They may have been designed with good intentions, but using Q-Tips for ear wax removal will only make your problem worse! In fact, statistics show that 73 per cent of people who were injured using cotton buds were using them in their ears.
Why seek alternatives to cotton buds?
The problem with cotton buds for ear cleaning is that they push ear wax further into the ear. This could cause potentially worse blockages, or even a perforated eardrum. If you’ve got a wax build-up problem, there are plenty of alternatives.
Ear cleaning techniques – the best Q-Tip alternatives
Rather than pushing earwax further into the ear canal, you should try to soften the excess. Remember, in normal amounts, earwax protects our ears from dust and foreign objects. If it’s affecting your hearing, however, you can soften it with one of these ear cleaning techniques.
Try ear candles
The great thing about ear candles is that they don’t involve dripping any liquid into your ears – great if you’re squeamish! Simply pop the wick into your ear and lie sideways. By lighting the candle, you’ll create a vacuum which draws the wax away. There are many ear candling benefits, including headache and stress relief.
Don’t worry: you won’t have to pronounce it. Ask your chemist for some over the counter ear drops. Lie on your side and drop in as per the recommended dosage. Try to keep it room temperature to avoid a shock!
Apply hydrogen peroxide
If you’re having trouble accessing cerumenolytics, you can try hydrogen peroxide instead. Always ask your pharmacist about this one though, as it can exacerbate some conditions like eczema. If you’re prone to dry skin, it may be best to try natural oils instead.
Funnel olive oil into the ear
As a natural lubricant that you don’t need to see a doctor to get, olive oil is great for minor earwax build-up. You can use a funnel or, to avoid spillages, try asking a partner to drip it in very slowly by soaking through a piece of kitchen paper. Alternatively, you could use the same technique with mineral oil.
A simple ‘finger and tissue’ method
They say you shouldn’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear – a classic joke! If you want to try ear cleaning without Q-Tips, but you’re not keen on pouring anything in, you can use your pinky finger. You should only try this if the excess wax is easily accessible. Pop a square of tissue paper on your little finger and scrape out the excess. Be careful not to push the wax further in.
Which technique is best for me?
The best earwax removal techniques depend on the amount of earwax and how comfortable you are putting liquids in your ear. If you’re not sure, always consult with your doctor. The best methods involve natural ingredients, which we can access as conveniently as opening the kitchen cupboard!