Ear Candle

Guide To Home Made Ear Candles

It seems to me that very few people have used or are aware of ear candles, which is quite unfortunate.  Ear candles are a very simple but fantastic device that is growing in its availability, and is also fairly easy to make from home.  What are ear candles, then?  Ear candles are simply a cone or tube with a single narrow end and a single wide end.  You take the narrow end of the cone and put it into your ear, while lighting the open end on fire.  Sounds quite dramatic, doesn’t it?  The heat from the lit end warms the air inside the tube and creates a gentle suction, the combination of which loosens and pulls out all of the accumulated ear wax, dust and other gunk from your ear.  Not only do they work better and easier than Q-tips, they feel great to use as well, not to mention have less of a risk of damaging the ear drum!  I’ve never met anyone who has tried one and didn’t want to get their own stockpile for when they needed some pressure off of their ears when they were sick or just for regular cleaning.  Here we will be going over a simple method for making these little wonders at home!

Firstly, it’s always important to note that in making these you will be working with a stove and hot wax, so be very careful when making them not to get any on you to avoid burns (get something on you that’s boiling at won’t get off, you’re going to have a bad time). Likewise, the actual use of ear candles is quite safe, the cone acting like the taper of a slow wax coated candle, however you are still dealing with fire, so it’s imperative to either have someone watching it to make sure that when the fire reaches 4 or so inches from your ear to pull it out and put the candle out, or use a mirror to watch it.  You won’t want to take the candle out of your ear until you’re done, or it will ruin the process, but if it gets too close it can risk lighting your hair.  It’s all nothing to worry about if you’re careful, but the warning is always important!

Equipment

  • A wooden dowel, I suggest about 3/4 inches in diameter
  • Sandpaper
  • Newspaper
  • Wax (you can use bees wax, soy, or paraffin)
  • Sweet almond oil or similar
  • Strips of unbleached cotton muslin about 1” wide and about 12-15” long
  • A double boiler or a saucepan
  • Plastic wrap
  • A pair of scissors
  • A pitcher of ice water

Setting Up

It is helpful when getting your equipment setup to choose a tapered dowel when possible so that you can make the tip that goes in the ear, as if the tip cannot fit a little bit into your ear, the whole thing won’t work.  A very thick knitting needle will work as well, but if you stick with the dowel then sandpaper the outside well so that the wax will come off easily.  Once that is done, spread the newspaper over your working area to make cleanup nice and easy.  Now it’s time to get your heating source set up.  If you’re using a double boiler then a medium heat should do well for our purposes, otherwise a sauce pan set to low heat will keep the wax melted without burning it.

The wax itself doesn’t need to be prepared as such, though for the best results I suggest only making one candle at a time, so cutting or separating the wax into 3-4 ounce pieces for each candle.  Next cut the cotton strips to size.  Some people use other kinds of cloth or fabric, but I suggest staying away from anything treated or dyed, as the fumes from these can be toxic or at least unhealthy when inhaled, so stick with ‘raw’ untreated cloth.  Finally, put your sweet almond oil (or other oil like olive or vegetable if you cannot get sweet almond) in a small bowl and set aside.  You are ready to get started!

Directions:

  1.  Place the 3-4 ounces of wax into your double boiler or pan that is now heated at an appropriate temperature, and stir until melted.  To then the wax out and make it a bit more pliable, you can add some small amounts of the sweet almond oil to the mixture.  Start with only small amounts to maintain a proper consistency; a little bit added will help the cotton to absorb the wax mixture.
  2.  Once fully melted and mixed, dip a strip of cotton into the wax and move it around with a utensil until well coated with wax.
  3.  Coat the dowel with some of the almond oil and ensure full coverage on the whole length.
  4.  Pull the strip out of the wax (with an appropriate tool, not your hand) and let the extra wax drip off back into the pan for several seconds.
  5.  Start wrapping the strip around the towel, starting at the narrow end and working your way up.  Overlap the cotton on each turn about 1/3 of an inch to make a solid wall.
  6.  Repeat this step with further strips of cloth until you’ve made a wrapping up to one foot long, which is usually about three strips, depending on their length and width. Make sure there are no gaps between each layer of the cone and wrap the cloth tightly with each rotation, and press it in when done.
  7.  When the dowel has been fully covered to full length you will want to use wax paper or something similar to smooth the wax into an even coating around the candle.  When the wax starts to harden gently remove it from the dowel.  It should come off fairly easily as long as it was well coated in oil.
  8.  Place your candle on a sheet of plastic wrap to finish the cooling process, using scissors to trim the ends as needed to make a smooth finished product.

You’re done!  Once they are well and fully cooled you can use them when ready!

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