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11 Brilliant Ways to Use Q-Tips (Just Don’t Use Them In Your Ears)

Did you know you’re not supposed to clean your ear canals with Q-Tips? It says so right there on the box. I only just recently found this out, and my mind was blown. Blown.  I hate the feeling of excess ear wax in my ears. Swabbing out my ears has been one of my post-shower rituals as long as I can remember. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends that you never clean your ears unless enough earwax has built up to cause symptoms including: earache, a sensation the ear is plugged, partial hearing loss, ringing in the ear, itching, coughing, or other symptoms listed here. Apparently, ear wax is good for your ears, and provides protective, lubricating, and antibacterial properties. When you strip it away, that’s when problems can happen.

Presumably, I haven’t done too much long term damage to my ears from my years of swabbing (I hope!), but I’ve still got three massive boxes of Q-Tips on my bathroom shelf thanks to an irresistible offer on Amazon.  

So what am I going to do with nearly 2,000 cotton swabs? Well, I vaguely imagined having a Better Off Dead moment, but it turns out there are a whole boatload of smart ways to use Q-Tips that don’t involve rupturing your ear drum. Check out this slideshow for some great kids’ craft projects, cleaning hacks, and even a few makeup tricks. If you have some genius ways to use Q-Tips that I’m not thinking of, let me know in the comments.

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