Patient & Family Education Materials

Start over with a New Search

Mineral oil for ear cleaning

Article Translations: (Spanish) (Hmong) (Somali)

Mineral oil for ear cleaning

Mineral oil works very nicely to treat problems with ear wax buildup. It is safe to use in a patient with ear tubes or a hole in the eardrum.

How does mineral oil work?

Mineral oil works by turning hard wax and dry wax into a soft liquid substance. This allows the wax to drain from the ear on its own.

When to use mineral oil

  • To treat general wax buildup. 
  • As a maintenance therapy to prevent future wax buildup. 
  • May be helpful in a patient with an ear tube that is blocked. 
  • To help aid in the removal of an ear tube that is lying in the ear canal.

Where is mineral oil purchased?

Mineral oil can be purchased over-the-counter at most drug stores without a prescription. It usually comes in a large bottle. You may want to purchase a small dropper bottle to place the mineral oil in.

How do I use it?

  • Mineral oil should be kept at and administered at room temperature. 
  • Instill 3-5 drops into the affected ear at bedtime. Over night the oil will turn the hard/dry wax into a liquid substance. 
  • In the morning, simply clean the outer part of the ear with a washcloth to remove the residual oil and ear wax.

How often should mineral oil be used?

  • During times of problematic wax buildup, mineral oil can be used daily. 
  • For maintenance, mineral oil can be administered one or two nights per week.

As always, please ask your doctor for details regarding your child's specific condition.


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have questions, please call your doctor or Children's ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery clinic.

Back To Top

This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

© 2024 Children's Minnesota