Ear Cleaning


Don't use your fingers or any objects like cotton buds to remove earwax. This will push it in and make it worse.

Earwax usually falls out on its own. If it doesn't and blocks your ear, put 2 to 3 drops of olive or almond oil in your ear twice a day for a few days.

Over 2 weeks lumps of earwax should fall out of your ear, especially at night when you're lying down.

There's no evidence that ear candles or ear vacuums get rid of earwax.

Speak to a pharmacist about earwax build-up. They can give advice and suggest treatments.

They might recommend chemical drops to dissolve the earwax. The earwax should fall out on its own or dissolve after about a week.

Don't use drops if you have a hole in your eardrum (a perforated eardrum).


  • your ear hasn't cleared after 5 days
  • your ear is badly blocked and you can't hear anything (you can get an infection if it isn't cleared)

you can book with a practice nurse for irrigation (which used to be called “syringing”). A machine is used to gently squirt warm water into the ears at a certain pressure to dislodge the wax and wash it out.

You should not have ear irrigation if you are known to have a perforated ear drum or if you have a current infection in the ear. If you are unsuitable for syringing, speak to your GP about having a referral for microsuction. 

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