Does olive oil remove ear wax

Current NHS guidelines state “If your ears are blocked with earwax, put 2 to 3 drops of medical grade olive or almond oil in your ear 3 to 4 times a day. Do this for 3 to 5 days” for ear wax removal.

There is a BUT coming! Whilst it is generally agreed that using olive oil will usually soften earwax, there is no evidence that the earwax will then spontaneously come out of the ears. Often after using olive oil in the ears, a person will often complain that their ear is now worse than before. This can happen due to the wax softening, expanding and sometimes moving closer to the eardrum. What may start out as a lump of wax stuck in the middle of the earcanal, can turn into a honey like substance that moves closer to the eardrum, creating a trickier wax removal procedure.

Olive oil ear drops side effects

Used correctly, clinical grade olive oil will soften hard, impacted earwax and further lubricate the delicate skin in the ear canal. Problems can arise if for example, you have a hole in the eardrum (perforated eardrum), or if you have particularly sensitive skin. It is best to use olive oil at room temperature, rather than warming it up. Studies have shown no benefit when hearing olive oil above room temperature. So, if the correct olive oil is used and you are not overly sensitive to it, for most people, olive oil is tolerated well and helps to soften hard wax in the ear canals.

Can coconut oil remove ear wax?

The NHS currently recommends the use of olive oil or almond oil to soften earwax. These oils aim to make the wax thinner and softer by being absorbed by the ear wax. Furthermore, they can lubricate the layer of skin lining the ear canal, this helping the wax to move outwards a little easier. Coconut oil is a natural product and is typically used for many reasons. At room temperature it is often a solid and this more difficult to insert into the ears, although in theory it would have the same effect as olive and almond oil.

Can baby oil remove ear wax?

Baby oil is typically derived from mineral oils. Mineral oil is a clear, odourless oil that is the by-product of the distillation of petroleum to form gasoline. Unlike the previous oils mentioned, baby oil, although safe to use, is not natural and for many is not seen as environmentally friendly. It will have a softening effect on hard earwax, however it is less likely to help dry skin compared to oils such as olive oil and almond oil. 

Will mineral oil remove ear wax?

As mentioned above, mineral oil is a clear, odourless oil that is the by-product of the distillation of petroleum to form gasoline. There has been some criticism of the use of these type of oils in the cosmetic industry, mainly for environmental reasons. Natural oils, such as olive oil and almond oil are more effective in helping any dry skin in the ears and are usually recommended to soften earwax. If you were stuck in a remote place and only had mineral oil at hand, then it should have a softening effect on earwax, but our advice would always to use natural products whenever possible.

For safe, effective earwax removal, book an appointment with our Clinical Audiologist today