Ear cleaning: how to clean your ears

Keeping your ears clean and healthy

Taking the time to care for your ears is an important part of any daily routine. A little extra care and a few preventative steps can ensure that your ears remain in the best shape possible. 

How do you clean your ears?

Your ears may need cleaning if you have a buildup of ear wax in the ear. Ear wax is a natural substance that’s necessary for good ear health, helping to protect the eardrum from dirt, hairs and other debris that may enter the ear canal. However, sometimes an excess of ear wax can lead us to experience trouble with our hearing or develop ear infections. When this occurs, you can clean your ears by using the irrigation method at home, or visiting Bay Audiology for a professional ear wax removal. 

How to wash your ears at home

To keep the ear clean, wash the visible part of the ear and behind the ear using a bit of soap, then wipe the soap away with rinsed fingers and dry with a thin towel.

How to remove ear wax at home

The best way to clean your ears at home is using the irrigation method. This method doesn’t require the use of chemicals or any fancy equipment, and is quite safe to use unless you have an underlying ear health issue. If you think you may have an underlying ear health issue and are looking to remove wax from your ears, discuss the best treatment options for your needs with your doctor or audiologist.

To use the irrigation ear cleaning method to remove ear wax, follow these steps:

  • Use a syringe to squirt some lukewarm water or saline solution into your ear canal. This will help to soften and loosen any ear wax, making it easier to remove.
  • Drain the water or saline solution out of your ear by tilting your ear to one side.
  • Dry the outer ear using a clean cloth or towel.

If you don’t have a syringe on hand, you may choose to use a clean cup or jug to help you pour the lukewarm water or saline solution into your ear. Specially designed ear cleaning syringes, which may be easier to use, are often stocked by most pharmacies.

If you find that the irrigation method doesn’t work well for you the first time around, you may need to use ear wax softening drops to encourage the removal of the ear wax. You can typically purchase ear wax softening drops at pharmacies without requiring a prescription.

To effectively clean the ears, the process may need to be repeated several times. If the wax within your ears isn’t loosening, you may need to consult your doctor or ear nurse to have it professionally removed.

Get your ears cleaned professionally

If you’re unsure of how to safely clean your ears at home, or do not experience any relief through basic irrigation, the best thing you can do is leave ear cleaning to the professionals. Your inner ear is very delicate and may be damaged if you use the wrong tools or methods. Next time you visit your doctor or audiologist, ask about ear wax removal and ear cleaning.

How to safely clean your child's ears

To safely clean a child or babies ears, use a cloth or tissue to wipe away any wax that has come out of the ear canal. To dry ears after a bath or a shower, tilt their ear to one side against a towel, and then tilt their head to the other, allowing water to drip out on its own.

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Cotton tips: yes or no?

It is best not to use cotton buds to clean your ears. They can irritate the ear canal and push wax back inside, making it more difficult to remove.

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