42 answers

How Do You Clean a Young Child's Ears?

I recently took my 5 year old stepdaughter to the doctors, and her ears were so bad she needed to clean then out with a little wire loop! The amount of buildup in her ears astounded me, especially since I clean them regularly! I clean her ears twice a week with Q-tips, but I think they may be too big for her small ears, since I can only get the tip in before she tells me it hurts. There are tons of ear wax remover kits I saw at the drugstore, but I wasn't sure if any of them were safe for kids, or how well they worked. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have!

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Featured Answers

Hey S.,
I didn't get through all 41 previous posts, so if this is the same as a pp.. then I apologize. My oldest gets a lot of buildup from time to time. One of my peds suggested using sweeet oil to loosen it, you get it from behind the pharmacy, and it costs like $3.00, lasts forever and works well. Just place a couple of drops in her ear every once in a while and you should see an improvement.

Hope that helps

I agree with everyone saying not to use Q-Tips in the ear. I also agree with cleaning the ear with warm water, but I have not seen the suggestion for the way my doctor suggested to do it. (My daughter has the same problem and I have actually gone into the doctor because her ear was bothering her only to have it be only wax buildup.) The doctor suggested that I rinse her ears with water while I was washing her hair. This has worked well for us, for the past 6 months I have been using the shower head and gently rinsing her ears about once a week and we have not had any more problems.
~ B.

My daughter has the same issue, she makes a lot of earwax. Her pediatrician recommended putting a few drops of ERO (or other earwax removal drops) into her ears once a week. It works well and she has not had build-up again. The ped also recommended not to use Qtips since it could push the wax up against the eardrum. Hope this is helpful!

More Answers

My daughter had the same problem, just not as severe. I use half strength peroxide. (half warm water and half peroxide) Make sure the solution is tepid. Don't put cold water in her ear or you will affect her balance.We used a bulb syringe and put it in her ear when she was in the bath tub and let it run out her ear. That loosened everything up so it came out on it's own. We did it nightly for a couple of weeks and the next time she went to the doctor, her ears were clean. Now we only do it once a month. I wouldn't use a Q tip because you could actually push the ear wax or cerumen further down the ear canal. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

I wanted to send you this information - I remember that on one of Oprah's episodes with Doctor Oz - this same question came up and I copied it down for you, this is what he recommends - hope this helps...
What is earwax?

Are you like the 85 percent of respondents to an Oprah.com poll who said they use cotton swabs to clean their ears? Dr. Oz says you may as well be "taking a muzzle-loader and shoving it in there."

"Wax is the sweat that the body deposits in the ear lining," he says. "When our ancestors were walking along in the sub-Saharan desert, the dust would get caught like an insect trap and prevent it from getting into your eardrum. When you take this cotton swab and you start shoving that wax into your eardrum, you risk not only blocking off the pathway, but you also risk perforating—making a hole—in your eardrum which is just a millimeter thick."

If you have an excessive buildup of earwax and want to get rid of it, Dr. Oz suggests using "a little mineral oil, drop it in there, it will melt it, and it will come out by itself. You don't have to go plunging in there."

So what are you supposed to be using those cotton swabs in your medicine cabinet for anyway? "Taking off makeup," Dr. Oz says.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, what I'm saying really isn't what hasn't already been said in the other posts but here it goes. When I was younger with lots of ear infections, my doctor told my mother half water, half peroxide and a few drops in my ears would loosen up the wax and then wash them out with a warm water bath. Also, when my daughter was born, I bought specially made Q-tips for infants. They have a lot more cotton on the end of it and a little bulb sticking off of the end (the cotton is in the shape of a pear) and this prevents the Q-tip from going into the ear canal (because I was always worried about that). So, a lot of people say no to Q-tips but if your preference is to use them, I'd say go for these ones specially made for infants. I got them at Walmart. I hope this helps and good luck! :-)

Hey S.,
I didn't get through all 41 previous posts, so if this is the same as a pp.. then I apologize. My oldest gets a lot of buildup from time to time. One of my peds suggested using sweeet oil to loosen it, you get it from behind the pharmacy, and it costs like $3.00, lasts forever and works well. Just place a couple of drops in her ear every once in a while and you should see an improvement.

Hope that helps

I had an ENT tell me once that q-tips were like cigarettes, bad for the user, but good for doctors because they bring in business. He also told me to use peroxide and that was all they needed. When my little one had an ear infection and he had lots of junk in the ear, they were never concerned about it unless they could not see the ear drum. Like others have said, ears are naturally self cleaning. I only remove ear wax if I can see it coming out and I think that is the general rule.

All children get waxy build up in their ears. It is my understanding that you should never insert a q tip into the inner canal of a child's ears to clean them or anything else. I would talk to your pediatrician but chances are you do not need to take any action.

I agree with the lady who said the peroxide is not a great idea. I have been to an ENT for problems with my own ears. I would get ear infections ALL the time that hurt so bad I was in awful pain. The Dr told me to quit using Q tips to clean my ears. Who would have thought? That's what everyone does, right?

Well, the q tips actually push stuff farther down into the ear, which can cause a build up and infection/irritation. Ear wax is actually good for your ears and it's their way of protecting them.

I followed the Drs advice, and I have not had one ear infection since then, and it's been years! If I do feel a little earache coming on, I use a wonderful homeopathic product you can get at Walgreens called Similisan ear drops. It takes away my ache in a day. My ears often will ache if I have a cold or around allergy season.

As far as cleaning the ears, what I do for my children (ages 4 and 1) is every few days when they're in the bath, I wring out the washcloth and gently wipe out their ears and behind them. Once every week or so there will be visible wax there in the ear, and I take a damped baby swab and scoop it out. I do NOT stick it in their ear as this can damage the ear canal. Neither of my children have ever had an ear infection. Every time they go to the Dr, he says how perfect their ears look.

I hope this helps!

I myself can't stand wax in my ears, it drives me crazy.
I have 3 grandchildren and my oldest granddaughter has sensitive ears and doesn't like to have them touched. The way I like to clean them is to pour very warm water in our ears at bath time. Have her lean her head to the side and pour the water in then have her turn her head to the other side and let it run back out. The warm water melts the wax and it runs out. Do this several times to each ear. I made a game out of it with my grand daughter while we were washing her hair. She didn't like it at first, but after a few times she knew what to do so now she asks to do it.
I take a Q-tip and gently dry the ears afterward.
Sometimes with my ears I wet one end of the Q-tip with hot water and clean the ear and dry with the other end.
This works for us. Good luck and God bless! K. L

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