Rapid Ear Wax Removal with Water Pik – The Absolute Best Home Solution!

Have ear wax blockage? Can’t hear? Below is the best ear wax removal system in the world. Take it to your doc or nurse if you have any concerns. Share it on!

First, a warning: Never use the Water Pik if you have any ear pain. That usually means an infected ear canal. In that case, call your health care professional.

Next, a comment: Since I wrote this in 2011, several articles have been written to warn people against using Water Piks for ear cleaning. Some mention folks who have used them stupidly, at high pressure, causing ear pain or even eardrum perforation. You, of course, won’t use this amazing tool stupidly. So Just Ignore Those Articles, and read on!

I. The Best Solution for Rapid, Safe Ear Wax Blockage Removal – The Water Pik


Water Pik Aquarius

1. Buy a Plug-In Water Pik. I recommend the Aquarius (picture right) You can order it online in lots of colors. Pick one that you’ll like to look at (purple does it for me) because you’ll use this baby regularly, as you’ll see below. You can get the Aquarius  at Amazon for $65 (free shipping with Prime), at Walmart or Target for $50 or on eBay used for $40. You can get the Ultra (their older model) even cheaper, but the lid design is awkward to use. The travel-ready Water Pik Sidekick ($130 on Amazon) is also a good but pricier alternative to the Aquarius.

Unless you like ear pain, don’t get a cordless Water Pik, as all cordless models today have just two pressure settings, high and low. Low is still too strong for some folks to use in their ears. You need a Water Pik with a pressure dial that goes from 1 to 10 (or maybe, 11 🙂

2. Buy five or more bottles of 3% hydrogen peroxide water. Also at Target, or your local supermarket. These used to be just 50 cents a bottle in 2011. Now they are a buck or more. That’s serious inflation! 🙂 Open the Water Pik, put one full bottle of peroxide water in the reservoir, and set the pressure setting on 2 (two) to start.

3. Lean over your sink to get your blocked ear down near the counter, or if you want to keep your counter free of spray, kneel over your tub, or get in your shower and irrigate that blocked ear. (You may need an extension cord if you use it in your tub or shower, and keep the Water Pik out of standing water, of course). It takes just 2-5 minutes to clear a typical ear wax impaction with this amazing machine, on a pressure setting of 2, using up just 1 or 2 bottles of peroxide. There is no other ear wax removal solution in the world that is as fast, safe, inexpensive, or as reliable as the Water Pik at present, in my experience.

Take a brief break every 30 seconds or so if you like, then start again. Very hard or big impactions may require up to five bottles of peroxide water. I haven’t heard of any ear blockage ever taking more than five bottles yet (see reader comments below). Let me know if you break a record! 🙂 If you want to use plain old water instead (warm is best), keep in mind that you are going to need a LOT more water and time, and you’ll want to flush afterward with distilled water or hydrogen peroxide, so you don’t leave any bacteria in your ear.

Even though it will feel at first like nothing is happening, keep going. The flow of peroxide water will heat and soften up the wax, oxidizing it (bubbling) and stripping it out imperceptibly down the drain. It will also be disinfecting everything as it goes.  All of a sudden, after what seems like hours but has only been a few minutes, big ol’ chunks of wax will start coming out. Shortly after that, you’ll have a clear, clean ear!

At a pressure setting of 2, the flow is so gentle that you can put the tip right into your ear canal just a little bit (please don’t go deep inside the canal, and keep kids and animals away so no one accidentally jams that tip up into your ear, as you could perforate your eardrum). At a setting of 2, it doesn’t matter where you aim it. As you get more experienced, if you use any higher settings, like 3 or 4, be sure to aim the flow at the sides of your ear canal  (you can rest the tip of the Water Pik on the canal itself), not directly at your eardrum. If you don’t, when the water flow suddenly breaks through the wax and the stream hits your eardrum, it can hurt, and leave your ears ringing uncomfortably. You might even perforate an eardrum on the highest settings (5 or above), so just don’t use them, and of course, keep the kids away from the dial while you are doing this.

If you want to visualize the ear wax blockage in your ear before and after you irrigate it, to see when you finally have a clean eardrum with no wax sticking to it, feel free to get an otoscope. If someone else can look for you, get a scope like the Dr. Mom Slimline Otoscope, $27 on Amazon. If you want to visualize it yourself, get a $30 smartphone otoscope to look in your own ear, using your Apple or Android smartphone.

In reality, you don’t need an otoscope however, because at a certain point in your irrigation, your hearing will come flooding back, and you will thank your lucky stars that you are alive and have the gift of hearing again!

That’s it!

Common Sense Warning:

If your ear is painful, or you’ve had a blocked ear for weeks, it might be inflamed. In that case, I’d use one of the much slower alternative solutions below, or go your doctor. An inflamed eardrum can be delicate, and you might perforate it with a jet of high pressure liquid in your ear. A perforation will take weeks to heal, and you might need antibiotics to make sure you don’t get an infection in your middle ear. Even doctors cleaning out ears with syringes or scoops are reported in the medical literature (in the few studies that exist on this) to perforate the tympanic membrane in the eardrum in up to 1% of cases. So be careful.

On the other hand, if you’ve just recently blocked your ear with wax, and you don’t use this in any way that will cause you pain, the Water Pik is your best solution by far.

Again, don’t put the Water Pik deeply into your ear canal, use their standard tip, and just get the tip a tiny bit in, so you can rest it on the side of the canal, set the pressure on 2, and let the rapid flow and the peroxide water strip away the ear wax. Stop as soon as your hearing clears up, as you want to leave some protective wax on the inside of each ear canal.

If you still hear faint ringing an hour or more after your hearing clears up, you may still have some hard wax stuck to your eardrum. That’s when an otoscope would help you figure that out. If there is still wax down at the bottom, flush again for another 10-40 seconds and look again, or wait an hour and listen again. Soon even the faintest ringing will stop and you’ll be hearing wonderfully again.

Also, be sure not to use cold peroxide. It should be room temperature or even a bit warm (you can put the bottle in hot water for a few minutes or in the microwave for 10 seconds) if you want it even more enjoyable and efficient at softening and stripping out wax. Cold water in your inner ear makes some folks nauseous or dizzy. For anyone who regularly gets really hard wax plugs, consider taking a 20 minute sauna or steam room visit just before you use your WaterPik. That will make your cleaning session particularly fast. Fortunately, most of the time we don’t get super hard wax plugs.

Want to spend a whole lot more money for very little extra value? There’s a Water Pik with a tip that directs the water to the sides of the ear canal, rather than directly at the eardrum. Its called the Bionix OtoClear Ear Lavage system, and it costs $230 (!!). Here’s a video of it in action.  Most of us would never pay that, and fortunately we don’t have to. Just use your Water Pik on a low pressure setting, and direct its jet at the side of the ear canal rather than directly down the center. Since 2009, YouTube has a few videos of Water Piks being used for ear wax removal by physician assistants, so this secret is increasingly getting out. People need to realize they can just Do This Themselves.

Ear wax removal is a big business. Wikipedia says about 150,000 ears are irrigated each week in the US alone, by doctors and their aides, and 40,000 in the UK.  The average US cost, to each of us, via our health insurance premiums, of one ear wax removal session is $88. Then there’s all the lost time, transportation, and irritation of having to depend on others to fix something you can do yourself. Just in the US alone, that’s a $690 million dollar business waiting to be eliminated by this life hack. Globally, I’d guess that about $3 billion of annual health care expenditures will eventually be eliminated with this easy and permanent solution.

Fully 6% of people in the world (18 million Americans, 400 million folks worldwide), are what are called ear wax “overproducers”. I’m one of them! Many overproducers get one or two blocked ears and ear wax-caused tinnitus at least once a year.  These are the folks whose lives are permanently changed by this solution.

Bonus 1: Use Your Water Pik to Prevent Ear Blockages

If you overproduce ear wax, consider using your Water Pik for a minute or so of maintenance cleaning once a month in each ear, just to manage wax buildup, so you don’t get any more regular blockages. If you use an otoscope to look into your ears after you do it the first few times you’ll find an irrigation time that will leave some protective wax on your ear canals, where it belongs, but also keep wax from building up so much that it blocks your eardrum. For my particular level of wax production, a minute or so in each ear once a month does the trick. I leave my WaterPik out on my bathroom counter with a bottle of peroxide next to it, and do it at the beginning of each month, so it is a fast and easy habit to keep.

Bonus 2: Use Your Water Pik to Prevent Ear Infections after Swimming

If you are a swimmer or water sports enthusiast, I’d recommend a peroxide ear flush for just 5-10 seconds in each ear when you get home after any ocean, lake, pool, or hot tub swim, to keep your ears clean and infection free. I’ve been doing this for over fifteen years now. I discovered this solution in 2006, and finally got around to sharing it in this blog post 2011. I have had a few nasty ear infections, which can easily last for weeks, after surfing in sketchy water, swimming in public pools, or using hot tubs in previous years. This infection prevention routine really works.

Bonus 3: Use your Water Pik in Family First Aid

If anyone in your family gets a deep cut, especially with dirt, wood, or organic matter getting into the wound, do a peroxide water wound flush with the Water Pik on a low but still piercing setting, and then dab the cut dry with tissue before you bandage the wound. A penetrating spray of 3% peroxide is an ideal deep disinfectant, and it will flush out anything that might otherwise fester (suppurate) in the wound.

Bonus 4: Use your Water Pik to Floss and Clean Your Teeth After Eating

Water Piks are great for flossing, and for cleaning your teeth and your kids braces after eating. They even have a “Pik pocket” tip that older folks with advanced gingivitis (infected gums) can use to regularly clean out (and help retighten) loose gum pockets.

Several decades after inventing Water Piks, way back in 1962, the execs leading Water Pik finally developed the foresight to commission some scientific studies about their effectiveness. As a result, they can now claim that they are “clinically proven to be twice as effective as string floss for improving gum health,” and that they are “proven in laboratory tests to remove 99.9% of plaque with a 3 second application to the treatment area.” Those studies also allowed them to call their devices Water Flossers, to better communicate their value to the vast numbers of folks who aren’t willing to take the time and hassle to floss with string. So good for them!

But like all companies, they can always improve their game.

That said, here are three things I’d like to see Water Pik do next:

  1. Because is a hassle to load water reservoir, and to use them with our mouths closed tight, and because we get so much water mess on the counter when we don’t, many folks don’t floss regularly with Water PiksWe need a Water Pik for the shower, with a mirror that let us see our teeth and gums as we floss. This Water Pik would always have water, and we could now use them with our mouths open. We’d all floss with these at least once a day.  Many of us would step in the shower to use them more often, even while fully dressed, as they’d be easier, faster, more accurate, and less messy than using them on the counter.
  2. Make a smaller Aquarius II with a flat plug that doesn’t stick out from the wall, a non-kinking white cord, and a splitter so we don’t have to remove it to use the coveted bathroom plug. All this will make it easier to keep it on the counter.
  3. Make a cordless Water Pik with a pressure dial (1-10), so we can take them when we travel, for our teeth, ears and first aid. Thanks!

I’ve sent these ideas to Water Pik, twice, but only received crickets in response. We’ll see if they or some other competitor acts on them.

Seeking Professional Advice: A Rant on Safetyism and Managing Risk

As I’ve said, please feel free to ask your doctor, nurse, or physician assistant about any of these Water Pik health care applications. But brace yourself for potential resistance as well, and please remember to evaluate all professional advice with an appropriately critical ear 🙂

DIY ear cleaning that works fast and well may be a new idea to them, and it hasn’t been vetted yet (that I know of) by the appropriate health care bodies, like the AMA. Even doctors can perforate eardrums in up to 1% of cases. This 1% number is based on one single study, the only one I could find in the literature when I searched it circa 2011. I’m sure many of those cases involve health care professionals using more primitive, less consistent technologies than the Water Pik, technologies like syringes which can generate variable and very strong bursts of water.

Recognize that when someone else is doing the cleaning, they can’t determine what pressure is painful, until after they have caused pain. So unless they are using a Water Pik on a constant low pressure setting, they may be using a less effective standard of care than you could use on yourself, after just a bit of practice, and that realization may not be welcome news to them. Again, no studies that I know of have been done comparing professional with self-administration eardrum perforation rates, in various forms of ear wax blockage removal. Let me know if you find any!

Some docs may advise you to “play it safe” and “let a professional continue to do your ear cleaning.” All docs who say that surely do so with your welfare in mind, but recognize that some professionals, in giving you that advice, may also be doing so to avoid any professional liability for your misuse of the tool, and any lawsuits from you based on their advice, especially until any guidance comes to them from their professional bodies. If the latter is indeed a motivation behind their advice, realize that they are the ones “playing it safe” in that scenario, not you.

Some docs will tell you about real risks, like getting a chronic middle ear infection after an eardrum perforation (if they do, ask to quantify that risk, and what can be done to reduce it), or requiring eardrum reconstruction surgery after a perforation (such surgeries are never perfect, too), or people who have lost most or all of their hearing in one ear after a perforation (again, ask about risk rates and how to reduce the risk, whether they or you are the ones doing the cleaning).

Realize that all of these risks are real, but please also do a reality check when you think about risk. Ask yourself if you can reduce and manage your real risks by smart behavior, and ask yourself what real benefits to your future self and family, in permanently lost time, money, and resources, you are giving up or giving to others by avoiding that risk. Then, after a bias-mitigating risk assessment, make your decision!

In reality, life is inherently risky, and we must constantly choose and manage our risks as well as we can. Remember that we all reap the benefits from taking well-prioritized and well-calculated risks, every day. A small number of people are always hurt by any potentially risky behavior. Vaccines almost always hurt a few to help the vast majority of us. Almost any behavior can kill you, in the wrong circumstances.

The key risk questions in any life choice is whether the risk can be reduced and managed by smart behavior, and whether the benefits outweigh the risk. You have to decide that for yourself, with every risky behavior.

Now for the rant:

As many older folks like me who remember a different America know, a number of new social factors, including our great wealth, our litigiousness, an education system that doesn’t stress personal responsibility, an entertainment culture that often ignores reality, and a media that thrives on manufacturing crises have given us, along with other recent maladies, an epidemic of safetyism. Our new safetyism bias keeps us from doing lots of potentially beneficial but slightly risky things, it causes some of us to avoid taking vaccines, it causes us to ban peanuts in schools instead of retraining the dysregulated immune systems of those few folks who have severe allergies, it causes us to ban “trigger words” and deny speakers on college campuses instead of teaching students conflict resolution skills, and it causes us to retreat into disempowering filter bubbles, where we are “safe” to see only things that confirm our own limited views of the world. Read Lukianoff and Haight’s The Coddling of the American Mind (2019) for more on this topic.

Safety bias also keeps companies from recommending common sense solutions until they’ve been exhaustively tested by some official body, and it keeps some doctors from recommending anything that might cause the slightest risk or pain to a patient. I believe America will climb out of our current dystopia of safetyism, back to a world where people are more personally empowered and responsible for their own actions, they actively manage their own risks, sieze more opportunities, and our society prioritizes experimentation, progress, and innovation the way we did in the mid-20th century. But we must recognize we are at a low point for such things at present. If you’d like to know about a transformative technology that I believe will help us get to a more adaptive America, read my Medium series on Personal AIs (PAIs). I think the vast majority of us will be using PAIs in the 2030s, the way most of us use smartphones today, and making many more evidence-based decisions around real risk and opportunity, the rest of our lives. Let me know what you think, and what I’m getting wrong.

Again, I believe that people deserve to be able to do things themselves, even when it can be a bit painful and risky when we do things wrong. We aren’t children. If you resist safetyism, and adopt a common sense, DIY ethic, you’ll find, use, share, and benefit from good solutions like the ones on this page, years or decades before they finally become officially approved. You’ll fix your problems faster ever before.

I’ll be curious to see what kinds of AMA guidelines for Water Pik health care use eventually emerge. Fortunately, regardless of what they eventually do or say, you can still do it yourself, right now. You are a responsible human being, who has good common sense. If you don’t, you can get it, if you are willing to learn from your mistakes.

I think you deserve to have the most powerful and affordable tools at your disposal. For ear wax removal, that’s definitely the Water Pik, at present. So I hope the more independent-minded readers will take it upon themselves to try this the next time they have a blockage, rather than take their problem to a physician. You deserve to be able to solve this problem yourself, immediately, whenever it occurs. Good luck!

2019 Addition: 

Swig for 1 Min w/ 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Before You Brush Your Teeth, Every Day

HydrogenPeroxideBottleOK, you’ve read this far, so now let me tell you about four fantastic daily uses for some of that hydrogen peroxide you just bought that you’ve probably never heard of. There are many other good uses for it that you can find on the web, but I bet this page is the first one on the web to explain the following four benefits, just as this web page was the first to recommend the Water Pik for ear use back in 2011.

If you swig your mouth with 3% hydrogen peroxide for one full minute before you brush your teeth (don’t swallow it, of course!), swish it around with your cheeks (keep it moving, to maximize coverage and penetration), and keep it in long enough to spit out white foam, then four amazingly beneficial things will happen to you, friend. Here they are!

1. You’ll Prevent Bacteria Getting Into Your Brain (Alzheimer’s)

This is the most incredible benefit of all. It turns out that every time we brush our teeth, we get transient bacteremia. We literally drive small but significant doses of living bacteria through our gum wall and into our bloodstream. Apparently electric toothbrushes, which clean our teeth and plaque even better than regular brushes, can cause even more temporary bacteremia at the gum line. What’s worse, some of these bacteria, while still alive, can escape from our bloodstream into our brain, through something called the blood brain barrier, which gets a bit leaky every night when we sleep. We know this because at the center of many amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s brains, we find dental bacteria. The brain’s microglia (immune cells) use amyloid, and other molecules, to wall off these invaders. It turns out that a common mouth bacteria called P. gingivalis is one of the major kinds of bacteria that continually gets into the brain. Here’s a nice 2019 Science article on this finding.

When you swig and swish around hydrogen peroxide in your mouth, holding there until you get foam, and then spit it out before you brush your teeth, you’ve killed your mouth bacteria dead, even the ones sitting in a protective biofilm on your teeth. Now you’ll only be driving dead bacteria into your bloodstream when you follow that peroxide swig and spit with tooth brushing. They won’t be able to get into your brain, and you will have prevented what appears to be one of the key causes of Alzheimers, continual bacterial assault on the brain.

Hydrogen peroxide is less expensive and more effective than antibacterial mouthwash as well. Fresh peroxide will foam up in your mouth in just 60 seconds. Go ahead and time it, if you don’t believe me. That foam is evidence that your mouth is being disinfected. So buy a lot of it, and keep it on every bathroom counter, next to your tooth brushes, so it is easy to use.

You might even consider a peroxide swig, swish and spit before you eat, if you are going to eat any foods that are hard and sharp, like popcorn or nuts. Again, in those situations, simply eating food will make small cuts in your gums and drive small numbers of living mouth bacteria right into your bloodstream. If you swig before you eat, those bacteria don’t go anywhere but to your waste removal systems. They’re dead.

2. You’ll Prevent or Greatly Reduce Receding Gums

The older we get, the more our gums recede against the assault of mouth bacteria. I am convinced that daily swig and spit of 3% hydrogen peroxide before teeth brushing will greatly reduce receding gums. My gums feel fresh after a peroxide swig, and they get pink with new blood flow, like a kid’s gums. I’ve just killed the bacteria that were causing them to recede, and reperfused my gum tissue.

When you go to a periodontist, because of gum disease, or to a dentist who does deep cleaning, they will put a hydrogen peroxide gel into your infected gum pockets, to kill the bacteria. Cleaning out the living bacteria in those pockets is critical to gum repair. When you swig peroxide before you brush your teeth, two or three times a day, you’ll greatly reduce the bacterial load in your mouth. You give your mouth a rest, and cause new blood flow. Hydrogen peroxide’s two “approved” medical uses are for wound disinfecting and oral debridement (cleaning out oxidizable gunk and bacteria). Most people don’t know its very good for the second use, but now you do.

Roughly once a month, when I swig and swish peroxide water, one small area on my gums will hurt a bit for the minute I hold it in my mouth. After spitting the foam, my gum line looks white at the place where it hurts. I know enough medicine to know that this hurt is good for me. That hurt has just disinfected an open wound on my gums. I can help that open wound to heal, by swigging a bit more often over the next few days, and by taking a daily multivitamin with C, D ,E, A, and K to accelerate healing, or eating the good foods that will give me those vitamins. I’m sure that healing those wounds will protect my gums from receding further and keep bacteria out of my brain. If I didn’t get the pain, I wouldn’t even have known they were there.

I’ve vetted everything I just said to you by email with a respected periodontist at U.C.S.F. They think this is a reasonable hypothesis. There are no ten or twenty year human studies to validate any of this however. That means you have two choices: ignore this info, and let your gums recede for the next ten years, or try it and see. Take this page to your doctor or dentist if you need a second opinion before you start.

3. You’ll Greatly Reduce or Eliminate Bad Breath

A good fraction of our bad breath comes from bacteria in our mouth and from dead stuff and infections in our gums. This is particularly true for older people, who get a very peculiar kind of “old person’s breath” to accompany their deeply receded gums and active gingivitis. Swigging with peroxide water several times a day will greatly reduce your bad breath, especially if you have any gingivitis. Again, I don’t have studies to quote you, but I am sure the studies will come. In the meantime, feel free to ignore this advice, or try it and see. If you have bad breath, your partner will be able to tell you if it works. After just a few days of three-times-a day peroxide swigs, a few of my older friends have reported to me that their partners noticed a significant reduction in breath odor. Again, try it and judge for yourself.

4. You’ll Whiten Your Teeth

Peroxide is a mild bleach, so it takes about a week of use before you’ll notice that stains that were previously on your teeth are now gone, and that they are much whiter. You can spend a lot of money and time on teeth whiteners, or visiting your dentist for cosmetic whitening to get that bright smile, or you can just use peroxide every day. Again, it’s your choice.

It’s a pain at first to remember to swig and spit before you brush, but after a few weeks it becomes automatic. You won’t look at a toothbrush without thinking about that peroxide swig as well. You’ll start to really enjoy the clean feeling in your mouth, and you may even do it any time your mouth seems like it needs a refresh. You may even keep a bottle in your car, as I do (along with an old peroxide bottle with a cap that you can use as a spitoon) so you can get a few more of those swigs in during the day, without wasting any time.

OK, that’s enough of a pep talk! Either you’ll try it or you won’t. I hope you will, to get these four benefits, and I hope you will pass this tip on, friend!

Less Important Stuff

Below is additional info on slower, lower cost solutions and nonsolutions for ear wax removal. You can skip it, unless you really  want to see all the curious stuff we inventive humans do to try to manage this problem.

I. Nonsolutions

1. Q-Tips. These are both ineffective and dangerous. As almost all of us know, Q-Tips will very occasionally get the wax out, but most times they just compact it deeper in the ear canal, creating a plug. The big problem is that if you push too hard, you’ll rip your eardrum. An ear wax removal startup called Clear Earpitching in minutes 21-28 in this video, estimates that 20,000 people perforate their eardrums with Q-Tips every year worldwide. Think of how many people dig at their ears to get this level of injuries, and you see the magnitude of the ear wax removal problem.

II. Other Home Solutions

1. Ear Wax Removal Syringe. Acu-Life makes a great Ear Wax Removal Syringe, $5, with a tip that diverts the liquid to the sides of the ear canal, so you can push the plunger as hard as you want. But the flow ends up being pretty mild, so even if you load it with peroxide it will take up to an hour, sitting in the shower with it, using it 40+ times on your ear, to dislodge heavy plugs. If you have that kind of time and want to save money, go this route. If you don’t have that kind of time, I’d get the Water Pik. Again, use warm peroxide, as cold water in your inner ear can make you dizzy or nauseous.

2. Debrox, or Murine ear wax removal systems. These cost $6-$8 a pop, and use carbamide peroxide (a relative to hydrogen peroxide), but in very small amounts. You are supposed to use them for several days in a row to soften the plug before you irrigate it with the ineffectual little squeeze bulb (forget that, use a syringe instead). They’ll eventually work, but they take days of effort. I’d use this very slow and inefficient solution only if your ear is painful or has been impacted for several days, and you’re worried it may already be infected. Alternatively you might use it for a few days (or the cheaper homemade solutions below), if you have a hard plug, to soften it up, and then use the Water Pik.

3. Homemade solutions. Commonly recommended are vinegar, mineral oil, isopropyl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. Some recommend mixing these, in various ratios. Hydrogen peroxide will dissolve the ear wax (it attacks bacteria and other oxidizables in the wax, and the heat of oxidation dissolves the wax), isopropyl alcohol will also dissolve ear wax (though I find it too harsh to use regularly), and oil or vinegar will slowly penetrate behind the plug, making it easier to pop out.  To use the oil or vinegar, lay down for awhile with them in your ear (30 minutes) then use a syringe or the Water Pik to flush out the plug. The hydrogen peroxide takes only 3-4 minutes before the bubbling slows down and you can put in a new batch of hydrogen peroxide. I’d recommend using the isopropyl alcohol even more briefly, if at all. Topical alcohol can actually penetrate into your cells when you apply it, and it’s mildly toxic to them when concentrated.

4. Sauna or steam bath visit. Taking a 20 minute sauna or steam bath before any of the above will soften up your ear wax quite a bit, sometimes enough for it to come out when you flush it even with the weak syringe.  For really hard plugs you might combine the 20 minute vinegar or mineral oil ear soak, the sauna, and then the Water Pik with hydrogen peroxide.

III. Two-Person Solutions

1. Ear wax scoops. These are popular in Asian cultures, though their ear wax tends to be crumbly and easier to scoop out than Caucasian ear wax. If you want to try this, you might use Jobar’s Lighted Ear Wax Scoop on Amazon, $4. If the person using the scoop wears a lighted magnifier, $5, it may also help them visualize the wax while they are working. I’d also use an otoscope before and after. I wouldn’t use the scoop yourself, as you can’t see the wax.

IV. Physician or Nurse Removal Solution

Do this if you must, but keep in mind that you can now avoid a clinic trip entirely with solution above. Before I dreamed up the Water Pik solution, I visited the doc a few times in my life to get ear wax removed, after my shenanigans couldn’t get it out. Each time I asked if the heavy duty syringe they used in the office was something I could purchase. No dice. Fortunately you don’t need a prescription or a medical license for the Water Pik. If you use it, consider it a small step you can personally take to combat the developed world’s out-of-control health care costs.

A Slow, Inexpensive, but Effective Solution for Ear Wax Removal – Hand Irrigators


Houseables Sprayers – Home Ear Wax Buildup Prevention

If you don’t want to spend the money on a Water Pik, try this:

1. Housables Spray Bottles with Twist Adjustable Nozzles  ($10, pack of 3 on Amazon. Sure wish Amazon had $3 single items. When will someone make that happen?)

2. Swan 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Bottles (should fit your Housables sprayer) ($9, pack of 2)

Since 2014, a number of ear wax hand sprayers have finally become available on Amazon, including Elephant Ear, Wax-Rx, Hear Ear, Ear Gator, etc. These are all ridiculously overpriced at $30 to $50, and they are also much slower and less effective than the Water Pik, so I don’t recommend any of them at present. Just use the solutions above and save your money.

Comments? Corrections? Advice? Know any other good solutions not mentioned here? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.

You are amazing!

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