10 Home Remedies for Earwax
Cerumen, more commonly known as earwax, is a yellowish/brown/orange/grey wax like substance that is secreted by the ear in humans, as well as other mammals. It’s generally associated with a lack of hygiene and a sometimes disgust, but it’s something essential that we could not live without.
Earwax protects the skin of the ear canal, helps clean, lubricate and hydrate that area of your body, as well as provide a barrier against fungi, bacteria, infections and water. In other words, earwax is a protective system for our ears we could not live without. Earwax is formed from dead skin cells, hairs and secretions from the ceruminous and sebaceous glands in the outer part of the ear.
That being said, earwax isn’t something that we want to put on show, and because of this we’re left with a little dilemma. We don’t want to get rid of our earwax because it protects our ears from harmful bacteria, fungus, infections and water, but on the other hand we want to make sure that it can’t be seen by other people.
Excess earwax build-up
For most of us this is not a problem, but some people suffer from excess earwax build-up. People who have to deal with this should not use objects like cotton buds to remove earwax as this may only aggravate the problem by pushing earwax further into the ear canal causing blockages and making the problem worse,
If you’re suffering from excess earwax build up, here are some common symptoms you may be experiencing:
- Decrease in the level of hearing in one or both ears
- Ringing in the ear
- Feeling of your ear being full or stuffed up
It’s also important to note, that if you’re experiencing excess earwax that is enough to cause a blockage in your ear/ears, it’s a good idea to see your doctor right away. Excess earwax may be normal but in many cases, especially if your ear is producing enough to create a blockage, this could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
If you’re not experiencing any blockages due to earwax and want to learn some tips and tricks to help deal with yours, here are 10 home remedies for earwax:
#1 – Baking soda Baking soda is an effective way to remove earwax, all you have to do is:
- Dissolve 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda in 2 ounces of water
- Pour the solution into a dropper bottle
- Tilt your head to one side and drip 5-10 drops of the baking soda solution into your ear
- It’s a good idea to lay your head to one side for about 15 minutes to let the solution do its job
- Then turn that ear down and let the solution drip back out for about 15 minutes. Then wipe your ear clean with a moist napkin
#2 – Irrigation Another effective way of cleaning your ears is using light water pressure, here’s what you need5:
- Buy a soft rubber bulb made for ear cleaning
- Fill it with warm water
- Tilt your head to one side, keep a towel under your ear to catch the excess water
- Lightly squeeze the warm water into your ear
- Allow the water to flow out of your ear onto the towel
Make sure not to use water that is too hot or too cold, this can possibly make the situation worse.
#3 – Use oils to dissolve your earwax Earwax itself is an oily substance, and there are some oils that can cause earwax to become softer and slightly dissolve making it easier to remove. What you have to do is place a few drops of this oil into the affected ear, keep that ear pointed up for around 5 minutes, and repeat this process once or even twice per day. The most common oils recommended for softening earwax are:
- Baby oil
- Coconut oil
- Mineral oil
- Olive oil
#4 – DO NOT If you’re experiencing excess earwax do not try to dig it out with an ear swab. This will only push the earwax further into your ear canal, compacting it and making it more difficult to remove. It will also potentially cause complications, like potentially reducing your hearing. That can be very aggravating.
#5 – Ear drops Although this is technically a pharmaceutical option, it’s probably the quickest and most effective one. All you have to do is go to the pharmacy and pick up some ear drops that are meant for dissolving ear wax. Put a few drops in the affected ear, keep that ear pointed up for around 5 minutes, then point that ear down and let the liquid drain out with the earwax. Repeat this process as necessary.
#6 – Hydrogen peroxide Hydrogen peroxide is best known for disinfecting cuts, but it also works great for removing earwax. Use it the same way you would any other ear drop or ear solution.
- 5-10 drops into the effected ear
- Keep that ear pointed upwards for 5 minutes
- Turn that ear downwards and allow the fluid and earwax to pour out
- Repeat once per day
#7 – Keep your ear clean One of the best ways to keep your ear free of earwax blockages is to swab every other day, not too deep but just enough to keep the earwax from your ear canal from being visible. Keeping your ear clean on a regular basis should help avoid excess earwax leading to blockages.
#8 – Food here are some foods that lead to your body producing an excess amount of earwax. Here are the foods to avoid:
- Cow’s milk
- Soy and soy products
#9 – Lifestyle There are also some lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce earwax production. Here are some top tips:
- Avoid frequent use of headphones/earbuds
- Exposure to environmental factors such as polluted air (very common is some places, especially in winter) wear a hat that covers your ears if you live in an area with a bad AQI (air quality index)
- Incorrect ear cleaning methods or excess cleaning of the ears
#10 – Ear candles This one isn’t for the faint of heart, and it’s a good idea to go to a professional for this especially if it’s your first time trying ear candling. Basically what this is, is lighting a hollow candle and putting the hollow end in your ear. This supposedly has many health benefits, and one of them is removing excess earwax.
Removing excess earwax can be done at home in most cases, but it’s important to note that if none of these methods work for you, or if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort it’s a good idea to see your doctor right away.
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Earwax References and Earwax Information
- Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwax
- Mayo Clinic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwax
- Summit Medical Group: https://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/health-wellness#:~:text=Use%20a%2015%25%20baking%20soda,the%20earwax%20should%20be%20dissolved.
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325857
- Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/ear-wax-removal-home-remedy#remedies-to-avoid
- Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/earwax-blockage/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353007
- Organic Emporium: https://www.organicemporiumllc.com/blog/ear-wax-sticky-subject/#:~:text=Common%20food%20sensitivities%20that%20often,a%20tendency%20to%20excessive%20cerumen.
- Doctors Hearing Services: https://doctorshearingservices.net/blog/3-lifestyle-habits-that-create-excess-earwax
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323685