There are any number of reasons why you might be looking for an alternative to cotton buds for cleaning your ears. Plastic stemmed cotton buds have been banned for sale in England since october 2020 making a lot of people think about their consumption and look for alternatives, and there are arguments that cotton buds are not actually the safest or most effective ways of cleaning your ears.
Biodegradable Cotton Buds
If your reason for needing an alternative to cotton buds is due to a desire to reduce your plastic waste then the good news is that there are biodegradable alternatives to plastic stemmed cotton buds that are almost identical in terms of form and function.
Cotton buds with paper or bamboo stems work in just the same way as the plastic stemmed ones but with fewer negative environmental effects. Both paper and bamboo stems are biodegradable and providing you ensure you have chosen a brand that uses 100% cotton you can even compost them. Bamboo is a little sturdier than paper, but both materials do the job with none of the plastic.
Other Ear Cleaning Methods
If you are looking to ditch cotton buds altogether to clean your ears then there are a number of other alternatives you could try. One of the problems of using cotton buds is that instead of digging out the ear wax, which is generally the intention when cleaning your ears, they can in fact push it further into the ear canal.
Use Your Finger and a Tissue
One way to clean your ears is simply to wrap a bit of tissue around your finger and use that to clean your ears. You won’t be able to push your finger deep into the ear so it’s a safer method and is best done when you’ve just got out of the shower.
Use a Special Ear Cleaning Tool
Another alternative to cotton buds is to get hold of a special reusable ear cleaning tool. There are various options available that are designed to help you clean your ears without creating any waste, biodegradable or otherwise.
Use Olive Oil or Ear Drops
Finally instead of poking something around inside your ear to clean it you can use a few drops of olive oil or ear cleaning drops to dislodge the wax. Simply lie on one side and add two or three drops of olive oil to your ear, lie there for a while, and then turn over, let the oil and dislodged wax drain out, and do the other oil. If you are using purchased drops simply follow the instructions.
Don’t Clean Your Ears
The final alternative is simply not to dig around in your ear canal or try to clean it at all. Your body will naturally push excess wax out of the ear to the outer ear where it’s easy to wash away. And having wax in the ear is actually beneficial.
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