Q tips

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Charlotte Charlotte
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Q tips

Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie on this forum and would need your help on my journey to a zero waste home.
My partner and I are addicted to Q tips. The box will be empty soon and we would like to find an alternative.
I've read on the tips page that we should forget about them because they're not good for our ears... but how to you clean your ears?
Thanks for your insights :)
vitaverde vitaverde
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Re: Q tips

We’ve been having the same problem too.  I haven’t been able to find a perfect substitute either.  But if you get the kind of q tips that are cotton with “cardboard”(not plastic) sticks, then I think they should be compostable.  I have a bag started of stuff I’m going to toss into the outside compost pile when it warms up enough for the pile to become active again.  It consists mostly of things like pill bottle cotton, little thread bits from sewing, etc.  So, I’ve started putting the used q tips in there too.  We’ll see if it works.  If, after the summer, they haven’t broken down, then I thought I might try pitching them into the worm bin.

Also, this may sound silly, but if you like to soak in the tub, you could slide underwater for a moment or two.  Tilt your head from side to side while underwater, letting the warm water enter your ears.  When you sit back up, keep your head level and the water should naturally come out by itself.  I used to do this when I had a lovely big tub.  I think the warm water helped remove the ear wax, but it was a long time ago, so take it with a grain of salt :)    
vitaverde vitaverde
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Re: Q tips

In reply to this post by Charlotte
Oh, and I meant to say welcome to the forum!  :)
Charlotte Charlotte
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Re: Q tips

Thanks for your reply :)
Lorac Lorac
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Re: Q tips

In reply to this post by vitaverde
Experts say that you shouldn't put anything smaller than your finger in your ear, Q-Tips are very useful, but you can do away with them for ear cleaning. Water-soluble paper (toilet tissue) wrapped around your index finger several times should work.
Arlene Arlene
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Re: Q tips

In reply to this post by Charlotte
This is something we are having a hard time with as well.  I purchased a box of long wooden qtips from a medical supply store.  They come in paper packages and a cardboard box - no plastic packaging at all - but in a box of 1000.  We plan to save the used ones and use them instead of matches to light the fire in the winter.  This box should last the rest of our lives.  
Charlotte Charlotte
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Re: Q tips

It's been 4 months since I posted my message here and I thought I would come back to leave my feedback on the Q tips issue.

It was impossible to find a compostable alternative here in Australia, and I didn't want to order anything coming from an airplane. So we tried to live without Q tips.

At first, it was a bit hard (we were addicted) and I was always checking my partner's ears, especially before a haircut (I was worried we would look soon like these dirty people with orange ear canals. Yuk!).

Now we don't think about it anymore, because after 4 months, I can tell you that our ears look perfectly fine. We use a bit of toilet paper from time to time (wrapped around the index finger as Lorac mentioned) and that's it.

My sister had a bad ear infection last month and her doctor (ear specialist) said that we shouldn't use anything except our fingers to clean our ears, so he confirmed the fact that Q tips are just a useless invention!
Rose Rose
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Re: Q tips

To clean your ears add a drop of oil to each.  Audiologists recommend this often (and other medical professionals).  It helps loosen up the gunk and allow the body to expell it rather than dampening the gunk further down into the ear and possibly causing a blockage (as a Q-tip would).  

That said, I can't stand the sensation of water in my ears and often use organic Q-tips like you would find at whole foods or other natural stores.

I would NOT recommend you put water directly into your ears!  This is how people get swimmers ear.  To solve that problem, or as an alternative cleaning method put a drop of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide in the ear to aid disinfecting.