When and How to Clean Your Baby’s Ears

Mild or moderate buildup of wax in your baby’s ears is common. Wiping the external parts of the ear with a cloth works as far as cleaning is concerned. However, it might not necessarily work for the inside of the ear. When it comes to cleaning your child’s ears, caution must be taken. You are highly discouraged from cleaning the inside of the ears by inserting cleaning objects. A slight mistake can puncture the eardrum and affects the child’s hearing. Hydrogen peroxide drops, under the supervision of a pediatrician can be used to drive out the wax. This is the most effective way of removing wax from the ears as opposed to using cotton swabs.

In this article, you will find a step by step guide on how to clean baby ears.

What Causes Buildup of Ear Wax?

Earwax, also known as cerumen comes off as gross. However, it is important when it comes to the health of the ears. Ear wax is secreted by the ceruminous glands found inside the ears. It is excreted for the purposes of trapping dirt, dust and particles that can damage the ear if they get in.

Ear wax, once excreted, travels through the ear canal where it dries out and finds its way outside the ear where it is washes away. Sometimes, the amount of wax that is excreted takes a while before it gets out of the ear. This causes buildup and becomes a problem. When it builds up in an infant’s ears, it can affect the child’s ability to hear and cause an ear ache. This is why it is advisable for parents to check for wax buildup in the child’s ears every so often.

Is It Necessary? How to Tell Whether There Is a Buildup

While it can be hard to tell with mild buildup, you can physically check into the child’s ears for it. However, when there is too much buildup of wax in the ears, you will notice that it makes the child uncomfortable. You might notice that the baby keeps digging in the ear with his fingers. The child might also tug or rub the ears in discomfort. These are signs that there might be buildup of wax. You can easily look in the ears to confirm if there is indeed buildup or not. Wax buildup can also be characterized by brownish or yellow discharge.

Once you ascertain that your child has wax buildup, you can follow the step by step guide below.

How to Clean Baby Ears       

With the use of hydrogen peroxide, you can easily help to get rid of the wax buildup.

What you need:

  • Washcloth
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Glass bottle
  • Eyedropper
  • Rubber ear bulb


  1. Using warm water, make the washcloth wet and use it to clean the outer parts of the ear. Do not make any attempts to insert the cloth into the ears.
  2. In the glass bottle, fill half of it with hydrogen peroxide and fill it up with water. Shake well to mix them. Ensure you have the doctor’s approval to use hydrogen peroxide on your baby.
  3. Clean the baby’s ears when they are calm. Lay the baby on your lap with the ear you want to administer the drops to facing upwards. Using an eyedropper, suck the hydrogen peroxide mixture and administer a drop at a time into the child’s ears. Do this until the ear is full.
  4. Let the child remain in this position for at least five minutes to allow the peroxide to soften the wax. This makes it easy for it to drain out of the ear.  Once the wax trickles out with the peroxide, clean the outer ear with a wet cloth. Repeat this procedure with the other ear. Do this for at least 3 days.
  1. When the baby is taking a bath, use the rubber bulb to spurt water into the clogged ears. The wax will flow out in chunks.

Never stick sharp objects into the baby’s ears in an attempt to clear the wax blockage. It is also not advisable to stick your fingers in the child’s ears. Sticking sharp objects can damage the eardrum and will not get rid of the wax.

Please note that, if there is a history of ear surgery or ear drum perforation, you should not attempt to remove the ear wax from home.

When to See a Doctor  

There are times when the wax buildup causes serious symptoms that cannot be solved with the above tips on how to clean baby ears. There are certain symptoms that require the attention of a doctor. They include:

  • Ear pain or bleeding
  • Pain in the ear for more than an hour after attempts to flush out the wax
  • Sudden inability to maintain stability
  • Development of fever
  • Discharge of yellow pus from the ears
  • In case of complete loss of hearing
  • In case the earwax buildup does not clear after the home remedy above

The doctor will know how best to handle any of these cases.

Can I Prevent Buildup of Ear Wax?

The production of ear wax is a natural phenomenon in all human beings that cannot be controlled. However, you can do something about the density of the wax produced. When you are dehydrated, the earwax produced is denser. This makes the buildup occur faster and also harder to get rid of. Therefore, it is advisable to ensure your child remains hydrated by giving them fluids throughout the day.

Now you know better how to clean baby ears at home safely.