Cats tend to be pretty good at cleaning themselves but they’re not always very effective at cleaning the inside of their ears, which makes cat ear cleaners very helpful. These cleaning solutions help you clean out all the nooks and crannies inside the ear that even the most fastidious of cats will find it difficult or impossible to clean. This is important because having clean ears helps prevent health problems like ear infections, ear mites, and excessive earwax buildup.
Our vet advisor, Dr. Danielle Morosco, picked out five recommendations for the best cat ear cleaners to make it easy for you to keep your kitty’s ears clean. Dr. Morosco’s top pick is VetWELL Ear Cleaner, which stands out not only because it’s gentle and has a pleasant smell, but is also highly effective at cleaning and even dries and balances the pH of cat ears.
While this was Dr. Morosco’s top choice, she also offers a series of her top tips for what to look for in choosing the best cat ear cleaners, a section on who should avoid purchasing them, and she personally selected the best cat ear cleaners for a variety of specific use cases.
The 5 Best Cat Ear Cleaners
- Best Overall – VetWELL Ear Cleaner
- Best Budget – Nutri Vet Cleansing Liquid Cats
- Best Ear Wipes – Oticbliss Ear Wipes
- Best with Hydrocortisone – Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment
- Best for Yeast Infections – TrizULTRA + Keto Flush
Cat Ear Cleaners Compared
Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different cleaners.
|Contains Drying Agents
|No Strong, Unpleasant Odor
|Cucumber Melon Otic
|Best Budget Buy
|Nutri Vet Cleansing Liquid Cats
|Best Cat Ear Wipes
|Oticbliss Ear Wipes
|Best Cat Ear Cleaner with Hydrocortisone
|Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment
|Best Cat Ear Cleaner for Yeast Infections
|TrizULTRA + Keto Flush
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy a Cat Ear Cleaner
- Owners of cats with certain health conditions – Some health conditions, like diabetes, allergies, feline leukemia, and other autoimmune issues, can make cats, especially at risk for ear problems, such as infection. Regular cleaning can help prevent these problems.
- Owners of outdoor cats – Just by virtue of being outside, outdoor cats tend to get dirtier than indoor cats. That includes inside their ears and cleaning inside the ear can be harder for cats. You may want to help your outdoor cat out by cleaning their ears for them.
- Owners of certain breeds – Some breeds, like Himalayans and Persians, are at particular risk for ear infections and other ear problems because they have small outer ears. If you have one of these cats, it’s important to clean their ears to help keep their ears nice and healthy.
Who Should Not Buy a Cat Ear Cleaner
- Owners who have their cat’s ears cleaned professionally – If you have your groomer or vet’s office clean your cat’s ears as necessary, you generally don’t need to worry about cleaning Kitty’s ears at home.
- Owners of cats who are already showing ear irritation – If your cat is already suffering from irritation or illness in their ears, an ear cleaner is not the solution. Take your cat to the vet as soon as possible and follow the doctor’s recommendations.
- Owners of cats who already do a good job of cleaning their ears – Though ears can be tricky to clean, many cats do manage well enough on their own. If your vet hasn’t advised you to clean your cat’s ears and there are no signs of excessive buildup, you may not need to worry about cleaning your cat’s ears at all. If you’re not sure, just ask your vet!
Buying Guide: Research Tips From a Veterinarian
If you suspect your cat has an active ear infection, contact your veterinarian to have your cat’s ears checked so the proper medication can be prescribed. Many products can be dangerous if used incorrectly or if the eardrum is ruptured. Furthermore, not all debris you see in your cat’s ears is just wax. If you’re seeing a large amount of redness or discharge (brown, black, yellow, white, or bloody) in your cat’s ears, it may be a sign of an ear infection. It’s best to get your cat checked out first by a veterinarian before using any over-the-counter products.
- Be careful with ingredients – If your pet has any known allergies, make sure those ingredients are not in the ear cleaner you are using. Stay away from ear cleaners with harsh chemicals or essential oils as some of these may be toxic to your cat.
- Make sure it’s safe for cats – Some ear cleaners are only intended to be used for dogs or livestock. Be sure that the one you choose is safe for use on cats.
- Use safely – Always pour the cleanser on a cotton ball and gently wipe your cat’s ear canal. Never pour the cleanser directly into your cat’s ears as this may cause damage to the eardrum. Always follow the instructions included with the ear cleaner or given to you by your veterinarian.
- Only get ear cleaners from a reputable source – Always buy cleaners either from your vet, or a trustworthy website. Make sure the manufacturer is reliable and trustworthy and beware of knockoffs that imitate quality products.
(If you also have a puppy at home you may want to check out our guide to find the best dog ear cleaner).
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $5 and $25
Cat ear cleaners tend to be very affordable, only costing between $5 and $25 for a high-quality ear cleaner. Price is primarily determined by the size of the container and the ingredients the ear cleaner contains. A small container of basic antiseptic rinse will be closer to the $5 end of the range, while a larger container of ear cleaner that also balances pH and contains soothing ingredients and drying agents will cost more.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily
As a veterinarian, I frequently discuss ear health and ear cleaning with cat owners. The products I’ve recommended here are based on both my knowledge and experience as a veterinarian and the experiences that my patients have shared with me. Each product here is a high-quality ear cleaner from a reputable manufacturer. These ear cleaners are commonly recommended by both myself and other veterinarians, and both vets and pet owners report success with these products. – Dr. Danielle Morosco, DVM
The Best Cat Ear Cleaner Reviews
1. Best Overall – VetWELL Ear Cleaner
Our overall top recommendation is VetWELL Ear Cleaner. Not only is it effective at preventing ear infections, it’s also gentle enough for frequent cleaning and even has a great cucumber melon scent thanks to the manufacturer’s exclusive deodorizer. VetWELL Ear Cleaner cleans, dries, and acidifies the ear canal, while also removing wax, dead skin cells, and other build-up and debris. It’s also water-based and contains soothing aloe.
It comes in two sizes, 8 ounces, and 1 gallon. Both sizes are affordably priced.
- Gentle and soothing
- Helps prevent ear infections
- Cleans, dries, and acidifies the ear canal
- Pleasant, non-medical scent
- Some users may find the scent too strong
2. Best Budget – Nutri Vet Cleansing Liquid Cats
Nutri Vet Cleansing Liquid Cats was made by veterinarians, so you know that it’s a safe, effective formula, despite the highly affordable price point. It cleanses the ear canal and removes dirt, allergens, ear wax buildup, dead skin cells, and other debris from the ear. At the same time, it soothes itching and irritation, while salicylic acid promotes new, healthy cell growth. Finally, the formula inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi.
The formula is gentle enough for everyday use (though you shouldn’t need to use it that frequently). It’s made in the US with high-quality ingredients from trustworthy sources all around the world. The bottle contains 4 ounces of ear-cleaning solution.
- Made by veterinarians
- The gentle formula cleanses, removes buildup, and soothes
- Promotes new cell growth
- Inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus
- The bottle is on the smaller side
- May require a few applications for dirtier ears
3. Best Ear Wipes – Oticbliss Ear Wipes
Oticbliss Ear Wipes are a simple, easy-to-use solution for dirty cat ears.
Cat ear cleaning wipes, like Oticbliss Ear Wipes, are a super easy-to-use alternative to a more traditional cat ear cleaning solution. All you have to do is wipe the inside of your cat’s ears rather than squeeze liquid into them. Your cat will likely find it much more comfortable to have you quickly wipe their ears as well, especially if they don’t like for you to mess with their ears. They’re also very safe since there’s less risk of injury to the eardrum compared to using the nozzle tip of a bottle of liquid cleaning solution.
The formula is still effective too, though not as effective as a liquid solution. Salicylic acid dries the ear canal and promotes new cell growth while chloroxylenol deodorizes and docusate sodium softens ear wax. Meanwhile, aloe vera soothes irritated ears and vitamin E nourishes the skin.
- Cleans dries, deodorizes, soothes, and nourishes
- Easy-to-use wipes
- Can be less stressful for cats
- Not as effective as a liquid ear-cleaning solution
- Strong scent
4. Best with Hydrocortisone – Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment
Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment has the healing, soothing power of hydrocortisone.
Unlike most cat ear cleaners, Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment features hydrocortisone. As you may know from using hydrocortisone yourself, this ingredient is excellent for fighting inflammation and itchiness. It has the same effect for dogs, making it great for relieving irritation associated with ear infections.
The three-point enzyme system can be used not just for cleaning and preventing infections, but also for treating infections. It can be used to treat both acute and chronic infections of the outer ear canal, whether due to fungus, bacteria, or yeast. is even effective against microorganisms, like staphylococcus, that is resistant to antibiotics. To treat infections, it’s safe for use for up to 14 days. It comes in 1.25-ounce, 4-ounce, and 8-ounce bottles.
- Contains hydrocortisone
- Gentle and safe for long-term use
- Effective even against antibiotic-resistant microorganisms
- Enzyme-based and free of antibiotics
- 1.25-ounce size is a little small
5. Best for Yeast Infections – TrizULTRA + Keto Flush
TrizULTRA + Keto Flush is fragrance-free, so it can be used on its own, or as a pre-treatment for a topical antibiotic treatment prescribed by your vet. Just use it 15 to 30 minutes before you apply the topical antibiotic. As always, remember to talk to your vet first, before combining treatments. However, it can also be used as a treatment and preventative on its own, without any additional medication.
This ear rinse is effective for both cleansing the ears and preventing the growth of fungus. It’s also gentle and non-stinging, so it can be used frequently. TrizULTRA + Keto Flush is veterinarian-recommended and safe for use for not just cats and dogs, but also horses. It comes in a large, 12-ounce bottle.
- Cleansing and antifungal action
- Gentle enough for frequent use
- Large container
- A bit pricey
- Not as effective at treating existing infections on its own