Why does it feel so good to use cotton swabs the wrong way?

When I get out of the shower I use cotton swabs to clean my ears. I know that doctors say that it is dangerous, but I really like to clean my ears really well. It seems that I am not the only one who finds this task quite… pleasurable. Why?

You’re a Ferengi?

It’s a highly sensual part of the body. Some societies and cultures practice mutual ear cleaning as a personal grooming and bonding behavior. I’ve heard it’s the done thing in Japan.

I can feel the wax, soap, dirt, potatoes & stuff in my ears. Drives me nuts.

I have a few metal handles shaped just right for me to clean them out.
Always very careful but still …
Ahhhhh that feels sooooo gooooood.

Oh well, you scratch your itch.
There are two problems with cotton buds. The cotton bud is too large and blunt, and it can push the wax down and cause it form a blockage.

The stalk of the cotton bud is sharp. If too much force is used, the sharp stalk can cut the tissues, or penetrate the ear drum. Blood can set solid and become a plug.

When the deposit is removed the ear may return to properly auto-cleaning, and anyway you want to let any minor abrasion heal, so do not clean you ears sooner than two weeks between cleans.
You can buy a tool for ear cleaning . It is a blunt metal loop on the end of a curved length. Its just the right curve to get into the ear. This tool won’t push the wax back down, it will always push the wax aside and allow it to be removed - the loop part of the tool catches the wax.

Without that tool, you can also use a facial tissue twisted around so as to form a stick… but the stick is just the tissue. Roll the tissue so that is is tapered, the sharp bit goes in first and then there is free flapping bit at the sharp end, so its not really sharp. Its just a flexible soft small end.

You have to keep the torsion (twisting) “on” and it remains stick like.
Twist slowly and twist more than push ! You can get this into the ear down to the ear drum. Push in slower than twisting.

If there is any sort of pain, you are pushing too hard , perhaps made the stick too thick… use less layers of tissue paper.

I have soft yellow wax. My ear canals get a little itchy if I don’t ream them out with a cotton swab a couple times a week. There’s never enough in there to worry about impacting, and I’m careful not to go poking around or move too quickly. It’s easiest after showering, but I’ll clean them out any time if they start getting that itchy feeling. I’ve heard there are people with harder/darker wax issues and they should probably be a lot more careful and maybe avoid using objects in their ears.

For me it’s not a wax issue, it’s a water issue.

If I don’t use a cotton swab immediately after getting out of the shower, I’ll end up with terrible earaches due to water remaining in my ears. I suppose I could go with Isilder’s tissue trick.

bienville, for water, I find tissues and cotton swabs to be quite adequate - absorption is what you need, and they’re great at it.

Yes, indeed, my friend. For this, you want a bobby pin. In case they’re called something else in your area, here’s a picture, and I’m talking about using the end which is on the left side of that photo.

Obligatory Dilbert.

Used them more than once. They work good also.

Yea for ear diggers… :smiley:

I just want to go on record to say that I find this activity quite mundane. It feels no more pleasurable than sticking a cotton swab on my arm.

I don’t know what is up with all you crazy people. I am sure Freud could make a comment or two about it.

We used this so much at our house growing up that nobody referred to them as bobby pins. Even if my Ma needed one for her hair she would say “I’m looking for an ear pin.” Stretching the metal a tad and opening up the legs of the pin allows it to be an excellent ear wax scoop.

I’ve used an unbent paper clip, with one end pushed closed to form a loop. I find the scored kind works best.

ahh, that makes some sense. I was going to point out that plain wire (like the loop that Isilder mentioned) is fine for separating the wax from the skin, but fails at the pulling action, which the flat part of the bobby pin excels at. I guess the scoring on the paper clip provides enough friction for your needs.

It does work pretty well. As a male office worker, I generally have a more ready supply of paper clips than bobby pins, as well.

I don’t know if it’s done in Japan, but definitely in Southeast Asia. Link.

Similar thread from a few months ago.

It’s not a good feeling for me, either. In fact, it usually makes me cough.

Correct. There are a number of salons (English link) in Japan dedicated to this.

Ah yes, eargasms. They are luscious. I clean my ears weekly, since if I do it every day, it is not as satisfying as when I let it all build up for a while.

I clean my ears weekly, however, some extensive care is needed in this regard as it is considered as the most sensitive part of human body. It is recommended to clean your ears with a cotton bud greased with mustard oil.