You Need to Stop Using Cotton Tips and Invest in an Ear Cleaning Device Instead

You Need to Stop Using Cotton Tips and Invest in an Ear Cleaning Device Instead
Contributor: Lifehacker Staff
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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.

By the way, don’t forget you can save on your next grocery shop with one of our Coles promo codes.

Best ear cleaning kits

Earwax Removal Kit with Ear-Picks and Camera, $84.99

This may look super intense, but it’s actually really simple to use. All you have to do is download the smartphone app, connect the device to the cord, and the camera on the end of the ear cleaner will give you a complete picture of your inner ear health right on your very own smartphone. Fitted with six different LED options, it’ll illuminate the area and give you a really clear idea of what’s going on in there.

You can buy the Earwax Removal Kit with Ear-Picks and Camera ($84.99) from Amazon here.

Ear Wax Removal Kit and Washer Bottle System, $37.99

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.

You can buy the Ear Wax Removal Kit and Washer Bottle System ($37.99) from Amazon here.

8-Piece Ear Pick Earwax Removal Kit, $8.99

ear cleaning

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, and easy to clean and sterilise. It also feels satisfying as hell. Just be sure not to push the ear pick too deep into your ear canal, or it may have the same damaging effects as a cotton tip. 

You can buy the 8-Piece Ear Pick Earwax Removal Kit ($8.99) from Amazon here.

BEBIRD Ear Wax Removal Endoscope, $59.95

ear cleaning

This is another high-tech option for those interested in looking inside the ear as it features revolutionary 1080p HD camera technology. This means it can show up every microscopic detail (gross but oh so satisfying — trust us). You can then use the spoon to fish out any relatively big wax chunks. The best part is that this little gadget is super low maintenance, too, lasting up to 30 days on a full charge.

You can buy the BEBIRD Ear Wax Removal Endoscope ($59.95) from Amazon here.

Baby Nose Cleaner and Ear Wax Removal Tool, $21.99

ear cleaning

When it comes to your little tackers, it can be hard to keep tabs on their ear health and wax build-up. That’s where this baby-friendly wax removal tool comes in. Essentially, it’s like a special rubber scoop and loop that’s gentle enough for sensitive noses and ears but firm enough to clean quickly and effectively. The patented bear head design also doesn’t just make it look appealing but also ensures it never goes up too far (unlike cotton tips). So, all in all — win-win.

You can buy the Baby Nose Cleaner and Ear Wax Removal Tool ($21.99) from Amazon here.


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