Safely Remove Ear Wax at Home Without a Q-tip

Most people do not need to worry about cleaning out their ears. Ear wax is there for protection so you should more than likely just leave it alone. The tiny hairs in your ears will usually remove it all on their own.

However, some people produce too much wax or obstruct the natural clearing process by always having earplugs or headphones in their ears. As a result, the earwax can get compacted.

Although Q-tips have become the standard tool for cleaning out your ears, they can actually do more harm than good and should only be used to clean the outside of the ear and should never be put inside the ear canal.

Read on to find some home alternatives to Q-tips to remove the extra earwax.

Warnings for Removing Earwax

There are a few things that you should be careful about:

  1. Cotton swabs, such as Q-tips, should not be used (as we mentioned). They may only pack the wax further in your ear and can actually damage your eardrum if they are stuck in too far.
  2. Never clean your ears with anything less than a finger in size.
  3. Avoid ear candles as they can do as much damage as they can help

With that being said there are many ways that you can successfully clean out the gunk in your ears. Here are a few ways you can try.

Ways to Safely Remove Ear Wax at Home

bulb syringe
A Bulb syringe is the least invasive

1. Bulb syringe

Try irrigating your ears with the bulb syringe. If you don’t have a bulb syringe, a shot syringe without the needle is an option. If that fails, consider spraying water into your ear canal with a pinhole in a plastic bag or bottle (or anything that will provide pressure and a constant stream of water).

Grab the back of your ear while watering with your other hand. Pull backward and up a bit. The canal is straightened and opened in this manner so that water may flow more easily.

If you see a glob of wax emerge, you’re done. If you don’t observe one for about five minutes or if you experience discomfort or dizziness, stop immediately. You may try again in a few hours. The wax should be softer by then.

Baby oil or Olive oil should be your oil of choice.

2. Oil

A Few drops of baby or olive oil also work to loosen wax. Place a few stops of oil in your ear canal and let it sit for 30 seconds. You can do this several times a day to get the wax to soften.

Once the wax is soft it will be easier for it to naturally come out on its own.

Use a bit of cloth twisted around a bit to get at the wax

3. Cloth

Get a damp warm cloth and wipe the outside of the ear canal. Try not to stick the twisted tip into your ear, as the old saying goes do not stick anything in your ear that is smaller than your elbow.

While a cloth may not be super successful, it’s worth trying a few different methods.

Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a great home remedy for just about everything

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Squeeze a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into your sky-facing ear while lying down on your side. Don’t be alarmed by the fizzing and popping noises; they imply it’s doing its magic.

Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the solution to soak in, then tilt your head over a sink or a bowl to drain the remaining solution and the wax it dislodged from your ear. You can try a few times over the course of the day or multiple days if needed.

5. Earwax Drops

There are a number of over-the-counter ear wax drops that you can use that help to soften the wax.

All you need is to lie down and put a few drops in the ears while you lay there for a few minutes. Often that will be enough, though it may take a few attempts over a few days.

Here is a great video that gives you a bit more in-depth look at everything earwax

Finishing Steps

After you’ve finished, put a few drops of alcohol in your ear. If you don’t have peroxide, you can use diluted alcohol. The alcoholic solution aids in the drying up any extra water.

If the irrigation works dry your ear canal once finished with a towel and you’re finished.

For more DIY


If you can’t remove the wax after a few treatments, stop until you can see a health care professional.

You don’t want to irritate your ear to the point that it becomes infected. What was the method you used to remove your wax? What caused it?


[1] Why Using Q-tips in Your Ear Can Be Harmful.

[2] Home Remedies: Cleaning out the earwax.

[3] How to clean your ears safely.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.


More Articles