Why you shouldn’t clean your ears with cotton buds


I have a confession to make.

I have an addiction, it a small harmless addiction but an addiction nonetheless.

And it is (drum-roll please), I love cleaning my ears with cotton buds.

I know I really shouldn’t, but my ears get so itchy especially after I take a shower and cleaning them feel so good.

I have read numerous times that this can be harmful to my ears but how can a simple cotton buds harm me?

To understand this we have to understand the use of earwax.

Earwax is also known as Cerumen, and though it might seem gross it actually keeps your ears clean.

It keeps your ears clean by protecting the eardrums against dust and dirt.

Earwax has antibacterial and lubricating properties that help keep your ears clean.

Earwax also helps the body self clean your ears by moving dried ear wax down the ear canal with the movement of your jaw.

So if your body can clean itself what is the point of using a cotton swab?

Using cotton buds to clean your ears has no beneficial effect and can be harmful.

When you use cotton buds to “clean” your ears, ears wax is pushed deeper into your ears.

When the wax gets pushed in too deep it could get trapped and a build up of bacteria in the ears, which leads to infections.

So cleaning your ears could have the opposite effect of maintaining personal hygiene and instead cause infections.

Trapped earwax can also lead to blockage to the ear canal and this could lead to hear loss.

If you exert too much pressure while using cotton buds in your ears could lead to the rupturing of the eardrum.

Rupturing of eardrums is an extremely painful injury, which can lead to deafness.

But my ears get so itchy, how do I relieve them?

You could try some milder methods of cleaning which encourage the removal of dried earwax.

These include mixing equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and warm water.

Put a few drops of the mixture in your ears and swirl around then tip your head to the side for the excess fluid to drain out.

This would remove the dried wax without the damaging effects of cotton swabs.


Photo by aopsan. Published on 14 June 2011
Stock photo – Image ID: 10046100

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