As far as ear cleaning methods that you should avoid go, there are many. Lots of people clean their ears out with cotton swabs and the like thinking they are being hygienic, when in actual fact, they are compromising their hearing and the health of their ear. Below, we’ll give you an idea of the ear cleaning methods you should be avoiding, and what you should do instead.

Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are probably the number one tool that people use to clean out their ears, but they can also be very dangerous. It’s all too easy to push a cotton swab too far into your ear and cause lasting damage to the eardrum. If you do have a build up of wax, rather than clean it out, the cotton swab may push it into your ear and impact it. This can be extremely uncomfortable. If you don’t have excess wax, a cotton swab can take too much away, leaving your ears susceptible to infection, dryness, and itchiness. Use cotton swabs as they were intended; for cosmetics, and cleaning in between skin folds and the like.

Ear candling

Ear candling is a popular treatment offered by salons and clinics – but that doesn’t make it safe. There are also home kits that should also be avoided. Ear candling claims to melt the wax inside of the ear and draw it out, but there is absolutely no evidence to back this up. What can actually happen is melted wax from the candle can go into the ear, causing more wax to build up there than before. Not only that, you put yourself at risk of burns and lasting damage. Stay well away.


Syringes filled with water might seem innocent enough, but there are many ways to use them incorrectly. Even failing to dry the ear properly can cause swimmer’s ear, which can affect your hearing and become uncomfortable.

Sharp objects

Pushing a sharp object into your ear can cause pain and lasting damage. You should not insert anything into your ear, not even a pen. Smaller items can easily get lost in your ear, and longer items can reach the eardrum and cause hearing loss.


Some people claim that oils are a natural method of ear cleaning, as olive oil is generally safe. However, while oil can certainly soften the wax inside the ear, this doesn’t mean it’s going to go anywhere. Instead, your sludgy ear wax will stay inside of your ear. When you use oil inside of your ear, it can spread out the wax to fill more of the narrow confines of your ear canal. This will affect your hearing until you go and get your ears cleaned.


Chemicals can damage the inner hair cells inside your ear, affecting how you hear things. Although chemical solutions are available for ear cleaning, you should avoid using them.

How to clean your ears safely

Cleaning your ears safely can only be done with the help of an audiologist. This is the safest, cleanest, and easiest way to clean out your ears.