Q-tip Company Warns You Not to Use Their Product!



Warning: Do not insert swab into the ear canal. Entering the ear canal could cause injury…

This warning is not a piffy line of my own design. The above statement is the actual warning on the Q-tip box. Q-tips are dangerous, “Approximately 12 million people a year in the U.S. seek medical care for impacted or excessive cerumen (earwax impaction),” said Richard Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, Chair of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF) Guideline Development Task Force.” According to an article written on Time.com, Something Evil in the Ear Canal…

“Steve Milton, Unilever’s (maker of the Q-tip) VP of Communication. He told me that Q-Tips weren’t meant to be put inside the ear, and are often used “for bits of household cleaning and to take off makeup,” though later, under my intense questioning, he admitted that “the majority are used for cleaning small orifices in and around the head,” which is clearly newspeak for ears. When I asked if he himself put the anvil maimers into his ears, he paused for a long time and finally said, “Well, I don’t really have a rummage around.” Milton, I discovered, was British.”

If a vice president at the company that manufactures Q-tips doesn’t use the product, why do we?

Did you know?

  • “…The purpose of earwax (is for) hearing health,”  AAO-HNSF.
  • “Cerumen (earwax) is a beneficial, self-cleaning agent, with protective, lubricating (emollient), and antibacterial properties,” AAO-HNSF Clinical Practice Guideline: Earwax Removal.
  • “Inappropriate or harmful interventions are cotton-tipped swabs, oral jet irrigators, and ear candling,” AAO-HNSF Clinical Practice Guideline: Earwax Removal.

What is really happening when you use a Q-tip to clean your ears?

When you use a Q-tip you are jamming the earwax further into the ear. “Earwax trapped there also brings with it fungus, bacteria and viruses accumulated in the outer ear, potentially leading to pain and infection,” says Douglas Backous, M.D., chair of the hearing committee of the AAO-HNSF and director of hearing and skull base surgery at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle. Cleaning your ears with a Q-tip can also lead to hearing loss, or, a ruptured ear drum!

How I clean my ears… if I have to.

I understand the premise of NOT cleaning your ears with a cotton swab is uncomfortable for people. My younger sister had a ball of earwax pop out of her ear once that appeared bigger than the opening. I myself seem to have an itch I can’t scratch when I don’t periodically clean out my ears. So if you must clean out your ears once and a while I clean mine out with a dilution of 50/50 Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar and water. I tilt my head and insert a few drops using a glass dropper.

About the AAO-HNS

“The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents more than 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization’s mission: “Working for the Best Ear, Nose, and Throat Care.””


“AAO-HNSF Clinical Practice Guideline: Earwax Removal.” Http://www.entnet.org. The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 29 Aug. 2008. Web. 30 Dec. 2015. <http://www.entnet.org//content/aao-hnsf-clinical-practice-guideline-earwax-removal>.

Klein, Sarah. “This Will Make You Never, Ever Want To Clean Your Ears Again.” Http://www.huffingtonpost.com. The Huffington Post, 21 July 2014. Web. 30 Dec. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/21/dont-clean-ear-qtip_n_5600401.html>.

Stein, Joel. “Something Evil in the Ear Canal.” Http://www.time.com. Time.com, 26 Mar. 2001. Web. 30 Dec. 2015. <http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,105556,00.html>.


I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.

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