Most physicians recommend that ear wax be removed by pre-treating with a few drops of warm water or salt water placed in the ear to soften the wax. Approximately 15 to 30 minutes later the ear canal should be irrigated with the same type of water.
Warming the water to room temperature helps to prevent any dizziness during the cleaning process. Note that this method should not be used if the ear drum is punctured. Most physicians do not recommend using cotton swabs because they can actually push ear wax deeper into the ear canal. This could eventually lead to a blockage and may increase the likelihood of infection. There are many over-the-counter ear-cleaning kits available to assist in proper cleaning of the ears.