Maintaining good standards of personal hygiene extends beyond bodycare and dental hygiene. Ensuring your ears are always clean means you limit the risks of harbouring potential infections. Knowing the correct way to maintain clean ears will also reduce the risk of personal injury through following an incorrect cleaning procedure.
Removing Ear Wax
Ear wax is a natural protection against debris entering the ear canal. Excessive ear wax however not only poses hygiene problems but also impacts on the quality of your hearing. Removing excessive ear wax can be done easily by inserting a few drops of ear wax removal solution into each ear. Add the drops to one ear and allow the solution to flow into the ear canal for a few minutes. Then gently rinse out the ear with warm water and ensure you dry thoroughly. Repeat the process with the other ear.
Cleaning The Ear Canal
A warm, wet flannel or wash cloth provides the safest and easiest method of cleaning the inside of the ear. Cotton swabs, or Q-tips, may appear to be a quick alternative but they increase the risk of damage to the eardrum through poking and prodding, Instead it is best to wrap the damp flannel around your little finger and to insert this into the ear canal as far as you can. Gently wipe inside the ear canal and along all the folds.
Dry the area with a soft, clean towel and repeat the process with a little tea tree oil or rubbing alcohol dripped onto a ball of cotton wool.
Washing Behind The Ears
Waxy deposits settle behind the ears as well as inside the ear canal so it is important to clean the ears thoroughly, inside and out. Use warm soapy water and a flannel or wash cloth to gently scrub the area of skin behind the ears. You can do this whilst in the shower for ease, or over the sink. Once clean ensure you dry the skin thoroughly with a clean soft towel. Wiping over the skin gently with a drop of tea tree oil, on a cotton wall ball, also ensures all soap traces have been removed.
Cleaning Children’s Ears
To loosen up a build-up of ear wax add a few drops of olive oil to the child’s ear. Allowing this to sit for a few minutes will help loosen any hardened wax. Begin to massage the outer ear. This movement will encourage the oil and wax to drip out of the ear canal, which you can then clean up with a tissue or wash cloth.
Repeat the process of washing the ears, inside and behind, with a warm, wet flannel or wash cloth.
Cleaning Pierced Ears
Newly pierced ears require additional care and attention to keep them infection free. Cleanliness is essential and the easiest way to do this is to soak a ball of cotton wool in a cleaning solution like hydrogen peroxide. Make sure you clean both sides of the ear, in the morning and in the evening, to ensure there is no infection. If the skin begins to look red or develops an itch it will be necessary to apply an antibiotic cream to reduce inflammation and infection.