide doesn't help, go to the doctor. The general practitioner can refer you to a specialist, the otolaryngologist.
- Never insert objects into the ear, including cotton swabs. Do not try to get the wax out with paper clips or pencils, as you can push it further down, causing serious damage to the eardrum.
- Do not do ear candle therapy. There is no proof of its effectiveness and it can cause an injury.
- If hydrogen peroxide intensify pain or symptoms, stop using it immediately and see a doctor.
- Seek medical help if a discharge appears in the ear or if you experience severe pain.