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]

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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