The One-Stop Guide to Cleaning Baby Ears: Do’s and Don’ts

Babies, with their adorable giggles and tiny toes, bring immense joy to the lives of their parents. However, between bathing routines and unexpected diaper blowouts, these little ones often leave parents craving for an instruction manual. And one particular aspect that leaves parents scratching their heads is cleaning baby ears — those delicate, tiny parts. 

Since babies have tiny ear canals, they’re likely to face ear wax buildup over time. While a certain amount of wax is normal and helps protect your child’s ears, an excess of it can lead to discomfort for your little one. Plus, they cannot communicate their uneasiness due to a lack of communication skills, making it important for caregivers to be extra vigilant. In this blog, we’ll give you a detailed ear-cleaning guide so your bundle of joy can be safe from wax buildup and discomfort. 

But First, What Is Baby Ear Wax

Baby ear wax, or cerumen, is a sticky and yellowish substance found in the ears. It is mainly composed of sebum (dead skin cells) and secretions from oil and sweat glands. While many parents may think ear wax is a sign of poor hygiene, it isn’t. In fact, secretions play a crucial part in your little one’s ear health, moisturizing the ear canal and forming a protective barrier. 

Unlike adults, infant ear wax is usually softer and has a gluey-like consistency. In most cases, the ear wax builds up, dries out, and eventually falls out of your baby’s ears on its own, making it unnecessary to schedule a cleaning session. However, sometimes, the natural process of earwax excavation may not be sufficient, leading to a buildup. When this happens, you’ll notice signs like wax around the infant’s ear, irritated ears, and decreased hearing. 

When to Start Cleaning Baby Ears

When it comes to cleaning baby ears, you can get started as early as you want (even when your baby is in the 0-12 month age bracket). Since newborns only need one or two baths for the first year, germs may accumulate on their skin during the no-bath days. This is why it is important to wipe and clean your baby’s skin regularly, especially the skin folds, face, and diaper area. 

As a part of this routine, don’t forget to clean your baby’s ears to get them rid of any mucus, germs, or residues. However, as your baby grows, it might be beneficial to bathe them daily to keep them away from unwanted germs and bacteria — and there are countless benefits to doing so!

Cleaning Baby Ears: The Do’s

If you’re wondering how to clean baby ears from wax, the answer is simple. To begin, use a soft, clean cloth and lightly dampen it in lukewarm water. Then, wrung it out and use the piece to wipe the outside of your little one’s ears. This will help remove any grime and ear wax, keeping potential health and hearing issues at bay. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when taking care of your baby’s ears. 

1. Pick the Cleaning Tools With Care

When cleaning baby ears, it is crucial to choose your tools carefully. If you’re using a cloth, ensure the edges aren’t hard, and the cloth is soft to the touch. In general, avoid inserting any pointed objects into your little one’s ears and stick to the washcloth method. 

However, when using this method, it is advisable to use a separate cloth for each ear. For those parents who’re cleaning both ears with the same cloth, remember to wash it in between. This measure helps prevent the spread of infections and promotes a safer cleaning routine. 

2. Use Prescribed Ear Drops Only

Pediatricians often prescribe ear drops to babies with wax buildup since they help soften the substance and make it easier to remove. However, remember that one should only use ear drops if/when the pediatrician approves them. Here are the steps for cleaning baby ears at home using ear drops:

  • Lay your little one on their side with the affected ear facing upwards
  • Gently pull the lower ear lobe down and back to open the ear canal wider
  • Use a pipette to place the prescribed number of drops in your baby’s ear
  • For the drops to stay in the ear, keep the baby in a lying position for up to 10 minutes
  • Let the drops run on a piece of cotton or tissue
  • Wipe away any remaining substance

If you’re using ear drops to soften sebum buildup in your baby’s ear, remember to follow the instructions from the doctor or pharmacist. Refer to these for the frequency of administration and the number of drops to be placed. 

Ear Cleaning Guide: The Don’ts

Babies are like tiny fluff balls with tiny feet, hands, and ears. Since their skin is still developing, parents and caregivers should be extra cautious with the skincare process and products used. This includes ear-cleaning products, like cotton swabs, fingers, and pointed objects. Here’s what you should avoid when it comes to cleaning those delicate baby ears:

  • Cotton Swabs: Never use cotton swabs to clean baby’s ears since they may push the earwax deeper, leading to more buildup, irritation, and even bleeding. 
  • Fingers: Putting fingers in a child’s ears is a no-go since they may scratch the eardrum. Plus, bacteria from the fingers may introduce germs into the baby’s canal. 
  • Soap & Water: These materials may cause irritation or ear infections in the ear. 

Wrap Up

Much like adults, baby’s sensitive ears are also prone to sebum and earwax production, except that you may not be able to clean your little one’s ears as you clean yours. Fingers, cotton swabs, and pointed objects are all no-go areas for cleaning baby ears. This means you should stick to the age-old washcloth to maintain your child’s ear hygiene. 

Apart from the methods listed above, parents can also clean their baby’s ears during bath sessions, along with other areas like feet, nappy region, neck creases, and skin folds. To amp up the shower sessions and keep your bundle of joy feeling its best, you can get your hands on Purelitto’s organic skincare range. The brand has everything your newborn needs, from organic bath bombs designed to soothe their skin to natural soaps and more. So shop today — your baby’s skin will thank you!