What are some of the different earwax removal tools available for purchase?

Ears are usually self-cleaning and generally don’t need any help staying clean as the earwax works its way out through the ear canal by itself. When you chew and move your jaw, you help move old earwax out of the ear canal to the ear opening. That’s where it usually dries up and falls out. If you still experience a build-up of earwax in your ear canal then there are a number of ear cleaning tools available to help the process. 

Ear wax candles

One ear cleaner tool is an ear wax candle - these are hollow cones made of fabric covered in wax. Most ear candles are about a foot in length. The pointed end of the candle is placed in your ear, while you light the slightly wider end. Proponents of ear candling claim that the warmth created by the flame causes suction, which pulls earwax and other impurities out of the ear canal and into the hollow candle. Ear wax candles result in very little benefit and some danger when being used. There’s no evidence to suggest that they help remove ear wax, and research indicates they involve a high level of risk to the sensitive inner ear. In 2017, the American Academy of Otolaryngology published updated clinical practice guidelines for earwax removal, stating, “Ear candling or ear coning is NOT a safe option for earwax removal. Research shows that ear candling does NOT create a vacuum to suck earwax from the ear.”

Water irrigator

Medical professionals sometimes use water irrigation to clean out ear canals, but this method is not recommended to perform on yourself. Using a syringe or other device to squirt water down your ear canal can result in injury to your eardrum if you don’t know what you are doing so you should not try this at home.

Ear Drops

If your earwax has hardened and is difficult to remove you can buy over-the-counter ear drops like Debrox or you can use some home remedies like olive oil, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide to soften and dissolve ear wax at home. Dissolving ear wax with hydrogen peroxide has been considered an effective ear wax removal method for many years. Carbamide peroxide is a common form of hydrogen peroxide in ear drops. These drops release oxygen in the earwax, causing it to bubble. The addition of oxygen softens the earwax, making it easier to remove. Olive oil has some antibacterial properties and is a healthy oil to use in your diet, and although there have been a few studies none seem to support the belief that olive oil dissolves ear wax. Olive oil may add a bit of lubrication to the ear and make it easier for a doctor to remove the wax, but it does not appear to dissolve the wax. Isopropyl alcohol does not dissolve ear wax, but it does displace water so if you have moisture in your ear canal, you can dry it out by flushing with a few drops of alcohol. Bacteria like to grow in moist environments so while alcohol could prevent a bacterial infection, but this has nothing to do with dissolving ear wax. So at best ear drops, including over-the-counter products like Debrox, only soften ear wax, they don’t remove it completely. 

Cotton swabs

If you ask a number of people how they clean their ears, it’s likely that the most common earwax removal tool people use are cotton swabs. Although this method is popular, it is not doctor-recommended. While cotton swabs can work, usually they just push the earwax deeper into the ear canal. At their worst however, cotton swabs can cause injuries including ruptured ear drums that send many people to doctors and emergency rooms every year. Cotton swabs also can break off, leaving cotton stuck in your ear (See "How to get cotton out of your ear"). 

Q grips

If you are seeking a safer alternative to Q-Tips, then Q Grips might be the answer, but do Q Grips really work, or are they actually effective? In our experience Q Grips can remove some ear wax, but they won’t remove it all and they don’t give you a good view of the inside of your ear canal so you can’t see how much ear wax is in there or where it is at. The Q Grips device is battery powered and features a soft plastic swirly screw that rotates inside your ear canal to pull out pieces of earwax. The screw comes in six different sizes to fit different ears, but it’s not meant to be completely inserted into the ear canal, just the tip of it—this prevents over insertion and damage to the eardrum. 

Stainless steel ear wax extractors

Doctors sometimes use stainless steel ear wax extractors called a curette to scrape ear wax out of your ear canal. These tools are safe for a trained doctor to use, but you should not try to use them on yourself. Don’t put tools in your ears unless you also have a clear view of what you are doing.


Having an ear canal clogged with earwax isn’t that common of an occurrence, but if it does happen, usually it can be taken care of at home without visiting a doctor. The first step is to look inside your ear canal with an otoscope camera. A digital otoscope is the best earwax removal tool because it allows you to see your delicate ear drum while you are performing the wax removal. ScopeAround was the first company to make an ear inspection camera for consumer use and they have the most experience and customer feedback manufacturing these devices. ScopeAround makes digital otoscopes that are stand-alone devices as well as ones that are compatible with iPhone (iOS) and Android mobile devices as well as PC (Windows) or Mac (OSX) computers.

What is the best tool to remove earwax?

Out of all these methods, the best ear wax removal tool is a digital otoscope with a wax removal attachment. ScopeAround makes a number of devices that are safe to use because you can see inside your ear the entire time you are using the device. You can’t see what you are doing if you poke your ear with a cotton swab. Digital otoscopes have integrated LED lights to illuminate the ear canal and help the tip of the otoscope avoid your eardrum. Ear wax removal is easy to do because a soft silicone-tipped spoon attaches to the end of the otoscope and that combined with the camera gives you the perfect tool to scrape out pieces of earwax or other debris. Shop ScopeAround ear cleaning cameras today!


Explore ScopeAround Products:

Explore ScopeAround Collections: