How Do I Clean My Baby's Ears?

How Do I Clean My Baby's Ears?

We know why you're here, for your baby's ears!

There is such a big learning curve when it comes to caring for your little one. So how do we clean those delicate little ears safely?

We know one thing, we never want to use a cotton swab! Cotton swabs can harm your baby's ear canal and cause permanent damage. So if there's one thing you take away from today's article, it should be to NEVER use a cotton swab inside your baby's ear canal.

There's good news! Cleaning your sweetheart's ears can be done at home, and you shouldn't need to buy any extra tools or baby products.

Keep reading to explore all about earwax, why earwax is essential, and our guide on how to safely clean baby ears. You've got this momma and poppa!

A yawning baby with cute baby's ears laying in a bed tucked in to a blanket, with a teddy bear.

What is earwax?

Earwax is an essential function of your baby's body and is produced to protect them. Babies need earwax just like adults do!

Earwax acts as a protective layer to keep foreign objects, bacteria, dirt, dust, or infections from entering the ear canal.

It helps your little one avoid ear infections and other ear-related problems.

We know you've heard a baby ear infection can be a painful experience, so we want to help them out the best we can by keeping the necessary earwax in their ears.

How much earwax is regular?

Okay, okay, we don't want to confuse you, but there really is no "regular" amount of earwax. Some babies may have a ton of earwax, and others might not. It depends on your little one and how their body produces this protective wax.

If your sweetheart starts leaking earwax liquid out of their ears, that is a sign to ask their doctor or pediatrician if they are producing the "right" amount of earwax. Also, if you're worried about earwax buildup, itchy ears, or irritated ears, asking a doctor first is an excellent place to start.

Your baby's doctor or pediatrician will be able to gently look inside their ear canal to see if there are any issues they can help solve.

If you're unsure about your baby's earwax, it never hurts to ask!

We recommend always speaking to a medical professional, such as a nurse, doctor, or pediatrician.

Baby's ears.

How to clean your baby's ears

You will only need to clean your baby's outer ear. To safely clean baby ears, you don't need to stick anything into your little one's ears. Their teeny-tiny ear canal and eardrums are too precious, and we don't want to mess up their perfect ears.

Something to keep in mind about cleaning the ear is we'll only be cleaning the outer ear area.

Let's get to it, "how to clean my babies' ears" in four steps or less.

Before you start, you'll need a washcloth or cotton ball (large), warm water, and your baby.

  1. Get a soft washcloth wet using warm water. You can quickly check the temperature of the water by placing it on the inside of your wrist. It will also be too hot for your child's ear if it feels too warm to the wrist.
  2. You want to wring out the washcloth, so there is no excess water dripping off the washcloth. If there is too much water, it may enter the ear canals and irritate them.
  3. Lightly and gently wipe or rub the washcloth around your baby's outer ear area. You want to pick up any wax on the outer ear. Repeat until the baby's out ear is clean from baby earwax.
  4. When you've finished with the first ear, clean the washcloth before continuing to the next ear.
  5. Be sure not to poke or stick the washcloth into your child's ear canal. For the same reason, we don't want to use q tips or fingers (we don't want to hurt the baby's eardrum); we also don't want to poke the washcloth there while cleaning your baby's ears.

    A parent holding a baby wrapped in a blanket.

    Do's and Don'ts to clean baby ears


    • If you've talked to your doctor, they may approve the use of ear wax drops.

    • Use a soft washcloth that is child friendly, like a washing mitt/terry cloth. They are soft towels intended for use with babies and their delicate skin.

    • Test the water temperature on your own skin before placing it on your baby's ears.

    • To dry your baby's or child's ears after a bath or shower, they can gently tilt their head, and the water will drip out of the ear canal. You can place a towel underneath to catch the water. Repeat the actions for the other ear.


    • Please don't use your fingers to poke into your baby's ear canal to clean.

    • Never use q tips or cotton swabs.

    A mother holding a baby laying on a changing pad.

    Why can't I use cotton swabs to clean baby ears?

    Q tips or cotton swabs appear to be the easiest way to care for ear wax and keep baby's ears clean. Still, we know doctors, pediatricians, and other medical professionals DO NOT recommend cleaning your baby's ears in this way.

    Q tips or cotton swabs push wax further into your ear canal. So it's also not suggested for adult use either.

    If you want to read a piece from the medical community, the American Academy of Pediatrics is also here to share why you should never use q tips or cotton swabs on baby ears.


    Follow the warm washcloth method above to safely clean baby ears and the outer ear area.

    A child's ears are an area we need to be cautious with, so no sticking your finger, q tip, or cotton swab inside!

    Cleaning baby ears is easy to do at home, and you don't have to use anything fancy to get the job done.

    If your baby does have earwax buildup issues, your doctor may suggest ear wax drops. Always speak with your pediatrician before applying or inserting liquid in your baby's ear canals.

    If you want to learn more about your baby's amazing little body, you can read the article How Many Bones Does My Baby Have?

    Our commitment to you

    Here at Duchess and Fox, we want to support your baby's growth and health. Not just their ears, but their feet too!

    We are here to provide the best baby shoes in the USA. Check out our Newborn Baby Bundle for your precious bundle -or your BFF's precious bundle- today.



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