Next time you go to clean your ears, don’t even THINK about using Q-tips (or any other brand of cotton swabs), bobby pins or anything you can stick inside your ears! Most of us are guilty of doing that, trying to get all up in our ears to get every irresistible piece of gooeyness, but we’ve been going about it all wrong and putting ourselves at risk for serious ear damage every single dig.
Earwax, officially known as cerumen, is part of the ear’s natural cleaning system and serves a healthy purpose, protecting ears from incoming dirt, bacteria, bugs, dust and noise pollution. You definitely need and want to have a build up of earwax, but too much can lead to hearing loss. It feels natural to want to put something in your ears to pull wax out, but doing so can push wax deeper into the eardrum or puncture the eardrum.
Keep foreign objects out of your ears and try these three safe and effective ways to clean your ears instead.
1. Saline Solution
- Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of warm water in a saucepan, mug or glass. Mix until the salt dissolves.
- Soak a cotton ball in the mixture.
- While sitting down, tilt your head sideways, with the ear you’re prepping to clean toward the ceiling.
- Take your soaked cotton ball and squeeze a few drops in your ear, careful not to drown your ear.
- Tilt your head to the opposite side and let the salt water run out.
- Repeat steps on the opposite ear.