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5 Uses for Ear Cotton Swabs (Aside From Cleaning Your Ears)

Updated on August 30, 2018
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Poppy Kuroki signed with MMB Creative Literary Agency in 2023. She lives in Japan with her husband and son.


Many people have a cup of cottonbuds, also known as ear cotton swabs, in their home. Though these are traditionally used for cleaning out one's ears, this practise is actually discouraged by many ear doctors. Although scratching an itchy ear canal with a swab is incredibly satisfying and feels amazing, inserting a foreign object too far into your ear can cause damage, resulting in ear infections and even potential hearing loss.

After suffering from several infections, I swore never to use cotton swabs in my ears again! But what other uses do these little guys have when it comes to every day housework and tasks? As it turns out, they are surprisingly useful! Here are five amazing uses for ear cotton swabs that you might not have known before.

1. Cleaning Your Computer's Keyboard Keys

Almost everyone nowadays has a computer or a laptop, and constant typing and usage can make your keyboard surprisingly filthy! A flannel or kitchen towel can't get into those cracks between the keys, but a cotton swab or two can.

First, make sure that your keyboard is disconnected or your computer is switched off. Then simply use the cotton swab to get those annoying little crevices between the keys. You might be able to clean it out with just the swab itself, but for particularly dirty keyboards you can use isopropyl alcohol (just make sure none of it drips onto the keyboard).


2. Cleaning the Nooks and Crannies of Your Faucet

Cleaning a faucet is no big deal, but there are parts that are difficult to clean - under the ceramic base, for example. A cotton swab does a marvellous job of picking up any dirt, grime, and residue that you couldn't quite reach with your regular cleaning method. Folded up tissue, for example, disintegrates when it gets wet.

Just your regular household cleaner will do fine here. Either spray it onto the tap or dribble a little bit onto the cotton bud itself. Then go to town and scrape out that nasty goo.


3. Getting at the Dirt in Your TV Remote Controller

Months or even years of pressing buttons with fingers potentially covered in food and other daily grease can make your remote controller filthy! Get at the dirt with a plain cotton swab, or one that has been (very briefly) dipped in water or isopropyl alcohol.

It is surprising how nasty a remote controller can get. Take a look at yours; you might be surprised! Take the batteries out before you clean it; it is a quick, five-minute job for a much cleaner TV remote.


4. Cleaning Cracks and Crevices You Can't Reach

Cotton swabs are actually really useful for everyday cleaning! We all have areas in our house that are large enough for dust but too small for a flannel. Cotton buds are great for reaching these little areas.

Just use the usual household cleaner or polish (depending on the material) and marvel at how much dust and grime can collect there!

Do You Use Cotton Swabs to Clean Your Ears?

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5. Decorating Your Home

Recycling is a great thing that should be encouraged, and if you decided to scrap using cotton swabs for your health like I did, there are many ways you can use these simple bits of plastic to spruce up your home. Check out this great video below for some ideas.

Who knew that those little guys sitting in your bathroom cabinet were so useful? Cotton swabs or Q-tips are great for a number of chores and tasks, not only for cleaning out your ears (safely, of course). With these great tips in mind, you will be stocking up on these not only for hygiene, but for housework as well!

© 2018 Poppy


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