If you’re using cotton swabs (Q-tips) to clean your ears, you’re not only pushing wax further into your ear canal, but you’re also running the risk of damaging your inner ear tissue which can cause infection and even hearing loss. Using a specially-designed tool is the ideal way to clean your ears, and if you’re looking for the best ear wax removal kit out there, the Doctor Easy Elephant Ear Washer is as good as it gets. Developed by a medical physician, this kit cleans ears and removes ear wax better than any other system on the market. It is the top-rated choice among consumers, and also the preferred tool of thousands of medical professionals across the United States. Article Summary
Even though having ear wax has benefits, too much can cause buildup, which leads to some distracting and potentially painful symptoms. The removal of this excess wax can immediately alleviate your symptoms, provided the removal goes well and there is no damage done. Because the inner ear is so sensitive, you have to be smart about the way you remove your excess ear wax so you don’t damage your ear canal. The best way to remove excess wax at home is with a specialized ear wax removal kit.
These specialized kits usually involve some kind of liquid wash system to soften the wax in your ear, then a bulb or other instrument to draw out the wax. Using long, metal instruments is not recommended by doctors, because if used incorrectly by someone other than a professional, they can easily cause permanent damage to your ear canal or ear drum. This damage can not only cause severe pain, but damage your hearing for the rest of your life.
There are a lot of ear wax cleaning kits on the market, and some of them are definitely more effective than others. To find the best ear wax removal kit out there, we carefully examined 35 popular kits and solutions offered to the public. We based our research on technical aspects of each kit, including the exact solutions and instruments used, and we compared these findings to those recommended by doctors and other trained professionals. After verifying each kits’ abilities at a technical standpoint, we also looked at feedback from customers who tried each kit to get their opinions on how well each product actually worked for removing wax. By the time we had finished thorough observation, the below three products are what stood out from the crowd.
Elephant Ear Washer
The best ear wax removal kit overall
With an entire line of ear cleaning products on the market, Doctor Easy is definitely a trusted brand among the health community, and their Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System is a majority favorite for those who need to get rid of wax. This ear wax removal kit is not only the most popular choice among consumers and the #1 best-seller on Amazon, but it’s also used in a huge majority of medical offices all across the United States due to its superior ear cleaning.
While extremely simple in design, there are a few things about the Elephant Ear Washer that make it the best of the best. Essentially, the main mechanism is a spray bottle – the same as you would use for glass cleaner or to water your plants – but the intricacy lies within the delivery system.
The delivery system consists of a flexible tube with a soft, disposable tip (the kit includes 3 tips). The flexible tube allows you to be more free with the positioning of the bottle, making it a lot easier not only to clean your own ears, but the ears of anyone you care for. The disposable tip also allows for superior control to make sure you’re hitting all of those hard-to-reach spots due to the fact that the tip is so thin. A thin tip allows for more direct control of the stream and pressure so you can clean your ears more effectively and efficiently. Most ear wash systems include an implement to coax the wax out of the ear, such as a bulb – this washing system is so effective that it doesn’t need one.
Check out the video demonstration below to see how easy it is to use this bottle washer:
If you, your significant other or someone in your family has consistent buildup of ear wax and suffers as a result, the Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System is your best and safest bet for clean, happy ears. With 3 disposable tips, and easily orderable replacement tips (a bag of 20 will run you less than $17), this is a value that you just can’t beat.
Another good ear cleaning tool to try
Next up on our list is the Squip Kyrosol Ear Wax Removal Kit. Squip is another brand with quite a few ear cleaningproducts on the market, and the quality and ingenuity of the products have made them extremely popular within holistic communities and online health marketplaces.
The Kyrosol kit is a bit different in design than our top pick, and the design differs in a way that makes it a bit less efficient and effective. This ear wax removal kit, instead of the spray bottle with flexible hose featured in our top pick, features a plastic syringe as the vessel to deliver the solution to break up the wax within your ear. Although the plastic syringe is effective, it isn’t as effective in producing an accurate, forceful stream. Now that we’ve addressed the shortcomings of this kit, let’s get on to the specs and highlights.
The plastic plunge syringe noted above comes with a unique 3-way spraying tip. This tip is the reason this kit made the top 3 list. Instead of a traditional 1-way stream emitted from the end of this syringe, the triple-stream action allows this device to cover a large area in your ear with every plunge. The more surface area exposed to the solution, the more hard, built up wax can be broken down and irrigated. This kit also includes its own solution, unlike our top pick. The primary ingredient in this product is sodium bicarbonate, a common, but effective ingredient in several varieties of ear drops. With the kit, 10 single-use solution packs are included; however, these individually packaged solution vials contain very small amounts of solution and cannot be ordered separately, meaning you’ll have to order a new kit either after 10 uses, or simply use your own solution and the syringe as a delivery system.
Lastly, this kit differs from our top pick in that it is primarily a vehicle for solution, rather than an ear-washing device like our top pick, even though the triple-stream tip does give some pressure control for a similar effect. This is preferable for many, and at less than $15 for a kit, the Squip Kyrosol Kit is definitely a great value – especially if you use your own solution after the included solution runs out.
A good choice if you prefer drops
Falling into the more common category of ear wax removal products with the inclusion of a bulb syringe, the Debrox Ear Wax Removal Kit is a popular option among many people looking for a simple, cost-effective solution.
The Debrox kit is the cheapest on the list, although the Squip kit is only a few bucks more. This kit is the second runner up mostly due to its common design that doesn’t offer any advantages over the top two picks. This kit does have an included solution, though, and it has an ingredient not included in the solution for our runner up: carbamide peroxide. Although the delivery method is lackluster, carbamide peroxide is a pretty effective solution for cleaning ears, due to the fact that it has a foaming effect. This foaming effect helps to break up the existing wax in your ear and help to drain it. However, the actual irrigation is a longer process because you have to wait for the foam to act, instead of having a more aggressive delivery method like our first two options.
The delivery system for this carbamide peroxide is a simple, rubber bulb syringe. The bulb is squeezed to let out air, released to take in the solution, then squeezed again inside the ear to irrigate. This method is a bit more of a hassle than the other products listed in our guide, but it isn’t rocket science by any means.
This system is affordable, re-usable and extremely simple – which is not always a bad thing. If you don’t have extremely severe buildup and you don’t mind a method that is a bit more slow-going, the Debrox Drops Kit is a great option.
Other ear wax removal products worth mentioning
We have covered the top three ear wax removal products on the market; however, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other good products out there. Some products were, for one reason or another, excluded from our top three. Maybe they don’t quite the description of what we’re looking for, or the features included didn’t quite compete with our top picks. Many of these products are still good options for ridding yourself of built up wax – they just didn’t measure up to the competition.
Dr. Sheffield’s Removal Drops is another product you may come across while shopping online for the best ear wax removal kit. There’s no fancy delivery system here, just a few drops of carbide peroxide. These are industry standard eardrops that you just put into your ears, wait and allow the wax to drain out. This method isn’t as effective as using a solution with a more aggressive delivery method, but for someone who doesn’t get a lot of wax buildup, or it doesn’t happen very often, it could be an acceptable solution. This is a less intrusive method, but there is a bit of waiting involved for the drops to work their magic and start the draining process.
Let’s face it, most of us deal with wax with a cotton swab. It’s wrong, and we know we shouldn’t, but we do anyway. Unless you do this straight out of a hot shower, you’re pushing the existing wax deeper into your ear, which is a leading cause of ear wax buildup (more on this further on in our guide). With that said, a similarly used and shaped implement, called a pick, is a metal implement with a curved end to help break up and scrape out hardened wax. The Mudder Ear Curette is a pick set that contains two picks – one with a knurled handle and one without. These picks are highly popular on the internet, and widely regarded as useful tools for moderate buildup. We didn’t include them in our top products because this isn’t necessarily a removal kit, but rather an implement for removing wax and keeping your ears clean. It’s still up to you to do most of the work (which can be harmful if you aren’t careful).
Things to consider before buying
If you have never purchased an ear cleaning product before; or, if you have used one before and been sorely disappointed, you may have some hesitation about buying one. Although these products are typically relatively inexpensive, wasting time and money on poor choices can be a major frustration, especially if you spend a significant amount of time wading through the duds. Shopping for the best ear wax removal kit can be simplified into a few major points to keep in mind, which we’ve identified below.
If you’ve tried many ear wax removal products before, you’ll likely have an idea of which solution you prefer, if you have a preference at all. Different solutions have different side effects and effects on the wax itself, so make sure you’re following your preference. For example, carbide peroxide works great, but can leave your ear canal pretty dry. Hydrogen peroxide is also commonly used, but this ingredient can irritate the outer ear in some people. These side effects can vary person-to-person, and can range in mild to severe, just like with most other products that come into contact with your skin.
Some people are pickier than others when it comes to how the solution is delivered to your ear canal. Do you want an aggressive delivery method to break up the weak more efficiently? Or are drops more your speed? From syringes to large spray bottles with thin, accurate tips, different delivery systems act differently upon ear wax and yield different results. Whichever the case, determining which delivery system you prefer will help narrow your options very quickly.
Why you shouldn’t use Q-tips
One of the most commonly used ear wax removal tools is a cotton swab (namely Q-tips cotton swabs). And yet, it’s also one of the worst. Why? Because Q-tips are NOT supposed to be used in your ears, people! As someone who has had to have ear wax carefully picked out by an ear-nose-and-throat doctor because a Q-tip lodged it deep inside my ear canal, I feel not only obligated, but also especially qualified, to explain why you should never use Q-tips or any other type of cotton swab inside your ear canal.
First off, if you take the time to read the fine print on a box of Q-tips, it specifically says, “Do not insert swab into ear canal.” That’s your first red flag. But if you’re like me and everyone else on the planet, you never read the fine print on anything, so let’s move right into the actual medical reasons.
Cotton have just about the same diameter as the average ear canal. When you stick one of these swabs into your ear, wax has nowhere to go but deeper into the canal, so all you’re doing is pushing wax further into your ear and therefore making it harder to get out when you finally decide to use a legitimate ear wax removal kit like the ones we’ve recommended above. You may be thinking, “But I’ve used cotton swabs plenty of times before and it’s always pulled out wax.” Well, you’re certainly not wrong, but you’re only getting a certain percentage of the wax that decides to stick to the cotton material. There is still a large majority left inside that ear canal that you’ve now “pressed up against the walls” so-to-speak, which can create difficult build up in the future.
The ineffectiveness of removing ear wax isn’t even the main problem though. Using a Q-tip can actually cause serious damage to your ear! The skin inside your ear canal is extremely soft and delicate, and any type of foreign object that’s stuck in your ear (whether that be a cotton swab, finger, or something else that’s not specifically designed for ear contact) can harshly irritate the skin cells. This not only creates the perfect storm for ear infection and pain, but it could even puncture your ear drum, causing permanent hearing loss. Is using a Q-tip to clean your ear canal really worth the possibility of losing your hearing?
According to TIME Magazine and Dr. Peter Svider, ear issues causes by cotton swabs are one of the most common reasons for doctor and hospital visits these days. To save yourself the trouble, make sure you use the best ear wax removal kit for your ear cleanings, not some dollar-store pack of cotton swabs.
Other home remedies for naturally removing ear wax
We believe the three kits mentioned above are the best ear wax removal products, but in case none of these work for you, there are also a few natural home remedies that may do the trick. We’ve outlined a three-step process for home remedies below. The first step is where you will pick your preferred solution, and the second and third steps are where you will apply the solution and clean your ears.
Keep in mind though: these methods may require you to manually pull the wax out using some sort of ear cleaning tool. As mentioned above in our section about q-tips, you should only use tools specifically designed for use within the ear to avoid potential damage or irritation.
Step 1: Pick a solution
Each of the below solutions is designed to do the same thing: soften your ear wax so that it’s easier to clean out. With that said, choose whichever solution you fancy most. If one does not give you the desired results, try another to see which works best for your personal needs.
Salt water is a highly-regarded home remedy for curing numerous infections, and it’s also a great solution for clearing wax out of your ear. Start by mixing one teaspoon of salt in a half cup of warm water. Stir the water with a spoon until the salt is completely dissolved into the water, then move on to step two.
Everyone knows hydrogen peroxide as the painful stinging liquid used to clean dirty wounds. What you might not know is that its bubbly formula also makes for a great ear wax removal solution (don’t worry, no pain or stinging involved here!). Start by mixing a cup of liquid that’s half-water and half-hydrogen peroxide. Stir the liquids with a spoon until the solution is thoroughly mixed, then move to step two.
Vinegar and rubbing alcohol
A mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol offers a couple unique benefits beyond just the intended purpose of softening wax. The alcohol will also help dry your ears after the wax is removed, and the vinegar will treat bacteria and fungi. No water is used in this mixture; instead, mix a solution that’s half white vinegar and half rubbing alcohol, stirring until the two are mixed completely. Then you’re ready for step two.
Step 2: Apply the solution
Use a controlled tool like a syringe or a cotton ball to soak up some of the solution you just made. Tilt your head sideways so that your ear is facing the ceiling, and then drip a few drops of the solution into your ear. Hold this position for two to four minutes.
Step 3: Clear the solution and clean your ear
After waiting the allotted time period, tilt your head in the opposite direction so that the solution drains out of your ear. With the solution should come an abundance of ear wax, so make sure you have a clean, soft towel ready to wipe your ear. If you have a specialized ear cleaning tool, you may also use this tool to clean your inner ear as well.
These home remedies are perfect for clearing out a good majority of the wax within your ear, but for some, it may not clear your wax buildup completely. We still recommend using a specialized ear cleaning kit for best results at home.
Why some ear wax is still important
With all of this talk of removing ear wax, you might be raring to go at attacking every ounce of wax that is made its way into your ears. However, destroying 100% of the wax in your ear is a mistake, as we need a little bit of wax in our ears to have a more comfortable and safe day-to-day life. Ear wax performs a pretty major function within the body, and if we didn’t have it, we would be a lot worse off – especially for those of us who spend a lot of time outdoors or in spaces that are ripe with dust and dirt particles.
The main function of ear wax is to be sticky. Why? A sticky surface will have more adhere to it than a non-sticky surface. Think of the wax as a filter, and also as a last line of defense. Ear wax is a filter due to the fact that all of the dirt, dust and other particles headed for our eardrum must pass the outer ear first – the part that naturally contains the wax. For this reason, wax is only produced in the outer ear, and only gets into the inner ear by force and interference. Thinking of ear wax as a last line of defense is also accurate, as it is quite literally the last line of defense against these small particles for your ear canal and ear drum. This area controls balance and sensitivity to sound, which are huge parts of day-to-day life.
Another benefit, that which most of us would rather not think about, is ear wax’s help in the fight against intrusive insects. Some small insects are inclined to burrow deep within your ear and lay eggs (cue panic attack), and the sticky wax either traps them or deters them. This is a benefit we can all greatly appreciate.
Lastly, having a sufficient amount of ear wax plays a pretty big role in keeping the skin on our ears nice and healthy. Ear wax acts as nature’s lotion for our outer ear, and if you don’t have enough, your ears can become dry, irritate and itchy. Having dry ears is unpleasant, and the skin on your ears is extremely sensitive and not very resilient to excessive scratching or rubbing.
Wrapping it up
Finding the best ear wax removal kit can be a little confusing, especially if you haven’t done much research on the subject before. The three products in our guide are what we believe to be the best out there at ridding your ears of wax buildup, but feel free to give the described home remedies a shot as well. Above all else, just remember: never use Q-tips. If nothing suggested in our guide works for you, please consider setting up an appointment with your doctor. Ear wax buildup can cause medical issues from infections to hearing loss.