How Long Does Olive Oil Take To Soften Ear Wax

What is Earol Olive Oil Spray?

Earol® Olive Oil Spray is an ear wax spray containing a gentle blend of pharmaceutical grade olive oil and mineral oil. This spray is clinically proven to soften, loosen and break up built-up earwax. Ear specialists recommend using Earol® daily for 4-5 days to prepare for earwax removal because it lubricates and softens the wax. The use of a spray creates less mess and is more comfortable than drops for many people.

While other methods like using olive oil drops for wax in ears require you to lie on your side, waiting for at least five minutes before draining the oil out, Earol Olive Oil spray creates a fine mist which coats the inside of the ear canal and does not flood the ear.

The Science Behind Using Olive Oil To Soften Ear Wax

In medical terms, a substance used to soften earwax is known as a cerumenolytic, from cerumen, or ear wax, and the Greek term Lysis for ‘loosening’2.

In a 1990 study, researchers found that of 289 GPs, 233 recommended using oil (almond or olive) ‘for 7 days’ before syringing1. Olive oil has been known as a treatment for earwax buildup for thousands of years, used in ancient Egypt in a mixture of olive oil, frankincense and salt2.

The reason olive oil works is because vegetable oils work as solvents in many contexts3, meaning they are able to dissolve certain compounds such as those found in earwax. Oil-based cerumenolytics are thought to work by lubricating and softening the earwax without fragmentation over a period of time4,5. When the built-up earwax has been softened with olive oil each day for 5 days, it is then the optimum time for clinical earwax removal6.

How Long Does Olive Oil Take To Soften Ear Wax?

Oil-based cerumenolytics take time to work. Earol® is an olive oil spray that provides the optimum dose, and when used twice daily over 5 days, it is clinically proven to soften earwax, making earwax removal easier7.

Realistic expectations of earwax softening

When using solutions of olive oil for ear wax, it’s reasonable to expect it to take some time before you notice effects. Built-up earwax in your ear will absorb the oil, rehydrating and separating a little.

  • Expect it to take 4-5 days of using Earol® twice daily before the wax is loose enough for removal7.
  • It can help your audiologist remove the earwax plug if you also use Earol® right before your appointment, as this lubricates the ear canal7.

Unrealistic expectations of earwax softening

Just as earwax builds up over time, it takes time for it to be softened, particularly when using products derived from natural ingredients such as Earol®. Here are some expectations that are not realistic:

  • Instant results: no product can clear blocked earwax straight away. Earwax softening is a process that requires patience.
  • Blockage sliding out on its own: the ear canal is very narrow, and even when it is softened, it is unrealistic to expect that impacted wax will slip out when olive oil is used, even if you may feel a release of pressure in the ear.
  • Feeling it work”: Products which contain hydrogen peroxide create a bubbling sensation in the ear canal, which comes from the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) being catalysed into water (H2O) and oxygen (O2). The bubbles are in the drops, not the wax8. With olive oil-based treatments, there is no bubbling feeling as the oil is absorbed, but the results are similar, with a lower risk of side effects9.

Tips For Speeding Up The Process Of Ear Wax Softening With Olive Oil

Alongside using Earol Olive Oil spray, there are some steps you can take to increase the effects.

  • Warmth: Roll the bottle of oil solution in your palms for a few moments before use. This gently warms the oil, making it more comfortable in the ear and improving softening effects.
  • Regularity: Ensure you use Earol twice daily at regular intervals, such as every twelve hours. This prevents the wax from drying out again between doses.

When To Seek Professional Help

It is generally advised that professional help is required to remove any ear wax blockage. This provides a complete clean, performed by a professional, that is hygienic, safe and ultimately fast. The tools used during wax removal are made specifically to help clean out earwax, so there’s no need to worry about your hearing being damaged if you seek professional advice on ear cleaning. Attend a GP practice to have wax removed in cases where wax is blocking the ear canal and/or contributing to:

  • Hearing loss
  • Earache
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Cough suspected to be due to ear wax
  • The tympanic membrane (ear drum) is obscured by wax, making diagnosis difficult to establish10

If you experience any of these symptoms, using Earol® before seeking help from your audiologist or healthcare professional can help. Earol® is available over the counter, so you can start using it as soon as you feel earwax is blocking the ear, or once a week as a preventative measure7.

Earwax Softening FAQs:

We are committed to providing accurate ear care advice, backed by the expertise of qualified professionals we collaborate with. Browse the common concerns some of our customers have.

What should I do if earwax doesn’t soften or come out after using olive oil?

It is normal for impacted earwax to be difficult to soften, but after 4-5 days it will have absorbed plenty of oil and be much softer than it was to begin with7. Consult your GP, audiologist or ear care specialist for professional removal after using olive oil, and they should be able to clear the blockage10.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with earwax softening methods?

Some cerumenolytics contain harsh ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, which has reported side effects including irritation, blistering, inflammation, and earaches9.

Earol® Olive Oil Spray contains only pharmaceutical-grade olive oil and mineral oil, which have no reported side effects. Where a patient has allergies involving oils, there may be risks to this method7.

Can I put too much ear wax removal spray in my ear at once?

Earol’s patented actuator delivers an exact metered dose of 0.05ml of ear wax removal spray into the ear canal. Pressing the actuator too many times may lead to a large amount of spray in the ear canal. While this may be uncomfortable and messy, it does not pose a risk to the user6.

Why Choose Earol® Olive Oil Spray?

Earol® products are all available over-the-counter, so you can get hold of them quickly and at low expense. Our products are guaranteed to be gentle enough to be used from 12 months old. We have found that 93% of ear care specialists recommend our products to aid in the removal of earwax11, and we are proud to work with NHS healthcare professionals in the development and testing of our products.


  1. Sharp JF, Wilson JA, Ross L, Barr-Hamilton RM, ‘Ear wax removal: a survey of current practice.’ in BMJ 1990;301:1251, Accessed 20 Sept 2023.
  2. Stevenson RS, Guthrie D. A history of otolaryngology. Edinburgh; Livingstone, 1949:8.
  3. Yara-Varón, Edinson, et al. “Vegetable Oils As Alternative Solvents for Green Oleo-Extraction, Purification and Formulation of Food and Natural Products.” Molecules: A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry, 2017;22:9, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  4. Schwartz SR, Magit AE, Rosenfeld RM, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline (Update): Earwax (Cerumen Impaction). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2017;156
  5. Tynan T, Griffin A, Whitfield BCS, ‘An ex vivo comparison of over-the-counter cerumenolytics for ear wax’, Australian Journal of Otolaryngology, 2020;3
  6. NICE Guidelines, 2017
  7. HL Healthcare Ltd, Earol Olive Oil Spray: Instructions for Use.
  8. Aaron K., Cooper T.E., Warner L., Burton M.J., Ear drops for the removal of ear wax, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 25 Jul 18, accessed 24 May 23 at
  9. Eske J, Chavoustie C.T., What are the risks of too much hydrogen peroxide in ear? In Medical News Today, 8 Dec 20, accessed 24 May 23 at
  10. Admin (2019) Should you see an audiologist for ear cleaning?, Adirondack Audiology Associates. Available at:,time%20to%20clean%20your%20ears. (Accessed: 09 October 2023). 
  11. Audiology Questionnaire Report, Survey completed by 136 ear care specialists, 2019.