How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Wax Removal and Ear Infection

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Hydrogen peroxide is an antimicrobial agent that you may already have in your medicine cabinet. It is scientifically known as H2O2 and can come in different forms and concentrations. Most people have a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide in their house because it is useful to get rid of stains, kill germs in the kitchen, get rid of mold, and treat toenail fungus. You can also use food grade hydrogen peroxide in your ear to remove ear wax and to get rid of ear infections.

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When using it around the house, you should always use “food grade” hydrogen peroxide. The term food grade means that there are no additives in the hydrogen peroxide. Food-grade hydrogen peroxide comes in many concentrations, but for household use, I always recommend using 3% concentration as it’s safe and non-toxic to use, but just remember that you shouldn’t ingest it.

According to the National Capital Poison Center, swallowing small amounts of household (3%) hydrogen peroxide is not poisonous to humans. It can cause some irritation and cause a lot of foam in the mouth. If your child swallows some hydrogen peroxide, usually giving a small drink of water or milk is enough to remove the irritation.1 However, ingesting concentrated hydrogen peroxide (more than 10%) can result in severe injuries like ulcers, internal burning, vomiting, or intense abdominal pain.2

In this article, I am going to look at how to use 3% hydrogen peroxide to remove earwax and treat ear infections.

Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Wax Removal

Ear wax, also called cerumen, is a natural substance that the body produces to keep the ear moist, lubricated, and free of bacteria. Usually, it doesn’t require anything special to get rid of earwax because excess wax gets washed out of the ear canal naturally. However, you may need to remove the ear wax if the body produces too much wax and your ear becomes blocked and I’ve already mentioned a few natural ways to remove wax from your ear.

The Mayo Clinic recommends using the hydrogen peroxide as an ear cleaning method to soften earwax and get rid of the discomfort of having a blocked ear or an ear infection.3 So how can you use hydrogen peroxide to unclog ear due to excess ear wax at home?

Removing earwax using hydrogen peroxide is a fairly simple procedure that you can easily do at home. For this, you will need 3% hydrogen peroxide and a 3-5 ml syringe or medicine dropper. To soften and remove earwax using hydrogen peroxide, do the following:

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  • Put 1 – 3 ml 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide in the medicine dropper.
  • Place your head on its side and fill your ear with the hydrogen peroxide solution. You will only need a few drops.
  • Using the ear flap that covers your ear canal, ‘pump’ the hydrogen peroxide solution in the ear canal. Do this for 10 – 15 seconds
  • You should start to hear a bubbling sound which is sometimes called Rice-Bubbles.
  • Turn your head round so that the hydrogen peroxide can drain from your ear.
  • At this point, you can use a cotton swab to carefully remove any earwax from your outer ear (you should never clean the inside of your ears).
  • Leave the ear to dry.
  • Repeat with the other ear.

Please remember that you should never place any object like a cotton swab, Q-tip, bobby pin or toothpick into your ear canal to remove earwax and unclog your ear. This can push earwax further into the ear causing a blockage, infection, or even serious damage.

If you find that hydrogen peroxide irritates the skin in your ear, you can actually try using distilled water to remove excess wax from your ear. A study published by the British Journal of Nursing found that distilled water was actually more effective than hydrogen peroxide for unblocking earwax.4

One reason why excess earwax needs to be removed regularly is that a buildup of wax can lead to ear infections. You can also use hydrogen peroxide as an effective home remedy to get rid of ear infections.

How to Treat Ear Infections with Hydrogen Peroxide

External ear infection (otitis externa), also known as swimmer’s ear, is an inflammation of the outer ear and it usually causes itching, pain, redness and a discharge of clear fluid. According to the Mayo Clinic, the ear infection is caused by a bacterial or viral infection and can get worse in humid conditions or if there is too much moisture in the ear.

Because hydrogen peroxide is antimicrobial, it is an effective home remedy to treat ear infections of the outer or middle ear.

At the first sign of an ear infection, you should use 3% hydrogen peroxide in your ear to prevent an infection from developing. In many cases, this can alleviate the need for using antibiotics.5

To treat an ear infection with food grade hydrogen peroxide, do the following:

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  • Tilt you head to one side and put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into the infected ear.
  • Leave for 10 – 15 seconds then tilt your head to the other side to allow the hydrogen peroxide solution to drain out from the ear.
  • Using a cotton swab, gently remove any excess earwax from the outer ear.
  • Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day until your ear infection has gone completely.

Remember to thoroughly dry your ears after swimming to prevent further ear infection and a buildup of bacteria. Read my article on how to remove water out of ears to learn about the best ways to get rid of fluid that is trapped in the outer ear.

Ear infections can also cause the ear to feel very itchy. However, if you suffer from an itchy ear, but don’t have an ear infection, please read my article on the causes and natural home remedies of an itchy ear to find out the reason why your ear itches without an infection.

Remember that in some cases, medical assistance is required. See a doctor if:
– You have a fever of over 102°F (39°C).
– You have severe symptoms of cough, runny nose and earache.
– You observe a discharge of pus or blood from the ear.
The pain is severe and doesn’t diminish.

If you have any doubt see your doctor as soon as possible.

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Cautions When Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Infections

Although 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide is generally safe and non-toxic for ear infections, you shouldn’t use it if you have a perforated or punctured eardrum. Inner ear infections (otitis interna) also shouldn’t be treated with hydrogen peroxide. If the blockage is severe or if the earwax blockage is affecting your hearing, you should visit your medical practitioner.

Hydrogen peroxide shouldn’t be used to clean cuts or wounds. Many people mistakenly think that the foaming action of hydrogen peroxide when it is put on wounds is the bacteria being killed. However, this is not the case because this is only the oxygen being released in the chemical reaction. According to Dr. Laura J. Martin on WebMD, hydrogen peroxide can damage the delicate tissue and hinder the wound healing process.6 To prevent an infection developing in wounds or cuts, you should rinse cuts and wounds for 5 minutes in clean, running water.

Other Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Apart from being an effective home treatment for excess earwax and ear infections, hydrogen peroxide has many other uses around the home. For example, you can fill a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide and spray on kitchen surfaces to disinfect your surfaces. After spraying on the kitchen surfaces, wipe off with a damp clean cloth.

The antimicrobial effect of hydrogen peroxide can also destroy mold and mildew in your bathroom. Spray 3% hydrogen peroxide onto areas affected by mold and leave for a few minutes to kill the germs. Wipe off with a clean damp cloth.

You can also safely disinfect fruit and vegetables by spraying them with 3% hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and remove pesticides. Leave the solution on the fruit and vegetables for a few minutes before rinsing with clean water.

So, hydrogen peroxide has many great uses around the home. Its antimicrobial properties and cleansing action can help to keep surfaces free from viruses and bacteria and it also makes for an effective home remedy for earwax and ear infections.

Read these related articles:
1. The Best Home Remedies For Getting Rid of Ear Infection
2. How to Naturally Get Rid of Clogged Ears
3. Best Ways to Get Water Out of Ears: Learn How to Unclog Your Ears
4. Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide: Ingenious Uses and Benefits
5. This Will Make You Stop Cleaning Inside Your Ears
6. Home Remedies for a Pimple in Ear
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4 Responses to How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Wax Removal and Ear Infection

  1. Susan Stroud says:

    Where can I obtain this product currently living outside Cranbourne Victoria 3977 please rply as soon as possible. Thank you

  2. Salisu Harbau says:

    How can I know if my eardrum is perforated? Recently I used a lot of cotton swabto clean itching ears and the itching is getting worse. Is the 3% wrritten on the peroxide. bottle??

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      A few comments:
      1)You can find some of the common symptoms of perforated ear in eMedicineHealth (click HERE).
      2) Cleaning your ears with cotton swab is not recommended and can do more harm than good. Please read my article for more information.
      3) The strength on the hydrogen bottle should be mentioned clearly on the product label. You can buy 3% in the pharmacy.

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