My ears are really itchy and there are not any cotton buds at home. I was vaguely advised to use the bottom end of my pen to scratch it, but that seems dangerous.

So are there any household substitutes to cotton buds that I can use to scratch my ears?

3 Answers 3


I start with a facial tissue (Kleenex). I fold on corner over about half an inch, and then twist / roll that whole corner to a point. It doesn't damage your ear, there's nothing to get left behind, and it does a pretty good job of gently scratching your itch.


I would recommend getting in there with a twisted baby wipe. It might feel awkward, however judging by how good those wipes work by removing gunk from my pugs flaps and ears I don't see why you would not get the same success using wipes in yours.


Unwind a paper clip. Bend it in half - the point is to get a loop that's much narrower than an original clip. If a paper clip is not available, try any other wire of similar hardness and thickness.

Wrap the bent end with regular cotton wool (if not available, substitute with a piece of soft toilet paper or paper hand towel).

Two things to be careful of:

  • The wrapper material should be in one piece (best to try and hold a small scrap of it with one finger while cleaning) to make sure no piece of it stays inside.
  • Operate carefully with this improvised device so that you don't injure the ear canal.
  • I don't disagree with your answer, but it has a risk attached to it making it unsafe.
    – Prince
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 21:48

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