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Published Sep. 10, 2021

Earwax—everyone has it, but it can become an uncomfortable problem. It’s regularly released by the sebaceous and ceruminous glands in the ear. Doctors believe the wax prevents dust and other particles from entering the ear canal. Usually, the wax hardens and falls out of the ear on its own, taking the dust and debris with it. However, some people produce more wax than needed, or their earwax is particularly sticky and doesn’t fall out as it should. The result—earwax buildup—can get impacted and cause hearing loss, headaches, dizziness, and other uncomfortable side effects. 

You might be tempted to reach for a Q-tip or bobby pin, but these home remedies can push earwax deeper into the ear. The best earwax removers safely flush, soften, or suck out the wax. Remover types range from specially designed bulb syringes to spray bottles with nozzles and ear-sized tools with different head attachments that remove buildup. Some people can tolerate certain types of earwax removers better than others, so take into consideration your discomfort tolerance and how invasive the earwax remover may be to you when making a final decision.

How We Picked the Products

Methodology

There are more earwax removers on the market than you might think. I’ve worked in the health and fitness industry as a reporter/writer for 5years. Many of those years have included in-depth research into health products. I always begin with original sources like medical studies to find out what the science says about any given topic. Product research involves not only reading what manufacturers say about their products but also the user’s experience. I also check for scientific studies that may have used the product.  

I reviewed 75 earwax removers during the selection process. Here are the criteria I used to narrow down the options and finalize the top picks.

  • Consistent results: Rarely do you find a product without at least a few disgruntled buyers. Earwax removers can vary in effectiveness based on the thickness of the earwax and the ear canal’s shape—the kinds of things manufacturers can’t predict. While I expected a few negative reviews because a single product can’t work for everyone, I made sure to start with those that received consistently positive results.
  • Ease of use: I then read through those reviews to determine what it was about the earwax remover that people liked. How difficult was it to use? Did they need help using it? Were the results worth the inconveniences associated with the remover? I looked for products that kept the balance between effectiveness and ease of use.
  • Safety: Irrigation systems and earwax drops are safer earwax removal options, compared with tools that scoop and scrape the ear canal. However, tools can be safe if they’re made of soft materials and include safety measures like a shield that prevent the tool from entering too far into the canal.
  • Price: Finally, there’s price. Earwax removers aren’t an expensive product. However, an all-inclusive kit or spray bottle design comes with a higher price tag. But those watching their wallet can still find a kit that works but stays budget friendly.

The Best Earwax Removers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Hear Earwax Removal Kit

Comprehensive Cleaning

This kit provides everything, from earwax drops and extra nozzles to a catch basin and spray bottle. EQUADOSE

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Why It Made The Cut: The Hear Earwax Removal Kit includes everything, from a cleaning solution to a catch basin and extra tips that you need to flush out hardened wax.

Specs: 

  • Includes spray bottle, replacement nozzles, catch basin, and earwax cleaning solution
  • Irrigation system design
  • Easy-fill system
ProsCons
  • All-inclusive kit
  • May require several days to soften earwax before irrigation
  • Large bottle doesn’t require frequent refills
  • Catch basin may require a second person to hold it
  • Catch basin prevents messy spills
  • Two methods to remove wax
  • The Hear Earwax Removal Kit offers an all-inclusive irrigation system. Rather than using a tool to reach into the ears, this kit combines earwax softening drops with an irrigation spray bottle. Where this kit stands out is the inclusion of earwax removal drops to pretreat the earwax before irrigation, which were missing from the previous version. 

    Hardened, impacted earwax can get pressed deeper and deeper into the ear canal. The ear drops soften the wax so that the kit’s nozzle can reach through or around the wax to flush it out. Bear in mind that this isn’t a quick fix to an earwax problem. It takes time for the wax to soften, so the drops may need to be applied for a few days (2-3 usually) before you use the irrigator.

    The next step is to fill the spray bottle. The manufacturer recommends using a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts warm water. You can use cold water, but it’s uncomfortable and may cause dizziness. Considering that since you’re doing something that’s already somewhat unpleasant, you will want to make this as comfortable as possible. 

    The catch basin is the next component to set this kit apart from many of the others. It’s designed to sit against the head during irrigation to catch the solution and debris. The basin helps contain what can be a messy job. However, you might need a helper to hold the basin in place while you do the irrigating, which is one of the downsides of the kit. 

    This kit includes three disposable nozzles that attach to the end of a short tube that extends from the spray bottle. This bottle holds a high water volume, so chances are you won’t have to refill it in the middle cleaning your ears. You gently insert the nozzle, either through the blockage or to the side, and press the spray handle. The solution then goes past the blockage, hits the eardrum, and pushes the earwax out as it exits. Please note that it may take several sprays to remove wax.

    Best for Babies: Oogiebear Nasal Booger and Ear Cleaner

    Clears Tiny Ears

    The oogiebear gently and safely reaches into the littlest of ears and noses to remove blockages. oogiebear

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    Why It Made The Cut: The oogiebear is one of the only earwax remover tools specifically designed for babies. The soft, gentle rubber loop and scoop safely remove ear (or nose) clogs.

    Specs:

    • Includes single or dual cleaners
    • Tool removal design
    • Latex, PVC, and BPA-free
    ProsCons
  • Soft, gentle rubber scoop and loop
  • Doesn’t work for older children
  • Bear head design protects the ears and nose
  • Only reaches so far
  • Dual heads for soft or hard debris
  • Small enough for infants
  • The oogiebear Nasal Booger and Ear Cleaner is one of the few earwax removers designed for babies. Since babies have a hard time removing earwax themselves, this is one handy little device. 

    Normally, earwax tools that include sticking much of anything very far into the ear canal do not get high marks for the potential danger of puncturing the eardrum or scratching the ear canal. However, the oogiebear’s design prevents those very dangers. 

    The bear head isn’t just for looks. It prevents either the soft rubber loop or the scoop from going too far into the ear canal (or nose). With the loop, you can remove soft earwax, while the scoop lets you snag large, harder pieces. It’s designed to replace the traditional bulb syringe. This bear design and use make it much less shocking than suction removal. 

    In researching the oogiebear, the only issue that could crop up is reach. The loop and scoop are small, and the bear head prevents them from entering very far into the ears. On the one hand, that’s a good thing. On the other hand, it won’t reach far enough to make a difference for babies 1-2 years old.

    Best Smart Earwax Remover: Ear Wax Removal Endoscope Otoscope

    High-Tech Cleaning

    This earwax remover provides a clear view of the inner ear to enhance wax removal and protect the eardrum.
    Highdas

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    Why It Made The Cut: The Ear Wax Removal Endoscope Otoscope includes a 1080P FHD camera that connects to an app to provide an inside look at the ear while you remove earwax.

    Specs:

    • Includes remover tool with LED lights and scope
    • 1080P Full HD camera
    • Connects to app
    ProsCons
  • Soft cleaning scoop
  • Restricted field of view
  • Smart temperature control of instrument
  • Require rudimentary knowledge of ear physiology
  • Bright LEDs illuminate the ear
  • Difficult to use without help
  • Good WiFi connection
  • The Ear Wax Removal Endoscope Otoscope takes advantage of technology to give you the inside scoop on your earwax situation. This type of earwax remover includes LED lights and a built-in camera that is compatible with most mobile devices via an app. On the app, you can see what’s happening in your ear. It’s a solution to one of the biggest issues with removing earwax: visibility.

    However, it’s important to keep the visibility provided by the camera in perspective. The camera provides a very limited field of view, showing only the immediate area around the soft scoop at the end of the endoscope. That view is better than nothing, but if you’re not familiar with the anatomy of the ear, you might still be limited in what you can do with the tool. 

    Another valuable feature with this endoscope is the smart temperature control system. Drastic changes in temperature within the ear can cause dizziness and disorientation. The control system keeps the tool at a consistent temperature to keep you more comfortable. 

    With smart devices, connectivity and compatibility always play a role in effectiveness. This smart earwax remover connects well with either iOS or Android devices, though it’s not designed to connect to laptops. The WiFi connectivity is good enough that you get a decent view of the camera’s image. Don’t expect Hubble-quality pictures, but you can see what you’re doing. This is the device for those who want something a little more, and maybe for those who are curious about what’s going on in their ears.

    Premium Pick: Bionix OtoClear WaterPik Kit

    Battery-Powered Irrigation

    The Bionix brings battery-powered pulsing irrigation to the ear canal with a shield for added safety and less mess. Bionix Corporation

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    Why It Made The Cut: WaterPiks work wonders for the teeth and now for the ears, too. This model features a tip that directs water in three directions, along with a protective tip and catch basin to reduce mess.

    Specs:

    • Includes WaterPik, 40 OtoClear tips, catch basin
    • Irrigation system design
    • 3 divergent water streams
    ProsCons
  • Multidirectional water stream
  • Low pressure
  • Pulsing action helps loosen earwax
  • Neck may come off on upper setting
  • Flared tip design prevents over-insertion and helps reduce mess
  • Cost
  • Low pressure
  • The Bionix OtoClear WaterPik Kit has a similar design to WaterPiks used to clean the teeth, but it’s been adapted for the ears. The battery-powered Pik pumps water through a nozzle that directs three streams of water into the ears. The water can then dislodge hardened wax. 

    The flared nozzle/tip design with the Bionix is one of its greatest strengths. The tip is designed so it cannot be pressed deep into the ear. The nozzle can reach into the opening of the ear, but the water is the only part that enters the ear canal, which protects your ear from accidental punctures or scratches. 

    This WaterPik also uses a pulsing action to help dislodge wax. Those water angles, along with a few gentle tugs on the earlobe, can get the wax moving. The Bionix can take regular use and eliminates some of the awkward angles required when using a manual spray pump model. Last, there’s a catch basin to hold water and debris as they come out of the ear, reducing overall mess. 

    Best Value: Debrox Earwax Removal Kit

    Back to Basics

    The Debrox kit goes back to basics with drops that soften earwax and a specially designed ear bulb syringe. Debrox

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    Why It Made The Cut: The Debrox kit is simple to apply and affordable. The bulb syringe is slightly less convenient than a spray bottle, but it can be just as effective.

    Specs: 

    • Includes ear drops and rubber ear syringe bulb
    • Irrigation system design
    • For ages 12 years and up
    ProsCons
  • Includes carbamide peroxide drops to cleanse and soften earwax
  • Must refill bulb syringe frequently
  • Inexpensive
  • Earwax drops takes several days to soften earwax
  • Soft rubber bulb is easily depressed and filled
  • Less precise irrigation
  • The Debrox Earwax Removal Kit comes with earwax drops, a soft rubber bulb syringe, and an affordable price. The drops include foaming carbamide peroxide to both cleanse and soften earwax. It does require leaving the drops in the ears for as long as possible and applying for a few days (2-3) before irrigating. 

    Once the earwax has softened, you fill the syringe with warm water, insert the syringe into the ear, and press the bulb. It’s best to have a cup or bowl of water ready to refill the syringe rather than using running water. Trying to suction running water is difficult, and it might take a few tries to get the angle right with the syringe. 

    While a bulb syringe isn’t the most efficient way to flush the ears, it’s simple and affordable. Make sure to leave in the drops long enough to soften the earwax. The key is to get the water behind the obstruction to flush it out. It can only do that if the wax is soft enough to cave under the water pressure. 

    This bulb syringe has a small tip that’s specially designed for the ear. Nose bulb syringes will not work and could introduce bacteria into the ear canal if previously used in the nose.

    Things to Consider Before Buying an Earwax Remover

    Remover Type

    • Earwax drops: Earwax drops may be as simple as a saline solution, while others may contain a peroxide ingredient to help clean and break down the earwax. Drops soften the earwax, which can help it work its way out of the ear canal. However, alone they may not cause earwax to come out. 
    • Irrigation system: An irrigation system uses a bulb syringe or spray bottle to flush water or a water/hydrogen peroxide solution to flush earwax out of the ear canal. The solution must get behind the impaction to push it out from the inside. 
    • Ear tool: Ear tools may have a loop, scoop, or other implement that reaches into the ear canal to remove the earwax. Smart models may include a camera that gives you an inside view of the inner ear.
    • Caution: Always be careful when removing earwax. Some ear tools can press wax further into the ear canal, making the problem worse. Others may be long enough to touch or puncture the eardrum.

    Earwax Remover Alone vs. Kit

    Sometimes earwax removers come with the remover tool only, such as the spray bottle or bulb syringe. However, most of the time, you need either hydrogen peroxide, a hydrogen peroxide/water mix, or distilled water to soften the earwax before removal. Hard earwax may not respond to any removal method without softening first. Kits that include earwax drops can save you money and time by providing everything in a single kit.

    FAQs

    Q: Are spiral earwax removers safe?

    Spiral earwax removers are a tool that enters the ear canal like an auger. They fall into the category of tools that can potentially injure the eardrum and ear canal. While some people love them, they’re not the safest option because the tool can potentially damage the ear canal or eardrum.

    Q: How do you remove hard earwax at home?

    Start by softening the earwax with earwax drops or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water. Lay down on the opposite side of your head to let the solution soak. Allow the solution to sit in the ear canal for as long as possible. Next, try massaging and tugging on the earlobe to help the wax move on its own. If you tilt your head toward the offending ear, the earwax may fall out on its own. Finally, try an earwax remover like a bulb syringe or spray bottle to flush out the earwax.

    Q: What happens if earwax is not removed?

    Sometimes, earwax softens and falls out on its own. However, if you start to experience headaches, dizziness, a plugged sensation, or ear pain, earwax blockage could be part of the problem. While clogged ears aren’t dangerous, they can be uncomfortable and make you feel sick. If that’s the case, it’s time for removal.

    Final Thoughts

    The Hear Earwax Removal Kit continues to stand out for the all-inclusive nature of the kit, especially the earwax drops and catch basin. It’s an excellent choice if you’re not sure what you need to clear your ears because it provides everything.

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