Cleaning your ears

How to Thoroughly Clean Your Ears

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. November 30, 2021
How to Thoroughly Clean Your Ears

Although the ears have their own self-cleaning system, it is important to always keep them very clean. If we don't, a buildup of earwax called a wax plug can occur. This can provide problems with hygiene and even affect your hearing. Cleaning your ears thoroughly can help to avoid these problems, but cleaning them incorrectly can provide further risk. Some people use cotton buds, a piece of tissue or even saltwater to help ensure a proper ear clean. However, inserting anything into the ear canal can be dangerous as it may damage the ear drum.

At oneHOWTO we look at how to thoroughly clean your ears. In doing so, we find out what is the safest way to clean our ears and help protect our hearing.

You may also be interested in: How To Improve Your Hearing Naturally
  1. Why you shouldn't clean your ears with cotton buds
  2. How to clean your ears properly
  3. How to remove a wax plug
  4. Ear irrigation or flushing
  5. Manual extraction

Why you shouldn't clean your ears with cotton buds

The ear is made up of three main parts: the outer ear, the ear canal in the middle ear and the eardrum membrane in the inner ear. Earwax is usually produced in the canal, since the ear uses it as a natural hearing protector, to trap germs, prevent infections and avoid the direct entry of water. However, excess wax and dirt can interfere with the function of the ear, so it is recommended to always keep the ear clean.

Many people choose to clean the ear by introducing elements such as q-tips, believing this an effective way to remove excess earwax. However, this practice is completely discouraged by doctors. The main reason is that q-tips or cotton buds can cause trauma to the eardrum. It can also alter the pH levels of war wax and make it less effective.

By pushing a utensil into the ear, it can also cause ear wax to push further into the ear canal. This stops its efficacy in preventing germs and can lead to an ear wax plug, i.e. a build up of compacted ear wax. In general, using cotton buds provides too large a risk and we should find a better way to clean our ears thoroughly.

Before finding out the proper way to clean your ears, you may be interested in knowing how to clean other areas of the body. Our article on how to thoroughly clean your anus does just that.

How to clean your ears properly

Although it may seem complicated to do without a cotton bud, cleaning the ear is relatively simple. In fact, the human ear has its own self-cleaning system. The cells of the ear canal have the mission of expelling microorganisms, liquids or substances outwards, as a method of defense. Also, they expel the excess wax that the ear produces.

This natural cleaning process allows us to clean the external ear with ease. You will only need to wipe the external part of the ear with a celan damp cloth, rubbing it gently in concentric circles. Never introduce it in the ear canal itself. In addition, while you wash your hair you can also clean the ears on the outside.

You must also bear in mind that excessive cleaning of the ear is not positive either since wax acts as a natural defense for the ear. The recommended routine is to clean the ear about once a week. Proper ear cleaning means not introducing cotton buds. When the outer ear is cleaned correctly, the rest of the ear should be able to maintain itself well.

Before we show you how to thoroughly clean ears with wax plugs, you may be interested in knowing the reasons ears become blocked in the first place.

How to remove a wax plug

Although we may clean the outer ear regularly, it is possible that ear wax will build and cause a wax plug. We should know that different people will produce different amounts of ear wax. There are some who produce very little, while others are more prone to plugs. Much of this is for anatomical reasons. There are some who have a narrower or angled ear canal which causes gravity to exert on the wax and plug it more easily.

In these situations, the wax plug will need to be removed to ensure the ear is cleaned thoroughly. Ear wax plugs can prevent the individual from hearing properly in the short term, but may also threaten long-term hearing. This cleaning must always be carried out by a professional under medical supervision.

When you go to a doctor for an ear cleaning, they will first check it with an otoscope. This will allow them to see into the ear canal more clearly and choose the correct extraction method. Always avoid using home remedies when cleaning an ear wax plug, you may do more harm than good. Once the doctor decides how to remove the wax, they may apply a few medicated drops to soften the wax first. They will then use one of the following methods:

How to Thoroughly Clean Your Ears - How to remove a wax plug

Ear irrigation or flushing

The extraction by irrigation or ear washing is one of the methods to extract a wax plug in a simple way. The ENT doctor or, in some cases, a specialized nurse, will be in charge of introducing a syringe with a lot of fluid (water or medical saline). In doing so, the pressure exerted causes the plug come out. Although it is a very effective method, it can be somewhat aggressive. For this reason, it is contraindicated for people with hearing problems or who have had some other intervention in the ear.

Manual extraction

Using a viewer and suitable instruments, the ENT can perform a manual removal of the plug. This intervention is an outpatient operation and does not require any type of admission.

Other tips for cleaning ears

Remember that the ideal is always to consult your doctor first. They can recommend and perform the best way to remove the wax plug. Likewise, you should be clear about what you should not do in order not to put your hearing aid at risk:

  • Do not put anything into the ear (swabs, tissues, towels, pointed objects, etc.).
  • Do not apply any medication in the form of drops or other liquids without a prescription or medical recommendation.
  • Do not use home remedies such as the application of drops of olive oil or the use of candles inside the ear canal.

Now that you know how to clean your ears thoroughly, you may be interested in some other effective ways to help ensure proper ear hygiene. Check out our articles on how to remove water from your ear and how to unclog your ears after swimming.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Thoroughly Clean Your Ears, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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