Once a video of a woman pouring hydrogen peroxide into her ears went viral, everyone wanted to know if it was actually a safe method of ear cleaning or not. Now, doctors have spoken!
Should We Put Hydrogen Peroxide In Ears?
Recently, a TikTok video of a woman pouring hydrogen peroxide into her ears, and then cleaning out the dissolved earwax, went viral. Afterward, most commenters didn’t trust the hack, calling it out as fake or dangerous. Dr. Angela Powell,
One viral TikTok post shows a woman pour hydrogen peroxide into ears, then clean it out after it dissolves earwax. Most commenters didn’t trust the hack, calling it out as fake or dangerous. Dr. Angela Powell, an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) in Maryland, said that hydrogen peroxide can, in fact, be used to remove earwax! “The drops are definitely safe,” said Powell. “In general, (hydrogen peroxide) is a safe thing to have in your ear, it has some positive qualities for your ear … it can be antibacterial and it helps with the general cleaning process of the ear.”
However, you need to use it right…
Doing It Right
When it comes to undiluted hydrogen peroxide, it can harm the skin and the eardrum. “Hydrogen peroxide at full strength … can be sort of abrasive to the skin, so it really shouldn’t be used at full concentration,” Powell said. To use it as eardrops, dilute it with distilled or sterile water down to half-strength. Drip a few drops into the ear, let it stay there for a few seconds, and tilt the head so the solution escapes. Powell says that anyone with holes in their eardrums should stay away from this home remedy, however.
If you do use hydrogen peroxide in your ears, just make sure to completely dry them after cleaning. “If the moisture lingers, then patients can develop a swimmers ear type infection which most people have heard of from swimming and from water exposure,” Powell said.
Thankfully, there are some other remedies as well!
If you have alot of earwax, one thing is clear: don’t use Q-tips! “Q-tips are discouraged because people have a tendency to either put them in too far and then cause irritation to the surface of the ear or actually rupture the eardrum and injure the little bones that sit behind the ear, (which can) cause hearing loss,” Powell explained. Not only that, but they also push the earwax deeper instead of actually cleaning it out!
If you don’t like hydrogen peroxide, you can also purchase and use mineral oil drops. There’s less moisture to the oils, so a few drops should be enough and way safer than other solutions. Then, use the washcloth or finger to remove the wax. In the end, even simple water can be used to remove earwax. “(Earwax) is hydrophilic, meaning that water will actually get into it and break it down,” Powell said. “Hydrogen peroxide is no more effective than water or water-based drops. … Water or saline can be put into the ear, allowed to sit in the ear for a few minutes while it softens up the wax and then let run out.”