How to Clean a Toddler’s Ear wax

How to Clean a Toddler's Ear wax

Removing Earwax From Baby’s Ears

Removing earwax from ears of your baby to keep it perfectly clean is of utmost importance. There are different ways on how to clean a toddler’s ear wax. However, you have to apply extreme caution when cleaning earwax from your baby’s ear, to avoid damaging the eardrum that could lead to complications.  When bathing your baby, you should carefully clean the outer part of your child’s ear using an unsoiled washcloth. To achieve this, moist the washcloth with warm water. Also, avoid pouring water on your baby’s ear in an effort to rinse off soap, as this can cause droplets of water to enter the ear. If this happens, it can give rise to some level of pain and discomfort.

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There are different methods available on how to clean earwax from your toddler’s ears, but you need to use the method that works best for you.

In this article, we look at the symptom of earwax buildup, the causes of earwax buildup, ways you clean earwax from your baby’s ears, the do’s and don’t of keeping the ears of your toddler clean and other additional information.

The Human Ear and Earwax

The human ear consists of:

  • the outer ear
  • the middle ear
  • the inner ear

The outer ear (the pinna), is the visible part of the ear which is responsible for getting sound waves from the external environment and transmitting them into the ear canal. The eardrum basically separates the ear canal from the middle ear and traps sound waves, then direct them into the middle ear. There are glands present in the ear canal that produces earwax, also called cerumen. Having a lining of earwax in the ear canal is normal because the earwax, which is of a thick and sticky consistency, traps dirt and dust, stopping them gaining access into the middle ear. So, the wax is mainly a form of protection for the inner ear.


Avoid inserting cotton swabs or objects with pointed end inside your baby’s ear just to clean out earwax. Earwax in your babies’ ear isn’t really a bad thing, because it is offering some form of protection and lubrication for the inner ear. So avoid the act of overly removing earwax because it can be damaging to the ear. If you must clean your toddler’s ears, you can make a twice-in-a-week activity.

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Symptoms of Earwax Buildup

Some signs and symptoms of earwax buildup in baby’s ears include:

  • Excess earwax in baby’s ears makes them to frantically rub the ear.
  • A dry or hard piece of earwax in the ear canal
  • Large piece of earwax which may be obvious in the ear canal

Causes of Earwax Buildup in Baby Ears

  • Using cotton swabs. Constant use of cotton swabs can be counterproductive, as it can unintentionally push earwax inside the ears.
  • Introducing foreign objects, and even fingers into ears. Some kids normally produce more wax than other children. This excess wax may be pushed down into the ears by fingers.
  • Using ear plugs. The constant use of ear plugs can push back earwax.

Tips for Cleaning Your Baby Ears

There are glands in the ear that produces wax naturally to safeguard the inner part of the ear from damage or any harm. Earwax can be brownish to yellowish in colour, with a thick consistency, though in toddlers, it appears to be lighter.

However, it is wrong to leave earwax to be piling up in your baby’s ears just because they occur naturally and offer some form of protection. Normally the clean can clean itself out since earwax typically builds up, dries out, and travels to the outer ear where it eventually falls out.

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Cleaning a baby’s ears is important because when earwax accumulates faster than baby’s body can get rid of it, it can lead to itching inside ears, ear aches, and even hearing problems.

Things you should note in cleaning your baby’s ear includes:

  • Avoid using a cotton swab: Most parents are guilty of this. You should avoid sticking cotton swab or any pointed object into your baby’s ear to remove earwax as this object can cause the eardrum to rupture.
  • Avoid sticking your finger in baby’s ears: Inserting your finger into your baby’s delicate ears is just gross, as it can introduce bacteria into the ears.
  • You can use earwax drops specially formulated for babies: If earwax becomes excessive, you can use earwax drops as recommended by your pediatrician.

Tips on Cleaning Baby Ears Using Washcloth

Using washcloth to clean your baby ears is basically for the outer part of the ear. The use of washcloth is mostly approved by pediatricians.

Observe the following tips for using washcloth to clean baby ears

  • Get a clean, dry washcloth and wet it with warm water.
  • Ring out the washcloth properly to avoid water dripping into your baby’s ear.
  • Then rub the washcloth around the outer ear to clean up any wax build-up.
  • Avoid inserting the washcloth inside baby’s ear.

How to Clean Baby Ears Using Ear Drops

There are specially formulated ear drops for babies. Your pediatrician can recommend ear drops to help you get rid of the wax accumulation in the ear of your baby. The pediatrician may recommend a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.

If you are using hydrogen peroxide solution or prescription drops, there are some things to note:

  1. Ensure your baby is calm before proceeding to remove earwax buildup.
  2. Fill the dropper with the hydrogen peroxide solution to the correct level and carefully place the dropper above the ear canal.
  3. Release the liquid one drop at a time into the ear. This is applicable for instructions where more than one drop is required.
  4. Keep your baby lying still for some minutes to ensure the drops gets into the middle ear.

In some cases, the earwax in baby’s ears may be had to remove with washcloths or earwax drops. In such a situation, the doctor may recommend a tool for removing earwax for infants called curette. This tool is used to scrape out earwax that refuses to come out.

Is Debrox Safe for Toddlers Ears?

Yes, Debrox is quite safe to use for babies and toddlers to soften earwax. There are cases where the earwax is hard and difficult to remove, you will need to soften the earwax using Debrox, an earwax removal ear drops. You can get Debrox at any drug store.

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Apart from Debrox, you can prepare your ear drops at home using 15% baking soda solution. Simply add 1.25 mL of baking soda to 2 teaspoons 10 mL of water, shake properly, then pour in a dropper before using.

Alternatively, another home-prepared ear drop involves mixing equal portions of hydrogen peroxide and water.

What Does it Mean when Toddler’s Earwax is Dark or Black?

When you notice black earwax in your toddler’s ear, it shouldn’t be a major cause for alarm. Dark or black earwax doesn’t necessarily signify poor hygiene. It may mean your baby’s ear doesn’t get rid of wax as often as it should, thereby causing it to buildup and change colour.

In some cases, dark earwax may mean a foreign object has been introduced into your toddler’s ears. It may also be as a result of compacted earwax caused by using cotton swabs.

Can I Use Coconut oil to Clean my Baby’s Ear?

No doubt coconut oil is good for all skin types, including that of your baby as it helps softens and nourishes the skin. However, using coconut oil for your baby’s ears may not be too advisable. There are no studies or approvals from health organization recommending the use of coconut oil to clean baby ears. So, it is best to consult your doctor first for proper advice.

Wrapping Up

Cleaning earwax from a baby’s ears is vital and should be done with thorough care. Earwax isn’t entirely harmful, on the contrary, it helps protect ears from damage by catching dirt that would have gained access to the inner ear to cause damage. However, if you allow earwax to build up excessively, it can lead to itchiness of the ear, earaches, or other forms of hearing difficulties. You can use a sanitary washcloth or ear drop for removing wax from babies ears.

It is advisable to consult your pediatrician on the safest way to clean the ears of your baby and other related areas you may need a professional opinion.


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