The Right Way To Clean Your Ears

You might think that you need to clean the insides of your ears every day, but did you know that they're already doing the job for you? According to experts at Harvard Health Publishing, your ears do a fantastic job of removing earwax buildup naturally (most of the time). If you stick a cotton swab in your ear, you could potentially push earwax deeper into your ear canal, making it harder to remove. In addition, putting anything in your ear could damage your eardrum. So, is there ever a time you should clean your ears?

The safest answer is to let a physician handle it. In certain cases, an excessive amount of earwax can build up. Symptoms of impacted earwax include ears feeling blocked, trouble hearing, ringing sounds, a strange smell, dizziness, or a cough (via Healthline). If you think one or both of your ears is impacted, the best and safest way to have it removed is to visit a doctor. A physician can flush out the earwax or use a tool to remove it gently (via Mayo Clinic).

How to clean your ears at home

Although you shouldn't stick anything directly into your ears, this doesn't mean that you can't ever clean them if they feel slightly clogged. The main goal is to do it safely. One of the best ways to help your ears clean themselves is to wash the outside of the ear with a washcloth (via WebMD). To help further break down the wax, you can place a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, hydrogen peroxide, saline solution, or glycerin into your ear.

Another option is an over-the-counter earwax removal kit that contains a solution that softens the wax. Alternatively, you can try using a syringe to flush out your ear (via Healthline). In some cases, using a wax softener half an hour before flushing out the ear can also help the process. Ear candling is not recommended because there is no evidence suggesting that it works and it is not considered safe by medical professionals (via Medical News Today). Be sure to check with your doctor if your symptoms don't improve.