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How to Clean Ears With Hydrogen Peroxide

author image Cheryl Grace Myers
Cheryl Myers has has a master's degree from Saint Leo University and currently writes for several publications including Fit Pregnancy, Guideposts and Parent's Magazine.
How to Clean Ears With Hydrogen Peroxide
If you have ear pain or drainage, talk to your doctor before putting any drops in your ear. Photo Credit VladimirFLoyd/iStock/Getty Images

Ear wax, also known as cerumen, protects your inner ear from dirt and other foreign matter. Some earwax is beneficial. In fact, the tiny hairs that line your ear canal can inch excess wax towards the ear opening without your help. However, sometimes too much earwax can accumulate in the ear canal, impairing hearing, causing discomfort and increasing infection risk. Softening the earwax can counter this impaction, enabling the wax to come out on its own. Hydrogen peroxide is one of several potentially helpful earwax softening remedies, according to an article published in the January 2017 issue of "Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery." According to these American Academy of Otolaryngology clinical practice guidelines, a softening agent used alone or before gentle flushing with warm water can be an effective home treatment for earwax removal. However, these guidelines also noted that saline and plain water have been shown to be as effective as hydrogen peroxide in softening earwax.

Step 1

Lie your head down on a flat pillow or folded towel, keeping your head level and your ear facing the ceiling. This position is important for the hydrogen peroxide drops to come in contact with the earwax.

Step 2

Using an eyedropper, place 3 to 4 drops of hydrogen peroxide into your ear. It may be easier if someone put the drops in for you. Keep your head down on the pillow or towel, with your ear directed at the ceiling, for at least 5 minutes. Expect to hear bubbling sounds and to feel tickling in your ear.

Step 3

Sit up, and use a cotton ball or clean towel to blot any liquid from your outer ear. Don't expect wax to come out right away. Instead, the hydrogen peroxide is working to soften the earwax, so it gradually comes out on its own.

Step 4

Repeat the process on your other ear, if needed. Cover the pillow with a towel to catch any fluid that may drain from your treated ear.

Step 5

You may need to repeat this process for several days. If needed to remove excess earwax, you can also gently flush your ears with warm water using a bulb syringe. If you are still not successful getting the wax out, see your doctor for removal.

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