How to Use Alcohol to Clean Out Earwax

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A great way to clean out earwax is to use alcohol warmed up to body temperature. Clean your ears out using alcohol with the advice of a practicing pediatrician in this free video on ear care.

Part of the Video Series: Ear Care & Treatments
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Video Transcript

Hi I am Dr. David Hill, and today we are going to talk about how to use alcohol to clean out earwax. Now what are you going to need? Well you are going to need some isopropyl alcohol, you are going to need a medicine dropper, and you might want to have some peroxide or alternately, some white vinegar. Sometimes earwax collects in the external auditory canal. That is everything from the hole where sound comes into the ear, down to the eardrum. It is all part of the external ear. Now normally the skin here grows outward, and it carries earwax with it. So the best thing to do for earwax under normal circumstances is leave it alone. It should grow out on it own. Some people have dry or flaky wax, some people have sort of sticky wax, however, occasionally wax will collect to an extent that is annoying. Now the best way to keep that from happening is never to use a Q-tip to clean out your ears. It is when you stick something down here in the canal the wax tends to get impacted. So if you never stick anything in there you are not likely to have a wax blockage. But if for some reason you find that you do have an annoying amount of wax you certainly can use a variety of agents to try and loosen it up, soften it to help it wash itself out. Now there are some commercials agents that you can buy over the counter for this purpose, but if you have a bottle of alcohol around the house you can do that as well. Now one thing I would recommend is perhaps mixing the alcohol with another fluid. You could use white vinegar or you could use peroxide. Both of these work fine. Another thing you are going to want to do is to warm it up to about body temperature. If you put a cold or a hot liquid down here in the external auditory canal it actually will send nerve signals that could potentially make you dizzy. It tells the body that you are moving when you are not. You might even get sick to your stomach, and throw up. So you want to make sure that whatever fluid you are using, the alcohol in this case, is warmed up to somewhere around body temperature so you don't have that happen. Now you could draw the fluid up with a medicine dropper. Here I happen to have a small syringe, and you just want to lie on your side, it may help to pull back on this part of the ear, which opens up the ear canal, and just dribble in a few drops of fluid. You are not trying to squirt hard. You can really do some serious damage to the ear drum if you do that, please do not use a water pick or any other device that would move fluid forcefully into the ear. You are trying to dribble a little bit of it out or in. Then go ahead shake your ear out, try to get that fluid to come out, try and get the wax to come out, and if you need to you can use a wet washcloth to clean around the outside of the ear. Most importantly do not use a q-tip or any other object to try and dig the wax out of here. Wax right here where you can see it that you can get with a washcloth great, but if it is deep leave it alone. Now doctors are able under guidance looking to see what we are doing to pull wax out of the eardrum using an instrument like this curette right here, but this is not something that I would do at home. This is one persons job who has an otoscope, and know what they are doing. Not the job of the person whose ear this is. So telling you about how to clean wax out of your ear with alcohol I am Dr. David Hill.


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