How to Clean Dog Ears with Hydrogen Peroxide

Update - 2017.1.2

Have you cleaned your dog’s ears lately?

Just like humans, dogs need to have their ears cleaned on a regular basis. Wax, dirt, grime, and God knows what else is constantly building up inside your dog’s ear. If left untreated for a prolonged period of time, your dog’s ear could become a home to mites, or even worse, get an infection! Here’s how to clean dog ears:

Inspect your dog’s ears!

Before you begin to clean your dog’s ears, it’s important that you regularly inspect your dog’s ears. The first few times you do this, try tiring your dog out first so that they’re calm. Get them into a comfortable spot, such as their dog bed. It’s also good to reward the dog with high quality dog treats after they let you touch them. Luckily, dog’s LOVE having their ears played with. It’s practically orgasmic for them.

What to look for!

When you’re inspecting your dog’s ears, look at the general condition of them. Do you see anything aside from dirt and wax? If not, then you can begin to clean your dog’s ears. If you see any fluid drainage, severe wax buildup, deep scratches, cuts, or abrasions, it’s imperative that you DO NOT proceed with cleaning your dog’s ears. Consult your veterinarian immediately!

This is also a great opportunity to make sure that there aren’t any creatures, such as ticks and mites, living in your dog’s ear. Side note: Please make sure you’re inspecting your dog for ticks every time you come back in the house – especially if you’ve been in the woods!

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Do your dog’s ears have a bit of a funky smell? This could be the sign of a yeast infection. Yeast infections are very common when you don’t clean your dog’s ears for a prolonged period of time. If you think your dog has a yeast infection in their ear, consult your veterinarian immediately. It’s easily treatable, but requires medication.

I’m ready to clean dog ears!

Great! I love your can-do attitude!! Okay, so, you have several options for cleaning your dog’s ears. You can pick up a dedicated dog ear cleaning solution, such as Zymox Ear Cleaner. However, common household items such as vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean dog ears. Do not, under any circumstances, use rubbing alcohol in your dog’s ears. Rubbing alcohol dries out your dog’s ears, which can lead to cracking and infection.

Great! So what’s needed to clean dog ears?

I’m accustomed to using hydrogen peroxide, so I’m going to focus on that. Before you start, make sure your hydrogen peroxide is room temperature. Dogs really do not like cold liquid in their ears!

You’re going to need cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, water, a tablespoon, a small bowl, and a dry cloth.

Here’s how to clean dog ears!

  1. Pour 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide into a bowl
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of water
    1. Note: If your dog’s ears are super dirty and you need more cleaning solution, add 1 part water for every 1 part hydrogen peroxide
  3. Stir the mixture
  4. Dab a cotton ball into the mixture
  5. Gently rub the damp cotton ball onto the outer rim of your dog’s inner ear using circular motions
  6. Slowly move towards the inside of your dog’s ear with the circular motions
    1. Note: Get a new cotton ball whenever necessary. You want to be removing the wax and grime, not spreading it
  7. Go until you’re just on the outside of your dog’s ear canal. It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you do NOT go into your dog’s ear canal!
  8. When you’re done with circular motions, dampen a new cotton ball and place it in the middle of your dog’s ear
  9. Smush your dog’s ear around the cotton ball and gently massage
  10. Repeat steps 4-9 for the other ear.
  11. Take the dry cloth and dry off your dog’s ears

That’s it! You’ve successfully cleaned your dog’s ears! Great job!

If your dog’s ears still aren’t cleaned, then you can try a dedicated dog ear cleaning solution, such as Zymox Ear Cleaner or Particular Paws Ear Cleaner. Both of them are great products that I’ve used on my own dog and had great results with.


Regularly cleaning your dog’s ears is very important to having a happy and healthy dog. This is a great way to bond with your dog, since they love being groomed and having their ears massaged! The best part is that it takes about 5 minutes to clean dog ears! It’s so simply!

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  
  1. Reply
    jim November 6, 2016 at 3:44 am

    can you squirt a 50/50 solution with a comman sprayer to loosen the black whatever it is in my dogs ear

  2. Reply
    Joe November 9, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Hi Jim,

    I wouldn’t advise that. I don’t see a particular need to use a common sprayer. What’s going to remove the debris from inside your dog’s ear is the agitation caused by the cotton ball. The 50/50 solution is just acting as an agent to loosen the debris.

  3. Reply
    Trish December 22, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    How often do you recomend cleaning my dogs ears?

    • Reply
      Joe January 2, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Trish,

      I clean my dogs’ ears once per week, at minimum. I spot check the ears when I’m cleaning my dogs’ eyes every night. If I see that they’re dirty, I’ll clean them as needed. But once per week is fine.

  4. Reply
    winnie January 9, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    yh dog does not like his ears cleaned. I need my husband to hold his head down I feel so bad doing this to him but it has to been done, Any solutions? He gets up and goes into another room when He sees the container I keep all his cleaning stuff in

    • Reply
      Joe January 11, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Winnie,

      If it helps, lots of owners have this problem with their dogs. The best advice I ever received regarding any dog training, which I consider this to be, is to initially train the dog when they’re exhausted. With that said, my advice to you is to tire your dog out. When s/he’s about to fall asleep on their bed, pet her while your husband cleans the ears. You may also want to swaddle your pup the first few times.

      And as always, be sure to give plenty of praise afterwards.

      Let me know how it goes!

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