Cotton buds and their use

We can find cotton buds—mistakenly referred to as earbuds—in almost every bathroom. you shouldn’t use them to clean your ear canal.

They hurt rather than help because they are pushing the accumulating mucus in the direction of the eardrum.

Cotton buds
Photo by alleksana: Pexels.com

Leo Gerstenzang, a Pole with Jewish ancestry, invented the first cotton swab. Despite being a Warsaw native, he lived most of his life in America. According to one of the legends surrounding the creation of cotton buds, he was motivated by his wife, who used a thin cotton stick wrapped in cotton wool to clean the navel and auricle of the child as well as other hard-to-reach areas of the house.

However, Leo Gerstenzang did not anticipate that over time, people would start using cotton buds for uses unrelated to their intended use when he first introduced them to the US market. They did clean the ear canal in addition to the auricle.

Cotton buds with a unique shape that prevents the stick from being inserted deeper have been produced by manufacturers. According to research, we still reach for sticks to clean our ears despite knowing better. Despite the fact that most respondents (79%) are aware of the risk of earwax plug formation and damage to the tympanic membrane, every second parent (50%) admits to using them occasionally.


When used as intended, cotton buds can be excellent in many situations. You can use them to apply healing and care products to the body as well as wash and dry the umbilical cord stump of a newborn baby. Because they successfully remove dirt from difficult-to-reach places, they will also be helpful when cleaning.

But they are totally inappropriate for cleaning ears. Why? They push the earwax in the direction of the eardrum, which can lead to minor abrasions in addition to collecting it all in one spot and clogging the ear canal. Regular use of them encourages the development of an ear wax plug.

The health of the ear is maintained by earwax. It properly hydrates and cleans the ear canal of dust and debris. Additionally, it guards against the growth of specific bacteria and fungi.

The earwax is moved to the external auditory canal’s mouth by the jaw movements that go along with chewing. The ear discharge, which is already very simple to clean out, can then be seen to be yellow or orange. However, the ear canal can occasionally become clogged with mucus.

It is worthwhile to use an excellent ear hygiene product to prevent this. Every third parent gives them to their kids, and the majority of them (62%) do so on the pediatrician’s advice.