By now you should know that you’re not supposed to jam a Q-Tip into the depths of your ear canal. If you don’t, it says it right on the package: “Do not insert swab into ear canal.” Still, you know you’ve done it. Dr. Martin Burton professor of otolaryngology at the University of Oxford in England stresses that Q-Tips can irritate the delicate skin of the ear canal and even puncture the ear drum. They can also bring bacteria into your ear canal. Burton also says that ear wax isn’t really meant to be cleared out in the first place.