Steamy secrets: How to clean your ears in the shower

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Learning how to clean your ears in the shower can be a game-changer for your ear health. While our ears are naturally designed to be self-cleaning, occasional care is essential to prevent complications and maintain good ear hygiene. 

You’ll learn four straightforward steps to effectively clean your ears by reading this article. From dissolving stubborn earwax to properly drying your ear canal, these are the details to unlock the secrets to healthier ears.

A woman is showering her hair.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Should you clean your ears?

Generally, you don’t need to clean your ears often because they are designed to be self-cleaning. 

You can’t say that for most things, if only carpets were like this too.

Earwax removal can sometimes do you more harm than good. This is because earwax naturally lubricates the ear canal, preventing it from drying. A normal level of wax also helps trap bacteria and harmful organisms, reducing the chances of infection.

However, excess earwax can cause symptoms like pain, partial hearing loss, or discharge, among other discomforts. 

Such a condition is called cerumen impaction, a disease in which a lot of earwax blocks the entire ear canal. Of course, in that case, you should seek medical attention from a professional healthcare provider and not try to remove the earwax blockage at home. 

Find a balance with your ear cleaning process. If you show no symptoms of ear infections or difficulty hearing, you can eliminate the unsightly wax yourself.

Like cleaning the tongue, taking care of your ears is a simple task promoting a long-term healthy, balanced hygiene.

How to clean your ears in the shower

You’ll need a washcloth, natural body soap, and warm water to clean your ears in the shower. You can also use cotton swabs to remove any build-up, but only from the external portion of your ears. Avoid the temptation of using sharp items like bobby pins.

In the case of stubborn earwax, you can try to soften it using warm water, a saline solution or mineral oil.

It’s really that simple. No special tools are required.

Learn how to clean your ears in four steps and make it part of your shower routine.

Step 1: Prepare your wax-softening solution

This pre-shower step is optional. However, it’s helpful if you’re dealing with some earwax build-up.

Start by using a softening solution to clean your ears. 

Follow these steps for getting rid of ear wax:

  1. Boil two cups of water.
  2. Add one teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda.
  3. Stir until dissolved.
  4. Allow the water to cool to body temperature.

The gentle saline solution is an alternative to ear candles, which is another route employing a hollow candle. 

However, ear candling is difficult to do with one person and on a child’s ears. Additionally, the flame can get quite big, which may become a fire hazard or make you feel nervous about the proximity to your body.

A woman is getting an ear piercing.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Step 2: Apply the solution to your ears

Once you’ve prepared the saline solution, all you need to do is apply it to your ears. You can use an applicator for this process.

Prepare a new regular or ear syringe, a rubber suction bulb or an eyedropper, whichever you have on hand. Make sure they’re clean. You can soak them in hot, soapy water and disinfect them with rubbing alcohol beforehand.

Now, all you need to do is apply the solution to your ears. 

Here’s how:

  1. Fill the applicator slightly more than halfway.
  2. Tilt your head to the side so your ear canal is as vertical as possible.
  3. Squeeze around 5 to 10 drops into each ear. Use a towel underneath your head to catch any spillage.

Alternatively, add 3 to 5 drops of mineral oil, warmed in a water bath beforehand, using the same technique.

If you don’t have an applicator tool, you can apply the solution directly from the bowl into your ear, although the process will be a bit messy.

Feel free to take a simpler approach when it comes to children.

“The best time to clean a child’s ears is after a bath. The warm water softens any earwax and all that is left is to have your child tilt the head so that you can wipe the outside of the ear with a damp cloth. Following our pediatrician’s recommendation, I never use a Q-tip or cotton swab to clean my kid’s ears as it might push earwax deeper into the ear canal, causing complications.” 

— Tamara, Thriving In Parenting 

Step 3: Drain the fluid and wash the exterior

Let the mixture work its magic to dissolve the ear wax; 5 to 15 minutes is typically enough to effectively clean your ears. As for the mineral oil, you can leave it overnight. Drain the fluid by tilting your head. Additionally, flush your ears with lukewarm water.

After removing the earwax, prepare for a warm shower. Using your palms or a clean, damp washcloth, add some soap.

Gently rub the outside of your ear in a circular motion. Don’t forget to clean the back as well. You can use your fingers or a cotton swab to clean around the folds, but make sure not to use the soapy mixture in the inner ear.

Tamara of Thriving In Parenting notes that her pediatrician warns against using “a cotton swab to clean children’s ears as it might push earwax deeper into the ear canal, causing complications.” Do not insert cleaning material into the ear.

A woman learning how to clean her ears with a towel on her head.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Step 4: Dry your ears

After rubbing the soap, rinse your ears in the shower. Use warm water, and make sure to remove any soap left over. You can tilt your head slightly for the water to reach the corners.

All you need to do now is dry your ears, and you’re done. 

Drying the ears is crucial because leaving them wet can cause a bacterial infection known as otitis externa. So, don’t skip drying your ears.

To do that, simply use a towel and pat your ears dry. You can tilt your head to the sides and pull your earlobes to drain excess water.

If you’re having trouble and your ears still aren’t dry, turn a blow dryer on the lowest setting, hold it a foot away, and let the warm air dry them out.

Wrapping up

Although the ear has a self-cleaning mechanism, excessive earwax can be unsightly. Not to mention, it can lead to troublesome infections in kid’s ears and adults. Fortunately, you can make use of this information and work to prevent that problem. 

It’s a good idea to figure out how to clean your ears in the shower and add it to your self-care routine as needed.

The best thing is to start with a wax-dissolving solution, let it work for a few minutes, and then drain the fluid. Afterward, wash your ears while bathing with soapy, warm water, towel-dry them, and you’re done.

You can maintain your ears’ cleanliness and ensure they remain in optimal condition with these tips.

Jessica Haggard is the creator of the blog Easy Homemade Life. She inspires and supports homemakers with easy recipes, natural home cleaning tips and DIY tutorials for personal care products to promote a happy and healthy home environment.

This article originally appeared on Easy Homemade Life.

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