Eco Friendly Q Tips: 5 Swaps to Go Plastic-Free


You can clean your ears without plastic by using eco friendly Q tips and more sustainable ear cleaning devices.

Eco friendly Q tips are made with paper or bamboo sticks and come in plastic-free packaging.

Metal ear picks and ear otoscopes can also reduce the need for single use plastic swabs.

Why use eco friendly Q tips?

Plastic swabs – like all other single use plastic products – don’t always go straight to the landfill. They can get into water courses and become part of marine debris too.

It doesn’t even matter where they go – to the landfill or the ocean – they all break down into smaller pieces of plastic and eventually microplastics.

Right now, there are plastic items in the stomachs of most marine life in the world. But, there is also plastic in our bodies. Plastic could be detrimental to our health so it’s time to switch away from unnecessary, single use plastic products.

Best eco friendly Q tips

I’ve tried a number of Q tip alternatives – some work for me and others do not. Reusable silicone swabs aren’t sturdy enough for my needs so I can’t recommend them.

Here are a few I do recommend.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, so talk to yours before placing anything into your ear.

Use a hair pin

It’s weird right? But, more than likely you have a hair pin at home in a drawer somewhere. It’s something you already have and won’t need to buy. So no plastic packaging!

I disinfect the hair pin before using the rounded part to gently (very gently) remove loose wax. It’s not perfect but it does a good job.

Try an ear pick

ear pick tools from Etereauty

Ear picks are a lot more effective than hair pins.

These ear pick tools from Etereauty are made with durable stainless steel. Wash them with soap and water then disinfect with alcohol before and after each use. You won’t need to buy new swabs again.

At the end of their life, consider repurposing them or recycle the metal. Do the same with the container it comes in.

Get on Amazon: Etereauty ear pick tools

Biodegradable cotton swabs

Kiemeu cotton buds

Sometimes, you’ll want a good ole fashion cotton swab.

Kiemeu’s swabs are made with organic cotton and sustainable bamboo. After using them, add them to the compost since they are 100% biodegradable. They come in paper packaging too, which you can recycle or compost.

Get on Amazon: Kiemeu cotton buds

Bambaw cotton buds

Bambaw is another environmentally conscious company that is dedicated to providing eco friendly Q tips. Theirs are also made with bamboo and cotton and come in recycled paper packaging. So, it’s plastic-free.

Be sure to recycle or compost when you’re finished with them.

Get on Amazon: Bambaw cotton buds

Ear otoscope

Anykit otoscope

Skip swabs and ear picks to try an ear otoscope instead.

The Anykit otoscope will make you feel like you are at the E.N.T. But, don’t get carried away.

Be gentle as you check what is in your ears. Use the tools provided to remove some waxy build up.

The downside to this otoscope is there are some plastic components. And it may be difficult to recycle. So, consider the recycling programs in your area before getting this otoscope.

Get on Amazon: Anykit otoscope

I hope these options give you some ideas on what to use as eco friendly Q tips.

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