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Can you put hydrogen peroxide in your ear?

Last update on May, 29, 2023

What you should know about using hydrogen peroxide in your ears

Washing the ear with hydrogen peroxide is a frequently used cleaning method, but it involves a series of risks often related to certain ear conditions and incorrect dosage. While it can be a useful solution, hydrogen peroxide must be handled carefully to ensure that it helps rather than hurts. It is important to underline that hydrogen peroxide should not be used without prior consultation with a hearing care specialist.

Cleaning ears with hydrogen peroxide

Cleaning the ears with hydrogen peroxide is a common method to remove excess earwax in the ear canal. Often people use either special over-the-counter drops or a mixture composed partly of warm water (96.8° F) and hydrogen peroxide, which is injected with a syringe inside the ear canal. However, as previously mentioned, home use is not recommended because the maneuver, if not performed correctly, can cause damage to both the ear canal and the eardrum.

Hydrogene peroxide in ear

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Is it safe to put hydrogen peroxide in your ear?

Due to the production of atomic oxygen, hydrogen peroxide has disinfecting properties. Since oxygen is produced during the application, it only kills pathogens that live in anaerobic conditions. The belief that hydrogen peroxide in the ear can address any infection is wrong. The use of hydrogen peroxide to clean the ears can involve certain risks, many of which link to particular ear conditions or incorrect use. Products with a high percentage of hydrogen peroxide that are not sufficiently diluted can lead to:

In individuals who are hearing aid users, or are experiencing an ear infection, or suffer from a damaged eardrum, the use of hydrogren peroxide can be even more harmful and is therefore absolutely not recommended. Ask a doctor before use if you have:

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How to clean ears with hydrogen peroxide

Ear cleaning with hydrogen peroxide can be carried out using special over-the-counter drops, applied inside the ear canal, or with a syringe of at least 100 ml equipped with a special nozzle to irrigate the ear canal with a mixture of warm water and hydrogen peroxide. The correct maneuver involves:

  • Lying down on one side, pulling the auricle slightly upwards and backward to facilitate the entry of hydrogen peroxide/water solution into the ear canal
  • Squeezing the recommended number of drops into the ear canal
  • Staying still for around 5 minutes and tilt your head back into an upright position allowing all of the drops/solution to drain into a cloth.  Dry the ear with a soft cloth after

Before carrying out this series of steps, always ask your doctor for their opinion on whether this is a safe course of action for your situation.

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FAQs on hydrogen peroxide in ear

Some people use hydrogen peroxide in the ear to prevent ear infections, as a few drops of hydrogen peroxide can cleanse the ear of dangerous bacteria that could infect it.

While it can be a useful solution, hydrogen peroxide must be handled carefully to ensure that it helps rather than hurts. This procedure shouldn’t be repeated too frequently and only in small doses; hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation, pain and inflammation to the sensitive skin and parts of the ear, especially in concentrations above 10%.

Hydrogen peroxide once applied in the ear canal, begins to act on the earwax within a few minutes generating a reaction that causes the formation of bubbles of oxygen, effectively dissolving the earwax and carrying out an antibacterial and antiviral function.

Itchy ears are a symptom where you need to address the cause, and using hydrogen peroxide can be a potential home treatment but has risks. For example, using too much hydrogen peroxide can irritate the skin inside the ear. This is why it is always best to consult your doctor before taking any steps on your own and using it. Learn about safer remedies for itchy ears.

In some cases, hydrogen peroxide can help prevent water from getting trapped inside the ear canal and causing swimmer's ear. Many healthcare professionals advise not to use it because it kills not only a wide spectrum of germs but healthy cells as well. Consult your doctor before using it. Learn about safer remedies for water in the ear.

Hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used as a home remedy for blackheads and pimples in the ear, as it can kill bacteria, but the wrong dosage or concentration can also kill healthy cells. While at-home remedies can help, please note that blackheads deep inside the ear canal should always get treated by an ENT physician and not independently using at-home remedies. Learn about safer remedies for blackheads and pimples in the ear.

Hydrogen peroxide is not a good remedy in cases of bugs in the ears. Learn more on safer remedies to removing a bug from your ear.
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Conclusion: How to properly care for your ears

Regular cleaning of the ear helps prevent infections and the accumulation of bacteria and viruses, as well as earwax. While cleaning with hydrogen peroxide can be carried out independently is not recommended, especially when experiencing ear conditions such as infections or lesions of the ear canal and the tympanic membrane.

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