Why You Should Ditch Q-Tips and Put Oil in Your Ears Instead

It's time to toss the cotton swabs and rehab your ear-cleaning routine.



I know it’s disgusting — and maybe a tad embarrassing — but can we all just cop to feeling a giant sense of satisfaction when we dig a big, honking ball of wax out of our ears with a Q-tip? Surely I’m not the only one who marvels at how all of that was crammed in there in the first place. 

Problem is, doctors warn against using Q-tips for ear-cleaning purposes, citing potential ear damage and infections, and even going so far as to say it’s better not to clean out your ears at all than to use the darn cotton swabs. I’m sure you’ve heard this before — I’ve heard it, too, and yet, every day after I shower, there I go with the Q-tips all over again.

So since my ear-cleaning habits are clearly staying put (I just can’t not, people), I was intrigued to read over on Greatist about an MD-approved method for ridding oneself of wax that doesn’t involve rooting around with a cotton swab. You need two things: oil — the olive, mineral or baby varieties will work just fine — and hydrogen peroxide. You simply fill your ear canals with a few drops of oil before bed, then, when you shower the next morning, fill them again with hydrogen peroxide to get the wax out. Check out the whole technique here.

And listen to this: “The peroxide will bubble out, taking the softened wax with it and leaving you wax- and worry-free.” Ahhhhh, sounds glorious, right? Here’s to a whole new sense of ear-cleaning satisfaction.

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