Home remedies

Removing ear wax - tips and effective home remedies

Removing ear wax - tips and effective home remedies

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Get rid of ear wax with simple means

Ear wax (cerumen) is important and its amount usually regulates itself. However, if too much of it forms or if self-cleaning is disturbed for some reason, the ear wax can be removed. This is especially useful if your hearing suffers. A doctor does not always have to be consulted for this, home remedies can serve well here.

Why do we need the wax?

A secretion is produced by the ear wax glands or Glandulae ceruminosae so that the external ear canal cleans itself. Earwax, commonly referred to as cerumen, is a waxy substance that is important for defense in the ear. Earwax is often perceived as disgusting or unappetizing, but it contains substances that ward off bacteria and fungi and thus protect us from unwanted intruders.

The cerumen also contains dead skin flakes and dust particles and ensures smoothness in the ear canal. Hair in the ear and chewing movements move the ear wax out of the ear canal by itself and can be removed there with a soft, damp cloth. A special cleaning is not necessary. On the contrary - there should always be enough cerumen in our ear canal.

Too much or too hard ear wax

Everyone has their own amount of ear wax. If too much builds up or a real graft results from it, your hearing may suffer. A distinction is also made between moist and dry ear wax. The moisture is brownish, the dry is more yellow.

With age, the ear wax glands shrink, the secretion becomes drier, which can make it easier for a graft to form. In addition, the self-cleaning mechanism in the external ear canal no longer works as it did at a young age. Those affected report that they no longer hear so well. This means that the ear wax plug must be removed.

Such a clogged ear can also show up after swimming or showering. Ear wax swells up with water and clogs the ear. The sufferers report sudden hearing loss, pressure in the ear and possible ringing in the ears.

In addition, improper cleaning of the ears, for example with hair clips, cotton swabs, keys or even knitting needles, which is also very dangerous, pushes the ear wax deeper and deeper into the ear so that it is stuck and closes the ear canal. Here too there is hearing loss and a feeling of pressure in the ear.

Furthermore, wearing so-called "in ear" headphones, frequent use of ear plugs or even wearing a hearing aid can lead to too much ear wax accumulating, hardening and thus obstructing the ear canal.

Simple home remedies

With a very simple ear wax plug, without earache and dizziness, this can be removed at home with the appropriate home remedies. If there is an ear infection that occurs together with symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, pain and / or malodorous discharge, a doctor should be consulted and it is imperative to refrain from performing an earwash yourself.

All of the methods described below are best carried out in pairs. All the necessary utensils are laid out before the rinsing starts. The exposure time is very important. The longer this is, the sooner the ear wax dissolves and can then be removed in a simple manner.

The water should always be pleasantly warm and the pressure with which the ear is rinsed should be extremely gentle. This is very important to avoid harming the ear.

Warmed up oil

In order to remove ear wax with a little oil, it must be warmed up beforehand. Cold oil could cause dizziness, as the balance organ in the ear is very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. The best temperature is that of your own body. Almond oil and walnut oil are suitable. The oils mentioned should be cold pressed and of high quality.

To remove the ear wax, a few drops of the warmed oil are dripped into the affected ear - preferably with a pipette. The longer the oil can act, the better the effect. The ear is then rinsed out with body-warm water, which was previously filled into a suitable syringe. The effect of the oil can be enhanced with the addition of camomile or tea tree essential oil. One drop is added to the warmed oil per ear.

Steam bath for the ear

When thinking of a steam bath, everyone thinks of a sauna or bathing establishment. But even here, with a wax plug, a self-made steam bath can help. This home remedy is a very pleasant way to remove ear wax.

A bowl is filled with at least two liters of boiling water. As soon as the temperature is no longer too high, the ear is held over the bowl and the head is covered with a cloth. This is a somewhat uncomfortable position, but the steam is very helpful to loosen stuck secretions. Chamomile flowers (one tablespoon full) can be added to the water. After about eight to ten minutes of standing over the steam bath, the ear can be rinsed with the aforementioned ball syringe, which is filled with a little warm water.

The warm plastic bottle

The warm plastic bottle is the easiest way to remove ear wax. The plastic bottle is carefully filled with hot water, preferably using a funnel, wrapped in a cotton cloth and then held directly to the ear. This is carried out for at least 15 minutes, then, as already described, rinsed the ear with warm water. If the ear wax is not too tight and the constipation is not too massive, this simple home remedy can serve well.

Only with warm water

If the ear wax has not yet hardened, rinsing with warm water without prior action can help. To do this, warm water is poured into the ball syringe provided and rinses the ear several times.

Special ear drops / ear sprays

Special ear drops and ear sprays are available in the pharmacy to soften the hardened cerumen, which can then be easily rinsed out. However, the drops are not intended for constant use, but really only if too much ear wax has to be removed.

When using the device, be sure to follow the instructions on the package insert. After the drops have been applied and the contact time has elapsed, the ear should be rinsed, otherwise the ear wax cannot be removed. These ear drops should only be used if the ear is completely healthy.

Special ear sprays are also used to remove ear wax. They are available on sea salt or oil basis. The sprays are gentler on the ears than the ear drops. But here too - the ear must be intact.

Easy removal after showering

Usually, a little ear wax emerges after showering, which can then be easily removed with a soft cloth.

Ear candles - little success

Ear candles are very pleasant. However, their application should not be carried out by laypersons. Hopi candles are often used in naturopathic practices. These are primarily used to relax headaches, tinnitus and colds. A positive addition is the removal of ear wax.

Ear candles are very special candles. They are approximately 20 cm long and have a diameter of approximately 6 mm. They are made of cotton and wax. These are inserted very gently into the ear canal and lit. The resulting heat not only flows through the ear, but also affects the whole body.

Changing pressure conditions during ear candle treatment promote blood circulation and stimulate lymph flow. People to be treated lie relaxed on the side and the practitioner sits next to them and holds the candle. A little stuck ear wax also liquefies - but the effect is small. Ear candling treatment is good, but it is not intended to remove really tight ear wax.

The doctor does that

First, the doctor examines the ear canal. Foreign bodies or even tumors may be to blame for the hearing problems. If the wax plug is the reason for the complaint, it tries to remove it with the help of a special checkmark or an ear irrigation. Here, too, the stuck ear wax is first dissolved by special drops and then removed with water. Sometimes warm water without pretreatment helps.


The ears are sensitive organs. Pointed objects such as paper clips or the like have lost nothing there. Commercial cotton swabs are now popularly known as ear buds. But these chopsticks have no business in the ear. The outer ear canal can be cleaned a bit, but otherwise only soft cloths are suitable for regular cleaning. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Pschyrembel. Medical dictionary. 257th edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1993
  • A. Clegg, E. Loveman et al .: The safety and effectiveness of different methods of ear wax removal: a systematic review and economic evaluation, Health Technology Assessment Vol 14, 2010, NIHR
  • Cotton swabs for ear cleaning? Patient Advisor State Medical Association Baden-Württemberg 2004, ear cleaning
  • Hansjörg Lang: Congested ears. Cerumen obturans - an ENT classic, in ars Medici, edition 4/2010

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