How NOT to clean your baby’s ears

After hearing many different opinions, I was wondering, “Can I clean my baby’s ears with Q-tips?” so I asked the experts at Q-tips for the truth. The short answer is “NO!” The longer answer is this: Q-tips can be used to clean the OUTER EAR only. They’re also good for cleaning baby toes and finger nails and any skin folds. Got that?

Ear wax — especially in waxy babies such as mine — builds up to protect the inner ear from dirt and germs. Over time, extra chunks ball up and fall out periodically. It is not harmful all by itself. When well-meaning parents use tools to “clean” the ear, they risk pushing stuff in further. So, if your babe’s ear looks yucky, take her to the pediatrician for a proper cleaning. Okay?

Other stuff to never put in baby ears: olive oil, fingers, ear candles, chemicals of any kind!

It is a good idea to wash the OUTER ear with a damp wash cloth. Also, get behind the ears because I don’t know WTH kind of goo ends up there, but I think it’s milk and food from sloppy eating. You can, on the other hand, clean baby’s toes with Q-tips.

This Public Service Announcement is sponsored by Q-tips as part of the Tipster Ambassador program. Q-tips® cotton swabs brand is donating 1 Million Q-tips® cotton swabs to 3 charities that can use them daily – Operation Gratitude for care packages, Ronald McDonald House of New York for arts & crafts and Glamour Gals for intergenerational manicures & makeovers. Visit and SHARE to show your support!

[25-day old baby ear image via flickr by jessicafm]