How to Clean Your Ears Safely at Home Without Cotton Tips

How to Clean Your Ears Safely at Home Without Cotton Tips
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We get it, ear cleaning isn’t really the most glamorous thing, but given that it impacts our ability to hear, we’d argue that it’s pretty important. If you’ve been poking and prodding your ears with cotton tips and haven’t given much thought to the potential risks involved, it’s time to stop.

Itchy, irritated ears happen to most of us at some point or another. Usually, they aren’t much cause for concern and don’t require you to make an emergency appointment at the doctor. That being said, if you feel like a buildup of wax is preventing your ability to hear (or you’re horrified by the amount of wax in your headphones) — you might be due for a clean. We’ve laid out everything you need to know about doing it safely at home.

What is ear wax?

Although we think of earwax as something dirty, it’s actually designed to collect dirt and bacteria that builds up in our ears. Usually, the wax will work its way out of your ear naturally through things like chewing and other jaw motions. Sometimes though, it doesn’t, which can cause a buildup and even affect your hearing — this is called impaction.

If you have impaction, you might experience things like an aching or ringing in the ear, impaired hearing, odour or even dizziness. Obviously, none of these things sound pleasant, so if you feel your ears need deep cleaning, we’ve laid out all your options below.

How to clean ear wax at home

If you head to Google, you’ll find a million and one different ways to clean your ears at home. From making your own cleaning solution to high-tech microscopic cameras, you can view through your phone – there’s no shortage of gadgets out there.

We’ve laid out a few of the top-rated products you can try below, but it’s worth making a note of things you shouldn’t be using. First up is the famous ear wax candle — it’s a big no-no. Not only could you burn yourself and have hot wax land in your delicate eardrum, but you can also damage the ear canal courtesy of the pointy tip. Please, stay far away from these. You should also avoid cotton swabs as they can push the wax further and cause damage again. Things like bobby pins and the end of your car keys also go without saying — turn and run from these.

If you’re suffering from things like reduced or muffled hearing, earaches or a feeling of fullness in the ear, you’re best to go and see a doctor. They’ll be able to identify the cause and prescribe appropriate treatments rather than you poking at it for days and potentially worsening the situation.

Best ear cleaning kits

G’Day Electric Cordless Ear Pick, $19.80

This little gadget works as a tiny vacuum to safely suck the wax out of your ear. With a silicone cleaning tip, it’s far more hygienic than cotton swaps and just the right length to avoid doing any damage. The gentle vibrations also feel like a mini massage, so if you fall victim to itchy ears regularly, you’ll love this.

BlueFire Wireless Ear Otoscope, $47.99

This may look a little intense, but it’s really simple to use. Basically, it’ll give you a complete picture of your inner ear health while removing any wax buildups. Fitted with 6 different LED options, it’ll illuminate the area and give you a really clear idea of what’s going on in there.

Ear Washing Solution, $69

One of the most trusted ear cleaning remedies is a simple solution you can spray into the canal. This spray can break down hardened wax and flush out the area with minimal intrusion with regular use. Shoot some spray into the canal and immediately feel the difference as it acts as an irrigation system.

8 Pcs Ear Pick Earwax Removal Kit, $7.64

As the name suggests, this kit has everything you need to banish your pesky wax buildup. It comes with eight different cleaning tools, including a traditional ear pick, a spiral ear pick, a spring ear pick, and more. Each ear pick is made of medical-grade stainless steel, durable and anti-rust, easy to clean and sterilize. Just be sure not to push the ear pick too deep into your ear canal. 

Ear Otoscope Cleaner, $74.94

This is another high-tech option for those interested in having a look inside the ear. Featuring revolutionary 3.0 megapixels HD camera technology, it can show up every microscopic detail. After you’ve checked the ear canal, you can remove ear wax as well before placing it back on the charging pad to be used again.


  • If you go to the doctor about blocked ears they often can’t do the cleaning without having the earwax softened first so it’s a good idea to use the over the counter ear drops first (just the night before) then go to the doctor, this may save you a trip. This assumes a normal blockage not an infection.

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