How To Clean Your Baby’s Ears

Your baby’s ears are super important. From checking if every single curve, cartilage, or skin patch is fine, to getting the right piercing, your little one’s ears are just as precious as every other part of his/her body. As a result, you need to keep your baby’s ears clean as much as you can.

Interestingly, most parents don’t know how to.

If you’re also trying to figure out how to clean your baby’s ears, this post is just for you!

In this article, you’d learn how to clean your child’s ears, why you need to do it, and what you should not do while caring for your baby’s ears. As a plus, we’ve added an essential note about earwax.

Read on to learn more.

Why You Need to Clean Your Baby’s Ears

No one likes dirt. Including your little one.

Contrary to what you may think, you don’t need to clean ’inside’ your baby’s ear. All you’ve got to do is clean the little patch of skin behind his/her ear as well as the outer ear.

ear cleaning

Medical experts around the world agree that it is unsafe to stick anything, including cotton swabs, inside your baby’s ear. Nevertheless, cleaning the outer ear and the skin around your little one’s ear is just as important as cleaning every other body part during a bath.

Now, let’s talk about how to clean your child’s ears during a bath.

How to Clean Your Child’s Ears

It’s really simple.

First, you need the following items:

  • A washcloth
  • Warm water
  • A cotton ball

In all cases, water is the most important item on this list. It has to be at the right temperature because if it’s too cold it wouldn’t get the job done, and too hot water would scald your baby’s skin.

how to clean your baby's ears

You can read this post to learn how to get the right bathwater temperature for your little one.

Once you’ve got all the necessary materials, what you have to do is:

  • Dip the washcloth or cotton ball in warm water
  • Wring the washcloth or ball out completely (to reduce water dribbling into your child’s ears)
  • Wipe your baby’s outer ear and the patch of skin behind his/her skin

As you do this, it is important to make sure that the washcloth, cotton ball, or your finger does not get inside your baby’s ears during the entire process.

Here’s the fact: Your child has a really short eardrum. As a result, excess pressure or foreign objects can actually damage this delicate organ. To avoid this, medical experts recommend that you should only focus on cleaning the outer ear and behind the ears.

If you notice that your child is uncomfortable or expresses pain/discomfort after cleaning his/her ears, please consult your pediatrician immediately. This way, you’re certain your little one does not have an ear infection.

What You Should Not Do While Cleaning Your Baby’s Ears

Yes, we know the entire process of cleaning your child’s ear is really simple and shouldn’t be fussed over. Nevertheless, there are a few things to avoid while at it.

As usual, we’ve compiled a list of all you shouldn’t do while caring for your baby’s ears. Here we go:

1. Don’t Clean the Wax

The wax in your baby’s ear is more important than you imagine. First, it is a sign that your little one’s ear is functioning as it should. Earwax also has certain protective and lubricating features that are really important for your little one’s ear health.

In all you do, don’t wipe the wax.

2. Avoid Swabs

Studies show that cotton swabs may be dangerous for small children or toddlers. In fact, a certain study conducted across two decades shows that ear cleaning is the most common cause of ear injuries in American children.

3. Don’t Go for What You Can’t See

While cleaning your baby’s ears, reach for only what you can see.

baby ear

As we mentioned earlier, you’re only expected to clean what you can see and touch (that is, the outer ear). Don’t bother about what you can’t see (the inner ear). This bit of info is really important because the last thing you want is to damage his/her eardrums due to what should have just been a regular cleaning session.

Earwax: Is It Really Dangerous?

No, it is not.

Earwax is actually important. As we mentioned earlier, it serves all of the following crucial functions:

  • Protecting the eardrum and ear canal
  • Guarding against germs and harmful organisms
  • Trapping dirt
  • Preventing irritation or ear injury

The Next Step

Sometimes, stuff just doesn’t go according to plan.

If this happens regarding your baby’s ears, you need to know the next step to take. If you notice that your little one spends a lot of time tugging at his/her ears, or seems to have trouble hearing you, please contact your doctor immediately.

In addition, call your pediatrician if you notice any greenish-yellow discharge from your baby’s ear.

In some rare cases, your doctor may remove the wax from your child’s ear if an accumulation is causing pain, discomfort, or difficulty with hearing. Furthermore, your doctor would be on the lookout for the symptoms of ear infections.


Finally, it is always important to keep your baby’s ears clean and healthy. Thankfully, all you need to do this has been outlined in this post. As you follow these easy steps, don’t forget to clean only the outer ear and the skin behind the ears during your child’s regular baths.

All you need has been outlined for you.


Ameen ZS, Chounthirath T, Smith GA, Jatana KR. Pediatric Cotton-Tip Applicator-Related Ear Injury Treated in United States Emergency Departments, 1990-2010. J Pediatr. 2017 Jul;186:124-130. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.03.049. Epub 2017 May 1. PMID: 28473166.

Clegg AJ, Loveman E, Gospodarevskaya E, Harris P, Bird A, Bryant J, Scott DA, Davidson P, Little P, Coppin R. The safety and effectiveness of different methods of earwax removal: a systematic review and economic evaluation. Health Technol Assess. 2010 Jun;14(28):1-192. doi: 10.3310/hta14280. PMID: 20546687.