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Hydrogen Peroxide for Earwax

Because hydrogen peroxide is a product that many people already have at home, it is commonly used to help remove excess earwax -- hydrogen peroxide helps soften and break up the wax. However, not all cases respond to this treatment, and sometimes irrigation of the ear is required. Do not use hydrogen peroxide in your ear if you have an ear infection or a perforated eardrum.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Earwax

Hydrogen peroxide is a commonly used home remedy for aiding in the removal of earwax. Although commercially available products for earwax removal (such as Debrox®) are available, many people would rather use something they already have on hand, such as hydrogen peroxide.

Does It Really Work?

Hydrogen peroxide works to soften and break up impacted earwax and may be helpful in many cases. However, some people will still require irrigation -- a technique involving flushing the ear canal with warm water, usually using an ear syringe. Some particularly stubborn cases will require the assistance of a healthcare provider.
There is little evidence that hydrogen peroxide works better than any other topical products for earwax removal. Such products can include:
  • Almond oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda mixed with water
  • Water
  • Sterile saline
  • Murine® ear drops
  • Debrox ear drops
  • Colace® (docusate sodium) liquid, a product that is usually taken by mouth as a stool softener.
Any topically applied product for earwax removal (including hydrogen peroxide) can potentially result in discomfort, temporary hearing loss, dizziness, and skin irritation.

How to Remove Earwax With Hydrogen Peroxide

For topically applied earwax removal products (including hydrogen peroxide), generally a small amount is placed into the ear. Only standard, household-strength (3%) or more dilute solutions should be used (stronger, "food grade" hydrogen peroxide can be damaging to tissues). Tip your head to the side to prevent the hydrogen peroxide from running out, and let it work for several minutes.
Alternatively, instead of tipping the head, you can place cotton in the ear to prevent the hydrogen peroxide from running out. You will probably hear a fizzing or cracking sound as the product releases oxygen.
Do not use hydrogen peroxide (or any other product for earwax removal) in the ear if you have an ear infection or if you have a weakened or perforated eardrum. In such cases, you should seek the assistance of a healthcare provider.

Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) Information

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