Crazy things are always popping up on TikTok, and sometimes those viral videos actually teach me something. It happened again this week when I came across a clip from Ayisha Friedman-Negrín, aka @ayishafrita.
She posted a video about how to “properly” clean your ears with hydrogen peroxide, and I immediately thought she was insane. But according to the experts, Ayisha’s method is legit, which is a good thing, considering her video has been viewed more than 14 million times.
The Ear-Cleaning Method
In the one minute and 20-second clip, Ayisha pours a bit of peroxide into her ear and let’s it “sizzle.” She explained in the caption that she meant to say “bubble”–Which is a good thing because the thought of something sizzling in my ear wasn’t a strong selling point for me.
As Ayisha sits with her head tilted to the side for a few seconds and lets the peroxide bubble, she explains that it’s separating and removing the ear wax. When it’s done, she tilts her head to the other side into a towel so the peroxide and wax can all run out.
It’s Doctor Recommended
Ayisha told Buzzfeed that a pediatrician recommended this ear-cleaning method to her family, and she has nothing but good things to say about it. She described it as “the most satisfying feeling, during and after.”
“It feels like a cold, fizzy liquid is dissolving all of the gunk—which is what it’s doing,” Ayisha explained. “I love the fizzy sound, it’s my favorite part. Once you lean over and it drains out, you feel so much clearer, lighter even.”
It’s pretty common knowledge that using Q-tips to clean ears is bad news. And I was sure this whole peroxide business would fall into that same “no” category. But ear, nose, and throat surgeon Dr. Tonia L. Farmer says that cleaning your ears with peroxide is not only safe, but she uses it in her own practice as well.
“I use peroxide in my office to assist with earwax cleaning almost every day. It’s generally safe to use in the ear canal,” Dr. Tonia revealed. “However, I stress that peroxide shouldn’t be used if there is a hole in the eardrum from a perforation or ear tube. Using peroxide in these cases should only be done by or under the direction of a medical provider.”
The Right Way To Do It
Dr. Tonia recommends putting five to 10 drops of hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal and letting it sit for about five minutes. She says that Ayisha’s method in the video—tilting her head to the side and using a towel to clean up—is exactly what everyone should be doing to clean their ears.
She also pointed out that you shouldn’t use Q-tips because they push wax deeper into the ear canal, which can eventually cause wax impaction. That’s something you don’t want to deal with because it can cause a lot of pain and possible hearing loss.
“The ear canal is actually self-cleaning to some degree,” Dr. Tonia explained. “Wax is pushed to the opening of the ear canal by the normal chewing motion of the jaw, and tiny hairs lining the skin help keep wax from getting deeper into the canal. Using Q-tips can shear the hairs and disrupt the normal self-cleaning capabilities of the ear. So, if I had to recommend the use of peroxide or Q-tips, I’d choose peroxide.”