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Earwax is a protective substance produced in the ear canal. It usually flows out of the ear by itself without problems. In general, the best way to prevent infection or impacted earwax is to leave earwax alone.

  • You can keep earwax soft by inserting a few drops of mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide mixed with warm water into your ear.
  • Do not use cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other substances to remove earwax.
  • Try not to get water, soap, or shampoo in your ear canal when you shower. Keep soap, bubble bath, and shampoo out of the ear canal. These products can cause itching and irritation.
  • Keep your ears dry.
    • When you rinse your hair, keep your head down with your chin toward your chest or pull the outside of your ear down over the ear canal.
    • After swimming or showering, shake your head to remove water from the ear canal.
    • Gently dry your ears with the corner of a tissue or towel, or use a blow-dryer on its lowest setting. Hold the dryer several inches (centimeters) from your ear.
    • Put a few drops of rubbing alcohol or rubbing alcohol mixed with an equal amount of white vinegar into the ear after swimming or showering. Wiggle the outside of the ear to let the liquid enter the ear canal, then tilt your head and let it drain out. You can also use nonprescription drops, such as Swim-Ear, to keep the inside of your ear dry.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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