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How to Clean Ears With Q-Tips

author image Daniel Schellenger Jr.
Daniel Schellenger Jr. started writing in 1992 with his first publication in an EMS trade magazine. Over his 16 years in public safety, he has published in professional magazines, including "Disaster Recovery Journal" and "EMS Magazine." Awards include a certificate of achievement by the Emergency Management Institute, and he is currently pursuing a degree in emergency management at the University of Colorado at Denver.
How to Clean Ears With Q-Tips
Earwax, a byproduct of a naturally occurring cleaning mechanism, may need removal. Photo Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

The outer part of your ear canal has special glands that secrete a waxy substance called cerumen. According to MedicineNet, the purpose of ear wax is to protect the ear from water and infection. Normally, the ear canal cleans itself, leading to a slow buildup of dried ear wax at the opening, where it falls out. When that does not happen for various reasons, removal of the wax must be done, but with caution. Consult your physician for any concerns or questions about the procedure.

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Step 1

Position your head so that your assistant has adequate lighting and access to your ear canal. Poor lighting is especially important to avoid over insertion of the Q-Tip.

Step 2

Instruct your assistant to grasp the cotton swab with two fingers at the base of one end of the cotton tip.

Step 3

Insert the cotton swab into your ear canal. The swab should go no further than your assistant’s fingers. Be sure you do not make any sudden movements.

Step 4

Wipe the earwax from the wall of the ear canal using a gentle circular motion. Repeat as needed with the other end, or use additional swabs.

Step 5

Discard the cotton swab immediately. The earwax contains bacteria that may be harmful to pets and curious children.

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