You Should NOT Be Using a Q-Tip to Clean Out Ear Wax—Here's Why

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If you are using Q-tips to clean ear wax out of your ears, family medicine physician Dr. Jen Caudle wants you to stop.  

She says she is frequently asked if this is ok or not and wants to set the record straight on why you shouldn't—and what to use instead. 

FAQ: Should I be using a Q-tip for ear wax?  

"Q-tips can push wax further into the ear canal, which can cause impaction, discomfort, or even a rupture in the ear drum," says Dr. Caudle.  

So Dr. Caudle offers a suggestion... 

"What you can use instead is hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil or glycerin to help soften the wax. [You can also use] Debrox, or an over-the-counter irrigation system, or, you can go to your doctor and have them remove it," she explains.  




Electric Ear Wax Removal Ear Irrigation Water Cleaner Kit

Electric Ear Wax Removal Ear Irrigation Water Cleaner Kit


"Note: ear wax is protective and doesn't necessarily have to be removed at all unless it's causing problems. For most people, simply getting a wash towel and wiping the outside canal of the ear is sufficient," Dr. Caudle adds.  

Plus, Dr. Caudle addresses other FAQs on the best way to clean a wound, feeding a cold, starving a fever, whether cracking knuckles causes arthritis, swimming after eating and gargling with salt water for a sore throat. 

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