Is it bad to clean your ears with Q tips?

Items like cotton tipped swabs, which have become the generalized household name of Q tips, were initially created to apply products to a baby’s skin. They have, however, become a commonly used item for ear cleaning.

If you’re here, you probably didn’t know that using Q tips to clean your ears is a bad idea. It’s actually so bad, that the Q tip brand company has a warning directly on their label against using their product for ear cleaning purposes.

So to answer your questions. Is it bad to clean your ears with Q tips? The answer is yes. There are several negative consequences to using cotton tipped swabs in your ears.

Do Q tips push the earwax in? The answer is yes, which is one of the reasons they are a bad choice as an ear cleaning product.

By using cotton tipped swabs such as Q tips to clean ears, you are simply pushing the wax further into the canal, which doctors say, can breed fungus and bacteria and leave you with an ear infection. This can also lead to a condition called cerumen impaction, where the earwax has been impacted leading to hearing issues, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), pain or vertigo.

So how do you clean your ears without Q tips? While some people are naturally prone to earwax build up, most are not. It’s important to know that typically, the wax in your ears does not need to be manually removed since it is actually a protective mechanism to prevent dirt and dust from entering your eardrums. It also prevents your ears from becoming too dry.

Ear experts say that while the outer ear can use a gentle soap and water cleansing when you shower, the ear canal itself does not necessarily require your attention. They say that more times than not, during a shower, enough soap and water enters your ears to loosen any accumulated wax that will likely fall out while you sleep since over time, earwax naturally migrates to the outside of your ear.

If you have have earwax build up, a doctor can remedy that with a mixture of peroxide and water. Once injected into the ear, the impacted wax removes easily.