ear cleaning

Protect Your Ears: How to Safely Clean Your Ears at Home

Our ears play a key role in maintaining our balance, supporting vital communication and, of course, allowing us to appreciate the diverse sounds of the world. In our daily lives, we often take many steps to care for other aspects of our health: we brush our teeth, moisturise our skin, and engage in regular exercise. Nevertheless, many of us neglect proper ear care, unwittingly putting our hearing health at risk. As experts in ear care and hearing services, we can attest to the importance of taking care of our ears and keeping them clean. In this blog post, we will offer valuable tips for safely cleaning your ears at home and explain what you can do to protect your hearing.

Maintaining proper ear hygiene is essential in preventing issues such as ear infections and impacted earwax. Home ear care may seem simple, but there are potential risks involved when we don’t follow the correct methods. It is crucial to understand that our ears are delicate organs requiring proper care when cleaning, especially when considering the delicate eardrum, its proximity to the ear canal entrance, and the potential for irreparable damage.

The most common mistake made during home ear care is using cotton swabs or similar objects to clean the ears. Although seemingly a harmless practice, it can lead to pushing earwax further into the ear canal, causing impaction or even puncturing the eardrum. To safely clean ears at home, it is vital to learn about alternative techniques and when it may be time to seek professional help.

Why Proper Ear Care is Essential

Before discussing how to safely clean your ears, it is crucial to understand the importance of proper ear care. Our ears serve multiple functions, such as enabling us to hear, maintaining our balance, and protecting our inner ears from external damage. Improper ear cleaning practices can cause issues like ear infections, impacted earwax, and even damage to the eardrum – all of which can negatively impact our overall wellbeing.

Moreover, neglecting our ears can eventually lead to hearing difficulties, causing communication challenges and a decrease in our quality of life. With this in mind, it is essential to establish a routine that involves regular, safe ear care practices.

Safe Home Ear Cleaning Techniques

Although cleaning your ears at home may seem like a simple task, there are potential risks if the procedure is not carried out correctly. Below, we will discuss some of the safest and most effective methods for maintaining proper ear hygiene at home.

1. Wiping the Outer Ear – The easiest and safest way to clean your ears at home is by wiping the external part of the ear with a soft, damp cloth. This method helps to remove any dirt or debris collected on the outer ear without risking damage to the inner ear or eardrum. It’s important to remember that this method only cleans the outer ear and does not address the ear canal or inner ear.

2. Ear Drops – Over-the-counter ear drops can be an effective option to soften earwax and keep the ear canal clean. These drops typically contain a saline solution, hydrogen peroxide, or a combination of both. When using these ear drops, be sure to follow the application instructions carefully, and consult a pharmacist or healthcare professional if you are uncertain.

3. Ear Irrigation – If you have a history of earwax build-up, you may consider trying ear irrigation at home. However, it’s essential to use caution with this method, as improper techniques or excessive force can be detrimental to your ear health. Ear irrigation kits can be purchased, which generally include a bulb syringe, saline solution, and instructions for safe use. Keep in mind that this method may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with a history of ear infections or structural abnormalities.

Avoiding Common Ear Cleaning Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes made during ear cleaning is using cotton swabs or other objects to remove earwax. While it may seem harmless, this practice can push earwax further into the ear canal, causing impaction or even puncturing the eardrum. To maintain proper ear hygiene, it is essential to avoid using these objects and to focus on safe cleaning techniques.

Another mistake to avoid is over-cleaning our ears. Frequently, we do not realise that earwax serves the essential purpose of protecting and lubricating our ears. Over-cleaning can lead to excessive earwax removal, causing irritation and dryness. In most cases, our ears are self-cleaning, and only regular, safe maintenance is necessary.

When to Seek Professional Help

While the methods we’ve covered may be suitable for home ear care, some situations require professional assistance. It is essential to recognise when it’s time to consult an expert in ear care, such as:

– Persistent ear pain or discomfort

– Sudden or partial hearing loss

– Signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, or discharge

– A history of ear problems or structural abnormalities

– Unsuccessful attempts at-home ear cleaning

In these instances, it is vital to seek the help of a professional, who can safely remove earwax build-up or diagnose and treat any underlying issues.


Proper ear care is crucial for maintaining healthy ears and ensuring a lifetime of clear hearing. By adopting safe home cleaning techniques, avoiding common mistakes, and knowing when to seek professional assistance, you can help protect your ears from potential damage and maintain proper ear hygiene.

At The Manchester Hearing Aid Clinic, we offer earwax microsuction and comprehensive hearing aids services to help our clients maintain their ear health and enjoy optimal hearing. If you need assistance with your ear care or suspect any hearing problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team today.

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