Wait, You Can Actually Clean Your Ear with a Q-Tip?

A small box full of cotton swabs.

A household staple for several uses like makeup application, arts and crafts, baby care, and cleaning, Q-Tips are a great tool. But did you know you can still use them to clean your ears? Just the outer surface, of course.

By now, we’re probably all aware that cleaning the inside of our ears with a cotton swab is a big no-no. Some find sticking a Q-Tip in the ear canal a satisfying feeling, but doing so can lead to potential damage like earwax impaction, injury, and infection.

Most people don’t need to clean the inside of their ears to begin with, as old earwax typically moves through the ear canal on its own due to jaw motions like chewing. Once the earwax reaches the outside of the ear, it flakes off.

However, the outside of the ear may require a little extra attention, as those earwax flakes may stick around (literally). Wiping down your outer ear folds and lobes with a Q-Tip and gentle cleanser is a great way to reach those little nooks and crannies in a safe way.

In fact, the outside packaging of a Q-Tip container specifically directs users to stroke the swab gently around the outer surface of the ears. As long as cotton swabs—or any other small object for that matter—aren’t going in the canal, you’re good to go!

While you add Q-Tips to your shopping list, don’t forget to include some functional (and esthetically pleasing) cotton swab holders to keep your bathroom neat and tidy.

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