Debrox for Earwax

If you search for home earwax remedies, you will almost certainly come across Debrox. At around 6 to 8 dollars per kit, you usually get a small bottle of ear drops and a bulb syringe. In fact, as ENTs, we often suggest patients try Debrox if they are experiencing a mild to moderate accumulation of earwax that is causing them to feel fullness in their ears or is compromising their hearing in some way. But how should you use Debrox, and are there any considerations you should be aware of?

Ultimately, the use and effectiveness of Debrox is similar to that of hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, or mineral oil as it relates to removing stubborn earwax. The active ingredient is carbamide peroxide, a form of hydrogen peroxide. Five to 10 drops are placed in the ear and left there for several minutes (again, tilting your head, so your treated ear faces the sky). Afterward, fill the bulb syringe with warm water and gently flush out the loosened earwax.

The use of Debrox can be more straightforward than other home remedies because its instructions are clearly labeled on the box. However, if you’ve done some research online, you may find that patients have had varying success using the product, and some complain that the instructions are somewhat difficult to follow. Others have offered their own opinions on how best to use it. Let’s look at a few comments we’ve seen in reviews and analyze them.

  • We’ve seen reviews that suggest leaving the liquid in the ears for significantly longer than the directions state. For most, this will not cause significant damage to the ear, but for those with sensitive skin, there could be a mild irritation. As noted above, prolonged water exposure is bad for the ear. As such, we encourage patients to re-treat twice per day rather than leave the drops in the ear for longer than suggested. And as per the package instructions, do not use the product for more than four days without speaking to your ENT.
  • We’ve also noticed that some reviewers encourage using a stronger stream from the bulb syringe. This is not recommended. Some reviewers said that they experienced pain while using a forceful stream of water but were able to dislodge the earwax. This runs the risk of causing infection, worse impaction, or even a perforation (hole) in the ear drum. Any pain that you experience in the ear is not normal. Instead, you will likely achieve the same results with some patience – just with a couple more treatments. If the earwax is impacted to the degree that home treatment does not work, don’t try to force it. See an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist for earwax removal.

The Bottom Line

Debrox is a commonly found product that can be effective in the home removal of earwax. However, it is a more expensive and branded version of common hydrogen peroxide. If you receive appropriate instructions to use hydrogen peroxide after speaking to your doctor, you may be able to save some money. However, remember that a quality bulb syringe can cost the same or more as a Debrox kit, so weigh your options appropriately. Most importantly, we encourage all our patients to follow instructions carefully, and significant impaction or poor results after multiple treatments should be brought to Dr. Boger’s attention for appropriate advanced care.