Open Letters

An Open Letter to Q-Tips

Dear Q-Tips,

Sometimes when I go awhile without showering – so like a day, or two, or three, or five or like if I’m camping or sometimes in the summer when “shower” really means “ocean”, there is something about the post-shower routine that I don’t know I’m missing until the sensation of loss is so extreme I will literally burst if I cannot get a Q-Tip in my ear.

I’m a firm believer that the best part of the shower is the post-shower Q-Tip swipe. I feel strongly about giving each ear its own focused Q-Tip sesh because like, oh my God, it feels so good to just stick that cotton swab in there and wiggle it around and pull it out and maybe monitor wax levels and then just let out a big sigh of relief and go about your business (and maybe your business is putting on deodorant or brushing your teeth or going Number Two or something.  I don’t know your morning routine, okay?).

Sometimes I will get all up in my ear and sometimes I will get all up around my ear and that’s a really good time to see how gross human beings are and when I say human beings I mostly mean me because it’s kind of weird how much guck collects back there and where does it come from?

Anyway, I remember this one time hearing about a friend who shoved a Q-Tip so far up her ear that her eardrum popped which is a huge bummer but maybe also an urban myth for obsessive compulsives. Either way, it’s always important to practice Q-Tip safety.

Q-Tips are also good for all sorts of other things but I can’t think of those things right now because I want nothing more than to take a shower and get a Q-Tip and clean out my inner ear like a boss. Like the boss of Q-Tips.

Fond Regards,


P.S. Regarding the “Purse Pack” – well done, Q-Tips, well done.

Picture via Swanson Health Products

  • Jessica Sherwood

    Totally with you. I love Q-Tips so much.

  • Haley Carlson

    YES! The post shower Q-Tip is the most important part of the day. I’m glad someone else appreciates it as much as I do.

  • Lindsay Bradleigh Shank

    I do exactly the same thing.

  • Alex Rodriguez

    I only use Q-tip brand cotton swabs. The rest are waaay too flimsy.

    • Sara Stollings

      I agree! I’ve bought the cheaper ones and they were horrendous. Not enough cotton, and I was scared the little cotton there would fall off and get stuck! And the stick bent immediately. I threw out the entire box. Q-tips all the way!

  • Caroline Anderson

    I went to music school and part of our “aural safety” training was that you should never ever EVER in any circumstance put q-tips in your ears. DID IT ANYWAYS! Take that, status quo! Caroline’s here and she wants to clean out her ears!

  • Caroline Harper

    not a myth for obsessive compulsives! i worked in an ER and saw a few cases of q-tip-induced ruptured eardrums. not fun. oh but i still do it anyway.

  • Vanessa Thompson Vazquez

    I love Q-tips, too! It’s a weird obsession that my husband does not understand. He swears I have cotton clogged up in my ear drum from years of over using them. I probably do but it’s so worth it!

  • Lauren Alvarez

    Love this post. Every morning I can’t wait to get up and clean my ears, mostly to figure out why they feel so damn watery in the morning.

  • Tina Matilde González

    i’m obsessed with q-tips, well not really but i need them in my life. word to the wise avoid the flimsy, i once got the cotton tip of one stuck in my ear. my ear got inflected and i had to take antibiotics. it took a team of 5 at the doctor’s office to remove it (including 3 looky-loos). long story short, q-tips are amazingness!

  • Maryam Aued

    haha! totally agree. even though they already hacve caused me an infection.

  • Rachel N. Miller

    I had to go to a ear-nose-and throat specialist for chronic sinus infections a few months back….and he told me that no matter what people should never use Q-tips. :(

    He had to clean out my ears with his little special instrument and all you do is force the yuck farther down in your ears. He could actually tell I was right-handed because that side was 10x worse than the other (he commented that everyone is like that!) Believe me, once he cleaned out my ears I felt SO much better; I had no idea using Q-tips was causing all that!

    So anyway, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I guess we’re not supposed to be using the little suckers near our ears after all!!!

  • Katie Hauser

    I once had a friend who said that when a woman puts a q-tip in her ear, it’s the closest she’ll come to knowing what intercourse feels like for a man. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but there is something about that clean-ear feeling.

  • Trudy Holtz

    try ear candling! it’s so cool! and you can unroll it later and look at all the yuck, which is just as much fun…

  • Ashley Carpenter

    & I thought I was the only one w/ a love for Q-tips!

  • Ashley Miller

    Am I the only one who is absolutely terrified of QTips?!? I mean don’t get me wrong I use them but they HURT and make me gag when I clean my ears…

    • Samantha Ritchie

      You are not the only one! They make the back of my throat itch when ever I use them and my eyes start watering! But i had really bad ear infections when I was little, so I may just be over sensitive….

  • Danica Marie Hecht

    OHMYGOD,YES. the post-shower q-tip sesh is so good bc 1) i feel like everything’s all loosened up and ready to come out of your ear and 2) as gross as that may be, there is nothing grosser than the feeling of that water just sitting in your ear and you can never get it all the way out without the q-tip.

  • Eric Snyder

    amazingly accurate. an entire vacation can be in peril if that first morning in the hotel you get out og the shower and realize….oh no.

  • Hannah Krakauer

    OH MY GOD. This post spoke to me maybe more than ANY OTHER SINGLE THING I HAVE READ EVER. I freaking LIVE for the post-shower Q-Tip, and if I forget to do it one day, I basically freak out until I can get that bidness taken care of on the next shower go-round.

    THANK YOU for this post.

    • Brittney Le Blanc

      YES. I’m with Hannah. The moment where you literally feel like you’ll burst if you don’t have a Q-Tip in your ear was absolutely gold…. and was everything I’ve ever felt. I can’t even tell you how much I hate going on vacation and forgetting those delightful cottony sticks at home.

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