Formation of ear wax (cerumen) is natural and yes with purpose too! It is a part of our body’s defense mechanisms. Ear wax traps dirt and other foreign particles as well as slows down the growth of bacteria and therefore you should not at all get worried about ear wax being formed in your natural hearing instrument. This wax in our ears is secreted by glands situated in our skin that lines the outer half of the ear canals. By trapping dust and other foreign particles, ear wax prevents damage to our inner ear parts like our eardrum. There is also a natural process to discard this ear wax. Small amount of earwax regularly come to the opening of the ear and fall out on their own. Sometimes they get washed away and new wax is secreted to replace it. Ear wax removal as a habit should thus, be avoided. However, some people do feel that their ears often get blocked due to ear wax. This may be sometimes due to secretion of an excessive amount of wax and other times when the earwax doesn’t get cleaned off naturally in a proper manner. You should only attempt to remove ear wax when you experience such symptoms as earache, feeling of fullness in a ear, and decreased hearing due to blocked ear. These home remedies for ear wax help you clear your ears safely.
Top Remedies for Ear Wax Removal
1. Use Saline Water for Ear Wax Removal
Most of the times, ear wax is not able to fall off on its own because it hardens. Soft wax falls off automatically. Therefore, almost all the home remedies for ear wax solutions lay stress on such ingredients that can soften the ear wax making it easier to bring it on the outside of the ear. Saline water does the same, softens the ear wax so that it come to the surface of the ear and falls off.
- Salt- 1 tsp
- Warm water- ½ cup
- Cotton ball
- Add salt to the warm water.
- Mix it properly until all of it gets dissolved in the water.
- Tilt your head sideways sitting straight. You should tilt your head in a manner that keeps the blocked ear upwards, towards the roof.
- Now soak the cotton ball in the saline solution.
- Bring the soaked cotton ball near to your ear and pour a few drops into the ear while squeezing the cotton ball.
- Keep the head tilted for sometime. The saline water will go deep down to make the ear wax soft.
- After a few minutes, tilt the head towards other side bringing your blocked ear downwards.
- Keep sitting in this position for another few minutes.
- The softened wax will come out of the ear with the saline solution.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Wax Removal
It may sound like a chemical but hydrogen peroxide is a natural substance. It is simply water with some extra oxygen. Organisms, meaning living creatures, naturally produce hydrogen peroxide or H2O2 by a respiratory burst during their immune response to fight off infections. However, the hydrogen peroxide that you will buy from the market is produced through a chemical reaction which occurs when compressed air is blown through an aqueous solution. Among its many homely uses, hydrogen peroxide is also used for ear wax removal. While it softens the wax, it is also an ear disinfectant and will keep you away from any ear infection.
- Hydrogen peroxide (3% or lower, don’t get stronger than this)
- Cotton ball
- Mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and water, say ¼ cups each.
- Soak the cotton ball in this solution.
- Tilt your head sideways with blocked ear upwards.
- Pour the solution in the ear with hardened wax while squeezing the cotton.
- Sit in the same position for sometime.
- Now tilt your head in the opposite direction and wait for some more time so that the solution drains off your ear.
3. Baby Oil for Ear Wax Removal
Baby oil is essentially a mineral oil with added fragrance. So you can also use mineral oil in place of baby oil. Mineral oil is a petroleum byproduct, a hydrocarbon compound which is also known as paraffin oil, liquid petrolatum, and white mineral oil. It is a very effective moisturizing and lubricating agent and therefore can soften ear wax in an effective manner.
- Baby oil or mineral oil- 1-2 tsp
- Eyedropper or cotton ball
- Clean towel
- Lukewarm water- ¼ – ½ cup
- Bulb syringe
- Rubbing alcohol- few drops
- Take some oil into the dropper. If using cotton ball, soak it in the oil.
- Tilt your head keeping the affected ear upwards.
- Pour 2-3 drops of oil into the ear using dropper or cotton ball whatever you are using.
- Keep your head tilted for few minutes so that the oil goes deep down till the wax.
- Now take the towel and place it over the oiled ear.
- Holding the towel on the ear with your hand, tilt your head towards the other side so that your affected ear is brought downwards.
- Keep this position for sometime so that the oil drains off onto the towel.
- If you are doing this before shower, you now may go and take bath.
- If not, then fill the bulb syringe with lukewarm water and pour some of it into your ear.
- Take care not to insert the syringe inside your ear. Just press it gently near the ear so that the water goes inside.
- Turn your head downwards to let the water drain off the ear.
- Dry out the ear with clean towel or cloth.
- Now put a few drops of rubbing alcohol into the ear. This helps dry out the ear completely and also prevents growth of bacteria due to any moisture that may have remained into the ear.
4. Olive Oil for Ear Wax Removal
Oils are one of the popular ingredients when it comes to softening of impacted wax in the ears. Olive oil, which is readily available in your kitchen and in grocery stores can be used effectively to soften your ear wax. Some laboratory tests have also shown virgin olive oil to have strong bactericidal properties. Therefore, you do not have to worry about any infection that may follow.
- Olive oil
- Dropper or cotton ball
- If your olive is cold, warm it up a little, just to bring it equal to your body temperature.
- Lie down on one of your side, in a way that the ear with wax stays up towards the ceiling.
- Fill the dropper with oil or soak the cotton ball with oil.
- Pour few drops into your ear.
- Keep lying down in the same position for about 8-10 minutes.
- After this, get up and sit down while holding your oiled ear with a tissue or towel.
- Keep the ear downwards while sitting so that the oil drains off the ear.
- If your ear wax is impacted or hardened a lot, you may need to repeat this process daily for 1-2 weeks.
If this seems to be a lot of work to be done, you may easily get a pharmaceutical grade olive oil spray which is meant to break impacted wax naturally. While using this spray, follow the instructions given on the pack. Usually, a mist of a little amount of olive oil is put into the ear and then the ear is plugged with a small cotton plug for some hours. Later on, the softened wax is washed away with a warm shower by tilting the head for a few seconds.
5. Coconut Oil for Ear Wax Removal
Yet another oil that can come to your help when you want to remove your hardened ear wax is the coconut oil. The medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) present in coconut oil are like sebum and thus it seems harmless to use coconut oil in your ears. This oil is also a natural anti-microbial agent and thus minimize the risk of your ears getting infected. It may actually kill a wide variety of harmful microorganisms that may result due to buildup of earwax.
- Coconut oil, preferably virgin coconut oil
- Fill the dropper with coconut oil.
- Tilt your head sidewards and put a few drops of this oil into your ear.
- Stay in this position for few minutes.
- Now tilt the head towards other side to let the oil drain off.
6. Vinegar for Ear Wax Removal
Sometimes your ear may pain and itch along with feeling fullness due to ear wax. In such a situation, vinegar is the best remedy for you. White vinegar not only softens the wax but can also balance the pH levels in your ear and reduce your irritating symptoms. However, never use vinegar alone, mix it with water and hydrogen peroxide before pouring it down your ears. Here’s how you can do this.
- Vinegar- 1 part
- Water- 1 part
- Hydrogen peroxide- 2 parts
- Dropper or cotton ball
- Combine vinegar, water and hydrogen peroxide to make your wax softening solution.
- Tilt your head sidewards.
- Using the dropper or cotton ball, pour a few drops of this solution into your ear.
- Stay in the same position for some time.
- Now tilt the head towards other side to facilitate draining off the solution out of the ear.
- Repeat 1-2 times a week if your ear wax is too hard and won’t dissolve in one trial.
7. Glycerin for Ear Wax Removal
If you read the labels of some of the commercially available ear wax softener drops, you will find glycerin as one of the ingredients in most of these drops. Glycerin is an effective wax softener due to its moisturizing and lubricating properties. It is also considered safe to be used when it comes to ear wax removal at home. Although glycerin can be put into the ears undiluted, its better to dilute it with some water due to its viscosity. Water makes glycerin a little thinner so that it may easily go deep down to soften the wax impacted there under.
- Glycerin- 1-2 tsp
- Water- 1-2 tsp
- Dropper or cotton ball
- Rubbing alcohol
- Mix glycerin and water.
- Take some into dropper or soak the cotton in this mixture.
- Tilt your head and pour a few drops in the ear.
- Stay in same position for few minutes.
- Now tilt the head in the opposite direction and let the solution drain off.
- Pat dry with a clean towel.
- Put a few drops of rubbing alcohol int the ear to make it completely dry.
8. Garlic Oil for Ear Wax Removal
If your ear is aching a lot along with blockage due to ear wax, you may think of using garlic oil as a remedy. Garlic is a natural antibiotic due to its component allicin. Allicin, which is also an excellent anti-microbial agent, fights off any infection in the inner ear or middle ear to get you rid of the pain. Garlic oil is made by infusing an oil with garlic. This way, oil can soften your wax and garlic’s properties can combat the infection thus alleviating any accompanying pain. `
- Garlic cloves- 2-3
- Mustard or sesame oil- 1-2 tbsp
- Cotton ball
- Take a small pan and place the oil in it.
- Crush the garlic cloves and add this to the oil.
- Now heat the oil till the garlic cloves get blackened.
- Turn off the heat and allow this oil to cool down to room temperature or just a little warmer than this. Don’t ever try to put very warm or hot oil or liquid into your ears. This may lead to vertigo or other complications of the ear.
- When the oil is somewhat equal to your body temperature, discard the garlic pieces from it.
- Now soak the cotton ball in this oil.
- Pour a few drops of this garlic oil into your ear after tilting your head sidewards.
- You may also rub a little oil around your ear to eliminate the pain.
- Stay in this position for some time.
- Now tilt the head in the opposite direction and allow the oil to drain off.
- This remedy gives best results when you do this just before going to sleep at night.
9. Make Mullein Oil for Ear Wax Removal
Mullein herb has been traditionally used by herbalists for various diseases including ear infection and even deafness. In fact, mullein plant has excellent emollient properties that can soften the deep rooted impacted wax in the ears and thus clear the blockage to resolve the problem of decreased hearing. Many commercial brands of ear drops too contain mullein as one of their main ingredients. If you are also suffering from ear pain due to infections as result of ear wax buildup, mullein herb can come to your rescue. It has excellent anti-bacterial properties too along with anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. Here is a recipe to make mullein oil for ear wax removal. This recipe also include garlic to have added advantage of its anti-bacterial properties. You may, however, leave the garlic and make mullein oil using just the mullein flowers.
- Mullein fresh edible flower (or dried flowers)- ¼ cup
- Garlic cloves- 3
- Olive oil- enough to cover the herbs
- Small glass jar with lid
- Cheesecloth (if using fresh flowers)
- Chop the garlic to get small pieces of it.
- Place the mullein flowers and the garlic pieces in the jar.
- Pour olive oil into the jar and cover the flowers with the oil.
- Put the lid on if you are using dried flowers. If using fresh ones, cover the jar with cheesecloth so that the moisture can escape.
- Keep the jar in the sun for 10-12 days.
- You may also heat the oil over low heat for 4-5 hours instead of keeping it in the sun.
- Strain the oil and store it in a bottle with dropper. Store it in refrigerator.
- When using, warm the oil first to bring it to your body temperature. For this, place the bottle in a bowl of hot water for sometime.
- • Pour 2-3 drops of mullein oil in your ear.
- • Repeat twice or thrice a day.
Warning: If you see fluid oozing from your ear or if you have doubt that your ear drum may have got perforated, do not use this or any other ear oil. Immediately consult your doctor. Using any oil or solution in such a condition can damage the vital parts of your ear.
10. Ear Flush with Warm Water for Wax Removal
If you suffer from recurring problem of ear wax build up, it may not be possible for you to visit the doctor at such short durations. In such a case you can perform a mild ear flush with warm water at home. Warm water helps soften wax as well as removes all the other dirt, dust or oils etc. that you may have used to remove wax from ears. In fact, you should always wash your ears with warm water after 1-2 days after you apply some oil or other wax softener to your ear. Here’s how you can do this.
- Rubber bulb syringe
- Warm water (at body temperature)
- When your wax gets softened, usually after 1-2 days after you have used some oil or other wax softener, take some warm water. Warm here doesn’t mean hot. It means water at a temperature which is equal to your body temperature or just a little warmer than this.
- Using the rubber-bulb syringe, squirt some of this water gently into your ear canal. Keep your head tilted so that the water can go inside.
- Just after a few seconds, tilt your head towards other side to allow the water drain off out of your ear.
- Using a clean towel, dry your ear thoroughly.
Never try to dig out the hardened ear wax with some pointed object like a pin, paper clip, hairpin, toothpick or even a cotton swab etc. When you do this, you take a risk of pushing wax farther into your ear. Pointed or even blunt objects can lead to serious damage to the lining of your ear canal or eardrum. Therefore, never insert any object into your ear, they may even cause ear infections. Even when you spray some liquid into your ears, do this gently. Never exert pressure or thrust liquids into the ear canal. This may damage your ear membrane and cause an ear infection. Ears are valuable organs that you may not want to put at risk just to get rid of ear wax. Either take help of ear wax removal remedies to soften the wax and then flushing it out with warm water or just go to your doctor who can efficiently use other techniques like ear irrigation etc. to remove your ear wax.