Ear Wax Removal Remedies: Safe and Effective!

| Modified: Dec 30, 2018
Natural Remedies to Remove Ear Wax
Ear wax is part of the body's immune defense system, protecting the ear canal from dirt and bacteria. Ear wax normally makes its way to the opening of the ear where it can be washed away. However, for some people ear wax buildup becomes a problem and causes blockage; sometimes regularly and only in one ear. Blocked ears are actually more likely to occur for people who use cotton swabs to clean out their ear canals, as they can actually impact the wax deeper into the ear.

Signs of ear wax blockage exhibit themselves as ear aches, a stuffy fullness sensation of the ear, decreased ability to hear in the affected ear, and sometimes even a ringing in the ear. Unfortunately, sometimes these symptoms are representative of a different ear affliction and not ear wax buildup, and it may be best to get a professional medical opinion.

Find an Effective Ear Wax Removal Home Remedy!

A few simple home remedies can help you naturally remove ear wax without pain. Restore your hearing, get rid of your ear pain, and get healthy with these natural ear wax cures! The most popular ear care solution among our Earth Clinic readers is hydrogen peroxide ear wax removal, but another recommended remedy is mineral oil. Let us know what ear wax removal home remedy you try; and if you know of a treatment we do not have listed here yet, please let us know.

Baking Soda, Oregano Oil  

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Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, SC) on 01/17/2017
5 out of 5 stars

It is common to have wax accumulation and itchy ears.

One formula I've tried with success is as follows:

I take my finger (my pinky) and barely wet with water and dab that into baking soda. I insert into each ear. There are other ways to get a bit of baking soda (barely moistened) into ears (q-tips) but the digital way is my favorite. I let that dry completely in each ear for four or five hours. I clean the outside of the ear to get rid of the white residue but don't touch the soda deeper in the outer ear canal. I just let the baking soda work its absorbing action for four or five hours.

Then I get out my Oregano Oil and using the dropper drip one drop into each ear. Yes it stings. Some people might not be able to take the stinging so if too much I'd swish out with an ear syringe of warm water if oregano is too painful. But although it stings, I think it is killing any infection in the outer ear canal that contributes to itching.

Now in a day or two an amazing thing happens (at least in my case).... a film is emitted from each ear. I might have to reapply two or three times in a month, but my ears are free from itching and any crusty buildup.

Bobby Pin  

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Posted by Matt (El Paso, Tx) on 12/27/2011

Bobby Pins for Ear Wax: I once had a nun in school who said "don't put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow". Good advice.

I have had heavy earwax buildup all of my life. I do a monthly peroxide drop treatment that works wonders. I was career army so I also took Murine ear drops to the field with me. Both break up the ear wax and allow it to naturally work its way out of the ear canal to where you can swab it up with a Q-tip. Far better than mining with a bobby pin.

Posted by KY (Ashland, KY) on 04/28/2009
5 out of 5 stars

the old fashioned bobby pin is a good tool for removing ear wax. use the rounded end inside the ear. used 100 years in my family with safe results.

Replied by Maidenohio
Cleveland, Ohio

You are not supposed to stick things in your ears, but the bobby pin does work. Please be very, very careful while scraping the insides of your ears. Do not go down too deep.

Replied by Michele
Sapulpa, Oklahoma
1 out of 5 stars

I am a Registered Medical Assistant and used to work for an ear specialist. He showed us a video on ear/ER cases. The #1 most frequent ear damages are caused by using Q-Tips. Several were men and women who were in their bathroom with a Q-tip in their ear, possibly, not too far in. Then one of their kids comes RUNNING into the bathroom slamming the arm and q-tip DEEP into the ear canal and puncturing the ear drum.

Bobby Pins ARE JUST AS DANGEROUS, POSSIBLY WORSE BECAUSE THEY ARE METAL!!! I can see brain injuries from a bobby pin being SLAMMED DEEP INTO THE EAR DRUM and possibly on into the brain.



49 posts

To registered medical assistant, as opposed to giving up, using qtips and bobby pins, folks need use use caution, like locking the door....standing next to an unlocked door with a qtip or bobby pin inserted, is simply a recipe for disaster, if there is more than just yourself in the home, you need to do it behind a locked door or in a room alone and no chance of someone barging in and causing a catastrophe from horseplay or otherwise....especially with children around.

Replied by Earthling

I was looking here on EC for suggestions in softening earwax on a daily basis to keep the wax moist.

My earwax is getting very dry as I get older and I intuitively thought a drop or two of oil in the ears before bed would help, but wondered what type oil others might have used for maintenance purposes (if you will) vs. occasional earwax removal.

Anyway! I stumbled across a poster who was scolding those who mentioned using Q-tips and/or bobby pins for wax removal saying that they could perforate their eardrums, etc.

She wrote:


I think it's safe to assume that she meant anything smaller than your elbow. :D

Happy (and very healthy) New Year all! :)

P.S. Though I didn't find any mention of an oil recommended for daily use here on EC, I found suggestions on another site, from an ENT, who suggested baby oil or olive oil for daily use. I went with the olive oil since baby oil has fragrance added. Besides, babies don't have the fine motor skills or the chemistry knowledge to create oil anyway. (Haha) :)

Replied by Kennywally
49 posts

For the hard ear wax, you could use, coconut oil, just to coat the inside of the ear canal, gently and slowly with a qtip, just lock yourself in the bathroom, then there cannot be any accidents....option 2 is, put a drop of peroxide there to soften it, don't soak it, just one drop should keep it soft.

Replied by Earache

I thought baby oil was made from babies, which is just plain (medi)evil.

But, seriously, my local health clinic recommends warm olive oil, only (as often as is practical, in the case of compacted cerumen (e.g. from wearing plug-type ear defenders). They also recommend against using commercial ear drops.

Some 'health' websites mention using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) mixed 50/50 with vinegar! Are they serious? I use isopropyl alcohol to clean electronic equipment.

Other than olive oil, almond oil or glycerine are safe options; but never push any kind of bud or probe into your ears: you cannot see in there, and risk perforating the tympanic membrane.

Replied by Anon

I have been sticking cotton swabs into my ears all my life and have not put a hole in my head. There is only ever earwax toward the ear opening. But if you fluff the end of the swab and be very careful you will find that the fluff on the end noticibly contacts the drum with a scratchy sound. So you can tell how far it is safe to insert the swab. This is more difficult if the inside of the ear is swollen, in which case it hurts before the swab ever gets to the drum. But peroxide works well for the itch the swab can't reach. First they take away the merry-go-round, then the cotton swab... What is next? Pit bulls? Shaving?

Ear Cones  

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Posted by Angelica (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on 06/07/2012
1 out of 5 stars

I was told that Ear Coning was excellent for removing wax from your ears. I also had never heard any bad stories concerning candling, so, I happily made an appointment to have it done. I have so many problems with my ears now it isn't funny. They crackle all the time (sometimes painfully), and when I blow my nose I can hear the air coming through my ears (never happened before). I realize to some that these experiences may seem unrelated, but I can only conclude, since I never had those issues previously, that the cause was the candling. Also, to debunk this a bit further, when the candler looked at the candles, they said that I had experienced "many" ear infections according to her findings... I only had a couple in my lifetime prior to the candling.

Replied by Rev Dr Tilly

To debunk a few myths and misunderstandings re ear cones/ candles...... I have been a professionally trained and practising auricular (ear) therapist for more than 15 years and am quite well aware of the attitude towards candling, negative and positive. The first and most important part of this therapy is whether a therapist has been trained professionally as opposed to a 2 hour course or reading a book! The 2nd is the type of candles that are used - 100% natural ingredients as a candle (tube) not a cone. When both are correct then the wax will be gently removed from the ears, equilibrium will be restored, leaving no negative side effects. A 'crackling' in the ears after a treatment, as reported by one correspondent, suggests that too much wax was removed - we need some wax in our ears - and incorrect cones/candling were used. She also mentioned the therapist told her she could tell by the removed wax the patient had had many ear infections. This is total rubbish and said I suspect to impress the patient! The ONLY readings you can get from the wax is whether it is impacted wax (it will be a dark colour and quite hard) or just excess wax (which many people have). Nothing more. In all my years of treating hundreds of patients, I have never had anyone dissatisfied.

Replied by M Dupre

Ear cones are fine as long as you find a practitioner that knows what they are doing. For example, I know of someone who got her ears done and they held the candle straight up and wax fell into her ear and it was painful. I couldn't believe this even happens since I am a practitioner myself. Even if you are not a practitioner, the cones come with instruction and do say to never hold the cones in such a way. They must always be at a 45 degree angle. I myself had many surgeries as a child that destroyed my right ear. The wax never naturally comes out because they messed up my ear canal. I always had ear infections year round as well. This is the ONLY method that has worked for me. I started doing this back in 2002 and have not had an ear infection since. I also agree with everything Rev Dr Tilly has replied with as well. I too have never had an unhappy client.

Posted by Karen (Ellensburg, Wa) on 01/13/2012
1 out of 5 stars

"Candling" to remove ear wax is BS, my husband had it done and brought home his used "candle" to show me all the wax that came out, gross! But he also brought home an unused "candle" we burned it without putting it in his ear and it looked exactly like the one that supposedly removed the wax, just another useless treatment to get your money!

Replied by Sandra
Blue Springs, Mo

That's really interesting to know. I've used ear cones in the past and I've always wondered if that really is earwax inside the candle.

Replied by Lucyj.

If you want to know if it really removes the wax from your ears, buy an otoscope. They are cheap, and easily found on Amazon. You can look at your ear canal all the way down to the tympanic membrane before and after a treatment and see the results. Beyond that, you can buy ear candles at health food stores. Why would you pay someone to do it, then complain? DIY, and get your own supplies is my suggestion.

Replied by Anna
1 out of 5 stars

"candling" for ear wax is not just useless - it is very BAD! lt compacts wax and pushes it deeper! That's what it did for me!

Posted by Blacky (Tampa, Florida) on 11/03/2011

Is ear candling recommended? Anyone have any positive feedback on it? Is the gunk they find in the end from the wax or from the ear?

Replied by P
Middle, Fl

I knew someone whom did it and was satisfied with results, if I am not mistaken it is ear wax at the end, because she was amazed at how much came out.

I was not to convinced on putting something lit near my ear so I never tried it, but I do the hydrogen peroxide and like the results. I lay on my side and pour in my ear canal, wait 10 min and pour it out on a towel and then clean your ear out, but make sure you dont push the wax back in. My boyfriend was having trouble hearing out his ears, I did it to him and now no problem.

I read, thats what some doctors do to patients when there is infection in the ear!

Replied by Helen
Brentwood, Ca, Usa

Hi P. I used to do this a lot in the past. It's not ear wax at the end of the ear cone candles, it's bee's wax from the candle! I tested it by burning down a candle without putting it against my ear.However, it is very relaxing!!

Replied by Kay
Destin, Fl
1 out of 5 stars


WARNING: I had good results many times, as did many of my friends; but once we had a VERY DANGEROUS experience so I will never do it or recommend it again. I assume it was because of an inferior brand of candle or manufactirer defect. To make a long story short, I stopped the procedure just as roilling HOT WAX melted down the cone into a friends ear! Fortunately I was watching very closely because the candle was not the brand I was accustomed to; this one was more flimsy and not made of sturdy cloth; and it burned hotter & faster; too fast for my comfort and obviulsy so fast it melted the wax coating enough to drip down the come... Very, very dangerous... and could instantly have rendered my friend deaf and/or disfugured had I not stopped immediately!

BEWARE! Having shared this treatment with many folks before the above incident, I noticed that most people do not follow the directions and they burn away too much of the cone before removing it from the ear, which is also very, very dangerous!

For everyones sake it's much safer to use the Hydrogen peroxide treatment (but not if you have a reptured eardrum or other ear problems! )

Posted by Alex (Morgantown, Wv) on 07/15/2011
1 out of 5 stars

Ear candles are illegal in Canada and it is illegal to import them from Canada into the US. While they're not illegal in the US, pretty much all medical science is against them.

I've done them twice before actually, was sold a wholistic cure (by the same place that sold my mom saltwater to relieve arthritis). First one did nothing at all, second one singed my ear a bit, hurt for a few days.

Aside from that, do you really think a little negative pressure from the heat is going to pull an awful disgusting glob of tar out of your ear?

I've had fair success with using over the counter carbamide peroxide treatments (similar to hydrogen peroxide but better for the ear). It's pretty uncomfortable to blow water up your ear, but if it helps then it helps.

Had to go to an ear specialist once and have him suck it out of my ear with a little..... Sucker tool. Don't know how to explain it, a long metal tube that sucks lice a vacuum. Was very uncomfortable and somewhat painful, but so was the ear wax and this helped tremendously.

Go to a drugstore, or go to a doctor, stay away from quackery.

Replied by Wendy
Ontario, Canada

I am not sure who told you that ear candles/candling was illegal in Canada, but you were misinformed. You can purchase them at any health food store.

Replied by Kennywally
49 posts

Alex, Wv, just because it's illegal in canada, and so is medical science against it....that's not enuf to scare me off of trying if I so choose, but it most certainly is not a jump in there and just do it type thing either.

One should have some training on their proper use. Personally, I had it done, but don't consider it quackery. I prefer Q-tips, and I have a method of rolling the Q-tip and using 2 Q-tips together, it doesn't go too far down, and one can clean the ridges of the ear as well, and I don't walk around the house with them hanging out of my ears. Also after wax removal, one should not go running around outside, one should have the advantage of one nights worth of wax build up, to protect one from infections and viruses one could be open to, with too much wax removed.

Replied by Gord235
Vancouver, British Columbia

I have one ear that gets clogged with wax to the point where it affects my hearing. This happens every two or three years. I visit my doctor and he uses a large syringe type instrument filed with warm water to flush the wax out of my ear while I hold a kidney basin on my shoulder to catch the overflow. The wax that comes out is usually about the size of a pencil eraser and my hearing is immediately restored. The doctor then uses a special scope to look inside my ear to confirm that all the wax is gone. I have probably had this procedure done about ten times over the years with good results.

Posted by Anna (Philadelphia, Pa, usa) on 11/05/2010
1 out of 5 stars

Ear Cones made my earwax more dense and pushed it deeper. I lost heaing for few hours until I went to dr to have lots of earwax flushed out. I'll never use them again.

Posted by MandyMc (Kokomo, IN) on 07/26/2009
5 out of 5 stars

My husband was complaining that his ear was plugged and he was slightly dizzy. I had heard of earcandling and thought we would give it a try. I went to the health store and purchased some earcandles, they weren't expensive at all $3.99 for 2 candles. I used them as directed and my husband said he couldn't tell a difference. We used the other one on the same ear about 3 hours later and he said he still couldn't tell a difference. I was pretty disappointed, my hopes were high since I had heard such good things. When he got up the next morning he said "Mandy thanks my ear feels great, those candles really worked"!!! Awesome!!! I will definitley use these again.

Posted by bass_ga (Lithia Springs, Ga) on 04/30/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Last year I went to a herbal store and had ear candling done.Very simple procedure. I immediately had improved hearing over the course of 3 days.( I could hear a fly take a piss). Sinuses opened up and increased my tasted buds. Not to mention it indeed pulled a blocked wax build up problem I had had for years. I was so impressed I bought some ear candles myself and use them on my 9 year old daughter, whom also had a build up of wax in her ears. Take Note: Ear candling is not used with real candles, it is a hollow cone made of pure bees wax. Do not use cones made with some other materials that are on the market. After ear candling place cotton balls in ears for at least 24 hours, Keep ears secured with cotton or ear plugs pending your work environment, if dusty for at least 2 days. Ears are very sensitive and needs to have time to rest.
How I used it:(never perform this on yourself)
2 ear cones
1 large bowl of water
2 matches or a lighter
1 pair of scissors
1 hot water bottle or heating pad
1 ball of cotton

Place heat on ear your going to do for 5 min. It loosens up the wax. Lay on your side(using a pillow under your head). Exposed ear facing up. Place 1 ear cone in the opening of the ear slightly tilted, Light the top part of the cone with a match. Not to worry bees wax does not melt, it evaporates as it burns. place the match in the bowl of water. At this time you will hear crackling camp fire noises. As the smoke rises it pulls wax out of the ears. when It burns 1/2 way down remove from ear. Take scissors and and cut off the burning part into the water. Inside the cone will be wax and yellow dust. If you see yellow dust it comes from moisture in the ear. Clean out the wax/dust in the cone with a long small stick and repeat the process again w/ remaining cone in the same ear. Then repeat the whole process on the other ear.

Posted by DL (Atlanta, GA) on 03/13/2009
1 out of 5 stars

I did lots of these ear cones in the 1990s, thinking I was removing oodles and oodles of ear wax. My ears itched like crazy for a few days afterwards. Finally my brother and his wife did an experiment and burned down 2 candles to see what happened. Yes, oodles and oodles of what appeared to be ear wax! The candles did make me feel very relaxed.

Posted by Sonny (Vancouver, Canada) on 03/12/2009

I have read conflicting reports about ear candling. Does it actually work? Some people say that if you burned it without even putting it in your ear, there would still be 'gunk" left - which people mistake for wax when they do use it in the ear. I am thinking of trying it, but am reluctant to make matters worse, or just waste my money on something that is ineffective. Any learned and/or experienced feedback would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

Replied by Sher
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

ear candles or cones are not illegal in Canada

Replied by Cred
Innisfil, On, Canada

actually, the Health Canada website says that they are illegal to sell in Canada but some get around the rule and can be found for sale.

However, the reason is that Health Canada deems them to be ineffective and has not issue a license to sell them as a medical device. They state that they are dangerous due to fire. That said, so are fireworks and they are now legal to sell in Canada. Again, legislation designed to protect the ignorant. I'm sure most people could properly use ear candles safely (however, not on oneself, as it is dangerous to try to do this yourself).

Health Canada rarely identifies alternative therapies as effective so I wouldn't rely on their information.

Ear Wax Remedies  

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Posted by Trandall (Wasilla, Alaska, Usa) on 12/06/2011

I am looking for a way to encourage the removal of dried earwax from my 6 year old son's ears. There is a non functioning tube crusted over with earwax, not embedded anymore. The ENT said he can put him under anesthesia and remove the tube but there is a chance that the delicate tissue could be punctured in the process. My concern is that it may interfere with his hearing at some point. He has only had one ear infection but the tubes were put in because fluid would build up and it was affecting his hearing and speech. They served their purpose but his ears still seem to have problems draining. Maybe the wax is keeping them from draining. Any input at all would be greatly appreciated!

Replied by Louwrence
Rustenburg, North West South Africa

Hi TRandaal, Try putting hydrogen peroxide in the ear & it will disolve the wax. Try 3% hp. Good Luck.

Replied by Anna
Philadelphia, Pa

homeopathic SILICA is said to help body expel unwanted objects from inside.

Replied by Kennywally
49 posts

I've heard nothing but good comments about the Murine Kit for the ears, the do it yourslef with peroxide is good too, but don't do it before he needs to go out and play, this should be done prior to bedtime to insure a nights wax build up to protect him from viruses etc it could be subjected to with a clean unprotected ear, ok?!

Posted by London (Sandusky, Ohio ) on 10/15/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Firstly, I just want to say, NEVER USE Q-Tips. You know the old saying, never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. That's right!

I am a recovering q-tip addict. I have always had a problem with excessive ear wax build-up and itchy ears. Every other year or so, I'll lose my hearing in one ear, and go to the emergency room to have it cleaned, and irrigated. I began using q-tips to help remedy and control the problem. All I did was push the wax further into my ear, and cause more problems, not too mention, I got addicted to it, because it feels so good. I would sometimes get severe ear aches because of it. I ended up causing chronic itching in my ears, the only way to relieve it, was q-tips, I became dependent. It was a vicious cycle of itchiness deep in the ear canal, and pain from the excessive use of Q-tips. I would insert the q-tip way to far, almost puncturing my ear drum, it was terrible. Finally, gradually, I stopped using them, but then, I ended up with rapid, over excessive wax production, because I over stimulated the ear canal.

I started using hydrogen peroxide which is excellent, and a bulb syringe with WARM water. It has to be warm, because you'll make yourself too dizzy,(Inner ear balance, etc) if the temperature is too cold compared to the ear canal. Also use purified water, (Not Tap water)with a small amount of peroxide when you irrigate. If you don't you might end up with an ear infection(I did, one time). Sometimes, I put Castor oil in there, when it feels too dry. Castor oil is a wonderfully healing and lubricating oil. Garlic Oil cured my ear infections, and oregano oil, (MUST be diluted with a carrier oil or it will burn, and be intolerable.) Just apply to the very outside of your ear opening. Needless to say, this summer has been a real battle with my ears. Having your ear canal blocked is the most annoying feeling ever! You feel off balance. Your ears are very important in your sense of balance and equilibrium.

Hydrogen Peroxide, Warmed Oil  

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Posted by Allennz (Auckland, New Zealand) on 05/28/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I had impacted ear wax for the first time ever. I came upon your site 'by accident' (a happy one, thank you) three days ago after rejecting medical syringing, medical suction and after the prescribed ear-drop medication inflamed my ear. This morning I can hear, the wax is gone and I am very excited to have achieved this by myself - and with your help.

I read all of your entries and began with the most intensive - warmed H2O2 for 50minutes, then 30 then 20 throughout one day followed each time by warm water rinsing . While this did dislodge some flaked material it seemed so little and there was no change in symptomology. I guessed that either I had a larger mass and/or it had become stuck near or on the eardrum. I saw that some of you had recommended the use of warmed oil. So I ended the day by proceeding the H2O2 'treatment' with warm oil for five minutes then drained, and a 20min H2O2 session, rinsed, then again applied warm oil 25 min. Overnight I applied oil and a cotton wool 'plug' to keep it in. This morning I repeated the process and when it came to rinsing after the H2O2 a substantial amount of material came out and I could hear. I did apply some more oil and intend to repeat this process again this evening. If all is well then I shall continue with this remedy on a once a week rota as a preventative. My husband, who has had some awful syringe experiences now intends to use this method too. Thank you so much everyone for your contributions.

Replied by Margo
Tucson, Az
5 out of 5 stars

This worked best for me: Filled ear up with warmed Olive Oil. Laid down to let it do its job, about 20 minutes. Irrigated with warm Hydrogen Peroxide (H202). Since I had the type of earwax that is a film and sticks to the eardrum it is very stubborn. So I used my water pick to irrigate, very carefully so as not to damage the eardrum, but to get behind the wax to move it (filled up the receptacle with warm peroxide and water, about 2 cups). I could feel the H202 move the wax ever so slightly. Then I took a plastic scoop from Clininere Ear Cleaners to pull it out. This saved me a trip to urgent care. Previously I visited a hospital, who in ER told me to go to an ENT, I visited urgent care, who had to have someone show them how to remove wax, an ended up not being able to do it, and then finally I visited a Naturopath who had it out in 10 minutes. I was dreading spending a week going through this again. So appreciative of this site. Thank you.